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Apr 30, 2015

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Scott Shaver

Now there's an indictment if I've ever seen one.

Andrew Barker

Matching DNA I would suggest!

Scott Shaver

Agree fully Andrew. Or should I say "speculate" fully.

Would probably be shocking to see how far into the mire of zealous religious violence some on the non-islamic side might sink given the right power structure and social demographics.

Has been clearly demonstrated in history.

Lydia

Thanks for posting these descriptions. I have been saying this for years.

Max

Reminds me of the scene in Lawrence of Arabia where the servant boy gets lost in a sand storm. Lawrence wants to go look for him, but is cautioned by one of the tribal leaders that it would be useless to do so, saying "It is written." Lawrence strikes out alone to search for the lad, finds him, and returns, saying to the tribal leader "Nothing is written."

rhutchin

The unique difference here is that the Calvinists hold that God is Jesus Christ and the Muslims deny this - a crucial difference. Even a broken clock is right twice a day - so the Muslims have some things right with regard to God; they are still a broken clock. In the end, Calvinism has nothing to do with Mahometanism and Calvinism finds its God in the pages of the Bible and not in anything promoted by Mahometanism.


rhutchin

Peter asks, "...is there any great wonder there arose the continued objection that strict Calvinism appears to project some sort of theistic fatalism?"

How could the sovereignty of God even be thought as theistic fatalism? Who better to be in charge of the affairs of creation and particularly, the people who are part of that creation? How could that be fatalistic in any rational sense?

Scott Shaver

rhutchin:

"The sovereignty of God" has not been questioned here.

The inerrancy of Calvin's "Institutes" and its private interpretations have been.

Like Islam and in your own words "a broken clock can be right twice a day."

rhutchin

So, how does the charge of "theistic fatalism" come about?

peter lumpkins

rhutchin

You're evidently presuming a particular nuance of the term "fatalism" in order to deny how "that [i.e. a personal Deity's Sovereignty] [could] be fatalistic in any rational sense." For example, a philosophic definition of fatalism might be described as a proposition that "all events are subject to fate or inevitable predetermination," hence, a kind of fatalism, the very point I made--the rise of an objection that strict Calvinism appears to project some sort of theistic fatalism.

rhutchin

I see the term - theistic fatalism - bandied about but, like you, I have never run across a good explanation of it.

Normally fatalism is associated with "fate." However, the idea behind fate is that of impersonal forces that don't care about the individual. Then, someone added "theistic" to fatalism making what appears to be an oxymoron. The terms oppose each other - certainly, under Calvinism, God is intimately involved in everything that happens ultimately bringing about His glory. To say that all events are subject to "fate" suggests a situation opposite to being "ordained" by God.

Anyway, the term never made sense to me and I have never seen an article explaining what people really mean by it or found anyone who knew its history. Everyone seems to nuance it differently when they use it. Don't know what Peter had in mind in using the term.

rhutchin

Oooops! I didn't notice that Peter wrote the comment, Sorry. Anyway, I still don't know what the idea is behind "theistic fatalism" and how God can be perceived as "fatalistic."

peter lumpkins

rhutchin

Well, no normally fatalism is associated with a notion. Look in the dictionary. Fatalism can be associated with an impersonal "something" but not necessarily. It can also be associated with the broader notion pertaining to things that are inevitable and/or predetermined. In the case of theistic fatalism, the obvious notion is not connected at all with impersonality but personality (i.e. theism).

Have a good evening...

rhutchin

I think the basic idea behind fatalism is that all has been determined by fate and (1) there is nothing that a person can do to change his future and (2) there is no one working to his benefit. Thus, "fatalism" is a very negative concept - Whatever will be will be and there is nothing that can be done about it.

By contrast "theistic" fatalism is a positive concept. People's actions do affect their future and there is a God who intervenes to right wrongs and bring about good. So, we have Deuteronomy 27-28 where a person is blessed or cursed because of the things he chooses to do and this situation is understandable to the person. We also have Romans 8 where God is said to intervene in the lives of certain people to work all things for good. Thus, "theistic fatalism" does not negate a person's ability to choose among options (the person is not a puppet), the person can appeal to God for help, and God will help in the absence of direct appeals from a person.

