Friday, March 7, 2008

The Dark Side of Calvinism

I haven't made it a secret on here that I support the candidacy of Ron Paul for U.S. President, which isn't the reason I'm writing this article. However, through the local Ron Paul meetup group I met one of my neighbors, who introduced me to Reformed Theology (since he attends a reformed church) which lead me to do a little research and I discovered that Reformed and Calvinism are basically synonymous terms.

As I've probably also mentioned, I attend a local Calvary Chapel church. One day a book on a shelf in the 'resource center' caught my eye, titled: The Dark Side of Calvinism., by George Bryson. I got the book 2-3 weeks ago, and finished it last week. Early on in the book, while quoting from Reformed / Calvinist sources, some of it sounded similar to some of the eastern religion / 'new age' type teachings I'd seen before and I made a mental note to get something more specific. However, close to the end of the book (it's 398 pages) I discover he added more specifics, as follows, from pages 317-318:

In the Jim Henson animated Disney movie The Dark Crystal, the forces of light and darkness, good and evil, finally meet to see who or what will ultimately triumph. To the delight of New Agers everywhere, as it turned out, the ultimate victory, according to the creator of the Muppets, was not good over evil but the realization that these were mere illusions. That is, ultimately there was no good or evil, right or wrong. Unwittingly, the Calvinist view of the sovereign decrees of God accomplishes essentially the same thing.

If evil can be traced to God the way good can, if God is responsible for everything the way Calvinism says He is, if man is just an actor in a divine play (a tragedy at that), then the Hindu concept of Maya, which says (among other things) that human morality is just an illusion, is not that far off after all. A well thought-out understanding of Calvinist logic actually leads to views which are more in keeping with Hinduism than with biblical Christianity. I do not say these things to inflame the Calvinist. I do not believe Calvinists are Hindus. I do believe, however, that the Calvinist view of sovereignty and predestination logically lead to ideas which are as foreign to Scripture as is Hinduism. Some ideas in Calvinism lead logically to other ideas that should be anathema even to the most staunch and extreme Calvinist.

And here's a good blog article I found that's titled: Why you should not be a Calvinist.

The upshot of reading this book for me, was that I will now be much more discerning in which articles and commentaries I read and/or pass on, with a particular interest in whether the writer follows a Calvinist / Reformed doctrine or what? It's been an eye-opener. And of course there'll be more to learn, but at least I know that even among fellow 'Christians' I need to use a good deal of discernment.

IF you happen to be a Calvinist who is reading this, and if what I'm writing is eliciting one or more negative emotions, please note that I am not equipped and have no desire to engage in theological debates or discussions. Otherwise, general comments are welcome! In addition requests for information or EFT coaching services is also welcome.

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