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Recovering Calvinist in Japan


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Hello and warm greetings from Takamatsu, Japan. My name is Mark Groenewold and I am very glad to find these forums here. 

 

As for a self-intro... I'm a long term expat living in Japan. I've been here for over 20 years. I am a business owner, a teacher, and I write, but not very well. I wrote a few books, and one of them is an angry screed why I gave up religion. I think that was mostly an act of self-therapy but I am glad to finally, after so long, find the guts to put it out in the world.

 

I grew up as a Calvinist in the Dutch-Canadian bubble of Reformational theology. Long steeped in dogma, and well-programmed too. It took some time to pull out all the wires, but it was worth it. I just found these forums so I will take some time to cruise around and see what other kindred un-wired/re-wired folks are here. Many thanks to the moderators who run these boards. It is a thankless job, so let me thank you in advance. 

 

Have a great day!

Mark

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Greetings and welcome. I'm glad that you broke free from religion and also that you found us. I hope you find your time here worthwhile. Enjoy the journey ahead of you. 

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Thanks all for the very nice welcome. Apologies for a slow response. I am actually on a research trip on the Kumano Pilgrimage in Mie Prefecture Japan. Home of the Shinto gods.... As an atheist, this is a curious situation. I reject the Calvinism that I grew up with, but sometimes, when it comes to Buddhism or Shinto, I can be more like, "Oh, that sounds interesting... I'm all ears." Yet, not devout in any sense. And most Buddhists say their beliefs are more philosophical than religious. But it is all quite interesting nonetheless. 

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And a warm welcome to you from me, Mark.  Delighted to have you with us!  

 

I can see the appeal of eastern beliefs like Buddhism, Daoism, Shinto, etc.  If I had to choose a religion, I think they would be far preferable to the dogma-heavy western religions.  I would not be surprised to see a rise in non-theistic forms of Buddhism here in the west as Christianity accelerates its decline.  

 

I must say that even when I was a Christian, I found Calvinism to be especially repulsive: the idea that some were chosen for salvation and everybody else abandoned to their damnation by a loving god.  That those who were chosen could ultimately not resist God’s grace and that those unfortunates who were not chosen, even if they were raised as Christians and even if they tried to be faithful, ultimately could not help but fall back into their sin nature.  We had a visitor here recently who runs a Reformed Christian (i.e. Calvinist) forum and who invited some of us for dialog in his community.  It didn’t go very far but I think he was interested in us because he saw us as examples of unsaved people who had professed Christianity because of our upbringing or whatever, but who ultimately couldn’t fake it since we were actually not God’s people at all.  

 

Anyway I hope in due course you’ll get around to telling us more about your time in Calvinist Christianity and your journey away from it, but in the meantime enjoy your reading.  There’s a lot of good stuff and above all good people here.  Welcome again to the ranks of the unsaved!

 

 

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On 11/13/2019 at 9:22 PM, TakamatsuMark said:

 

I just found these forums so I will take some time to cruise around and see what other kindred un-wired/re-wired folks are here. 

 

 WELCOME!  Be sure to cruise by the TESTIMONIAL section.

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Welcome to Ex-c Mark! So glad you found us. We here at Ex totally understand why you are here! Keep posting and read all you can. Looking forward to hearing more from you! 

 

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Hello, Mark! I'm glad you're here! I grew up in a Calvinist family and so I empathize with the struggle and fear of breaking free from that particular nightmare. My parents have definitely branded me as 'unelect', but fortunately I have successfully made myself financially and socially independent. Cudos to your courage and your journey! 

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On 11/18/2019 at 11:50 PM, Weezer said:

Just curious.  Do Calvinist claim to know who has been "elected"?

 

None that I'm aware of claim to know for certain whether or not others are elect, but they seem quite confident that they themselves are.

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