With regularity this question pops up. Thankfully, for now, the question is merely hypothetical. However, the assumptions behind the question have been taken to their logical conclusion many times in the past, and the bloodshed and murdered babies–along with a goodly and commensurate amount of adults and all persons in between–have been decidedly NOT hypothetical.
The last time I looked at this question, many posts ago, it was posited by an atheist, and so the tact I took in pointing out its rational failures was quite different. Back then I was arguing that to murder based on the wholly abstract idea of “chance” was madness. And that if we were to act literally upon probability all the time, we shouldn’t bother leaving our houses. We might ALL as well drink from Bob Jones’s faucet, not just babies. Because the “chance” of anything which an atheist would find malicious and unpleasant happening to a dead person is zero, by definition. In short, I was saying that since “what could happen” could never actually be seen until it happens–since what “could happen” is literally NOTHING, because reality can only be truly defined by what DOES happen–it makes little sense that humanity should make decisions of life and death based on actuarial tables. Again, if that is the case, let’s just let the nukes fly and be done with it all.
There is no way to say what will happen. There is only assumption. And chance and assumption is not causal. It is cognitive. Chance washes nothing in the actual truth of the event. At the end of all the equivocating, all you’ve really done is kill a baby.
Of course, when an atheist poses a question like this on a Christian forum, it is really nothing more than a “gotcha” question designed to undermine the entire theist argument at its root. And…it actually does a pretty good job of it. Sure, you can destroy their own assumptions and argument by pointing out the falsity and contradictory ideas inherent in their “gods” (the mathematics of probability and the actuarial tables), but for Christians, the question should give us pause. Well…it should for non-Calvinists, anyway. For Calvinists, they can only have one answer, regardless of how much shit I will get for saying as much, and how much many of them are so comfortable hypocritically denying their own doctrine when it suits their own moral sensibilities (as IF somehow, on this issue THEY get to decide between right and wrong). But if they are consistent with their doctrine, they will assume–as good little sheep–John Piper’s belief that since salvation is based upon God’s arbitrary election alone, there is no reason why a baby, born as totally depraved as the next human pig, should have a get-out-of-jail free card with respect to eschatology. Baby or not, if you are not one of God’s elect, before the foundations of the world, then your ass is going to burn. Age hasn’t a thing to do with it. What makes babies so special? Because they are cute? But aren’t they, as my old SGM pastor used to say, just cute little vessels of depravity and sin? And God is no respecter of outward appearances, after all. Besides, a baby’s wailing, as those of us who have had them understand, will most certainly make hell that much more unpleasant. Which is the whole idea.
But for us non-Calvinists, it is a question that poses a dilemma. Looking past my argument concerning the nature of “chance” and “probability”, let’s look at the weakness in our assumptions this question identifies. For if babies all go to heaven, and if beyond that, hell is a very real possibility because of choice, isn’t it actually more merciful to kill babies, rather than take the chance that some of them will not believe on Jesus and spend eternity perfecting their teeth gnashing, begging for a finger dipped in cool water? Shoot, some people out there might even agree that, for the misery they have endured or are enduring in their own life, they might have even preferred infanticide. Maybe that is an act of mercy even in the eyes of some Christians. It’s not that far fetched. If you end up in hell, what might you think if someone asked you if you should have been killed as an infant?
Yeah…it’s actually a pretty good question. It’s sick, true. But it is effective. And most of the time, I have noticed, the answers are seriously wanting.
This question was posed by a Christian, attempting, I think, to argue in favor of the idea of “election”. That we let live because we don’t know who God will elect and who He won’t. And that? Is a pretty good answer ostensibly. And one my wife said she would give if she were a Calvinist. It is the most sensible…but then you run into the whole election debate, again, and the injustice of God sending someone to hell just because. And the obvious reply of “well, if salvation is by election, then what difference does it make when a person dies? As a baby or an adult?” To which she said “only a living person can spread the message of God”. To which I said, “There you go, being all NOT Calvinist again; to think that spreading the message somehow effects salvation. I thought you just told me that salvation is by election, not “the message”.”
