Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Calvinism

Religions and creeds vie with each other to come up with the stupidest garbage possible. Of them all though, one of the daftest has to be Calvinism.

One of my favourite science fiction authors, Randall Garret, once gave the following quotation (probably invented, since I cannot find any reference to it on google) at the start of one of his stories:


You can and you can't

You will and you won't

You'll be damned if you do

You'll be damned if you don't


Alonzo Todd, Definition of Calvinism




That was from memory of a story I last read over a decade ago, so I may have misquoted slightly.

Calvinism is a dour, sour, religion. No form of enjoyment is allowed. You are not allowed to have pleasure, especially on Sundays. The Calvinist God does not want you to enjoy yourself. As a Calvinist you live a life without joy or pleasure so you might go to Heaven. Except that, according to Calvinism, what you do makes absolutely no difference at all upon whether or not you go to Heaven? As the TV comedy Soap used to say in its intro: "Confused? You will be."

The Calvinist doctrine consists of five fundamental principles which are referred to by Calvinists by the acronym "TULIP":


Total Depravity
This is based upon, but far worse than the doctrine of "Original Sin." The doctrine of "Original Sin" states that we are all born with a negative spiritual bank balance because our remote ancestors Adam and Eve were sinful. The only way you can wipe out that sin is to "find Jeebus." This is like you being imprisoned because your dead grandfather didn't pay a parking fine unless you tell your local sherriff that he is a wonderful guy: purely evil. But Calvinism takes it one step further.

Calvinism says that although God/Jesus/Holy Ghost want you to find salvation through Jeebus, you are so inherently evil that you cannot. The Calvinist Pink said:


As a creature the natural man is responsible to love, obey and serve God; as a sinner he is responsible to repent and believe the Gospel. But at the outset we are confronted with the fact that the natural man is unable to love and serve God, and that as a sinner, of himself, cannot repent and believe.

Sovereignty of God, page 149




So whereas most creeds of Christianity give you a way of escaping "Original Sin," Calvinism says there is no escape. Not unless God decides that, as a sinner, you will be permitted to find salvation through Jesus.

Unconditional Election
At the start of time, God knew everything that would happen throughout time and elected (chose) certain people to go to Heaven and others to go to Hell. God saw it all in advance.

Consider that carefully. Whatever you do, even though you think you have free will (and perhaps you do) God already knows what you are going to do. God has already decided, based upon advanced knowledge of acts you have not yet performed, whether you go to Heaven or to Hell.

Limited Atonement
Christ died only for certain sins for certain people. This crap about "Christ died for your sins" is just that: crap. If you are one of the lucky few then Christ's death atoned for both your "Original Sin" and whatever other sins you may have committed. If you are one of the unlucky many then despite you having committed fewer, less serious, sins than the lucky few, Christ did not die for your sins. Get over it. Move on.

Irrestistable Grace
If you're chosen to be one of the saved, you can't fight it. If God chose you to be saved then you can go around raping and killing virgins and you'll still be saved. If God chose Hitler then Hitler is saved despite his depravities. If God chose Stalin then Stalin is saved despite his deprativities. If God chose Pol Pot, then Pol Pot is saved despite his depravities. If God chose George Wanker Bush, then George Wanker Bush is saved despite his depravities.

You may think that such evil people would not be chosen by God. But you have forgotten the "T" of "TULIP." You are a sinner and you cannot obtain salvation merely through embracing Jeebus. God has to decree that your embracing Jeebus will result in your salvation. No matter what you do, the decision is God's. And, since you start out as a sinner and your embracing Jeebus does not change you from being a sinner, God rewards some sinners and punishes other sinners. Only God knows which sinners get saved.

Perseverance of Saints
If you're one of the lucky few, chosen by God at the start of time to be saved, then you are a saint. And as such your sainthood perseveres, despite whatever you may do that afterwards that is evil. This is essentially the same as the "I" in "TULIP." After God, at the beginning of time, chose you (for whatever reason) then it's inescapable.


OK, so let's think this through carefully. You think you have free will (and perhaps you do) but God already knows what you chose to do throughout your life. And on the basis of those choices God decided whether you go to Hell or Heaven. Even if you have free will, God know what your free will caused you to decide to do.

OK, so you have two choices. You can live the sour, dour, unpleasant life of a Calvinist or you can enjoy yourself. God already knows which choice you made and whichever choice you made your fate is sealed. So you might decide to become a Calvinist and still end up in Hell: a mortal life of punishment followed by an afterlife of punishment. Or you could decide to do a "John Belushi"and end up in Hell not because you were a bad person but because God decided so at the start of time, but at least you got to enjoy yourself in this life. Or, if you are lucky then you live a sour, dour, unjoyful, unpleasurable life as a Calvinist and are lucky enough to end up as one of the "elect" that go to Heaven (not because you became a Calvinist or because you forewent pleasure, but because God had already long since decided that you would go to Heaven). Or, if you are really lucky you might decide to do the "Belushi" thang and live life to the full and God has already decided you go to Heaven so it's a mortal life of pleasure followed by an afterlife of pleasure.

Given that God already knows the choices you'll make, given that God has already decided what to do with you, do you use your free will to choose a fucking unhappy Calvinist life or do you go and party? I shall pour myself another glass of wine and surf for some porn while you think about that. God has (according to the Calvinists) long since made his choice what to do with me in the afterlife irrespective of what I do in this life. So I'm going to fucking enjoy myself in this life. If I take the Calvinist creed as being true then there is no other sensible choice I can make.

Ummm, is any other religion so self-contradictory and so self-defeating as Calvinism?

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