More on the Outsider Test

Regarding John's Outsider Test, and Exbeliever's reponse to it, here's a clever little video showing the historical and geographical spread of the major world religions. Lucky Christians were born where they were huh? :)

114 comments:

Calvin said...

I really don't see anything here inconsistent with Christianity. From what I understand all people are guilty and under sin. From that mass of guilty humanity, God decides to give mercy to some of them. What do the rest get? They get justice. The saved get what they don't deserve the rest get what they do deserve. Nobody gets injustice. Some get non-Justice others get justice. Again, if we assume people are innocent then there would be a problem. God is never obligated to be merciful to sinners. If God were to save just one person there would be nothing unjust on God's part. The question we must ask ourselves is not- Why does God save some and not others? But- Why does God save anyone at all? It's not by luck that I'm a Christian but by God's sovereign predetermining grace. And that is something that I'm thankful for.

Joe Otten said...

Fantastic, non-Justice, not heard that one before. Not justice or injustice, but non-Justice.

God isn't being merciless to the sinners born in the wrong place, just non-merciful.

But seriously, Calvin, don't you think justice demands that people are treated with a reasonable standard of consistency? One rule for you and a different one for me is non-Justice if anything is.

Heather said...

The other thing about justice is that it takes circumstances into account. If someone is more likely to be abusive because they were abused, the behavior isn't excused, but it is recognized that the situation was already set up against the abuser -- s/he was just continuing the cycle.

Calvin said...

People sin whether they've been abused or not. Not everybody recieves the same punishment in hell. God is a righteous and fair Judge.
God isn't obligated to show His mercy on undeserving sinners. To say there is no moral law is bizzare. There are gray areas that we dissagree on but that doesn't show that there is no moral law.
You need to learn the difference between God's Grace and Justice.

DagoodS said...

Ah, yes. The ol’ “God is just” canard. I address it and explain why it doesn’t work, yet it rears its ugly head again and again as regular as a zit on prom morning.

Let’s go through it again, shall we?

“God is just.” The word “just” means in accordance with the law. We simply review the law, and determine whether the actions fall within the parameters of that law. “Justice” is unmoved by fairness. If the law says going over the speed limit by 5 mph warrants a fine of $100, then all we have to do is review the speed limit, review the speed, and either dispense the fine or not.

Whether the person is speeding because they are late for work, or rushing someone to a hospital, or being chased by terrorists is irrelevant; if the law does not grant any such exemption, “justice” demands the fine be paid.

When the phrase, “God is just” comes out, two questions should immediately come to mind: 1) What is the law that God is following and 2) Where does that law come from? However before we even get to those questions, another phrase comes out which makes it unnecessary to do so—“God is Merciful.”

“Mercy” is the exact opposite of “just”—it means to not act in accordance with the law. The judge recognizes that the law mandates a fine, but refuses to follow the law. By claiming that “God is merciful” we have now made the affirmative statement that God recognizes the law (whatever it is, and where ever it came from) but does not need to abide by it!

God can arbitrarily decide whether to be just or merciful. The existence of the law is completely meaningless. Therefore, the statement “God is just” has no constraint, except to say that, at that moment, God has chosen to follow “some” law. Tomorrow he may not.

Calvin, assuming there is some law out there (which we cannot verify, of course) it is possible that God would be “just” to save just one person. However, God could also act on mercy and save two people. There is no limitation whatsoever on what God could or could not do!

Under this system, God could choose to send all to Hell, choose to send all to Heaven, or choose to send those born between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on every second Tuesday to Heaven. Regardless of what the law about Heaven and Hell really is, God is merely being “just” or “non-just” as he implements whatever position he desires.

Equally, about 1000 years into Heaven, God could become bored with the inhabitants and (depending on the law) either “justly” or “mercifully” clear out heaven and fill it with the occupants of hell.

As you can see, Calvin, this concept creates a God that can do what it wants, when it wants, and how it wants. So we are not impressed with any justification or rationalization under the premise of “God is Just.”

I have seen this polemic many times. It is my impression that many Christians are uncomfortable with the notion of Hell. Either out of some inherent feeling of fairness, or kind-heartedness, or something that makes them a little uneasy with the idea that as humans we are going to hell by default, and will be tortured for billions and billions and billions of years for the incredible crime of coming into existence. (Something we had no control over.)

That doesn’t sit well with our conscience. Doesn’t seem like a very nice thing for God to do. So out pops, “God is Just.” Isn’t that a grand, majestic phrase? It has overtones of a God that solemnly presides over a legal proceeding in which God merely is enforcing the law created by some other being. As if God is kind and loving and Fatherly and all these wonderful things, but regrettably is bound to follow this law.

We are asked to picture a God, not that wants people to go to hell—oh, no! Rather a God, with tears streaming down his face, and with a weighty reluctance ripping His very heart out, raises the gavel with a heavy hand and with an immense reluctance, slowly brings it down to pronounce a judgment that is the last thing He ever wants to do.

Then the Christian pops out “God is Merciful” which means God is not bound to follow this law at all, thereby extracting any teeth the “God is Just” statement could possibly have.

This is not a God with a sobbing countenance, loathing to impose some punishment it must by virtue of some system of justice—this is a God that looks at humans and says, “Meh—this one I let pass; that one I do not. Justice, Mercy—who cares? I can follow the law or not at my whim.”

When I have this discussion, I am curious as to the answer to two questions:

1) If you say, “God is Just,” how can we verify what the law is that God is supposedly following?

2) If you also say, “God is Merciful,” does the answer to either of these questions even matter?

Calvin said...

Well, God acts according to His own nature. God doesn't torture people He punishes them. Yes God is free and He does what He pleases as Romans so clearly communicates. Sinners in hell stay sinners and continue to mock and spit in God's face. Since God is Just how can he just sweep sin under the rug and let some people pass by free? Well, He took out His wrath on Christ at the cross and satisfied His justice. Some were punished at the cross, others will be punished in hell. Christ paid the price. Pretty amazing isn't it. There is a sense in which God doesn't want anyone to parish. But there is also a sense in which God delights in His Holy Justice. Christians need to learn to praise God for His Justice and His grace.

Kim said...

Calvin,

According to you, God has predestined some to be saved and other to hell. If this is the case then there is no way to truly know if you are saved. Your God might decide it serves his justice to burn Calvin in hell forever. Maybe your God is playing a real cruel joke on you. But you probably do not think you are going to hell do you? But I bet you figure you are saved. Are you absolutely positively sure God has predestined you to be saved? How do you know?

Since there can only can be one truth, are you sure you have picked the right truth? There are thousands of versions of Christianity, all of which believe they are they truth and most other Christians will go to hell. Please explain to us why you are so smart that you picked the right truth. There are lots of other Christians that think you Calvin will go to hell because you chose the wrong truth, why are they wrong and you are right?

Calvin said...

Well, I don't believe that Christians go to hell. I know I'm saved because Christ is the all satisfing treasure and Lord of my life. Christians can disagree and still be Christians. But as we have seen Theology matters. If our Theology is bad then we will be left with all theese questions that will eventually drive us away from God. By the way there aren't literal flames in hell.

DagoodS said...

Calvin, do you understand how you are saying two completely different things? That it is completely contradictory?

Observe:

Calvin: Well, God acts according to His own nature…. Yes God is free and He does what He pleases as Romans so clearly communicates.

O.K. Got it. God can do as he pleases. He is only limited by his “nature,” which, in reality, is no limitation at all.

More: God doesn't torture people He punishes them.

…unless of course it is in his nature to torture people.

More: Sinners in hell stay sinners and continue to mock and spit in God's face.

…unless of course it is not in his nature to leave them in hell

More: Since God is Just how can he just sweep sin under the rug and let some people pass by free?

Is this a trick question? I’ll go out on a limb and say…unless of course his nature allows it.

More: Well, He took out His wrath on Christ at the cross and satisfied His justice.

…unless of course it is not in his nature.

More: Some were punished at the cross, others will be punished in hell. Christ paid the price.

…unless of course he changes his mind within his nature.

More: There is a sense in which God doesn't want anyone to parish.

I understand what you meant, and I NEVER point out spelling errors, but this one (inadvertently, I am sure) is pretty darn funny.

More: But there is also a sense in which God delights in His Holy Justice.

So he does NOT delight in being merciful?

Calvin, when you start off your comment with “God can do whatever He pleases” you remove any force from your following statements as to claims that God must or must not do anything. It doesn’t make any sense.

Kim said...

Calvin,

You say no Christian will go to hell, who are the true Christians then? Are Catholics, Mormons, JWs, Baptists, COG, 7 Day Adventist, Russian Orthodox, Coptic, CRC, Mennonites.......I could go on and on enumerating them. Are they all Christians and are going to heaven? Who has bad theology? Is your theology right? What if you believe in bad theology? This get's back to my earlier question of whose truth is right truth. Or is God's truth so malleable that any one who calls themselves a Christian can get into heaven.

The flames of hell are the imagery that most every hard core fundamentalist preacher loves to use and scare their followers into staying. Is that an example of bad theology? Will belief based on fear save you, or it does not matter because if you are not predestined, tough luck?

Heather said...

