Dammit, I Want This Settled!

It is interesting to me that no Calvinist has been willing to address my conclusions about their doctrine of Predestination. Michael Gallagher made some sort of half-hearted attempt, but all he really said was that Calvin was right about the doctrine, because it is supported in the Bible. Now, I am willing to concede that it may be supported in the Bible, but he didn't address the core issue, that is, is this doctrine as cruel and psychopathic as I think it is. If not, why not, and if so, how can any self-respecting person worship the deity depicted therein? Why is it that the same Calvinists who are more than willing to argue with me about homosexuality, global warming, gender roles, the need for salvation in the first place, and on and on, are always ignoring me on this one, central question? I don't understand. Twice now I've had comments about my opinion of this doctrine deleted. Now I'm not interested in being one of those people who runs around posting inflammatory things and then boasts of being deleted or banned. I am honestly and truly interested in discussing this, and the intellectual dishonesty of deleting comments one disagrees with or can't respond to frustrates me to no end. I'm not going to start screaming about Free Speech(TM) here, I understand that people's blogs are their space, and they have every right to censor what is said there. I just find it damned frustrating. I don't understand the mindset that allows someone to dismiss rational discourse as fruitless. And I suppose I could, and perhaps should, just live and let live. But I have a vested personal interest in having the questions about Calvinism posted above answered. I'm not interested in one-upping anyone, or playing gotcha, or otherwise playing rhetorical games to prove my intellectual superiority. That is not what this is about. Like I said, I have a personal interest. It is this: I have a certain belief. Now, like all people, I have a remarkable capacity for self-deception, and I have held on to this belief in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary, but, unlike certain people, the evidence to the contrary does bother me. And it may, eventually, if I don't get better at ignoring it, cause me to lose my belief. I'll tell you what I believe. I believe that, in general, people are basically good. To elucidate: By good I don't mean altruistic. I only mean not evil. A) I believe that, all else being equal, the majority of people would rather see others happy than unhappy, would rather see justice win out. And B) I furthermore believe that there is a limit to how far people will go in self-interest. An amount of suffering to others most would be unwilling to be party to, even at great profit to themselves. The fact of there being a significant minority of people who would worship such a cruel, unjust, psychopathic deity is a great threat to that belief. I would like very much for that fact to go away.

The way I see it, there are three options:
1) Calvinism and predestination are not as I have described them. There is something I am missing, or something I have unwittingly added. Those who subscribe to Calvinism simply do not hold the beliefs I have ascribed to them.

2) Calvinism is exactly as I have described, but there is some other factor I have not seen and have failed to account for, that makes the worship of the Calvinist deity okay. And one's own salvation does not fit the bill. See my belief (B).

3) Calvinism is exactly as I have described, and people really do worship a cruel and unjust deity, and they are just completely okay with that.

Now I would prefer very much for option (1) to be true, although option (2) might cut it as well, which is why I am here, practically begging a Calvinist, any Calvinist to come and talk to me. Not debate, not joust, just answer my questions. And if it turns out that option (3) is the truth, what can I say? I'll probably keep on believing in the basic goodness of people, because I just can't help it, but I'll be sad. And the amound of cognitive dissonance I have to live with will be increased.

So, to recap my questions for those who don't like to read paragraphs:
1) Is my characterization of Calvinist Predestination in this post accurate?

2) a)If no, how is it inaccurate? What would you say is a better description of your belief? I'm not talking about framing here, I mean an actual, substantive difference.

    b)If yes, how can you bring yourself to see this deity as good? What makes creating people knowing ahead of time that you have already condemned them to eternal suffering okay?

Will anyone answer my questions?

No comments: