Famed Formula One driver and his beliefs star in new movie
Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna died in a racing accident in 1994.
August 25th, 2011
12:27 PM ET

Famed Formula One driver and his beliefs star in new movie

By Gabe LaMonica, CNN

(CNN) - To the world he gave a glimpse of greatness, to Brazil he gave hope, and to God he attributed everything.

On May 1, 1994, a day that was followed by three days of national mourning in Brazil, Ayrton Senna died behind the wheel of a Formula One vehicle when his car slammed into a wall off a high-speed turn on the track in Imola, Italy. He was 34 when he was killed while leading the San Marino Grand Prix.

His legacy as one of the world's greatest race car drivers in history lives on in a film directed by Asif Kapadia.

"Senna" is a drama in the guise of a documentary film. Manish Pandey, the film's executive producer and screenwriter, noted recently how difficult it was to get off the ground.

"Bernie is famous for: When you shake his hand you have a deal," says Pandey, referring to the deal the filmmakers finally struck with Bernie Ecclestone, the chief of Formula One racing, for mountains of F1 footage.

Ecclestone is also famous for his off-the-cuff remarks about Hitler, tobacco and women. He is an extravagant and unparalleled figure in the entrenched world of Formula One racing, not known for his scruples, but "something told me," says Pandey, "that in his heart he wanted to see this film made ... and there were big tectonic plates moving beneath us ... we were at the right place at the right time to an extent."

But getting "the Senna family on board," was by far the "most difficult part," says Pandey. The family had been approached some "12 times a year every year since Senna died."

"Ayrton was so charismatic and such a huge hero ... everyone wanted their slice of him after he died," says Pandey. "My approach was that I loved the guy," he says. "He was my hero when I was a teenager (and I'm also pretty encyclopedic about Formula One)."

About Senna, Pandey says that, "He could produce a kind of heaven on earth for himself by becoming one with the car." In the end it was his car, a "nervous" Williams-Renault, which killed him. Senna was a "Sunday Catholic," says Pandey, "he went to church on Sundays and that was fine ... but he found God in humiliating failure rather than massive triumphs."

"I'm not a Catholic, I'm a Hindu," says Pandey, "so we don't share biblically our belief, but we absolutely share it spiritually ... (Senna) had this otherworldliness, this intensity about him ... he was like a Shaolin monk that drives a car rather than hits drums for a living."

Ayrton Senna, a Brazilian, invaded the then-French-dominated world of Formula One racing in the midst of outstanding macroeconomic instability in Brazil and hyperinflation that in 1990 reached 1,509%.

A fan, caught on camera mourning among groups of hysterical people in the street during the aftermath of Senna's death, notes in the film that, "In Brazil we have no food, no education, and no health, but we did have a little hope, and now that hope is gone."

"Nothing can separate me from the love of God," reads the epitaph on Senna's tombstone. He was a triple world champion who, according to Pandey, was, "an act of God, his life was an act of God, and his death was an act of God."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Brazil • Sports

soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Robert Sutherland

    Just a couple of points. Senna was not an Evangelical Christian, he was Roman Catholic. Secondly God had nothing to do with his accident and subsequent death. We always hear the same argument, if God was real why does he allow tragedies to happen. Man was given freedom of choice, and the choices we make have consequences. In Senna's case, he knew the dangers and chose to race. There are occasions when innocents suffer due to decisions made by adults, so yes, some things we don't understand, but thats not necessarily reason to walk away from our beliefs.

    August 27, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  2. The Original

    I understand his passion, but not a best vocation choice for Christians just as any violent sports. There are a lot of things that are permitted to Christians but some of them Christians must quickly grow out of.

    August 27, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  3. derp

    Seemed like a pretty decent guy. Too bad god killed him.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • The Original

      He is with Jesus now, which is far better. His mission on earth was over.