**People sin whether they've been abused or not**

According to your theology, we're all sinners due to Adam and Eve. Therefore, we're all sinners through someone else's actions -- we weren't in the Garden. We're sinners because of what someone else did, which is why I used the abuse analogy. And it sounds like your advocating predestination, in which case, we never stood a chance of being saved because God didn't want that. That's not justice -- that's God treating everyone like a toy, and God creating what He'd knew He'd hate. That's sadistic.

Rich said...

I tried this earlier but sometimes the internet doesn't like me:(

I was commenting on dagoods earlier comment about justice and mercy.

Lets just pick an example of a law we could break like bearing false witness, one of the ten biggies. A person then tells a lie and must recieve a punishment for breaking the law. Lets just suppose that said pnishment is ten minutes in the eternal penalty box of molten brimestone. To serve Justice this liar must serve his/her time. But then there's that mercy thing, How then can God be both? He can't dish out punishment in the name of Justice and be merciful, and he can't be merciful by ignoring the sin and serve justice. If he is to be both then there needs to be more. Thus enters Christ, his attoning sacrifice served justice for all sins. Now by our repenting of commited sins god can be merciful and forgive those sins and accept Christ's sacrifoce as the fulfilling of justice.

Now just for fun here is a link that I hope will take you to a page proving that heaven is actually hotter than hell. Won't that put a wrench in the scare tactics!


http://www.quasisemi.com/humor/ind.php?id=64

Calvin said...

You seem to have a problem with predestination and human responsibility.

I'm not aware of any preacher that loves to scare their followers into staying. There might be some out there though.


I don't see any contradiction in anything I said. God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy. God is a God of Mercy, Grace, Power, Truth and Justice. He is Holy.

Calvin said...

That is the God we see in nature

Calvin said...

God moves and operates in more dimensions than our own. He shows His love through His Mercy, Justice, and Power

Drunken Tune said...

Calvin,

I'm sorry, but there have been many intelligent people that have come to this site to argue - many of them professed Christians. Their arguments, while I dissagree with them, sometimes make me think. Their arguments take time and effort to form. They dedicate their lives, even though I think they are wrong, to making a good argument.

You are not one of them. Kim and DagoodS have spent a good deal of time using reason; you have no reason, no argument.

Instead, you make talking points, and to argue in face of reason does nothing to support your notions of reality. 'God is a God of Mercy, Grace, Power, Truth and Justice.'?

You 'don't see any contradiction in anything' you said? Black is white is night is day? You play with such words as if they are empty of any meaning.

DagoodS said...

Hello, rich! *wave*

rich: Thus enters Christ, his attoning sacrifice served justice for all sins. Now by our repenting of commited sins god can be merciful and forgive those sins and accept Christ's sacrifoce as the fulfilling of justice.

This is where it breaks down. What is the law God didn’t follow and therefore performed a merciful act?

You have introduced three elements that encompass our entire system of “law” if you will:

1) If you lie, you receive 10 minutes in the Penalty box of Molten Brimstone.
2) Christ’s death can substitute for the punishment instead.
3) If you repent, you can take advantage of No. 2.

Let’s choose item one as the law that God deliberately didn’t follow. Unfortunately, that makes items 2 and 3 superfluous. If God didn’t need to follow law 1, then laws 2 & 3 would never need to come into play. If laws 2 & 3 were necessary to avoid law 1, then these are simply laws that create exceptions to law no. 1.

How about no. 2? THAT is an interesting concept, indeed. We would have to say there is a law that says Christ was forbidden from being a substitute in punishment and God said, “Nope. Not gonna follow that law. I am going to be ‘merciful’ and ignore that rule and allow Jesus to be a substitute for punishment.”

Or number 3. Again, for God to be granting “mercy” here, that would mean there is a law that says if you repent you do NOT get to take advantage of Jesus’ death. Again, God would have to say, “Well, I know that rich fellow is repenting, and the law says even though he repents I can’t use Jesus as a substitute, and if I was being ‘just’ I would follow that law, but instead I will be ‘merciful’ and not follow the law. Guess he gets Jesus substitution anyway.”

(This makes either No. 2 superfluous, OR makes God arbitrary as to whether repentance provides substitution.)

See, what it seems to me is that your example here is merely 3 laws that God follows. Law one being the crime/punishment, law two being allowance of a substitution in place of the punishment required in law one, and law three being the method by which one can take advantage of law two because of committing law one.

Another example that may help clear this up is the concept of a pardon. We have a tendency to think that a pardon of a crime is an act of mercy. Because it seems to be a nice thing to do. However it is allowed under the law. While completely arbitrary, a governor is within the law to grant a pardon to whomever they choose. They are following a statute. Without that statute, the governor would not have the power to do so.

Believe it or not, a pardon is justice—because it is in accordance with the law.

You have provided a clarification of the tenets of the law, but it is still God following a prescribed set of rules. Rules which have exceptions defined by other rules, but still rules.

What rule did God NOT follow, in your example?

Kim said...

Calvin said,

You seem to have a problem with predestination and human responsibility.

I don’t have a problem with predestination and human responsibility. But you seem to have problems answering my questions. Answer my questions and I'll respond to your comments.



Calvin said,

I'm not aware of any preacher that loves to scare their followers into staying. There might be some out there though.

You have got to be kidding me! Right? I hope you are! What planet are you living on? Obviously not the same one everyone else is.

The threat of hell has been used to coerce believers since the very beginnings of Christianity. That good ole fire and brimstone message is everywhere. How many times have people been coerced back into the 'fold' by someone threatening them with hell. I have talked believers who admitted they believe because they are afraid of hell. To deny that the threat of hell is significant contributor to the success of Christianity is to be willfully delusional.

Rich said...

Hidyho Dagoods

I see what you are saying and I can tell that you are a lawyer:o

"Let’s choose item one as the law that God deliberately didn’t follow."

I would actually say that its not that he is choosing to not follow a part of the "law". The three are set up to work together. God, being just, must follow His law, meaning if someone breaks his law a punishment must follow, this is justice. Christ, in the garden of gethsemine(spelling?) and dying on the cross, was the "stand in" punishment. If one repents of their sins then God will grant forgivness of said sin and use Christ's sacrifice as a fulfillment of punishment for that sin and each repented sin. Unrepented sins never make it passed item one and the punishment becomes the responsability of the sinner. There doesn't have to be a law that forbids Christ from being a substitute because its already built into the system, item 3.

"Or number 3. Again, for God to be granting “mercy” here, that would mean there is a law that says if you repent you do NOT get to take advantage of Jesus’ death. Again, God would have to say, “Well, I know that rich fellow is repenting, and the law says even though he repents I can’t use Jesus as a substitute, and if I was being ‘just’ I would follow that law, but instead I will be ‘merciful’ and not follow the law. Guess he gets Jesus substitution anyway.”"

Not necessarily. The law states that IF you repent Christ can substitute his punishment for yours. This is how you are granted mercy, or get the God pardon, from your sin without doing the time. The time is done by the substitute and you don't do any time. The justice is fulfilled through the substitute and mercy is fulfilled through the pardon which is, as you pointed out also part of the law. The only arbitraryness is from the sinner in not truely repenting. If we have a repeat offense, then there must have not been a true repentance. I actually believe that God is bound to follow these elements if he is to remain BOTH just and merciful. By choosing, or not choosing to follow these three items makes God then neither just nor merciful.

"What rule did God NOT follow, in your example?"

I thought he followed all three items in my example unless I missed something.
(I guess I wasn't able to remember how to make a link)

Rich said...

Heaven hotter than hell?

Rich said...

Hey I think it worked, There might be hope for me afterall

DagoodS said...

Rich,

If all three are laws (and I personally think that is the most consistent. Not that my thinking reigns supreme..) then God is merely following the law. ALL of it is justice. There is no mercy. God set up a law (Don’t lie) and then set up a lawful exemption (Jesus Die and Sinner Subscribe.)

It would be the same as my saying “A fine for going over the speed limit unless you are going to the hospital and you bring in proof of hospital admission.” By bringing in my proof of hospital admission, under the terms of the law, the judge cannot fine me.

So where is he being merciful in your example? Where is the “non-justice” as Calvin said? Remember, mercy is deliberately not following the law. It is not kind-heartedness. It is not a “nice thing to do.” It is acting contrary to the law. You seem to say that the pardon (Law 3) is the “mercy” but if item three is contrary to the law that would mean that God is NOT bound grant substitution punishment upon repentance. Then you go on and state God IS bound by it.

rich: God, being just, must follow His law, meaning if someone breaks his law a punishment must follow, this is justice.

Why? Can you demonstrate this? (Frankly, tough to do when we can’t even observe the law, let alone determine why God must follow it.)

Imagine you came into my house. I told you that a “law” in my home was that if you put your feet on the coffee table; I get to smack you in the head. It is my law. I made it.

You put your feet on my coffee table. I have a number of choices:

1) Smack you on the head. (Justice)
2) Refuse to follow my law and refrain. (Mercy)
3) Since it is my law in the first place, change the law to grant you an exemption. (Justice)

Notice how in the last two situations, we have the same result from the same action, yet it could possibly be mercy and possibly be justice? As you can see, the problem with God following a law that God set up, but that God can choose to not follow leaves us with a God that can do whatever he wants.

What is forcing God to follow his own law, and if he is forced to, how can he ever be merciful? Isn’t, by definition, EVERYTHING he does “just.” Since everything is following that law?

Calvin said...

Kim,

I have a hundred people talking to me at once.

What is your question?

Calvin said...

