"What power do you have over me if I am not afraid of your lash? Am I your slave, if I am not afraid to lose my family? I obey you, faithfully, completely, because I choose to; am I your slave? And when you come to hate me for my freedom, which is greater than yours, and you command me to do what I will not do, then I stand before you in disobedience. Punish me, then; I choose to be punished. And if punishment is more than I am willing to accept, then I will use such force as is necessary to stop the punishment, and no more. But never, for a moment, have I done anything but what I choose to do."
-Orson Scott Card, Wyrms
Umegat inverted his clay cup upon the cloth. "Men's will is free. The gods may not invade it, any more than I may pour wine into this cup through the bottom."
"No, don't waste the wine!" Cazaril protested, as Umegat reached for the jug. "I've seen it demonstrated before."
Umegat grinned, and desisted. "But have you really understood how powerless the gods are, when the lowest slave may exclude them from his heart? And if from his heart, then from the world as well, for the gods may not reach in except through living souls. If the gods could seize passage from anyone they wished, then men would be mere puppets. Only if they borrow or are given will from a willing creature, do they have a little channel through which to act. They can seep in through the minds of animals, sometimes, with effort. Plants . . . require much foresight. Or"--Umegat turned his cup upright again, and lifted the jug--"sometimes, a man may open himself to them, and let them pour through him into the world." He filled his cup. "A saint is not a virtuous soul, but an empty one. He--or she--freely gives the gift of their will to their god. And in renouncing action, makes action possible."