      August 27, 2011 at 2:35 am |
  4. HappyMeal

    Brazil has a lot of Evangelical Christians. The greatness of the America's Founders' legacy flourish everywhere.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  5. Bo

    ============@frank6:14================= Respetfully. that is a negitive way of thinking God is not resonsible for the driver crashing into the wall, Satan is the culpert. God allowed it, and God foils Satan by using the terriable incedent to His best advantage, that is possitive thinking. Death to an unbeliever is always negitive. Death in this life is not so bad when there is a whole eternity to look forward to. And eternity is not going to be a boring life sitting on a cloud strummbing a harp. The Bible tells we will plant an another will not harvest, and we will build and another will no inhabit. The work will be pleasent and not laborious. And I believe we will be allowed to travel anywhere in the universe we choose. There will be no more sorrow, but joy always. I'm looking foreard to these things with a hope in my heart. The poor unbeliever has nothing. But it is freewill to make his choice Sure, we sorrow over the death of a loved one, that is the result of sin that we all suffer with.

    August 25, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  6. Bo

    ============@frank6:14================= Respetfully. that is a negitive way of thinking God is not resonsible for the driver crashing into the wall, Satan is the culpert. God allowed it, and God foils Satan by using the terriable incedent to His best advantage, that is possitive thinking. Death to an unbeliever is always negitive. Death in this life is not so bad when there is a whole eternity to look forward to. And eternity is not going to be a boring life sitting on a cloud strummbing a harp. The Bible tells we will plant an another will not harvest, and we will build and another will no inhabit. The work will be pleasent and not laborious. And I believe we will be allowed to travel anywhere in the universe we choose. There will be no more sorrow, but joy always. I'm looking foreard to these things with a hope in my heart. The poor unbeliever has nothing. But it is freewill to make his choice Sure, we sorrow over the death of a loved one, that is the result of sin that we all suffer with. death.

    August 25, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  7. Bo

    ==========@J.W.4:02==================== I can appreciate that you are so willing to admit that there are things that are hard to understand and you may be indeciive about. To me that means you are studying. Keep studying. I believe there are positive answers to some of the things you question. For instance: Will the wicked be punished for an eternity in a burning hell? With carefull Bible study you can learn the answer. My belief is not the typical answer that many Christians give..

    August 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  8. Bo

    ==========@Laughing4:18================= I hope I'm not breaking into something where I'm not wanted, I don't know who you are talking with. I just wanted to ask, what is classic Christian? If you think that a some of the people who are on this forum who call themselves Christians, are classic well I want to say: they are an embarrassment to me. So many of them are angry, hosile and mean and they often don't know what they are talking about and I hate to say this but some are stupid. I try to call them out. But that doesn't let the stupid atheist off the hook. There are atheists that come on this forum whom I call "coke heads". They are a poor representation to atheists. I think it would be good for the intelleget atheists to call them out.

    August 25, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Laughing

      Don't know if you'll see this, but when I say classic christian, I'm talking christian dogma. This includes the idea of the bible as literal and not allegorical or figuritive. That god is omnipresent, omnibenevolent ect...., the idea that if you pray and are good by gods standards you go to heaven, if you're not you burn in hel.l. JW has some pretty different views that fit in with a moden perspective, however christianity (actually religion in general) is godmatic and conservative and refuses to update and change.

      August 26, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  9. *frank*

    "He could produce a kind of heaven on earth for himself by becoming one with the car."
    no pun intended?

    August 25, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  10. Bo

    ===========Thankyou4allthe condolances=== My wife died 12 yers ago, I'm OK. But I will die with the hope of seeing her again. ====================

    August 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  11. Bo

    ============@Woof1:58================ I'm not sure what you mean "God loved him into that wall." But, I believe that God can work some greater good as a result of his death. You and I most likely will never know what that may be, and I'm sure you scoff at the statement, "God works in mysterious ways." I know one thing: when he died he died with a hope in his heart. I don't know if he had a Christian wife, but if he did, she will die with the hope of seeing him again–what hope will you have? That's what I thought. I think it is better to die with a hope than nothing.

    August 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  12. I'm The Best!