Once again God acts according to His nature. One side of God's nature is His wrath and power. The other side is His mercy and grace

Calvin said...

The moral law is part of God's nature He doesn't make it up. He is infinite Justice and infinite love.

Rich said...

Dagoods,
I see better what you are saying now. Your saying that there is no mercy in that the pardoning of the sin is also following law. That's a good point. I am going to have to do a little more thinking on this and get back with you. I may have made a mistake in how I entered mercy into the equation.

It may be still there though as I think about it some. Even though the law sets up the opportunity for pardon it is an act of mercy to pardon. Defining mercy as compassion or relief given to the undeserving. The sinner being the undeserving. The only reason I say God is bound by this is because he is both merciful and just. So to remain such he has to be bound to follow his set up laws and consequences. I'm sure there are still holes here but I am working on it.
I may be running into a contradictory problem here but I am trying to avoid it

Calvin said...

The moral law is part of His nature. At the cross God showed His Justice and His Grace in one act and He secured the salvation of His elect.

Grace comes before repentence and faith.

Heather said...

Hi, Rich.

In terms of how you're defining justice -- it sounds like it's in the retributive sense. All crimes have a punishment. Am I correct?

**If we have a repeat offense, then there must have not been a true repentance.** So you're defining repentance as a sense og guilt? (This isn't an attack, I'm just trying to clarify terms). I'm going to disagree with you on this one. There can be true repentance, and yet someone 'offends' again, because it's almost like a sickness. If someone is addicted to drugs, they can be really sorry afterwards, and yet still take the drugs again because they're not in complete control.

Drunken Tune said...

Calvin,

(1) God also Eats at the local Bar on Tuesdays. He Bowls with his Buddies after a hard day of Work. God also picks his Feet and dances in fields of Lilac with Homeless People. He Eats and Denny's, but not at Red Lobster; He Shops at K-Mart and avoids Wal-Mart. He sees a Therapist on Fridays and Beats His Wife.

You know how I know this? It's in his friggin' nature! Believe me on this one! I assert it, therefore it must be true.

Care to show a lick of evidence that this 'god' follows your 'nature' you've set out for him, which seems to contradict itself, being both full of 'wrath' and 'grace,' 'mercy' and 'infinite Justice'?

(2) And if so, if God has 'wrath' and 'grace' and 'mercy' and 'justice'; if 'God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy,' I presume this 'God' has grace on whom he wants to have grace, justice on whom he wants to have justice, and wrath on whom he wants to have wrath.

Doesn't that mean that your god works on whim and his current mood, not justice or grace or mercy or wrath?

Calvin said...

When God shows his Justice on Christ He shows His Grace to His children

How in the world can you say that is contradictory?

Calvin said...

You people are amazing!

Calvin said...

wKim,

The true Christians are the Reformers (Just Kidding)

Calvin said...

Again, when God took out His Justice on Christ He was showing His Grace to His children. There is no contradiction there. Grace comes before repentence and faith. People are guilty and under sin. From that mass of people God decides to show grace to some of them. The rest get His Justice. The saved get what they don't deserve the rest get what they do deserve. God is Glorified through His Justice and His Grace.

Calvin said...

Drunken Tune,

I've spent my life thinking about theese things myself.

Now, show me the contradiction

Bruce said...

Calvin, you're a trip man. I don't think anyone is really taking you seriously anymore, but I understand that you like the abuse. I haven't really learned anything about religion from your comments, but I think I've learned something even more important that we can all share:

Never suddenly go off your medication without your doctor's supervision.

Rich said...

Hi Heather,

No worries about me thinking your attacking me. I'll assume you do like I do in trying to understand anothers position. You are right to say that there are offenses that are addictions, substance abuse is a tough cookie to crack and there are also mental addictions(maybe not a good term) such as pathalogical liar that has no control. In my mind I was thinking of offenses we have control over so that is my fault for the blanket statement. As far as repentance being a sense of guilt, more like you feel guilty about commiting a sin/crime and want to be pardoned so you ask to be forgiven, then make ammends needed, such as reveal the truth return stolen goods or pay for them, ect... then not repeating the offense. I think God understands the tremendous effort a drug addiction is to over come. Maybe its better to say you haven't completed the repentance process until your able to keep from commiting the same offense.

Calvin,
Its hard for us to grasp how God "picks" us for grace or justice. To use a dagoods term, what is his method? Does he take each one of us and flip a coin? Draw straws? Innie meanie miny moe? Is it glorious for God to send a tsunami and wipe out 200,000 people, sinners and saved alike? Its glorious for god to send you to eternal damnation? I don't find that to be on the side of glory. You throw out these statements without explaination and no one has reason to believe you or try to follow your logic, Trust me on I speak from experience here. We don't care as much what you believe as we do why you believe. Dagoods is a good guy, other than his choosen profession:), why would God choose him to be on the recieving end of justice instead of saving him? Maybe Hitler actually is saved because God "choose" to save him instead of dish out justice. Do you see where the dilema comes in here? By what I understand about your belief, there is no reason for me to ever worry about do anything good because God has either already saved me or made room in the brimstone hot tub for me.

DagoodS said...

Rich,

All joking aside, there is an element of my profession that causes me to use heightened scrutiny on this phrase that is so cavalierly tossed out, “God is Just.” It is a defense to rationalize a God sending people to hell for being human, yet is so clearly misunderstood.

I often have clients sitting in my office and here the traumatic news of why what they want to happen will not happen. “It is not fair!” they cry. “No, it is not,” I reply, “But that is the state of the law. As lawyers we are slaves to the law, not masters of it. If you want the situation changed, go to your legislatures and have them change the law. In the meantime, all I can do is follow the law as it is written in the books.”

Of course, within our systems of laws we recognize human’s ability to be wrong, and incorporate that into the system as well. Hence the idea of pardons, or additur (adding on to a jury award) or remittitur (reducing a jury award.)

I presume the Christian is not imposing such human fallibility on their God. That they are saying God won’t be in error in assessing the situation and applying the law.

So I am very cognizant of the concept of reviewing a law and sticking to it. Often I see “justice” and “fairness” intermingled. They are not the same. The Law may consider “fairness” at the time it is implemented, but once in place, “fairness” goes out the window.

I may allow my older daughter to stay up an extra hour, as compared to her younger siblings, but once in place, their bedtime is 8:30 p.m. and hers is 9:30 p.m. When creating the law, I considered what was “fair.” But once the law is in place, I don’t care what time American Idol ends—it is neither “fair” nor “not fair” but rather it is “justice” to insist on 8:30 p.m. as bedtime.

When people say “God is just” they are making an affirmative statement about God, as differentiating from another god—namely one that is not just. Think about all the things people say—“God is Love,” “God is good,” “God is truth.” The very POINT of these statements are to claim that God is NOT something—obviously in these situations, apathetic, evil and false.

And, we can picture in our minds what an apathetic, evil or lying God looks like. What does an unjust God look like? Fairly simple—it is a God that does not follow the law.

For a person to say “God is just” means there is some action, something God could do that would not follow some law, and God was not doing it. Part of calvin’s problem of resorting to “God acts according to His own nature…” means that it is impossible for God to be unjust. It is impossible for God to NOT act according to His own nature. This means the phrase “God is just” has no counterpart of “but God could do this which would have been unjust” and therefore the phrase “God is just” has—literally and pragmatically—no meaning.

Using “God is Just” as rationalization for sending people to hell becomes useless. May as well tell me that God eats at a local bar on Tuesday. (Thanks, Drunken Tune!)

Normally I would then commence digging as to what the law is, why God is compelled to follow it, and how we could verify whether he did or not. Sort of a Euthyphro Dilemma of Justice.

But I don’t have to. Amazingly, the Christian follows up with “God is Merciful.” (Romans 9 is a good reason why.) Mercy meaning to refrain from imposing a deserved punishment. To NOT follow the law. (Again, “mercy” should not be confused with grace.)

At this point the discussion is ended. Regardless of the existence of the law, God can choose to follow it or not. Imagine a judge that knows the law, but has the complete power to either impose a fine or not. It makes the law unenforceable.

Don’t (not you…more the calvin’s of the world) tell me that God is excused from the action by some requirement of being just, when in the very next breath you praise God for not following the law.

Rich, it is not so much contradictory as either 1) a defense with no remote possibility of verification (“God is Just”) OR 2) a defense with no remote possibility of meaningful substance (“God is Merciful”)

Rich: Defining mercy as compassion or relief given to the undeserving.

Well….you could define “mercy” as that…but it still leaves us with the same questions. Was God following a law by giving compassion? Then we are left with a God that is always just, which is both unverifiable, and indistinguishable from an unjust God.

Look, assume the Law is (being as broad as possible) “God may give compassion or relief to the undeserving.” Since it is arbitrarily up to God, if God gives compassion, he is following the law and is therefore “just” and if God does not give compassion, he is following the law and is therefore “just.”

What could God do, in this law, that we could say, “A-ha! If God did that, it would be injustice. God did not—so therefore God must be just!” Nothing! Saying “God is just” means—nothing!

If the law was “God MUST give compassion…” then God is just. Compassionate, yes, but not merciful. He is simply following the law. If the Law says “God must NOT give compassion..” you have a God with laws that he can break at any time.

Near as I can tell, no matter how you frame this law; it doesn’t help any.