Finally, there is the most effective way to dismantle the Calvinist response concerning “who will get elected and who won’t” assumption, which has to do with the fact that Calvinists first and foremost assume that ONLY the destruction of the individual can bring him or her to a place of moral purity. So the only real difference is what this “death” will look like in the end. YOU can’t possibly be saved, according to Total Depravity. So salvation is only in spite of you…ever. And that being the case, the question proves itself yet again too formidable for most Christians. In the case of Calvinists, since the very doctrine demands that YOU die in service to the God’s “truth” by hook or by crook, there is little reason to argue against killing babies beyond “well…it just seems like a bad idea”. After all, better to be in hell has a non-cognizant child than a fully aware adult. Wouldn’t that be more “merciful”?
But getting back to the assumption in the question. What is it?
And this is really the crux of the issue. The crux of the issue isn’t the assumption the question makes about death, but what it assumes about life. The driving idea behind the question is this: That human life EQUALS evil. That moral corruption is a DIRECT function of human physical existence. Full stop. And that being said, all that is GOOD then–truth and salvation and prosperity and peace and heaven and God–is only to be ultimately found in the death of the human being, and never in the life of him or her.
This of course means that the primary point of human existence is not life, but death. For death IS GOOD. Death of the self is the pinnacle of human moral achievement. For only in death can human goodness be found; only in death can the human be reconciled with God.
This idea is the implicit assumption behind the question when posed by Christians, particularly non-Calvinists (for consistent Calvinists would never ask such a question because they understand there is no surety of heaven for anyone): Shouldn’t we just kill babies in order to ensure people go to heaven? Would not that be the most merciful solution to the problem of evil? Again…there it is, in all its wicked glory. Human existence IS the problem of evil.
And so what is really being asked is a prime example of a.) Calvinist doctrinal hypocrisy/inconsistency; which we have touched briefly, but which will be elaborated upon. And b.) The Christian presumption in general of death as the panacea for humanity’s inherent total moral failure, beginning at conception.
Now, with respect to the first:
A. Calvinist doctrinal hypocrisy/inconsistency in denying the what should be their own acknowledged implicit morality and “mercy” of infanticide.
The idea that there is a certain point in time after birth, where God will arbitrarily elect a human to either salvation or damnation flies in the face of Calvinistic assertions in the frankest of ways. This implies that God’s will, with respect to those He damns or those He justifies, is somehow dependent on the notion of a human being “coming of age”–that point in time where they can properly gauge the morality of their choices against God’s standard. That is, if the child does not “come of age”, then God has no choice but to save that child. And this, again, ultimately contradicts the sovereignty of God over salvation/damnation as taught by historical Calvinistic orthodoxy.
The idea that God is somehow obligated to save the infant means that salvation is rooted not in God’s will, but in humanity–or at the very least that humanity must play a role in deciding its fate. God’s “sovereign Will” becomes subservient to the human time table. And this notion denies every single point in TULIP (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints), and I am pretty sure that no Calvinist I have ever met would concede that humanity gets to ever, under any circumstance, be the final arbiter of eschatological decisions. In other words, if man is Totally Depraved, then there is no reason to supposed that God won’t or shouldn’t damn babies to Hell. By definition, their moral corruption is as complete as yours or mine. There is no such thing–no such addendum to absolute sovereignty–as “coming of age” in the Calvinist construct.
Calvinism, and I dare say pretty much all of any school of Protestant orthodoxy, presupposes that the only real way for humanity–being perpetually morally defunct and estranged from God by virtue of innate catastrophic failure–to be reconciled to God is for humanity to be destroyed. To cease to exist. To die. And this can only happen, within the Calvinist ideology, in one of two ways:
One: God kills and sends people to hell, where humanity’s eternal moral failure is condemned to eternal purging in the everlasting flames; and that this torment is rightly and logically and mandated to be preceded by violence and pain inflicted upon the unbeliever at the hands of God’s priests, proxy’s, and elected ones. Death is truth, period. Whether in physical life, or in the unquenchable burning pyres of perdition is irrelevant. They both mean the same thing: the moral failure of man, and his just torment for merely existing as one of God’s unforgiven. The un-elect (and really anyone…more later) must suffer in atonement, regardless of where or when, in any time and in any place (“the wicked will have no rest”) for their inherent dearth of any efficacious value.
