Friday, May 08, 2009

In fairness to Calvinists

Driscoll's statement does not follow from Calvinism, particularly. It is probably a gloss on I Cor 15: 19, that the Church rests fundamentally on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and is a waste of time without it. That I accept. What I would do instead of be a Christian if I rejected the resurrection is another matter. Probably not eat, drink, be merry and shoot people. So I thought it was a misguided gloss.

However, if one's salvation is predestined and one is either saved or not on the basis of God's choosing to actualize a world in which I am saved or a world in which I am damned, then some would say that one not worry about holiness. In fact a family friend sent their kids to a Calvinist school which, it turned out, had quite a reputation as a party school. The idea was that people were either predestined to be lost or saved, and nothing could retroactively change that divine decision, so why not party hearty?

I think I figured out once that whether this is true or not depends on whether you accept the one-box or the two-box solution to Newcomb's paradox. Whether or not one is holy is going to be evidence of election, so if I were a Calvinist I would probably try to be good, if for no other reason than the fact that I would sleep better at night if I didn't think I was a son of perdition.

12 comments:

Ilíon said...

VR: "I think I figured out once that whether this is true or not depends on whether you accept the one-box or the two-box solution to Newcomb's paradox."

What you *mean* to say is: "I think I figured out once that whether [one believes that] this is true or not depends on whether you accept the one-box or the two-box solution to Newcomb's paradox."

What you ought to have said (and, I am sure, meant to say) is vastly different from what you did say.

Ilíon said...

How can we think clearly is we habitually use unclear language?

Victor Reppert said...

Actually, what I should say is whether the one-box or the two-box solution is correct determines what response to Calvinism is appropriate.

Ilíon said...

Ok. Why not fix the OP?

Victor Reppert said...

Then your responses to it would not make sense.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Vic,

"Calvinism" and "Calvinist" like all words, are so broad as to tell you little about each and every individual who may agree to the use of such terms to define their beliefs and/or behaviors.

See also my response to your recent post on "Judgmentalism," and the slippery nature of definitions:

What's "acting judgmentally" and what's "not acting judgmentally?"

Do you know?

Is your answer to that question absolute and authoritative?

How sure are you that your answer is absolute and authoritative?

Try asking such questions regarding each of the words you take for granted that you know the meaning of and examine them in light of all sorts of less than clear situations.

How subjective might philosophical terms be as well, when it comes to descriptions of human behavior and a philosophy of ethics?

Two additional questions:

"What is Good?"

"Why Be Good?"

Those who claim to have absolutist/authoritarian answers to such questions must prove their point in some way other than simply claiming that they have the authoritative/absolutist answer.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Oddly enough one of the nicest Calvinists I have had the pleasure to discourse with is a fellow named Trevor whose master's thesis (which can be read free online or purchased at amazon.com) was titled, "Seeing Hell" in which he explained the theological basis behind the long held view among some famous Calvinists and Catholics that Christians would indeed SEE the eternal punishment of others and praise God at the sight.

His theology makes me wince since I cannot imagine myself wishing a toothache on anyone for eternity, let along praising a God who deliberately inflicts such on a living conscious being for all of eternity that I may glory in it with Him.

But that's Trevor for you. And he happens to be a very nice guy. Maybe his brain is compartmentalized? Or maybe Christian theology is akin to the range of madness in humanity itself, ranging as it does from liberal lovers of the Beatitudes to "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out."

But Trevor is a nice guy here and now even WITH a belief that he will one day SEE VAST NUMBERS OF HIS FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS receiving eternal punishment inflicted by a wrathful Deity, and rejoice at the sight.

Ilíon said...

VR: "Then your responses to it would not make sense."

LOL. I can live with that. Or, delete them. Delete even the stub showing that a now-deleted post was even made.

Ilíon said...

E.T.Babibski: (apparently irrationally self-conflictedin mode) "But Trevor is a nice guy here and now even WITH a belief that he will one day SEE VAST NUMBERS OF HIS FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS receiving eternal punishment inflicted by a wrathful Deity, and rejoice at the sight."

But *should not* Trevor, who is admittedly, after all, a nice guy, REJOICE that VAST NUMBERS OF HIS FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS have received exactly the eternal existence (which may, perhaps, be a non-existence) they themselves have freely and willingly and willfully chosen and embraced?

Shall not nice guys rejoice that God is both so perfectly merciful *and* so perfectly just that *everyone* shall receive his own sunum bonum? -- those who long to dwell in God's presence shall receive that; those who hate God shall be eternally free of him?

Really! Make up you mind!

Steven Carr said...

VICTOR
The idea was that people were either predestined to be lost or saved, and nothing could retroactively change that divine decision, so why not party hearty?

CARR
This is what I said in a previous comment, showing the good sense of Victor.


Calvinism is the doctrine that the elect will not be held accountable for their deeds.

Even if they have looked at a woman lustfully, the elect will not burn in Hell.

No wonder people become Calvinists.

Ilíon said...

S.Carr: "Calvinism is the doctrine that the elect will not be held accountable for their deeds."

Christianity is the doctrine that "the redeemed," "the elect," "the saved" shall not be held accountable for their sinfulness (which includes their deeds).

The problem with the 'Calvinists' is that they generally decline to work at understanding the subject matter. Not that 'Arminians' ... or 'atheists' ... don't often give them a good run for the money.

The problem with the 'Calvinists' is that they are so concerned with upholding God's honor -- more concerned than he appears to be -- that they continuously and intentionally refuse to see what he has plainly said. That said, at least they're not "open theists," who seek to turn God into a Pocket Monster.

----------------
Mercy and justice are in opposition. But, the relationship is more complex than mere opposition; for mercy depends upon justice -- there is no mercy, nor can be any, if there is not first justice; but mercy destroys or cancels-out justice. This is the conundrum we humans have never been able to solve; a moment of reflection ought to show that it is impossible that we ever can solve it.

Christianity asserts that God does/has solved the conundrum; the (ultimate) reason being that he himself is both perfect justice and perfect mercy; the (proximate) reason being the transformation of the world acheived via Christ's unjust murder at the hands of his own creation.

Ilíon said...

Ilíon: "But, the relationship is more complex than mere opposition; for mercy depends upon justice -- there is no mercy, nor can be any, if there is not first justice; but mercy destroys or cancels-out justice."

Allow me to be more precise: mercy is itself inherently unjust; mercy *increases* injustice.