Those who know me well know that I don’t believe in “free will,” or at least that I think it’s the biggest misnomer there is, philosophically and theologically speaking. Every person alive is a victim of their genetics and past experiences. In other words, every choice we make is predetermined by a combination of our nurture and nature (meaning our life experiences and genetics). Why do you favour your right hand when I favour my left? Something in our genes or some factor in our personal development decided that for us. Why do you choose lobster while I choose steak? Because, again, some part of our DNA gives us different taste preferences, and another part, along with other life experiences, causes us to order the food we prefer (or to order the food we don’t prefer if some other gene and/or past encounter is causing us to want to try something different at that particular moment).
This lack of belief in “free will” is one of the reasons I believe so strongly in grace. None of us chose to be born (so far as we know), and none of us asked for the genes that shaped us or the life events that made us who we are. Even the Bible agrees that “the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it in hope, that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (This is why I lean towards a Universalist form of Calvinism, by the way.)
In the end, whatever the causes of our choices and suffering may be, I take comfort in the fact that, as Our Lady Peace put it, We Are All Innocent (in a manner of speaking, anyway), and that this means God will help help us all out in the long run.