    The thing is though, even if everyone realized that free will is just an illusion, nothing should change. A lot of people would still try to do something illegal and say they aren't accountably for their actions, that won't change the fact that it's still illegal. The only thing it should change is our view of ourselves, but I'm still the same person whether I'm making the decisions or it's nature making the decisions.

    August 25, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      I suppose my belief is that free will is what seperates us from animals. Animals thrive on instinct; that's why there are many animals we can't train (no one's ever tamed a zebra, for instance.) Free will gives us the ability to do something other than our instincts.

      August 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I really don't think that there is anything that seperates us from animals. We're just smarter than them. We act on instinct just like them, we just have the ability to think of the alternatives we could have taken but in reality we never really had a choice of which one we would do. I know it doesn't feel like it, but the idea that you chose to do something comes after the action of doing it. I may say I chose to take a drink of water, but it was really just a combination of me being thirst, there being water around, and no reason not to, not my choosing to drink.

      August 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • A Theist

      I think the debate arises when we see that the system of Right and Wrong are often in conflict with what our natural instincts are inclined to tell us, which is why I see Damian's point fairly valid. Some would argue that right and wrong were instilled over time via evolution, but my question to a simplistic answer as this is, how did it jump from even the second-most intelligent creature, that behaves on instinct, to us, who often are compelled to deny our instinct and act contrary to it? I'm not saying I have the answer either, I just think "we were born that way" can be a little over-simplistic.

      August 25, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I'd say in general we always act on instict, but there is always the survival of me and the survival of the human race. Someone may make me really angry, my insticts say that I should take revenge, but my desire to continue to live in society and not go to prison may keep me from doing that. And based on past experiences, I may do one thing or the other, but I will definatly do one thing, and if you could run that senario without me remembering what happened the first time, I'm going to do that same thing everytime.

      August 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Perhaps the question is not free will vs. predestination, but since we feel like we have free will maybe a different way of looking at it is to ask, is there some advantage to having an illusion of free will vs. predestination without said illusion?

      August 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • John Richardson

      A Theist: Social animals instinctively refrain from doing certain forms of harm to in group members. The restraint is itself instinctive. What humans have TO SOME EXTENT done is use reason to define larger and larger in groups. But it is clear that many people are ready to kill off huge swaths of humanity. So the glib talk about 'universal morality' is just that – glib talk.

      August 26, 2011 at 7:12 am |
  13. I'm The Best!

    The problem will be when people think that since they're not accountable for their actions, they'll do anything they want and then get in trouble. The thing is though, even if everyone realizes that free will is just an illusion, nothing should change. I know I don't have free will but I don't do anything illegal because I know the consequences are the same whether or not it was me who decided to do it or it was nature that led me to do it.

    It's just a different way of viewing the world without actually changing it.

    August 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Laughing

      I love how when believers say, "well if there is no god then is there no right or wrong?" They think that if today they stopped believing in god their actions wouldn't have any consequences. I think you should use this explanation everytime anyone brings up this seeming quandry that believers have such a hard time grasping

      August 25, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @ Laughing,

      I can totally respect your point. To an athiest, the idea of "right" and "wrong" do not need to adhere to any diety. My only question becomes, what standard do you use for right and wrong?

      August 25, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Common sense and basic standards from the premise we are all equal.

      August 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Laughing


      Solid question. The same standard that you use. Whether I like it or not, I grew up in a Judeo-Christian society that has used the basic morals gleaned from the bible and inst.ituted them in society today. Keep in mind though that morals and ethics can change by society and culture and the only thing I've seen that's present in all cultures are the basic, don't ki.ll, don't steal, treat others how you want to be treated (or a version of that). They're pretty basic concepts that don't need to be spelled out by a book, but rather by the current society as a whole.

      August 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • J.W

      I have never thought of God as a motivation for doing something good or not doing something bad. I just act the way I act because it is the right thing to do. I pray to God for certain things and I feel that he has an affect on my live, but he is not really a motivation for acting in a certain way.

      August 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Fair enough, Laughing. I can respect that.

