Jump to content

Question For Ex Calvinists


flockoff
 Share

Recommended Posts

What's the appeal?

 

A friend's conversion to Calvinism forced me to examine its claims on a personal level, and then to start down the road to leaving Christianity altogether once I realized the Arminian ideas didn't make that much sense either. I was already questioning and otherwise probably would've settled into unabashed "moderate" Christianity or belief in a less personal god, but the basic idea of Calvinism rubbed me so raw I fast tracked out of the whole religion upon coming to terms with Yahweh being a complete douchebag.

 

Don't take it that I'm judging anyone for having believed this; I'm far from any right to judge and that's not what I'm doing at all. I'm just genuinely interested in why someone would ever want to believe this. I can see taking it from childhood indoctrination, as I imagine it would be one of the harder things to part with later. But starting on this idea as an adult seems incomprehensible.

 

It's like this is to fundamentalism what crack is to cocaine. It sounds so remarkably arrogant and hateful to me that you can say that billions of people profess to know Jesus in their heart, and fewer really love him and take the faith seriously, but they're all wasting their time because even amongst the latter group you're part of the secret club he *really* died for. Not only are you better than the others, but your god never had and never wanted anything to do with them to begin with.

 

Offensive to the nth degree, but again, what I used to believe wasn't that far behind.

 

How selective were you in guessing who was the real deal and who wasn't chosen? Or did you think about it at all?

 

BTW I hate Mark Driscoll.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is an interesting thread you are starting up. I am going to keep an eye on it because I'm interested in the responses.

 

I was never a full blown five point Calvinist. I never subscribed to the concept of Limited Atonement - the idea that Christ's atoning work extended only to the "elect." That just didn't seem right to me (although I had no trouble with the doctrine of original sin! Go figure!).

 

I came from a strand of Baptist that was either too shallow doctrinally to really teach the nuances of the Calvinism or who were really Arminians in spirit.

 

The Southern Baptists and Missionary Baptists wanted the eternal security aspect of Calvinism (perseverance of the saints). And of course who doesn't mind thinking they are the chosen of God?

 

I know one thing I heard from those who subscribed to full blown Calvinism is that if you weren't among the elect, you would care nothing about being sincere, pleasing God or living a righteous life. I don't remember much in the way of scriptural support for that notion. I think it tries unjustifiably to assuage the confusion and stress that comes from holding to cruel and irrational beliefs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Calvinism is the sad form of christianity you get when you try to actually understand the bible. From the view of an omniscient god there CANNOT be free will, and he knows who to save in the first place. That be why the bible AND biblegod is so flawed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The appeal to me was consistency. There's no consistency to the Bible, and seemingly every group of Christians tries to make it consistent to some extent, whether that consistency is that it's merely a moral guide but still true and reliable about the important stuff (because what could be a more reliable guide to life than something otherwise filled with errors?), or that an omnipotent god controls everything, down to who will or won't be saved. I didn't grow up having any particular attachment to either Arminian or Calvinist doctrine - my parents were Evangelical Presbyterians and I went to a Baptist school, but it wasn't a doctrine that came up much. As an older teenager, I started believing in Calvinism because I thought that Arminian doctrine was particularly illogical and nonsensical. I had never experience any touchy feely emotional spirituality with god's love, so the idea of god as a douchebag didn't really go against any of my instincts.

 

It sounds so remarkably arrogant and hateful to me that you can say that billions of people profess to know Jesus in their heart, and fewer really love him and take the faith seriously, but they're all wasting their time because even amongst the latter group you're part of the secret club he *really* died for. Not only are you better than the others, but your god never had and never wanted anything to do with them to begin with.

 

As a Calvinist, I rarely heard this view. I actually heard it more from Arminian Baptists - that most people who called themselves Christians weren't true believers (such as Catholics, Methodists and Episcopalians). The Calvinist doctrine wasn't that there was a secret club among professing believers - only god could judge those who professed to know Jesus, but if someone had any desire for Jesus or even any curiosity about Jesus, it was because that desire was given to them by god. The people who were really wasting their time were the ones who had no desire for Jesus at all, and therefore didn't even realize they were wasting their time.

 

At one point, I was a Calvinist non-Christian, and it does make a certain type of perverse sense. I hadn't been called by god, and without god giving me faith, I couldn't believe. Being brought up in a Christian environment explained why I had the appearance of wanting to believe, and also explained why I had awareness of who god was. But without god having put the true desire to believe in my heart, my desire for belief was ultimately a charade or for the wrong reason of wanting to fit in (which was pretty much true - I did desperately want to believe, but since I didn't believe, I thought that belief was bullshit - I was dealing with a lot of cognitive dissonance).

 

I still believe that if there were a Christian type god, he would be the Calvinist god, a Deist god, or a non-omnipotent god who kept messing things up (which is kind of suggested in Genesis), but definitely not the Arminian god. Hey, surely the world makes some sense if you think that there's an asshole controlling things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm still a Calvinist. The only difference is that I no longer believe I'm elect. :) I keed I keed.