If you want to REALLY bake your noodle, explain the system of “justice” God implemented in 2 Sam. 12:9-23 What law was God following to kill a baby as a substitionary punishment for its father’s sin?

Oh, and thanks for the nice words. These types of conversations, where we discuss and progress rather than throw empty assertions (*cough, cough…”calvin”*) are a joy. As Drunken Tune said, we may not agree at the end of the day, but at least we can appreciate both the discussion, AND each other’s position.

Calvin said...

Rich,

First show me the contradiction.

When God took out His Justice on Christ He was showing His Grace to His children.

Rich said...

Dagoods I don't know if I've mentioned here before but my wife was a paralegal for 13 years and taught law at a college locally for several years. So while I joke a bit about lawyers, i truely have nothing but respect for the job you undertake. I can see you point about the justice mercy thing and maybe compassion is a word that actually should take the place of mercy in most instances. I will bake my noodle some there. I do enjoy nice peacful exchanges:)

Drunken tune, would you mind lending your name to Calvin for awhile? It seems to fit him better.

Calvin,
I am not saying you have a contradiction dude, you have a dilema in showing how God decides who to save and who to damn. If there is no way for us to know then who cares what I do here. In the end it means absolutly nothing. God will decide to save or damn me. If I get damned though I think I'll have a few friends there with me.

Calvin said...

Drunken tune said I had a contradiction and so did dagoods.

God saved us according to His own purpose and Grace.

Some get what they deserve and others get what they don't deserve.

Grace is something we don't deserve.

In Him we have obtained an inheritence, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.

Calvin said...

God works all things according to the counsel of His will for His own good pleasure.

If Christ is the all satisfying treasure and Lord of your life then you know that you are saved.

Drunken Tune said...

Calvin,

So... God made the law (or just follows it), then violated the law that he followed (or made) because he wanted to. Why? Don't ask.

Since we don't deserve grace, it means that God should follow the law... but he follows his own purpose, which happens to be grace. Because he wanted to. Why? Don't ask.

Yet, God made sure everyone was predistined to not deserve grace. Because he wanted to. Why? Don't ask.

And he talks to himself endlessly in a 'counsel' about this, because either he gives grace or justice, but not both, because that would be arbitrary, neither following grace or justice, but doing whatever God wants whenever he wants. Ah, but God choses who 'deserves' what, either grace or justice, so God is arbitrary because it's in his nature! Why? Don't ask.

Do I have it?

Calvin said...

Justification is God's act of pardoning sinners and accepting them as righteous for Christ's sake. In it, God puts permanently right their previously estranged relationship with Himself. This justifying sentence is God's bestowal of a status of acceptance for Jesus sake.
God's Justifying Judgement may seem strange, for pronouncing sinners righteous may appear to be precisely the kind of unjust acton by a judge that God's law forbids. Yet it is a just judgement, because it's basis is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. As the last adam Christ obeyed the law that bound us and endured the punishment for lawlesness that we deserved, and so merited our justification. Our justification is on a just basis with Christ's righteousness recond to our account. At the cross God showed His judgement on Christ - showing His Grace for His elect - all in one act - securing their salvation.
God works out His will through responsible creatures.

Heather said...

Calvin,

Think about what you're arguing here. **From that mass of people God decides to show grace to some of them. The rest get His Justice.** That mass of people are those who had no choice in being created by this God who will send most to hell, and no choice in being born tainted with Original Sin. Due to Adam's transgression, no one is good enough to live up to God's law -- and you're saying it's just that God condemns all those people to hell? How is it just to set someone up to fail and then punish them for it? You're saying that God created most people in order to send them to hell. That's like expecting a five year old to solve an algebra problem and then punishing the child for it.

And you still haven't stated how God decides who to save and who not to save -- He can act according to His nature/will/pleasure. But that makes it sound like God acts on a whim, or a child with an ant farm.

You're also looking at everything through the lens of justice -- you're even defining mercy and grace in terms of justice. As DagoodS said earlier, mercy is setting aside the law. Your God didn't do that, He worked within the law the justify "the elect."

Calvin said...

It is Just for God to condemn undesering sinners to hell. God doesn't have to save people who don't want to be saved. God gives them what they want. With the elect God regenerates their heart and they freely follow. Adam represented man at the fall. The federal view states that we are judged guilty for Adam's sin because he was our fair and just representative. At no time in all of human history have we been more accurately represented than in the garden of eden. Our representative was chosen by God. Adam represented us infallibly, not because he was infallible, but because God is infallible. We are not innocent victims of God's Judgement.

God's choice to save was a divine expression of free Sovereign grace. It is not merited by anything in those who are chosen. God's grace cannot be demanded. If it's not free it's not Grace. If it pleases God to save some and not all then there is nothing wrong with that. God is not under obligation to save anybody. The Bible insists that it is God's divine perogative to have mercy upon whom He will have mercy.

Heather said...

**God doesn't have to save people who don't want to be saved. God gives them what they want.** That's not what you were arguing before. You were saying that God determines who saves people -- not what people want. If God's choosing to save them, then they aren't freely following. And you're perfectly fine with condemning a five year old who can't solve the algebra problem?

**The federal view states that we are judged guilty for Adam's sin because he was our fair and just representative** A representative that we didn't choose, but was chosen by a being that creates people only to send them to hell. We are set up to fail under your worldview.

**If it pleases God to save some and not all then there is nothing wrong with that. God is not under obligation to save anybody. ** AGain, you are seeing everything through the lens of justice. In your worldview, God's justice and wrath are eternal. If Jesus saves a person, then justice has been meet because Jesus paid the price. If the person is not saved, justice has been meet becaues the person's in hell. But your views of grace and love and mercy are finite -- because only a few receive those. If you're going that way, then it's not in God's nature to be merciful or loving -- it's God's choice. Whereas justice is simply something God is, not something He chooses.

And you realize your concept of justice doesn't match the concept of justice than many of the Old Testament prophets had, right?

Calvin said...

What shall we say then is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For He says to moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy. So then it does not depend on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist His will? But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to it's molder why have you made me like this?

Being enslaved to sin means that we do not desire God. We do not want God. God is Just in condemning those who do not want Him. The concept of Justice I am using is clearly taught in the Bible. Theese are God's concepts not mine. People in hell continue to spit in God's face and He continues to add Judgement. You seem to have a problem with predestination and human responsibility. There are two sides to God's nature - Mercy and Grace; Wrath and Judgement. God acts according to His own nature.

Heather said...

Calvin,

You don't seem to address anyone's point. You just re-state what you've already stated, only in new words. I point out that how you're defining God's nature means that His nature is not loving or gracious if He chooses that -- whereas justice is something that simply occurs because He can't stop being just. You say His nature has two sides, which doesn't explain away my point. How do you account for the fact that the way you explain stuff means that His love and grace are limited, whereas His justice is not? All you come back with is that all are in God's nature.

**You seem to have a problem with predestination and human responsibility** No, I have a problem with how you're defining it.

**Being enslaved to sin means that we do not desire God. We do not want God.** If something enslaves us, that means we aren't in control. How then can we be held accountable if we lack control? How can we be blamed for not desiring God if we're enslaved by something else? You don't condemn the slave: you condemn the master.

**The concept of Justice I am using is clearly taught in the Bible. ** There's a whole section you're missing, in terms of the prophets. As well as Jesus. They were also very concerned with social justice, and liberating the oppressed. They also had incredibly harsh words for those that didn't follow justice -- as in, those who deliberatly ignored the poor. The Synoptic gospels alone were hugely political.

Calvin said...

God shows His love through His justice and His grace. Not just through His grace. How is God unjust for condemning those who don't want Him and don't want to have anything to do with Him? We do have a choice. Sinful man always choses rebellion. We are talking about God's judgement against sin here.

Heather said...

Rich,

**Maybe its better to say you haven't completed the repentance process until your able to keep from commiting the same offense.** Got it. It's more like each step is a mini-repentence, and then there's the full-out, 100% repentence where one no longer does the act, and no longer wants to do the act. To me, the second part of that is key.

Calvin said...

You seem to think that God only shows His love through His Grace. He shows His love through His justice and His grace. I'm not limiting God's love here. Again how is God unjust for condemning those who don't want to have anything to do with Him? I am refering to God's Judgement.

Is that better?

Heather said...

Calvin,

This is becoming a circular argument. Earlier, you give the impression that God predestines who is chosen and who is not, and then say we all have a choice. You still don't seem to be addressing any of the main points that people bring up, so enough is enough.

Calvin said...

God even shows common grace to the reprobate. God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

God predestines His elect but at the same time we are responsible human beings

Calvin said...

Sinful man does not want to have anything to do with God. God is Just in condemning him. God shows grace to His elect by performing the miricle of regeneration and changes their heart. He changes them from God haters into God lovers. God passes over the reprobate and leaves them in their sins.

Regeneration - Repentence - Faith

God shows His love through His Justice and His Grace. Not only through His Grace.

Does that help?

Drunken Tune said...

Heather,

The parrot talks, but nobody's listening. Nothing (but a good, healthy smack of reason) is going to change his odd notions, and he's very good at evading punches.

Calvin said...

drunken tune,


I thought I answered your question?

Eve said...

Heather, you’re right; all Calvin knows how to engage in are circular arguments that prove nothing except that he really doesn’t think about the implications and possibilities both within and outside of his worldview.