      Like you said, society's values can change. Not too long ago, it was acceptable to treat those of ethnic minoirities different than white people were treated. Now that's not true. Heck, in WWII, in Poland, it was the societal norm and the "right thing to do" to help the Nazis find Jews.

      I use the Bible as a guideline. As an analogy, it's kind of like, an owner's manual in your car in a world with no mechanics. If something breaks, you check the manual and go from there. But the owner's manual is not going to tell you how to fix the radiator. So, using the information in the owner's manual, you can apply some of it and fix the radiator. Some of it will work, some of it won't, but you do your best.

      August 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Laughing

      @JW and Damian

      You both are more pragmatic than the average believer who thinks that without god there are not any morals. I can absolutely respect the fact that you use the bible as a sign post for overarching problems, but do not believe that you can find an answer to a specific problem by looking in Job. I would contend that I do the exact same thing, but look at the lessons that history has to offer and use situations from throughout history up until yesterday to help me with my moral quandry's.

      My question for you is simply this, do you believe that god will punish/reward you after death? To get more specific do you think god will judge you for every specific dead (both good and bad) over the course of your entire existance, or take a broader more overarching approach? Either way, isn't that motivation in of itself to be good and avoid bad for you? For me personally I do good things for the selfish reason of my feeling good, I also tend to avoid evil because my personality and conscience both agree that hurting people makes me feel bad. My motivation is the selfish instant gratification. Can you really say you believe in god and then in the same breath say he doesn't motivate you to be good/reject evil?

      August 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • J.W

      I do not believe in eternal punishment. I do not think that God would punish his creation for all of eternity. I do believe there is some sort of reward/punishment, I just havent figured out exactly what it is. I guess if we all spent eternity in heaven then the bad people will have gotten no punishment for what they did wrong. Another possibility is that believers go to heaven and non believers stay in the grave. Or that there is some sort of temporary punishment. At times as far as people who go to heaven I have wondered whether there were some places in heaven that were better than others that God put a person according to their deeds. I am not sure though exactly what will happen in the afterlife. I just believe there will be some punishment/reward.
      I wouldnt say that my view of the afterlife affects what I do on earth. However, I do have selfish motivations as well. I believe in karma. I have seen instances in my life where I have done good things and good things happen to me, and vice versa.

      August 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Laughing

      Karma is a tricky thing. I used to have a belief in Karma and still sometimes catch myself when I think "well I did this good thing, so I deserve that good thing", but Karma, like prayers, are in the eye of the beholder. When you do a good thing and then something good happens to you, is it proportional, how long does karma take to come back around? I like the idea of karma but I can't bring myself to believe it's actually a force.

      As for your initial comment, the more and more I talk the more I think you aren't a christian at all. Sorry if that offends you, but your ideas and perspective on many matters do not align with classic christian thought, and seem pretty radical even for a liberal christian. I can understand that you wouldn't think a loving and merciful god would eternally punish sinners, but what is your idea of a punishment then? Is it like the Jewish hel.l (meaning you wander the earth as a spirit and it's hel.l because you aren't allowed into heaven)? or is it something different?

      August 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • J.W

      Well Christianity is just the belief that there is an all powerful God and that Jesus Christ is our savior. I know what you mean by classic Christianity. As I went between different denominations it seemed that there was a wide variety of views. Some say that parts of the Bible are myths, some say Jesus was not born divine but rather God adopted him, some have even proposed doing away with either the Old or New Testament. There are radical views out there, you just don't here to much about them as of now. There are a wide variety of views about hell. I tend to lean toward the idea of being separated from God. I suppose your description of the Jewish hell would be close to what I believe. But I also wonder if our deeds do have any bearing on the afterlife, or is it simply whether we believe or not?

      August 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • DamianKnight


      Well you'll have to tell us all about He.ll since that's where you are going!!!! Just kidding. 🙂

      Just to jump in on the conversation, I believe He.ll is the eternal seperation from God. I believe that God is the essence of hope. And to be in the absence of God, it means there is no hope things will get better. They're just as they are, which to believers, is a pretty sad condition.

