PRE-DESTINY STAHL

Dean Esmay doesn’t believe in predestination. Of course, he doesn’t believe in God, either. But he especially doesn’t believe in a Calvinist God who’s

a gigantic, creepy 12 year old boy who enjoys pulling the wings off of flies, using a magnifying glass on an anthill, and torturing kittens–with his so called “love of man” really indicating that man is his favorite torture victim.

Me either. Who needs that?

FILED UNDER: Religion
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dean’s post does not really reflect Calvin’s theology. I do not defend predestinarianism at all, especially as a Methodist. But Calvin was not the theological monster Dean’s post tends to make him.

    I’ll try to post on this on my own site – the topic backlog just keeps getting lonmger and longer. . .

  2. James Joyner says:

    Fair enough. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  3. jen says:

    You don’t have to believe in God (He gave you that free will to choose), but it makes me sad that that’s your view of Him.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Jen,

    Dean’s description pretty much matches my (perhaps incorrect) view of predestination. During periods when I believed in God, I never subscribed to predestination, though.

    I do, however, find problems with the whole notion of an omnipotent God who simultaneously deserves credit for the food on my plate and yet not blame for the lack of food on the plates of little kids in Ethiopia.

  5. Ari Fleischer says:

    Having been raised by Dutch calvinists, I have to say the position isn’t too far off.

  6. Pietro says:

    I do, however, find problems with the whole notion of an omnipotent God who simultaneously deserves credit for the food on my plate and yet not blame for the lack of food on the plates of little kids in Ethiopia.

    I believe plainly that suffering in the world:

    a) is a result of man’s fall, and is a byproduct of our freedom of will, allowing us to make decisions that have consequences. Something’s wrong with the world, and with us.. this is a central doctrine of Christianity;
    b) occurs for everyone, including Christians;
    c) is something that God commands His followers to assist in relieving (James 1:27 for example);
    d) should be viewed in the light of eternity, not with regard to our brief lives – something that we cannot humanly comprehend.

  7. James Joyner says:

    Pietro,

    OK. But then why give him thanks for my grilled chicken breast with mixed vegetables? Either it’s my job to feed myself and he’s staying out of it, or I should get to blame him for stuff going wrong. Indeed, why pray at all?

    And, of course, hedging everything on the unverifiable promise of eternity is rather risky.

  8. Russ says:

    Having been raised by and as a Dutch Calvinist, I have to say that position is WAY off.

    Predestination is not quite what Dean makes it out to be, but as usual, the subtle details have been pushed aside by an easily digestible “soundbite.”

  9. jen says:

    And, of course, hedging everything on the unverifiable promise of eternity is rather risky.

    That’s why it’s called FAITH, James, choosing to believe what you cannot see, touch, hear, smell, or taste. And just because I can’t see, touch, taste, smell, or hear it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist either.

    You don’t have to thank God for the food on your plate if you don’t want to. However, He gave you the gifts, talents, and abilities to be able to provide that food for yourself, so you can thank Him for that instead? =)

    And why blame God for the bad stuff, we brought/bring that on ourselves as Pietro explained.

  10. Mac Swift says:

    What are the odds that two commentators here were BOTH raised by Dutch Calvinists? :-O

  11. James Joyner says:

    Indeed!

  12. James Joyner says:

    Mac,

    Indeed!

  13. Misanthroyst says:

    Arguing about the existence of god(s) is only marginally more pointless and stupid than debating operating systems. But it beats watching TV, I guess. Carry on…

  14. jen says:

    I’m not a Calvinist in the truest sense, thank you. To avoid getting into the deep theology of predestination since it’s obviously boring to some, I’ll just leave it at that.