Two: God’s “election” of a chosen one is revealed (i.e. earned) by the effective, for all practical purposes and assumptions, death of the individual as he or she sacrifices him or herself–mind, body, and property–to the orthodox collective (religious, intellectual, political, etc.) which is the only place that absolution for a “living“ individual can be found (i.e. earned). Often times, the individual is conscripted by a person in some form of “authority” into the collective, who uses his divine mandated of FORCE to compel that individual, by any means necessary, into the subjugation of the Consciousness Prime, which is governed in part or totally by that authority. This other person could be a spouse, parent, church officer, teacher, guardian, overseer, slave master, prophet, civil leader, political officer, “accountability” partner, etc..
The authority of the collective’s elders, leaders, officers, etcetera…is generally rooted in a systematic philosophy organized into a formal “canon” of creeds, confessions, manifestos, constitutions, articles, or volumes of political/philosophical schools of thought. These ideas are generally considered to be “inerrant” and therefore not subject to any outside interpretation beyond that of those authorities who have been somehow granted the right of all interpretive conclusions. Namely, the very authorities which compel the masses by “divine” mandate (i.e specially dispensed, somehow, according usually to some subjective interpretation of the canons of “orthodoxy”).
So what we are talking about is more than simply a figurative or symbolic death of the individual. It is a functional and utterly practical and efficacious death of the SELF at the root, where an individual is no longer and by no means defined by the physical person which exists as the tangible SELF and occupies its location, but is now nothing more nor less than a purely abstract idea (and thus inexorably hypocritical…for an abstraction can have no actual power). The human being is not figuratively, but literally, sacrificed to the abstraction of “collective”. The collective may be the “church”, the “body”, the “masses”, the “workers”, the “government”, the “clan”, the “group”, the “nation”, the “party”. And the death of the SELF may not by physical, but it is no mere semantic exercise either. In fact, the death of self so real that identification with the collective utterly defines the person in literally every facet of their lives. At the very least, this is precisely the idea behind the doctrines of Calvinism and the Reformation in general. You only actually exist insofar as you are identified with the collective. Apart from it, you are dead as far as they are concerned, and thus, are no one to be concerned with, except in disciplinary measures (i.e. violent and/or abusive). Excommunication from the group doesn’t sound so bad in a free society where enough people who make the world go round still laugh at Calvin’s rational larceny, but in a society which is governed by a deified theocracy, almost always headed by a deified autocrat, the life of the unfortunate excommunicated soul is horrifically painful. Ask any Muslim convert to Christianity who remains in his/her community what it is like for them. It is hell on Earth.
And that is precisely the idea. Anyone not “in” with the group, goes to hell. And it doesn’t mean after the grave, either. It happens in an instant.
In short, humanity itself, which is the SELF, is in some way killed off when it is exchanged for the lie known as the “collective”. And so the Calvinist axiom remains firmly in place, whether one dies in infancy, or whether one lives to the age of Enoch: Death is that which and only brings reconciliation with God.
That being said, I will repeat. There is no reason whatsoever why the Calvinist should ever concede that there is some inherent moral crime in the murder of infants in the name of “mercy” and moral purity. For which is ultimately better: to live a life of misery only to face conscious torment in hell as God’s un-elected forever after all of that; or, as an elected “saint” to feel the pain which is the plumb line for “truth” in Calvinist doctrine as you daily nail yourself to the cross in service to the “group” which owns you? Or is it better to simply take your place as an infant, with only the scarcest of conscious realization, in the realm of your elected purpose: to burn in hell forever or to live in heaven with God, according to his arbitrary whim?
