Human autonomy as inconsistent with the belief in the Christian God

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Hampson defines autonomy as “self-law”, and as inconsistent with belief in a Christian God (Hampson, pg.1). She makes the case that autonomy is dependent on the ability to “live in one’s own time, think one’s own thoughts, and come to one’s own conclusions” (Hampson, pg. 14). She argues that Christian’s are unable to do so because of the historical nature of the religion. However, if one considers autonomy as defined as exerting “free will”, then there is room to believe autonomy and a Christian God are not at odds.

Hampson’s premise focuses on letting one’s own law rule, while obedience to another implies heteronomy. She bases her argument on origins of one’s thought. She notes that because of its structure, Christians come to know God through the revelation, which serves as a normative reference point. Because of the culture of the time of reference, a patriarchal influence is imbued on both the structure and message, which by default, leads to a dependency.
I believe Christians can exert autonomous thought. While Hampson argues that self-law comes from within an individual, she also acknowledges God, as she defines “God is one with all else that is” (pg. 16). Christians espouse The Holy Spirit indwells. Hampson would suggest that God’s voice is but one, of equal value to one’s own. Christians would argue it is superiority to own. Both suggest the ability of a power to influence us.

In Hampson’s model, individual’s “truths” guide choice; in Christianity, faith in beliefs do. Cobb (pgs. 64-65) points out, “the Bible depicts God as having great power, but it does not deny some power to creatures as well”. Christianity does not imply the lack of “free will”. Cobb states, “the indwelling does not replace or displace something of the self what would otherwise be there. It enriches the whole” (Cobb, pg. 73). Autonomy in this case isn’t about questioning the value of God’s Word or its influence, but that a Christian God does not remove choice.

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