However, I really like your likening the Abrahamic God’s setting up humanity to fall to a parent setting up his five-year-old to fail at algebra, so I’d like to extend that example somewhat if I can.

Calvin’s God (the father) not only creates algebra in the first place, but he creates an algebra so difficult that there’s no way any five-year-old (creation of God’s) can solve it.

Then not only does he create a five-year-old, but he creates a five-year-old with a math disability.

He then sits the five-year-old down to solve an algebra problem knowing full well that she can’t solve it, but tells her she must solve it, end of story, for that is his will and he is not to be questioned.

When the five-year-old fails to solve the problem as her father knew she would, he then announces that since she failed to obey him by solving the problem, he must now not only punish her but all her descendants forever and ever for that failure (which he knew ahead of time was going to happen), and kicks her out of the home.

Later he begins to play with her feelings, saying he forgives her and is giving her another chance, but still presenting her with algebra problems despite her math disability, knowing that she still is going to fail at many of them.

When she does fail, he retracts his forgiveness and not only punishes her forever and ever, but visits punishment upon her and her descendants right then and there as well.

Finally, perhaps because he’s already planned this, he decides to clone himself and pass as another five-year-old, who being himself and the creator of algebra easily solves all algebra problems.

However, he pretends to be punished for all unsolved algebra problems (even though he invented algebra and these problems himself and deliberately created all five-year-olds unable to solve them), and declares that because he’s such a good daddy, no five-year-olds will ever be punished again for not solving algebra problems even though he created algebra too complicated for them to solve and created all five-year-olds unable to solve problems in the first place – but only if they kneel down before him and say, “You’re right; you’re the best daddy ever; and I’m such a bad little child who didn’t deserve your punishing yourself (although you really didn’t) for my not being able to solve that algebra problem even though you yourself could solve all algebra problems and there was no way I could ever solve them myself anyway—“

OK, now I just made myself sick.

Calvin said...

Eve

Man is enslaved by sin because adam fell.

Being enslaved by sin means that we don't WANT God. In that sense we are unable to come to Him. We don't WANT to because we are enslaved. God has to take out the heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. Because we don't want to God is Just in punishing us.
You have a faulty analogy

Heather said...

Eve,

Bucket? I always keep a spare. :)

But thank you, because you get where I'm going with this. You've done a really nice job explaining it. The scenario presented just goes in circles. We're held accountable for someone else's mistake, and held accountable for a problem we can never solve on our own. And then we're punished because we can't measure up to this standard. Justice is supposed to be conformity to what is right, and fixing the wrong.

Not only that, but the viewpoint presented is that we really enjoy not being able to solve the math problem, and in fact spit in God's face. Now, speaking as someone who has taken calculu, that is not true. I only got frustrated with things I couldn't solve when I knew there was an answer. No teacher and no parent gives a child a problem before the child has the tools to solve that problem. Justice demands that the child be equal to the task, or the task is unjust.

**the first place – but only if they kneel down before him and say, “You’re right; you’re the best daddy ever; and I’m such a bad little child who didn’t deserve your punishing yourself (although you really didn’t) for my not being able to solve that algebra problem even though you yourself could solve all algebra problems and there was no way I could ever solve them myself anyway—“** This part chills me the most. Because that's how abuse victims behave.

Calvin said...

Eve,

Left to himself man will never choose God. The desires of His heart are corrupt. He is enslaved. He does not desire God. Man does not WANT to come to God. Therefore, God is Just in punishing him. He does not WANT to have anything to do with God.

Do you see the difference?

John W. Loftus said...

Calvin, I've been reading what you write here and in another thread. Please, before you write any more. completely read through this thread.

If you want to continue here, I will ask you if you have done so.

You have blinders on. See for yourself.

Calvin said...

Heather,

Explain to me how God is unjust for punishing someone who doesn't WANT to have anything to do with Him, continualy mocks Him, and says that He is sick and twisted.

You can't can you?

God isn't obligated to show grace to such a person. God is free. He has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy.

John,

I admit that I have made some mistakes in my argumentation. I don't debate people all the time. I'm quite new to this. But I'm right about this one.
This is a good experience for me. I'm starting to see the misconceptions that people have about the christian faith and how that leads them to reject God. By the way,
my eyes are quite open to God's beauty and glory.
Your eyes are the ones that are blind and shut to the truth.

Calvin said...

John,
I have a solution to the problem with Genesis that I think harmonizes with the scientific evidence. The science I study comes from an organization called Reasons To Believe. While I don't agree with Dr. Ross's interpretation of Genesis and a few other things the evidence against naturalism and evolution is quite strong. He provides current leading edge science that supports belief in God. If your intrested check out the web site. He's probably the smartest man I've ever come accross. The man is no joke. He came to believe in the Bible through the evidence. He wasn't raised in a christian home and didn't even have contact with Christians until he was arround (I think 17). Me, well I've had my doubts just like everybody else. But I search for the answers. I wont stop until my dying day. You think you can disprove Christianity have at it. I'm here to defend it. I've read all the Big Shot Christian philosophers like Plantinga, Sennette, Kelly James Clark, and Richard Swinburne. And I think they're wrong. I'm going back to R.C. Sproul, James White, and John Frame. I'm convinced that only Calvinism can make sense out of all this stuff. I may not be the best debater in the world but I'll argue from sun up to sundown. God is a living reality to me. I'm having fun with all this stuff. Bring it on. Convince me. Show me the evidence.

John W. Loftus said...

Calvin, you don't even share the same commond ground as we do here. That's why I must insist you read through that thread I linked to.

And as far as Calvinism goes, click here, and scroll down to my arguments against Calvinism. Pick one and comment, if you wish. Calvinism is morally bankrupt, in my opinion.

Shygetz said...

I'm convinced that only Calvinism can make sense out of all this stuff.

Oh gag. So you believe in Calvinism because it's God's will that you believe in Calvinism. I think Calvinism is a crock because it is God's will that I think Calvinism to be a crock. We are both doing God's predestined will, but I will be punished for it and you will be exhalted (or perhaps vice versa, as no one can fathom God's mysterious will), no matter what we think, say, or do. Since God has already decided if I will or will not be exhalted, then I can do whatever I want and it won't matter a whit. Whereas atheists can at least point to ethology as a rational basis for moral behavior, Calvinists can say "God made me evil" and excuse any action. The defense for the problem of evil in a universe where God determines EVERYTHING is to simply declare that whatever God does isn't evil. But in that case, since we only do what God wants (after all, he predistined us to do it), nothing we do can be evil either--unless God wills us to do evil. So, God wills us to do evil, knows that we cannot deny his will, then punishes us. Guess Michael Servetus didn't really deserve what he got, since he was only doing God's will, but John Calvin giving it to him anyway was also God's will. Pardon me while I go vomit (according to God's will, of course).

Heather said...

Calvin,

I have explained it. And others have understood. This will be the last time I try, because you keep commenting in such a way that indicates you don't read half our replies.

I'm not saying that God is sick and twisted. I'm saying that your perception of God is. And what people here are commenting on is the evangelical God that sends people to hell simply for a lack of belief. As I have said before, the way you describe God makes Him sound like a five year old child with an ant farm and a magnifying glass.

You have said man wants nothing to do with God because man's enslaved to sin. To be enslaved means you have no control or choice over your life -- so you can't decide if you want God. Three hundred years ago, African-Americans had no choices, and one of the arguments against their freedom was that they really didn't want it. Should we have punished them for not showing their desire for freedom more? Or not speaking up? No, we want after the people who were enslaving them.

Everything's already been decided for you. So, yes, it is unjust to punish someone who is a slave, because people are set up to fail. Which is what Eve's analogy did when she expanded upon it. No one stands a chance in trying not to sin, and then they are punished for their failure. What system of justice holds everyone accountable for someone else's mistake? If a parent brainwashes a child to become a killer at the age of three, do we blame the child? Adam's choice enslaved us all -- and stripped us of our control.

**God is free. He has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy.** This has also been commented on before. Is God free, or does He have to follow His nature? If God were free, He could just pardon us without anything else, but you claim He's stuck to His justice, so Jesus had to go to the cross. So God is not free, He is bound by His justice. You're arguing that justice is God's predominant trait, because the only way He can have mercy is through satisfying His justice. He can't have mercy on people otherwise. God can only show grace through satisfying His justice. God can only show love through satisfying His justice. Again, you see all of God's actions through wrath and justice.

And think of it this way: imagine how much you'd have to hate someone in order to hold their hand to an iron-hot stove for even a minute. God does that for an eternity?

John W. Loftus said...

Furthermore, Calvin, if God decrees what we each believe, then you need not be so passionate about arguing for your beliefs here. Why? Because God will save whomever he will. It's not up to what you say or do that will save us. If your God wants to save us he can drag us by the scruff of the neck while kicking and screaming against him, if he wants to do so.

Calvin said...

John,

Are you sure you understand what God's decree is? Also, God doesn't drag us into the kingdom.

Calvin said...

God isn't the agent of sin or the doer of sin. Willing that sin exists isn't the same as sinning. God doesn't commit sin in willing that there be sin. God has established a world in which sin will come to pass. God is the permitter of sin; and at the same time, a disposer of the state of events, in such a manner for wise, holy and most excellent ends and purposes, that sin if it be permitted, will follow. An analogy would would be the way the sun brings about light and warmth by it's essential nature, but brings about dark and cold by dropping below the horizon. Sin is not the fruit of any positive agency or influence of God, but arises from withholding of His action, and follows on the want of His influence. One example of this would be God decreeing the murder of His Son. God's intentions were good man's intentions were evil. God is glorified for His good intentions man is condemned fo his. When Joseph was sold into slavery: As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive.