Well, you can answer that whatever way you like. It matters not. The point is that since the doctrine election stands, and absolutely no moral accusation can be brought to bear against anyone acting in the “stead of God” in service to his absolute and wholly exclusive-to-man TRUTH in his position of divine authority, then the murder of children in the name of God is neither doctrinally forbidden nor should it be considered morally repugnant if you are a Calvinist. The only real moral repugnance is the life of a human being, not the death of one.
B. The failure of even non-Calvinist Christians to effectively answer in the negative the question “Should infants die as a means of securing their salvation?” based on the exact same assumptions as Calvinism.
Their is a ubiquitous assumption in practically all of Christianity, and it is the Reformed one. It is the idea that death equals moral purity, period. The immediate and literal death of any human being is the most logical, most efficacious, most efficient answer to the problem of evil in Christian doctrine today. The axiom is DEATH is GOOD rules the theological day. Not that I am saying that everyone believes this consciously, I am merely pointing where the theology goes when you stop equivocating and put the pieces together in a way that does not make you a raging hypocrite to your own “absolute” truth upon which you have claimed monopoly ownership by nothing more than your irrational and subjective opinions on the matter.
DEATH is GOOD shall be your mantra from this day forth, Christian, when moral value is outside the human being. You believe, by your very own creeds and declarations and statements of faith that human life is the direct source of evil; of moral failure. That the reason we have sin and evil and thus hell and torment and judgement is a direct function of life itself. And thus the single greatest, most effective way to thus destroy evil, to confront the moral affront, is to remove life. To kill human beings in service to the only real GOOD: whatever Consciousness Prime we happen to be considering at the moment (God, in this case). Death then leads to inevitable GOOD, just as assuredly as life leads to evil, which must and will be destroyed. Life always leads to evil, inexorably.
And so then what about the murder of infants?
Well, according to the assumptions It is quite simply the quickest and easiest, most painless way for man to fulfill God’s righteous requirement: the destruction of evil. If life is always evil, then the sooner man can be put to death the better. It is the Final Solution…the end of all doctrine. The utter destruction of humanity as God’s moral purging.
Now, a cursory look in the Bible with our neo-reformed blinders off will show us that this is not the objective of God, but the objective of Satan.
So, the only way to concede that all infants go to heaven is to place an objective and inherent moral value upon human life. Individual life becomes THE plumb line for morality…it is the only objective moral good man can recognize. For the SELF IS GOOD. The SELF is the source of moral purity. LIFE is GOOD by virtue of its simple existence in a simple child. This is why murdering infants is wrong…because it violates the singularity of moral truth: LIFE. The destruction of life is EVIL. And this is why murder of any kind in service to a moral standard outside of human life cannot ever be equivocated by any appeal to morality…because outside of human life there IS NO MORALITY; and thus, there is NO MERCY to be found. Mercy is ONLY found in the perpetuation of human life, never in its death.
The destruction of humanity denies the very truth which declares God to be God. For God is not God without the SELF of mankind by which God recognizes Himself to be God, and by which man recognizes himself to be man, and thus a moral equivalency and objective GOOD can be established between man and God because both are life. God is known as God by humanity…destroy it, and you destroy God in a manner of speaking. There is no claim by which God can declare Himself God. Destroy any recognition of God, and you destroy God. This is the devil’s rationale, I submit. This declaration will shock and appall some of you. So be it. If you cannot declare that your own life has as much inherent moral value as any other, including God’s, then you must deny humanity at the root. If this offends you I submit you have an incorrect assumption of who and what God is. He is the Father…and the children of the Father are co-equals in inherent existential worth as the Father. They do not replace the Father, but they are not LESS THAN the father on the level of objective value; and they have no less inherent right to self-affirmation and self perpetuation. Our worth is realized in the fullness of our self, not in our subjugation to some external self; and yet we can only affirm our own self when we affirm that of others, starting with God. This is hardly contra-biblical thinking.