      August 25, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  14. HappyMeal

    His death is sad. However, part of god's plan.

    August 25, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Woof

      Jesus loved him right into that wall.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • *frank*

      Bashing his son into a wall and turning him into a flaming goulash was the best plan an all-wise, all-loving heavenly father could come up with?

      August 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • The Original

      The above HappyMeal is a fake though I agree with him/her.

      August 27, 2011 at 12:54 am |
  15. Bo


    August 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  16. Bo

    =======What I know about car raceing you could hide under your little fingernail. I don't know why God allowed this man to die, I'm just trying to learn not to second guess God and why He allows certain things to happen, bad and evil as they may be. When my wife died I cried so much and asked God so many times, WHY? I still don't know, but I believe God had a reason. I think of the story of Joseph and how Goo allowed so many evil things to happen to him and it all turned out to be a blessing for many people. God just knows the ending from the begining and ultematly He is in control

    August 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      My condolensces for the loss of your wife.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Tallulah13

      Very sorry about your wife. It sounds like you loved her very much.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • grace

      Sorry to hear about losing your loved one, but glad to hear that you find strength in God!

      August 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  17. David Johnson


    Ahhh, Reality! You beat me to to it.

    You are so right. A man who loved his god (a modern day Job?), was allowed (guided?) into a wall at 100+ mph.

    A death is always (nearly always), sad. But, I can't help chuckling at this.

    The evangelicals will say the fellow is with Jesus. But, there is no evidence of that.


    August 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  18. J.W

    I had a friend who really like car racing. I tried to watch it but could not stay awake through a whole race.

    August 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      If you tried recently, I don't blame you. But if you just don't like car racing, that's understandable. I live in a soccer-mad town, and I find watching the grass growing on the field to be more interesting than the game.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • J.W

      I am a big sports fan but I mainly just like baseball, basketball, and football.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Tallulah13

      I used to be a sports fan, but now all I'm really into is hockey. It's like all the other sports put together, then played on ice.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • J.W

      I take it you live somewhere up north. Soccer is popular and you like hockey. I will say Massachusetts

      August 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Tallulah13

      Wrong coast, but not a bad guess. I'm a native Oregonian.

      August 25, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • J.W

      You are probably a nice young lady and you are looking to meet a Christian man, because you know what they say, opposites attract.

      August 25, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Laughing

      JW! You Dawg! trolling the belief blog for some booty, and some atheist booty at that! What would your mother say?!

      August 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • J.W

      LOL Laughing interracial couples just aren't exciting anymore. We need interreligious (religious/nonreligious) couples. That will be the new trend.

      August 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • i wonder

      J.W "opposites attract"

      Ah, but "birds of a feather flock together".

      Be careful with aphorisms - for each one there is another one which completely contradicts it:

      "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"
      "Out of sight out of mind"

      "He who hesitates is lost"
      "Look before you leap"

      "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
      "Better safe than sorry."

      August 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics


      You are probably a nice young lady and you are looking to meet a Christian man, because you know what they say, opposites attract.

      Work it bro!

      August 25, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • J.W

      She hasn't responded. I must have scared her away.

      August 25, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Nah, JW, I had to run to the store. Anyway, I'm probably old enough to be your mother, but thanks for making my day.

      August 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Laughing

      Harold and Maude made it work....

      August 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • J.W

      Old women can be attractive. I bet you look like Jane Seymour.

      August 25, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  19. tallulah13

    I used to watch F1. I stopped watching when all the drivers with personality retired or were driven out. Last time I watched, every race was decided by pit strategy and technical advantage. There didn't seem to be a place for an old-school, gutsy driver.

    I don't care about Senna's religion, I just know he was a great driver in an era of great drivers. The one good thing that came out of his death is the technology that now protects the drivers. I watched a race where a car disintegrated around the driver, but he just walked away. So thank you for that, Ayrton Senna.

    August 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  20. Reality

    "........to God he attributed everything." To include driving into a wall at 100 + mph? What a caring god!!!