God doesn't force someone against their will to believe. He transforms their heart by grace through the miricle of regeneration
and turns us from God haters into God lovers. God shows grace to His elect and He passes over the reprobate and leaves them in their sins. Christians don't know who the elect are. God works through people to bring about other peoples salvation.

SocietyVs said...

Is not Genesis a story - and not a literal one? Does it not point to the fact we are judged (individually) for each of our own action's? To me, that's what I read. I might be wrong and that's also cool - unlike Calvin I don't pretend to 'speak for God' (which Calvin you must watch what you say - I almost think you think you have God figured out - which would mean you are 'equal' to God). Scary thought.

I personally like the justice and mercy ideas thrown out there - I applaude everyone - I learned a lot from reading 67 comments (ouch my eyes hurt). Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Calvin said...

Societyvs,

I understand God as He has revealed Himself in scripture and and nature.

Genesis is a literal story and not a myth. If you would read the comment that I wrote above yours you would see that I believe we are judged according to our actions.

Calvin said...

From what I have said above the Bible demands that we understand God's will in two different ways. God's will of decree and God's will of command. God doesn't delight in evil as evil.

Why does God ordain that there be evil?

Johnathan Edwards:

It is a proper and excellent thing for infinite glory to shine forth; and for the same reason, it is proper that the shining forth of God's glory should be complete; that is, that all parts of His glory should shine forth, that every beauty should be proportionably effulgent, that the beholder may have a proper notion of God. It is not proper that one glory should be exceedingly manifested, and another not at all.
Thus it is necessary, that God's awful majesty, His authority and dreadful greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had not been decreed; so that the shining forth of God's glory would be very imperfect, both because theese parts of Divine Glory would not shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of His goodness, love, and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all. If it were not right that God should decree and permit and punish sin, there could be no manifistation of God's holiness in hatred of sin, or in showing any preference, in His providence, of godliness before it. There would be no manifistation of God's grace or true goodness, if there was no sin to be pardoned, no misery to be saved from. How much happiness soever He bestowed, His goodness would not be so much prized and admired. So evil is necessary, in order to the highest happiness of the creature, and the completeness of that communication of God, for which He made the world; because the creature's happiness consists in the knowledge of God, and the sense of His love. And if the knowledge of Him be imperfect, the happiness of the creature must be proportionably imperfect.

If you would see God's glory and savor His glory and magnify His glory in this world, do not remain wavering before the Soverignty of God in the face of great evil. Take His Book in your hand, plead for His Spirit of illumination and humility and trust, and settle this matter so that you might be unshakable in the day of your own calamity.
May you be like Job, who, when he lost all his children, fell down and worshiped and said
The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.

Eve said...

Heather, thank you for giving me the springboard! And no, I didn't expect Calvin to get it, which is why he surprised me when he admitted that his god both created and permitted sin and made human beings predisposed to sin.

Of course, he finds this concept "good;" as always, since back when I was still a xian, I find Calvinism disgusting. When I think of the atrocities done in its name, and the sheer unpleasantness of its ideology in action, I practically shudder at the fact that people willingly embrace this particular belief system.

It seems to me that most proponents of Calvinism are individuals who insist on believing that they are members of the elect, and that everyone else, no matter how hard they try or how good their intentions, is going straight to hell to burn forever and ever. This mindset represents elitism at its worst, the setting up of yourself over your fellow human beings as part of a ultra-exclusive, superior cadre, thus giving yourself the right to not only judge but act toward others as you see fit knowing that no matter what you do, you have a throne set aside for yourself in some wonderful sky-palace. Why? For no other reason than that some megalomaniacal super-powered sky father chose you over everyone else.

It's sad, really, now that I think about it; is Calvinism attractive to those tending toward Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or those suffering from intense insecurity? Perhaps it fills a dysfunctional need in either case...

Happy Weekend, all!

Calvin said...

Eve,

Of course you find the God of the Bible disgusting.

It's only by God's grace that our eyes are opened to see His glory and beauty.

Again, man is responsible for his evil deeds. All the credit for my salvation goes to God's glorious grace. There is nothing Narcissistic about me. It's nothing that I have done but it's what God has done.

Tommy said...

God has not revealed itself in the Bible. The god of the Bible is a human construct Calvin.

Calvin said...

tommy

That is the kind of comment I would expect from someone who lacks the gift of faith

Tommy said...

And your basis for believing that the Bible represents the word of God is....?

I mean think about it, to buy into your way of thinking, one has to believe that an omnipotent and omniscient supreme being is going to create an essentially infinite universe filled with countless galaxies, stars, planets and other celestial bodies, and then on one planet in this vast universe, this supreme being is going to become the personal buddy of a guy named Abraham and be the special tribal deity of his descendants. Would a universal deity behave as a tribal deity? I mean think about it Calvin. We have the creator of the universe choosing people not based on their individual worth but on blood descent. Gee, that sounds suspiciously like a human invention to me.

This supreme being, in his role as omniscient real estate broker, is going to give to his "chosen" people a stretch of land lacking in defensible borders, virtually guaranteeing they will be vulnerable to foreign invasion countless times. The land, which this God supposedly promises will be theirs in perpetuity, is conquered on numerous occasions and the amount of time the Jews controlled their holy land amounts to a fraction of recorded history.

After centuries go by in which nobody seems to notice that the Jews are God's "chosen people" (Herodotus makes no mention of them at all in his 'Histories') God then decides to impregnate a virgin and after this superchild is born, he preaches for a few years and then is allegedly crucified and rises from the dead. His message, so vital to salvation in the afterlife, takes some 1,500 years to cross the globe.

Here we have the most powerful being in the universe who wants us to accept his "son" as our savior and lord, and yet he chooses a mode of transmission can be measured in centuries. It's the equivalent today of sending an important document from New York to Los Angeles by horse and buggy when you can easily e-mail the document to the recipient as a pdf attachment in a matter of seconds. Gee, what might be the divine equivalent to that? How about the Holy Spirit or Jesus appears to every person on the Earth simultaneously in visions and dreams to convey the message of salvation? I mean, surely, the Spaniards who inadvertently spread smallpox that resulted in the deaths of millions of Native Americans were not the best mode for transmitting the message of salvation to the Americas!

Maybe now you can understand why someone like me "lacks the gift of faith."

Calvin said...

You lack the gift of faith because God hasn't chosen to give it to you. You don't want to have anything to do with Jesus Christ. My basis for believing that the Bible represents the word of God is the evidence and the testimony of the Holy Spirit.

SocietyVs said...

Calvin, we still love you - just some of the ideas are a bit facetious - still - I personally respect you for coming in here and trying to defend your point - it's somewhat respectable? I guess a lot of us feel like we are 'talking to the hand' when we try to debate with you - sorry.

Calvin said...

Well, when you sin against a being that is infinite in value and worth that demands infinite punishment. People in hell continue to sin against God and add continue to add time to their sentence.

Calvin said...

Jesus was the God man. Jesus is of infinite value and worth. Justification is God's act of pardoning sinners and accepting them as righteous for Christ's sake. God's justifying judgment may seem strange, for pronouncing sinners righteous appears to be precisely the unjust action that God's own law forbids. Yet it is a just judgement, for it's basis is the righteousness of Christ. As the last Adam our representative head acting on our behalf, Christ obeyed the law and endured the punishment for lawlessnes that we deserved, and so merited our justification. Our jusyification is on a just basis, with Christ's righteousness recond to our account.
We are responsible for our actions. When God removes His influence we act according to our evil desires. At the cross God removed His influence and responsible man murdered His son. God's intentions were good man's intentions were evil. God is glorified for His good intentions man is condemned for his evil intentions. Calvinism does not take away man's responsibility for his sin.

Tommy said...

That makes absolutely no sense Calvin. And you totally dodged addressing the reasons I wrote above why someone would not believe in the claims of Christianity.

Calvin said...

The evidence shows that the universe is finite and not infinite. Everything is fine tuned for human life to be possible. So the evidence shows that God is personal. It's not about God could have done this or done that. The question is what did God do. Everything that I said makes complete sense sense.

Calvin said...

It's not a question of what God COULD have done. The question is what HAS God done. What DID God do.

Again you don't WANT to have anything to do with Christ. God isn't required to save those that don't WANT to have anything to do with Him.

Tommy said...

It makes perfect sense to you in the same way that it makes perfect sense to conspiracy theorists that the Twin Towers were brought down by controlled demolition and the Pentagon was hit by a cruise missile.

Calvin said...

The people who brought down the twin towers will be Judged accordingly.

We know that for those who love God all things work together for good

Calvin said...

Trusting in Christ and His promises is what satisfies the heart of the believer. Trusting in God's sovereign plan and purpose. There is nothing more comforting to the believer then God's Sovereignty. There is nothing more terrifying to the unbeliever.

All God's gifts are loving only to the degree that they lead us to God himself. That is what God's love is: his commitment to do everything necessary (most painfully the death of his only son) to enthrall us with what is most deeply and durably satisfying-namely, himself.

Tommy said...

