I was recently asked by someone about my understanding about free will, and here is a copy of my response. I have long sat on the fence about this one

I have long sat on the fence about this one Mark, because I am well aware of the dichotomy of logic that exists between say, Calvinism and Arminianism regarding this one. Without wishing to split hairs, I think we have limited free choice without having free will. For myself, for “free will” to be an existential reality, we would have to be able to make choices, free of any external conditions, threats or previously existing circumstances affecting our decision. For example, if we get “born again” because not to would land us in “hell”, then that is simply coercive in nature. In fact, some might even call it a protection racket. There are two basic human motivations; fear of loss, and hope of gain. Christianity has wrung every bit of useful manipulative value from these to its greatest advantage IMHO, but at the same time tells us that we have “free will”. Free will by its very definition implies that we may use our wills free of any pre-existing, arbitrary, of external conditions. We may say that we have free will, but all the faith and free will in the world will not allow us to open a can of beans with a banana – preexisting conditions impose an insurmountable hurdle. I am pretty pitiful at finding the right words but I trust this adequately explains my understanding