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In his May 3 letter, “Religious debate is not personal,” Scott Mintz describes the overall Christian narrative as one in which people “are commanded by God to accept Jesus as their savior.” He also queries Jennifer Kim (“Why are nonbelievers distressed?,” April 26 letter) about what she means by the “misuse of free will.”

The “misuse of free will,” I believe, refers to a person’s ability to make his or her own decisions and to choose how to act and behave, for which there are inevitable consequences.

Far from “commanding” or compelling people to believe in his Son, Jesus, God gave the people He created the ultimate power — to choose to love Him or to reject Him. Here, too, as with any other choice, there are consequences to whichever way a person goes, but they do not negate the fact that people are free to accept or reject Jesus, as it says numerous times in the New Testament.

God is a god of love, but He never compels people to love, for love is only real love when it is chosen freely, not forced.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

catherine wallace

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