So, if you concede that infants to do heaven, you concede that humanity is inherently morally good, NOT depraved. And that evil and sin then is a choice man makes. The choice to either affirm life or deny it.
That choice starts with children.
32 thoughts on ““Baby Killer” a New Compliment?: More on the “merciful” homicide of Infants in the name of soul-saving, and the evil Reformed assumption from which the notion springs”
Without the doctrine of imputed guilt for Adam’s sin, they have no where to go with this. Infant salvation/damnation is a big Achilles heel for Calvinists and they know it. Been tweaking it for centuries. Some embrace it.
I used to read over at Challies back in around 06-08 and was just getting into Calvinism in a big way. I was astounded to read comments from Calvinist declaring that God was glorified when throwing babies into hell. It was chilling to read these guys who think they love and know God.
Some Calvinists are very embarrassed by the “we love seeing babies thrown into hell” guys. But they are more honest about the truth of that doctrine.
The argument does not convince any rational person that predestination is true. Rather it convinces rational people that the whole eternal torment in hell for nothing nonsense is false, that God is not holding the gun of eternal torment to ours heads to blackmail us into believing some dogmas. How do you get out of the dilemma of “hey, killing babies will save them from going to hell, which is so easy to do since God damns people for nothing”? Well, you stop believing that God damns people for nothing, that’s what.
The Calvinist calling himself “Drew Mercy” over at SBCIssue really seems to get upset when you say “We are the Borg, you will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.” Maybe we should stop calling them Calvinists and just call them the Borg.
Come to think of it, CJ Mahaney would look like Locutus in a Borg cyber-suit. LOL
Well, it is ironic, because I have learned that consistency really doesn’t wash well in Calvinist theology, even if it is consistency of reason when actually APPLIED to their OWN doctrine. It is really all about THEIR capricious interpretations of what constitutes “truth”. There is a Debbie Kaufman getting ram-rodded by the Calvinist apologists over at Wartburg Watch on the most recent thread BECAUSE she is arguing that, in accordance with her doctrine, it is impossible to say that infants go to heaven, because that means that God is obligated to save a HUMAN based on “age”, a purely human characteristic.
Her problem is thinking that SHE gets to use HER reason to even defend her own ideas. The point is that there IS no such thing has rational understanding in Calvinism today. The more rationale the argument, the more likely you are engaging you own PRIDE in attempting to understand God’s “truth”. This is why I just have to laugh when Dee says she wants to “build a bridge” of understanding between Calvinists and non-Calvinists. The bridge only works if the other side STAYS in one place. The Calvinists change the interpretive plumb lines on a whim, deciding what is “sound doctrine” based on nothing more that how they feel at any given moment. If at one moment they decide babies are subject to hell, then…they just are. If in another they decide that babies are all saved…they are. Viola, we can get along with anyone!
And as soon as you or I or even a CONSISTENT Calvinist says “Wait a minute…I don’t think you get to do that”, the epistemological relativists begin to eat our flesh from our bones. So, the real panacea for “getting along”, the real “bridge” is simply accepting the fact that you can’t really understand anything, period. You can guess, and you can spout your proof texts and declare this or that, but you must always understand that YOU can never actually claim to have any real basis for your beliefs. That’s just pride.
This is why Calvinists are such fucking categorical hypocrites at their root. They claim to have “orthodoxy”, but by their own admission they can’t really even make a claim to KNOW that they have orthodoxy. They have truth which BY DOCTRINAL DEFINITION they can never define.
Debbie rarely makes sense. She is all over SBC pastor blogs doing the same thing and has been for years. They tolerate her. Some even affirm her methods. She does not even argue her contradictory beliefs well. She simply writes them down and declares: Truth! Oh, and she is “angry” and “disappointed” and then claims she hates all the fighting when she not only comes in swinging, rebuking and insulting but starts fights!