    If there is a god:

    The better view:

    As per the famous contemporary theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx, God is not omniscient. Please read, pause and contemplate the following by Schillebeeckx:

    Church: The Human Story of God,
    Crossroad, 1993, p.91 (softcover)

    "Christians (et al) must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history."

    "Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human activity there is possibility of free choices.

    Therefore the historical future is not known even to God, otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings.

    For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

    i.e. No one, not even God can prophesy since that would violate the Nature- or God-given gifts of Free Will and Future.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • A Theist

      I'm guessing the concept of Dramatic Irony has escaped Schillebeeckx–knowing something is going to happen to the observed character before the character knows it.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • A Theist

      By the looks of these *flooding* responses, I'm guessing most posters here don't want to debate philosophy either...
      Too bad, I enjoy a good debate as opposed to the typical mindless brow-beating that goes on in most articles.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Kevin Harrimon

      That's an odd thing to say for someone who has never attempted a philosophical debate here, and instead chose to brow-beat people.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • A Theist

      @Kevin please elaborate. "Never"? I would say you are mistaken even by analyzing only today's posts (see above).

      Secondly, how is criticising Schillebeeckx's theories about predestination considered brow-beating? Unless you were referring to my second post, which admittedly has more of the the brow-beating tone to it. To that I say, yes. I am brow-beating the brow-beaters and would like to engage in some philosophical debate. What are your thoughts on Reality's post?

      August 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      That's interesting. But what if I tell you that there is no such thing as free will anyways. It's just something that man came up with to make him feel like they're in control of their surroundings. Then, if there is a god, he could very well know the future without any problem.
      I'm an atheist by the way.

      August 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • A Theist

      *Correction: Not "see above." See article about Less-Educated Americans where there is a thorough attempt at making an intelligent debate happen–and to some degree it is happening.

      August 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • A Theist

      @I'm the Best! I definitely find your point interesting, and it actually seems to be the leading trend in most Psychological fields these days. Namely, that free will is an elaborate illusion produced by our complex neurological processes. It makes me think of that quote (I'm paraphrasing) that if we (mankind) were any dumber, we would have no idea that we were dumber and that there was more to know. In other words, the limit of our knowledge is confined to the limit of our knowledge.

      When applied to our study of "free will" and neuroscience, I find myself somewhat tautologically confounded. It's possible that free will is an illusion, but it's hard to say whether it *certainly* is, because the process of studying the self inherently involves introspection (on a manking level that is). It's hard to say that we are smarter than ourselves, and for this reason I find some difficulty accepting that free will is necessarily an illusion. Just my thoughts on the matter.

      August 25, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Introspection is always hard to do, and I think it becomes even harder when you already have a biased of what you expect to find. Everyone feels like they have free will because they feel as though they decided to do something, this inherently leads to a bias. But you have to keep in mind that Conciousness and free will are two different things. I'm concious of all the things going on around me but I'm only going to react on way to these things whether I know it or not. Our conciousness is what is telling our brain that we did something by choice. So we don't have to be smarter than ourselves, our brains just have to be smarter than our concoiusness.

      August 25, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • A Theist

      Ah I see what you're saying. But if we accept that free will is false, does that not make us unaccountable for all our actions as well? In essence we are all simply products of environment and neurological configuration and should not be blamed for actions we take, whether they hurt others or not. I bring this point up as a logical follow up, not to evoke emotional rhetoric. I'm just curious what your view is on things like imprisonment, especially when considering that ex-cons are statistically far more likely to commit crimes than first time offenders/people without a record.

      August 25, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      That's right, no more accountability for anything we do. But that doesn't mean people shouldn't be punished for doing something bad. If a mind isn't conditioned with the laws of society, then society will break down then we will have chaos. A structured society must exist with laws and punishments for those laws if we are going to all work together, which we need to do to survive as a species. We are all just products of our environment, you change the environment, then the person will change as well. The problem is we just don't know how to change the environment to make the person change for the better.

      Prison systems now sometimes change people for the worse, which is what leads to the ex-cons being statistically more likely to commit crimes.

      August 25, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.