 

I was never a full blow five pointer. I never really thought about who was elect and who wasn't. I lived under the presumption that anyone could be elect, and it was my job to try to convert them. If they wouldn't convert, then they clearly weren't elect , as grace was supposedly irresistable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I studied this for awhile during my deconversion process. I struggled for many years to find some way to make Christianity work with the world that I see everyday. I could not.

 

I read a book "The Institutes of the Christian Religion" by Calvin, I went to at least two lectures by R.C. Sproul, I read books by him, and I came away convinced it was an impossible view.

 

This appealed to me initially because of my bent toward determinism but I decided after awhile that this was a terrible doctrine and absolutely devoid of morality. If God is Love, this simply doesn't work according to any definition of love I know of.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was raised with it, didn't choose it, but it seemed to make sense at the time.

 

The way it was explained to me is that the bible says we are "dead in our trespasses and sins" and "there are none that are righteous, no not one. Each one has gone astray... turned to his own way..." So we're dead, right? Dead people don't have the ability to choose to become alive. I think at some point I believed that the unsaved had a body and a soul, but only christians had a spirit. It makes sense when you add in all the talk about how no one can really get it without the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the only say to be saved is if god changes you, makes you alive, makes you want him. No one would ever want to be a christian without god's starting that process. And since God is all powerful and stuff, once he picks you, makes you alive, that's the "irresistible grace", that says that "he who has begun a good work in you will carry it to completion".

 

The tradeoff is eternal security. If god's the one who makes you want him, the one who saves you, and there's nothing you can do about it, then there's no way to loose your salvation either. If you have to do something, or make a choice, then you could un-choose and still end up going to hell. But in Calvinism, it's once-saved-always-saved. No worries about whether you're good enough or not.

 

Also, in that view, anyone who turns their back on christ was never saved to begin with. So you never have to feel threatened by people leaving the church, because they must have never really meant it to begin with. 'Cause God's not that weak and he promised his sheeple that "no one can snatch you out of my hand".

 

Basically, Calvinism was presented to me as the only way anyone could ever be saved from the all-pervasive original sin.

 

Edit/PS: The love of god comes in here because if he didn't elect anyone, every single human would go to hell. So it's god's love that he bothered to save any of us. Since everyone's totally sinful and no one deserves to be saved any more/less than anyone else, then its not immoral for god to choose to save people at random.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

calvanism puts extreme stress on people becuase when they dont "feel" their god they spiral into a escalating panic, at least thats what my freind did.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I probably didn't fall into the hard-core 5 point Calvinist crowd, but I was on that side of beliefs...although that's what also started me slowly towards deconverting. Honestly, it was the only Christian teachings that I sat under that actually accepted that god was a mean, vindictive, nasty being. All the other versions of Christianity I was around tried to make him out to be loving and caring, but that just wasn't what I saw in the bible or in the world. Some rather in depth studies of the Bible left me with no other real choices than to accept the more Calvinistic take on things, or to deconvert.

 

Since I was brainwashed from childhood on, and still lived in an entirely Christian area, I ended up going the Calvinist route - at least for awhile. It was the only version of the religion that really did attempt to reconcile the old and new testaments, and the not-so-nice bits in both of them. This led to a more in depth studying of the bible, which eventually led to discovering a number of contradictions and dissonance, but for awhile it kept me in the Christian realm. If I had only been in a touchy-feely church I actually probably would have deconverted earlier, since those views simply did not jive with what the bible actually showed.

 

I never really heard about any ideas of "secret clubs" only predestination or the elect if you will. I was always under the impression that we couldn't know who god had chosen, so were still supposed to live a life that "glorified god." I saw a lot more of the secret club idea in the Church of Christ (the final church I attended before deconverting) than I did in the Calvinist-based church I attended in my late teens/early 20's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly, it was the only Christian teachings that I sat under that actually accepted that god was a mean, vindictive, nasty being. All the other versions of Christianity I was around tried to make him out to be loving and caring, but that just wasn't what I saw in the bible or in the world. Some rather in depth studies of the Bible left me with no other real choices than to accept the more Calvinistic take on things, or to deconvert.

 

The following, no matter how sarcastic is sounds, is actually an honest portrayal of what I was taught.

 

A god whose only characteristic is "love" is one of those evil liberal fluffy-bunny distortions of the Truth. So sure "god is love", but don't forget that "god is holy" and "god is just". God can't be god and let people get away with sin. God is too holy to allow sinners into heaven, that's why jesus had to die. See that bloody sacrifice god made for you? That's what love and mercy look like. But you're too sinful to even accept that, so in an amazingly incredible outpouring of love god picked a few pieces of trash to transform into beautiful works of art. Anything worthwhile about you comes from god's grace and blood. Anything worthwhile the unsaved do comes from god's incredibly merciful presence in this world, even if the idiots don't see it. And then one day, god will make you so perfect and shiny that you can see his face and live in heaven, while all the other trash that he was under no obligation to save will get what it deserves when he withdraws his goodness and grace. And be nice to the unsaved; remember, without god, you're a worthless piece of shit just like them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.