“BECAUSE she is arguing that, in accordance with her doctrine, it is impossible to say that infants go to heaven”
But Argo, in the same comment she declared that NO ONE in the SBC believes in infant damnation even though SOME leaders on the Unity committee wanted the word “all” changed to “most” . (She seems to have some inside information the rest of us don’t have)
So how can that be true since she says it is IMPOSSIBLE to say that infants go to heaven?
She makes no sense.
She is a long time member of Wade’s church.
Argo, I keep coming back to your declaration that LIFE is of great value.
Are we really debating whether or not God throws babies into eternal torment? I mean, is this Allah or what?
The infant salvation debate is a big Achilles heel for Calvinists and they know it. So they try and shut it down with things like how vague scripture is or I believe God saves them but we cannot know for sure…….
Like Debbie, most of them want to make it a sin to talk about it in depth because “we cannot know for sure”. But this only tells me they don’t know God well at all.
I, for one, want to know if a teacher/pastor I am listening to believes in infant damnation or not. That is akin to the heart of Himmler to me.
Ahh…Wades church. That clears up a lot of what you just said. LOL
Yep…doctrinal relativists do not fall far from the tree.
“They claim to have “orthodoxy”, but by their own admission they can’t really even make a claim to KNOW that they have orthodoxy.”
Oh but of course they can. They’ve got the spirit, you see, and spiritual things must be spiritual discerned. Their reason works because its spirit filled, but yours doesn’t because you’re a natural man. The spirit of Satan makes them understand all things. But those of us who aren’t possessed, we can’t know anything according to their system.
This is where I must bring up my requisite Paul bashing. What Paul says in 1 Cor 2 is as false as it gets. What it amounts to is “My doctrine is true. But I don’t have to prove it to you by any rational means. If you have he spirit, you’ll believe it. If you don’t, then its impossible for you to understand it.” So you have to be predestined to even understand. And yet people get all upset when I say Paul’s a Gnostic.
Paul’s Gnosticism is entirely apparent and on the surface, not hidden at all, in 1 Cor 2.
Verse 6 “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect” — Paul has a hidden doctrine — a “wisdom” — that he only teaches the “perfect.” That’s exactly what Gnosticism was all about. Tha’ts exactly what Calvinism is about, except that they insist on teaching their secret Gnosis about the order of God’s decrees to every Tom, Dick and Harry. They don’t save it for the “perfect” like Paul and the original Gnostics did.
Ver 7 “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery…”
Ver 14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” — Only the “perfect” — that is, the highest of the Gnostic classes, can comprehend it.
Ver 15 “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” There’s your immoralism there. And there’s the double standard. The Gnostic perfect get to judge “all things,” especially YOU. But nobody gets to judge the Gnostic perfect — “he himself is judged by no man”
Ver 16 “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.” You thought this meant Christians in general? Ha! And a hardy HAAAAAA. It means only the Gnostic perfect. You don’t know the mind of Christ, only Paul and his innercircle of elect hooligans does. So says the demigod Paul!
Yes. I think that is why I submit roughly 80% of sermons I ever heard as a Calvinist were on Paul’s epistles. Notice how often they cite him as proof of their own impossibly contradictory doctrines. I am not yet convinced though that they interpret Paul correctly. I have read Paul myself and I believe they bastardized his message as “proof” of their own “mysterious truth”…which is a contradiction yet again.
It is EASY to manipulate Paul because he is not a clear thinker. This I think has to do with the difficulty of his task as apostle to the Gentiles, not as a deliberate thrust of subversive gnosticism.
” I am not yet convinced though that they interpret Paul correctly. I have read Paul myself and I believe they bastardized his message as “proof” of their own “mysterious truth”…which is a contradiction yet again.
It is EASY to manipulate Paul because he is not a clear thinker. This I think has to do with the difficulty of his task as apostle to the Gentiles, not as a deliberate thrust of subversive gnosticism.”
I totally agree with this. Not to mention the historical context is often ignored.
Paul wasn’t subverting Christianity per se — he was subverting the message of Jesus, which was just a liberal Judaism.