To this atheist, there is nothing more comforting than holding his beautiful wife in his arms.

Rich said...

Has anyone seen Hobbs?

Shygetz said...

Calvin represents the ultimate in authoritarian personality. He doesn't even recognize the idea that God could be evil. Since God is in charge in his worldview, whatever God does must, by definition, be good. Which, actually, is the definition of moral relativism--in Calvin's worldview, the need to adhere to a moral code is entirely dependent upon your relative amount of power. And since God is powerful, he can do whatever he wants and it is "good". Since we are not powerful, we are "evil" regardless of what we do and deserve whatever we get. Calvin worships power, not goodness, and as such inherits a long heritage of toadies stretching back into the animal kingdom.

Calvin said...

Once again shygetz comes rolling in sounding like a madman. He doesn't listen to anything that is being said. Things are taken out of context, misrepresented, and misunderstood.

Shygetz said...

Once again, Calvin makes assertions without evidence to back them up. What am I taking out of context? What am I misrepresenting, and how am I misrepresenting it? Or do I just make you uncomfortable by pointing out inconvenient and unflattering facts?

You say what God does is good solely because he is God, correct? If I were to act exactly as God does following his moral code (say, by causing the slaughter of thousands of innocent children), it would be evil, correct? And why? Because God is omnipotent--all powerful. You worship God and believe he is good not because he is an example (even if unreachable) you think you should follow in order to be good, but because he is powerful. That makes you a toady (or if you prefer another term: bootlick, apple-polisher, sycophant).

Am I wrong? Then tell me why you worship a being that does things that you think would be evil if anyone else did them. What exempts God from the absolute moral law you think exists if not his power?

Eve said...

Shygetz: What am I misrepresenting, and how am I misrepresenting it? Or do I just make you uncomfortable by pointing out inconvenient and unflattering facts?

I would guess the latter, Shy.

In addition, I predict that Calvin is probably going to answer your question by saying that of course you're misrepresenting god because you haven't received his "grace" allowing you to understand him.

Which still depicts a god unworthy of our worship.

Heather said...

**What am I taking out of context? What am I misrepresenting, and how am I misrepresenting it?**

You seem to have summed up Calvin's position. Because I'm reading his comments the same as you.

**Then tell me why you worship a being that does things that you think would be evil if anyone else did them** And therein lies the crux of the matter. According to the evangelical, our sense of morality can only come from God. But it's that same sense of morality that tells me many of the actions in the Old Testament, either done by God or ordered by God, are heinous.

**because you haven't received his "grace" allowing you to understand him.** No doubt. But that again takes one back to the question of why we're blamed for "hating" God if God hasn't allowed us to understand Him.

Calvin said...

God says that vengeance is mine and I will repay. I place my trust in God. God will vindicate His Children. You people only read what you want to read and hear what you want to hear. Man is responsible for his evil actions against God and man. At the cross God allowed the murder of His Son. Man's intentions were evil God's intentions were good. Man is condemned for his evil intentions, God is glorified for His good intentions. You blaspheme A Holy God by calling Him evil and heinous and call His children names. You don't understand God because you don't want to understand Him. Therefore you are responsible for your intentional blasphemy. I have tried to explain over and over again but you still don't get it. You're not listening to everything I say. You hear only what you want to hear. And see only what you want to see.

Shygetz said...

Again, you dodge the questions before you, Calvin. Why do you worship a God that breaks His own moral code constantly, if not for his power? You say that God is Holy, but what makes him holy if not his power? It certainly isn't the fact that he follows his moral law better than any other. According to you, the only moral law that exists for us is God's universal moral law, and by that law, God is evil.

You blaspheme A Holy God by calling Him evil and heinous and call His children names.

No, I blaspheme by saying the Christian God doesn't exist. I've said this many times to you, so don't pretend you haven't heard it. I piss you off by saying your version of God is evil (or, if not evil because his intentions are good, then incompetent). You are not God, no matter how well you think you understand his will. I do not blaspheme by insulting your twisted idea of God.

Man is responsible for his evil actions against God and man.

And God is not responsible (morally, at least) for his evil actions against man because he is powerful. I like the word "sycophant". It's fitting without being crass.

You don't understand God because you don't want to understand Him.

Really? I thought I didn't understand him because I haven't received his "grace". And I thought that God alone determines who will and will not receive his "grace", and that no action or desire of man can change this predestination one whit. Here, I'll quote you speaking to Tommy:

You lack the gift of faith because God hasn't chosen to give it to you.

So which is it, do I not understand God because I choose not to, leaving God powerless (whether by nature or by choice) to make me understand? Or do I not understand God because God has chosen not to give me his "grace", leaving me powerless to understand? You can see that these are mutually exclusive ideas here--either my action has no influence on my ability to understand (Calvinism), or my action has some influence on my ability to understand...you can't have it both ways.

Are you sure you're a Calvinist?

If so, you either really haven't thought about it much, or you subscribe to the increasignly popular philosophy of Lying for Jesus (LfJ).

Calvin said...

If you want to know what a Calvinist is and what they believe read R.C. Sproul, John Piper, James White. You've got me confused with a hyper-Calvinist. Again, sinful man doesn't want to have anything to do with God. Therefore, God is Just in punishing him for his sin. Sinful man gets what he deserves. God's children get grace. They get what they don't deserve. God changes their heart and transforms them from God haters into God lovers. If you go to hell you have no one to blame but yourself. If you Go to heaven you have no one to thank but God. I've already discussed your other points.

Eve said...

At 9:15 PM, March 01, 2007, Drunken Tune said...The parrot talks, but nobody's listening. Nothing (but a good, healthy smack of reason) is going to change his odd notions, and he's very good at evading punches.

Many comments later, and still right on the mark...

Good-bye, Calvin; I sincerely hope that eventually you will burst out of this morally bankrupt cage in which you've voluntarily locked yourself. Until you do, at the very least may those around you escape it.

Calvin said...

In Isaiah 10: 5-7, 12 we have God's Holy intention of Judgeing His people through the means of Assyria - God permits their evil actions and holds them accountable for their sinful attitudes. God judges them on the basis of their intentions, and since they come against Israel with a haughty atitude they too are Judged. This is compatibalism with clarity. God allows the sinful actions of the Assyrians for the good purpose of Judging His people, and yet He Judges the Assyrians for their sinful intentions. God's action in His sovereignty is perfectly compatible with the responsible actions of sinful men. In Genesis 50:20 where Joseph, in the presense of his brothers refers back to their betrayal of him: As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. The sinful action of betrayal and sale of Joseph into slavery is in view. Joseph's brothers meant their actions for evil but God meant it for good. Due to the intention of the hearts of Joseph's brothers, the action in the human realm was evil. God's intention was good, for by it God brought about His purpose and plan. One action two intentions compatible in all things. Joseph's brothers were accountable for their intentions, God is to be glorified for His.
I don't think God is morally bankrupt at all. Trusting in God and His promises produces humility in the believer. I try to follow the example that Christ laid down.
Since you blapheme God it sounds like your the one who is morally bankrupt. God blesses you every day with His common grace. May He bless you with His saving grace as well.

Shygetz said...

If your God is so good and moral, then explain why he commanded his people to kill the Canaanites. Not just the men. Not just the men and women. Men, women, children, newborn infants, unborn children, animals, everyone, all at the command of your God.

That is genocide. And genocide is evil. Just because you have the power to destroy an entire people down to the smallest and most innocent child does not make it moral to do so. If this is the god that exists, then yes, I do blaspheme him, and I will even fight him to the best of my ability. And I find the fact that you revere him in his genocide to be disgusting, and to speak volumes as to your character.

If you think that you are not a sycophant, then tell me: Is there anything that god could do that would make you no longer worship him as a good and holy being?

Calvin said...

Intense morally putrid evil had spread and contaminated the whole population. God brought the children into heaven to be with Him.

Calvin said...

If survival of the fittest were the dominent force shaping humanity, we might see some chaos and randomness, but not the kind of evil and suffering that fills our headlines daily. We humans are different from all other species. We have the powereful capacity for expressing evil. Unlike other species, we can inflict suffering on others for a variety of motives from revenge to perverse pleasure. Unlike other species, we kill other animals for sport, and we tend to kill the best, rather than the sick and the weak. As for killing our own species societies like Nazi Germany show that we are willing to slaughter and torture others. How much of the injury and death and even disease-promoting behyavior perpetrated by humans does anything to enhance the survival or well being of the perpetrator? A reality check informs us that we cannot chaulk up the evil and suffering in our world simply to natural process and survival instincts. Rather than proving the non-existence of a spiritual realm and Creator-God, evil and suffering-even by our recognition of their repugnance-provide evidence of a good God opposed by some supernatural enemy, a God for good reasons, some revealed in scripture, is currently restraining the exercise of His Almighty wrath against evil.

Calvin said...

Also to say we are born innocent is a false assumption.

Psalms 58:3

The wicked are estranged from the womb;
They go astay from birth, speaking lies.


Psalms 51:5

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Eve said...

Wow. Just when I thought Calvin's belief system couldn't possibly get more abhorrent...

Calvin said...

Eve,

We must recognize that there are times when only radical surgery will save the life of a cancer stricken body. The whole population had become hopelessly infected with the cancer of moral depravity. The baneful infection had to be removed before Israel could safely settle down. These incorrigible degenerates were a sinister threat to the spiritual survival of Abraham's race. We must refrain from condemnation of those who lived in the very different situation before the cross and acted in obedience and faith toward God.

