In times of national tragedy like this, where 28 innocent human beings are shot dead in cold blood in the middle of the day, in the middle of an elementary school—a time where words cannot describe the horror and evil on display—we are tempted to turn to the Christian faith in an effort to assuage our fears, our sense of helplessness, and to offer hope and peace to those directly affected by such horror.
However, I think perhaps we must first ask ourselves, as good Christians, is this really a good idea?
I mean, in light of the marching hoards of reformed churches, with a heavy and heavy-handed emphasis on Calvinism, even to the point where traditionally non-Calvinist churches are accepting certain reformed doctrines specific to that faith as being utter, God-breathed TRUTH…yes, in light of this, we must ask ourselves again: Is this really a good idea? Does Christianity in fact have anything to offer those who have suffered? Or, have we reached a point where the secular society, even atheists perhaps, show rank common human decency and compassion beyond what any “Christian” can offer? I submit that, yes, this is indeed the case.
This is the case because Christianity, in embracing the reformed premises of total depravity, original sin, and election, biblical infallibility, and scores of other metaphysically and morally impossible and hypocritical doctrines, has become, in fact a cult of death.
What do I mean by this?
I mean that what Christianity means today is: if you are a human, you just aren’t worth anything. Indeed, your sin is your existence. God doesn’t like you. God only likes Himself, and since you are not Him, He hates your guts. Now, and forever. He laments your very existence. Any good in you is Himself, thus the only thing about you he can possibly love is Himself. If you are not elect, he doesn’t care if you are slaughtered, because, again, your existence is your sin. If you are elect, He still doesn’t like you, but if He shows you favor, know this: it is not you He favors, but Himself. You he hates, and so if you happen to be gunned down by a madman, rejoice in your suffering. For the pain is the plumb line of truth. For believer and non-believer alike, the more you suffer, the more you are doing the only “good” you can do. The more the pain, the more you realize the TRUTH of your existence. That you are an abomination, and your sin is that you are awake.
This, my friends, is Calvinism; this is the root of reformed theology. And this is why those who suffer need to run from Christians, not to them. It is sad, but we have no hope, no comfort to offer. Nothing. God hates them. What else is there to say?
You think I’m horrible, don’t you. You think I’m a heretic. You might not personally burn me a the stake for my apostasy; my vile wickedness; my rejection of God; my lack of faith and my lack of suspending my disbelief to proclaim that God can in fact both love and hate sinful, depraved, horrible, wicked humanity at the same time…no, you might not do it. You might even deign to pay lip service to the fact that it would be wrong to do such a thing. Vengeance is the Lord’s and all that, right, says your infallible bible. But, if it happened, if I was led to the bonfire, with my blog and my words burning at my feet like Michael Servitus under the “great reformer”, John Calvin, you wouldn’t care so much, would you? Deep down, you wouldn’t protest. I got what I deserve, so this must be God’s vengeance. For I told people to not turn to Jesus in a time of national tragedy. And for that, I deserve to die the heretic’s death.
I know. I know. It’s okay. If you are a Calvinist, it is in perfect keeping with your beliefs. But know this: whatever hate God has for me, he has for you. Whatever loathsome thing He finds in me, He finds in you. I could say even worse things, and I still it would be doctrinally consistent to declare that I may be the elect one and you may be the damned one.
Your righteous indignation at me amounts to nothing; it is all filthy rags. You must know this. You have no collateral against me to show to God. For according to your own doctrine, you are NO BETTER THAN the one who slaughtered 20 innocent children.
Yes, know this before you condemn me.
But you will condemn me anyway, because your doctrine is based on utter contradiction and inconsistency. You will condemn because you have no choice, because in your mind, your Calvinism only applies to others. You are one of the gnostic few…a divinely gifted one. You have the keys to the kingdom, and your condemnation of me, though you are a depraved worm, is proof that God has gifted you to condemn . Oh, the irony…the impossibility of this thinking. But that is you. It is how you can function from day to day. If you were consistent, you would not be a Calvinist. And if you ceased to function by impossible contradiction, you would collapse into a heap of useless bones; spontaneously combust inside your own doctrinal funhouse.
It is okay for you to kill others and claim you do it out of righteousness because you have no standard of reason or truth. All you know is you react; and all of it is God’s will, by your doctrine of divine determinism. Your indignation at my words is not of you, because it is righteous, so it must be of God.
But how do you know? You don’t. You are spiritual and literally insane. And so you can do anything you want. Even to the point of becoming hypocritically indignant at people who point out that what you believe destroys life, and cannot save it.
You still doubt me. I know you do. These words of mine…shock value. Nothing more. I’m a smart-ass, capitalizing on death to make a point.
John Piper says this tragedy reminds us of how depraved our souls are. The translation of this is simple: God hates you as much as He hates the man who did this, because to Him, there is NO difference.
Within seconds of this tragedy hitting the news, I bet there were thousands of people (indeed, I read it myself on some blogs) declaring: Who can understand the mind of God? Who can explain why this was in His plan?
Folks, this is called “determinism”, and it is decidedly reformed. This is “God controls all things”.
The translation of this seemingly sympathetic statement is this: God wanted this to happen. He didn’t just allow it, HE did it. Nothing happens outside of His Will, you see, and so this was planned; pre-ordained. It could not have gone any other way. He wanted those beautiful innocent children to die at the hands of a madman; to remind us that we are all likewise horrible, and hated by God.
So, declaring this a lesson in total depravity and determinism means this to me: God hates your soul, and He will kill children to prove it.
In this way, Christianity is no different than the secular culture of our times, which says that individuals exist to be slaughtered. We see it in movies, in games, in our altruistic mindsets. Christianity confirms this, in its own way. Sure, people can be killed; for that is their greatest good…suffering, death, slavery, subjugation, servitude. But leave the killing and the autocracy where it belongs: in the hands of the neo-reformed mystic despots.
The problem is, of course that this is a total lie. God doesn’t hate you, or those children, whose innocent souls were so NOT depraved that John Piper, stuck in the stocks of his Calvinism, cannot even possibly begin to sympathize with their parents or offer anything in the way of hope or comfort. He is dead, by his own doctrinal definition.
So we will ignore Piper’s theology of death, after condemning it for the wickedness it is, and turn to what we know is really true of God.
God loves these children. He LOVES them. He grieves. These innocent children are in heaven. They are with God; and He is telling them now that this was NOT the plan He had for them. It was not His will. It was never His will. His will is life, not death. His will is for people to be, not to die.
He is happy they are with Him. He loves them, and they will dwell and sing and play and live with God forever and ever, in His fields of flowers, rolling with angels, protected by God, and are in such great comfort and bliss that you and I cannot even imagine. God is telling those children that He is moved to tears by such horror; that this is not what He wanted for them. He never intended this, and He longed to see them grow and live and love and be.
But He is happy they have come to Him. It’s early, but He is prepared. They are taken in and all is ready. Parents, people: God loves these children, and they are in bliss with Him now. This is a fact, and no one will harm your little ones ever again.
God and Christ love us all. God did not plan this. Prayer helps this. Prayer can prevent this in the future because there is power to move reality through prayer, based on our will and our right understanding of what is good. There is a relationship with Christ that is real; that is not determined, and that is rooted in love and life, and says that it is impossible for man to exist if it is God’s will that he should die.
And until this is the message of Christians, Christianity will continue to be a cult of death.