Used to I saw Paul as a subversive Gnostic within a movement that was not Gnostic. Now I think the reality has set in that there is no such thing as non-Gnostic Christianity. Just hear me out on this. Non-Gnostic Christianity would just be Judaism. In order to qualify as “Christianity” it has to be Gnostic.
What do I mean? It has to assert that we are all born damned (point 1 of Gnosticism) and that the ONLY way to be saved is to know or believe in the secret Gnosis/doctrines that you could not possibly know about unless someone preached them to you (point 2 of Gnosticism). The existence of God and morality is no secret. The miracles and the resurrection are. Unless you are let in on the secret Gnosis, the mystery, you can’t be saved according to Christianity. That’s Gnosticism in a nutshell. As long as its necessary for you to hear a message from someone else or burn in hell, predestination is necessarily involved whether anyone will admit it or not, because the messengers are sent only to certain places, and who’s choosing where they’re sent to.
So there is not and cannot be any distinction between Christianity and Gnosticism. They are one and the same, and always were. Therein lieth the problem.
Christianity is not and cannot be in line with Jesus’ message. Nor can Christianity ever produce clear thinkers, because the system is necessarily contradictory in that it is clearly nothing but a Pagan mystery religion PRETENDING to be based on the Bible (i.e. the Old Testament). As such, it contradicts itself to the UTTERMOST. Because it is nothing like the Bible but it claims it is. It has nothing to do with morality or belief in God or Law or philosophy or wisdom or anything the Bible has to do with. It only has to do with “Here are some secret events that only us witnesses know about: believe them or burn.”
Totally unrelated but I was just watching a video and this was quoted:
“When people mint coins, they all come out the same. But God makes us all in his image and we all come out different.”
Not understanding this is one of Calvinism’s largest problems. People aren’t coins, and God’s image is not an engraving; God’s image is freewill.
I am familiar with I Corinthians 2. I don’t necessarily come away with the same conclusions as you. I think you are intentionally looking at the passages already having made up your mind that Paul is a Gnostic and his message is one of Gnosticism.
Have you ever debated an informed atheist? They have all the answers…from the probabilities to the hard questions, to the mathematics, to the science to the scientific determinism to the implications then for divine determinism, etc. etc. The “wisdom of the world” is formidable. Because so many Christians refuse to clothe themselves in a rational understanding of their faith and of God, they usually fall easily before these kinds of atheist intellectuals. That’s why so many Christians avoid debates altogether. Because people like you are constantly telling them that Paul is somehow demanding that we accept that the gospel he preaches cannot be understood by mere men. So their solution is to accept that false interpretation of Paul, and yours is to jettison Paul altogether as a gnostic heretic. I think that both solutions are seriously overkill. A better way is to think a little harder about what Paul is (to me) likely really saying rooted in his cultural and historical context.
Would I have argued the same way Paul is arguing? No. But I am not a first century Roman citizen, surrounded by what at the time must have seem like an impenetrable juggernaut of “reason” and Greek philosophy and violent state sponsored oppression. So all Paul is doing is telling the Corinthians that just because they may lose the wisdom “debate” doesn’t make them wrong. At that point, in a world surrounded by gnostic philosophy, staunch polytheism, and government deification, denial of which was grounds for prison or worse, FAITH in the truth of Christ is important, and Paul is bulwarking their faith by rightly explaining that just because the wisdom of the world and its provosts SEEMS to be more rational doesn’t make it so, and that having rank FAITH in the face of the counter-arguments is, for their context and at that time, a GOOD thing, because he correctly understands the ultimate wisdom of his theology, even though they may not YET be able to understand it (I have fed you milk, rather than solid food).
I mean look how much time I must spend on Wartburg Watch convincing just ONE person that nothing cannot actually equal SOMETHING. Conventional wisdom says that “space” actually exists. And people will simply not debate this premise. But that doesn’t make NOTHING something…conventional wisdom is often NOT wisdom at all. It is often insane and nonsensical. THAT’S Paul’s point. And he is not wrong.