Eve said...

Calvin: Eve,/We must recognize that there are times when only radical surgery will save the life of a cancer stricken body.

True - except that these were two totally separate bodies. It wasn't a part of the ancient Hebrew community that was being exterminated - it was another entirely different community. A better analogy would be a man considering that a cousin who disagrees with him is thus a "cancer" that needs to be destroyed and following through on it by killing him.

Calvin: The whole population

Yes, down to the most recent newborn still suckling at its mother's breast.

Calvin: had become hopelessly infected with the cancer of moral depravity.

According to the ancient Hebrews' definition of such, not their own.

Calvin: The baneful infection had to be removed before Israel could safely settle down.

Yes - even though those "banefully infected" were there first. Now the situation is starting to sound like Pilgrims vs. Indians...

Calvin: These incorrigible degenerates

Notice how your language increases in virulence and violence the closer you get to the ultimate genocide committed; you have no choice but to become more brutally insensitive in order to maintain your stance. The enemy is no longer merely diseased, but actively engaged in evil so extreme you're approaching the point of being able to justify and rationalize anything, no matter how horrible, to destroy this enemy.

Calvin: were a sinister threat to the spiritual survival of Abraham's race.

And yet even you recognize that this isn't a simple matter of chimps driving off another troop because they want their territory to survive; this horrific struggle, this monstrous enemy - which includes the most recent newborn suckling at its mother's breast! - is not even a clear and present military or physical danger.

Calvin: We must refrain from condemnation of those who lived in the very different situation before the cross and acted in obedience and faith toward God.

"What 'we,' white man?"

I do condemn genocide, here and everywhere else. The language used to explain it, both in the bible and by you, is the same language used by the Europeans to justify attacking, enslaving, and in many cases actively seeking to exterminate the people who were here first but were different from them.

The same language used by the Catholic Church to rationalize persecuting, torturing, and killing people who believed other than they did.

The same language used to excuse the enslavement of people of color.

The same language used by Martin Luther to excuse marginalizing, persecuting, torturing, and killing so-called "witches."

The same language used by Hitler and the Nazis to justify the genocide they perpetrated on the Jews and luckless others.

The same language used by Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Trujillo, et al.

The same language used by your fellow xians over at "God Hates Fags."

To anyone even marginally acquainted with the history of humanity and the psychology and language of dehumanization, persecution, and genocide, this side of the ancient Hebrews, their blood-thirsty god, and their obvious apologia represents yet another example of this all-too-common human flaw. Nothing "divine" about it - except as would befit a cruel, capricious, megalomaniacal deity.

The part about it all being OK just because it happened "before the cross" is sheer xian apologetic desperation - and you know it...

Calvin said...

No Eve this was at a particular time in history when a Holy God gave a particular command to His people to carry out His Holy and righteouss judgment against wickedness. God formed the land in Genesis One and He can give it to whoever He pleases.

I love you Eve

Calvin said...

No Eve this was at a particular time in history when a Holy God gave a particular command to His people to carry out His Holy and righteouss judgment against wickedness. God formed the land in Genesis One and He can give it to whoever He pleases.

I love you Eve

Eve said...

Calvin: No Eve this was at a particular time in history when a Holy God gave a particular command to His people to carry out His Holy and righteouss judgment against wickedness.

Oh, come on, pull your head out of the sand; you mean to tell me you see nothing at all suspicious about the fact that ancient Hebrews are writing a story about how ancient Hebrews killed an entire tribe of non-Hebrew people because the Hebrew god supposedly told them to?!

This is exactly the same rhetoric used by muslim terrorists to justify killing non-muslims and the Wrong Muslims (TM): because the muslim god ordered them to do so!

Calvin: God formed the land in Genesis One and He can give it to whoever He pleases.

So you believe. I don't; in fact, I see this as more proof that the ancient Hebrews were trying to convince everyone that their god was the True God (TM), and that therefore every action they carried out in this alleged god's name was OK.

Unfortunately, this sounds an awful lot like the common parental threat to a disobedient child: "I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it!" And yet how many normal, sane, healthy human parents actually follow through on this threat? Or worse yet, another parent's child?

Calvin: I love you Eve

I doubt that very much. I used to be a xian, remember? This is what most xians use when they don't know what to say; they see they're losing an argument; they want to somehow gain control of a conversation; they want to make themselves look good/superior/holy/noble/martyred/persecuted (and conversely, their opponent bad/inferior/evil/oppressive); or they're hoping the other person won't know how to respond and will simply walk away so that they can claim victory. Heck, I've done and said it myself enough times to know.

It's also what the Catholic Inquisitors used to tell their victims over and over again as they subjected them to what we would consider unspeakable torture: "I love you...I'm doing this for your own good..."

Calvin said...

Eve I wasn't trying to gain control of the conversation and I don't think that I'm losing an argument and I'm not trying to torture you like the Catholics were doing. Eve we are talking about a Holy God. We are talking about a Being who is infinite in value and worth. When you sin against a Being that is infinite in value there are infinite consequences. God could destroy this whole planet right now if He wanted to. It's only by His common grace that you are still breathing right now. Especially after calling Him a megolomaniac. Eve, I think that you are a really smart person. I read one of your articles on that female godess thing. You have just been decieved about the God of the Bible. You're taking things out of their proper context, culture, and time. By the way - I've never told a person that I love them hoping that they wouldn't know how to respond and cause them to walk away. That sounds a little demented.

Eve said...

Calvin: Eve we are talking about a Holy God. We are talking about a Being who is infinite in value and worth.

Again, only for you; I do not and cannot share this belief because you cannot prove to my satisfaction that this being exists outside your concept of it.

Calvin: When you sin against a Being that is infinite in value there are infinite consequences.

But this makes no sense whatsoever; a infinitely fair, just god cannot in all fairness and justice apply infinite consequences to flawed, imperfect, finite beings for doing something by definition finite without being malevolent, cruel, and capricious. In fact, I could argue that finite beings are incapable of doing anything to an infinite being period, let alone anything deserving infinite consequences. We would have to be able to do something infinite - which no one can prove we can - for this concept to make sense to me.

Calvin: God could destroy this whole planet right now if He wanted to. It's only by His common grace that you are still breathing right now. Especially after calling Him a megolomaniac.

Again, so you say. I could just as easily explain that the giant undetectable laser cannon orbiting the earth hasn't vaporized you because the time for my alien overlords to do so hasn't arrived yet. Even though you refuse to believe they exist.

In addition, this sounds like a threat. I don't respond well to threats or any being that has to resort to them in order to interact with me.

Calvin: Eve, I think that you are a really smart person. I read one of your articles on that female godess thing. You have just been decieved about the God of the Bible.

*sigh* No, I haven't. I finally stepped out of the box I was in, is all.

Calvin: You're taking things out of their proper context, culture, and time.

Actually, that's what you're doing: instead of applying what we now know about history, psychology, and human behavior to your belief system, you're taking the easy way out by saying in fact that none of this applies to your god and belief system. It's exactly the same thing muslim extremists say about their beliefs - that what they kill and die for is above the realm of common, ordinary humanity. The difference is that you, without realizing it, are unwilling to take your beliefs that far; your innate humanity finds those extremes distasteful, just like the moderate muslims who are appalled at what their extremist brethren are willing to do.

Calvin said...

Eve,
I can prove God exists. The Higher the value something the more time you pay. It makes perfect sense. We are responsible for our actions. A fair God punishes sin. Why do you compare a Holy God to a space alien? They're not the same at all. I wasn't threatening you I was just telling you the facts. Why do you see me as a dangerous person? I've never tortured or murdered anybody. You're still in a box Eve. You have just switched boxes. That's all. I still think you're smart though. Are you a psychologist or something? If it causes me to blaspheme God I think I'll pass. I'll stick to the Bible. It's better than all that psychobabble. Those psychologist diognose people with problems they don't even have. It's kind of scarry. Eve, once again you take things out of context and apply them to the wrong things. Let me ask you somthing Eve. What are you trying to accomplish by arguing with me? Are you trying to help me? Or do you just want to be right? Do you think I'm sick because I believe in God? Do you want to wipe me off the face of the earth? Would it make feel better if you got to beat my head in?

Calvin said...

Eve,

By the way, have you read Alvin Plantinga's critique of The God Delusion? He pretty much shows the sillyness of Dawkings position.

It's about as silly as the things you are saying.

DRJ said...

Justice and mercy. God's justice is perfect apart from all loopholes or emotional contingencies. The wages of sin is death. Yes, that means any and all sin! THAT is Justice. God's mercy, however, is seen in connectiion with something called confession of sin and repentance (turning from sin). More than just saying "I'm sorry," the confessiion that touches God must be associated with the understanding that Jesus Christ has died for every sin. He has paaid the price that justice demands. In that acknowledgement alone rests our ability to receive God's mercful forgiveness of sin. This concept embraces the entirety of the Gospel message which is, "The Creator of all things desires a personal, eternal relationship with all people through His Son, Jesus Christ." Such a relationship can only exist with forgiven mankind, seeing that God is holy and, therefore, cannot abide with that which is unholy or sinful. God has mercifully provided the means whereby sinful man may be forgiven and thus enjoy an eternal relationship with Him. What about these truths do you not understand?