So, Peter wrote, "...is there any great wonder there arose the continued objection that strict Calvinism appears to project some sort of theistic fatalism?" This means that people object that Calvinism turns the concept of fatalism on its head and destroys the notion that people should just accept what life gives them without complaint. On the contrary, theistic fatalism says that people should not accept "fate" but should determine their own fate - and future - through appeal to God.

So, in saying "...is there any great wonder..." hasn't he essentially misunderstood the positive inference of theistic fatalism?

Christians should object to "fatalism" which denies that God exists or that He is actively involved in the world and affirm "theistic fatalism" which has God controlling events to the benefit of those who call on Him.

peter lumpkins

rhutchin

I've showed a distinction between personal and impersonal fatalism. Other theoretical nuances exist around the notion of fatalism. I can't be any clearer.

Wish you well...

volfan007

I've been saying for years that Calvinism is fatalism...pure and simple...and is a lot like what Muslims believe. I agree with what you've written here, Peter.

David

Max

"... Calvinism is fatalism ..."

David,

Determinism is tossed around a lot on the blogs when it comes to reformed theology. I suppose determinism is related to fatalism, since determinists believe that all events, including human actions, are caused by something else. New Calvinists are particularly skilled at framing arguments for the conclusion that no human actions are free. At the end of the day - after all the mumbo-jumbo has been offered - both determinism and fatalism are mere human philosophies which apply academic intellect to Scripture rather than spiritual discernment. Paul advised believers to be "beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy." Some corners of SBC are doing a fine job spoiling the next generation of preachers.

Lydia

"The unique difference here is that the Calvinists hold that God is Jesus Christ and the Muslims deny this - a crucial difference. Even a broken clock is right twice a day - so the Muslims have some things right with regard to God; they are still a broken clock. In the end, Calvinism has nothing to do with Mahometanism and Calvinism finds its God in the pages of the Bible and not in anything promoted by Mahometanism."

And you see Jesus Christ as a determinist? When I read the Gospels that would position him as a bait and switch Savior actually lying to people.

Lydia

"I've been saying for years that Calvinism is fatalism...pure and simple...and is a lot like what Muslims believe."

Chrislam.

Ask a Muslim how they know they will be with Allah and they will tell you: Allah must will it.

Sound familiar?

Lydia

"How could the sovereignty of God even be thought as theistic fatalism? Who better to be in charge of the affairs of creation and particularly, the people who are part of that creation? How could that be fatalistic in any rational sense?"

This is how Muslims believe because they use a similar definition of Sovereignty as that of Calvinists. Allah is Sovereign and directs everything.

Scott Shaver

Lydia:

What about the notion that neo-calvinism absolutely must hinge on unconditional election to perpetuate power and control in situations where their .....lack of sanctification is manifest?

Ends justify the means kinda thing?

Reformed_Ink

Interesting debate(s). It seems to me that those embracing Calvinism are going to great lengths to differentiate Muslim "fatalism" from Christian/Calvinistic "fatalism" by injecting the fact that Muslims deny Jesus is God manifest in the flesh. OK, fine. However, but this doesn't make the distinction between the two because

"God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass;[1] yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin,[2] nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established."

"As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto.[12] Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ,..."

" The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice."

" The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination...

The last quote from the Westminster chapter 3 is where the fatalism is found. It's unfortunate that in the effort to "rescue God" from the appearance of impropriety, the Westminster 'Divines' made this stuff up and the obvious Biblical conflict (i.e., the plain English of God's desire to make salvation available to ALL VS 'Well, ALL doesn'tmean all, you know...) is look to good, so they cloak their unspoken fatalism in the term(s) "High Mystery" = "This is how it is...can't explain it because it's not in the Scriptures, but this is the best we have".

To the person in the pew, if this were described to them at face value could do nothing but come to the conclusion that Calvinism is Christianized fatalism.

Now I know many will say "you just don't understand" to that, I simply chalk it up to cognitive dissonance.

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