I do not take his message to mean that there CAN’T be a reasonable explanation for the faith which man can grasp…for if that were true, then Paul wouldn’t have written Romans, nor would he have bothered making a case before his Roman handlers. I take his message a simply: don’t let them destroy your faith with what seems like indefatigable truth. Trust that the wisdom of God is wiser than the wisdom of men. Which it is…which is in the sense Paul is talking.
You won’t find the God particle without God, I like to say. Which is why I love debating atheists.
Because the wisdom of God (the necessity of God for Creation to EXIST) is MORE wise (reasonable) than the wisdom of the mathematical priests living underground like ferrets with their own version of the “inerrant Word of God”…the particle accelerators.
If that is what I would have said Argo, I would disagree too, but that is not what I have said. Maybe that is why to Lydia I don’t make sense. 🙂 I distinctly have said that I believe all children and babies go to heaven when they die.Period. I did say that no one has given any proof that Dever and Ascol do not believe this. I did say that the Bible, which is the final and only authority, doesn’t have much to say about the subject. I also said that they do not owe an answer to unfounded charges.
Where did I ever say it was sin to discuss in depth? Could you point me to that? No wonder you charge I am confusing. You aren’t reading what I am saying. I do not recall ever writing that discussion was a sin. There are discussions that are going about it the wrong way, but that is not sin. Sin is not a word I toss around lightly and I certainly don’t use it for everything I disagree with.
And isn’t charging me with not knowing God at all rather a harsh attempt at dismissing what I am saying?…which I wonder if any of us know God at all considering we simply get a glimpse of Him both in our lives as Christians and His movement in our lives, and in scripture, is nothing compared to who He is. I know Him as my Father and I know Him as much as I can through scripture and prayer.
Actually scripture has a lot to say about it UNLESS you believe in a determinist god who looks more like Allah. When you start with the determinist premise then you end up with confusion on whether God would save an innocent baby who dies. That is how sicko that doctrine really is.
Think about this one. You all claim that God chose us before the foundation of the world (reading Psalms woodenly) and that He controls every molecule. Well, that would mean He foreordained that baby to die as an infant, too. So, You are saying He predestined the baby to die as an infant AND you believe He saves that infant too. Map that thinking to something in the human realm and you have PURE evil.
Debbie, you make declarative statements then contradict yourself. You can’t see it, I understand that. Then you proceed to preach to everyone as if they have never read scripture themselves.
We don’t need to provide proof for anything. They are big boys who want us to buy their books, attend their conferences and implement their church discipline methods. If they want to be public teachers of scripture then they can answer the question in a direct manner. It is pretty simple…..unless they know it would not go over well in the SBC to believe that God MIGHT damn babies. Then the money might dry up for the YRR.
They can put on their big boy pants and answer some direct questions. They certainly know how to implement church discipline for those who dare disagree with them.
I am pretty shocked you give Dever such a pass for protecting the child molester protector. Seems it is only about doctrine for you.
Debbie, YOU aren’t reading what you are saying. You have accused people of “lying” but refuse to prove it. You have accused people (TWW) of trying to “destroy” people but also refused to prove that one.
I simply do not know what you are about.
“I know Him as my Father and I know Him as much as I can through scripture and prayer.”
The Holy Spirit illuminates truth to us. Try that sometime. I know not much is said about the HS in Calvinland. You don’t need Him, you have dead guys and current gurus to tell what to believe and think.
And since your heart is wicked and you remain totally unable to respond or have faith unless God forces you, how do you know you are not being taught by Satan? After all, your reasoning ability has no value in the determinist construct. You are not a part of it.
“I know Him as my Father and I know Him as much as I can through scripture and prayer.”
Jesus was/is God. And you might want to try the Holy Spirit who illuminates truth. I know that the HS is not much thought of in Calvinland as you have your dead guys and current gurus to tell you what to think and believe and how to read scripture woodenly.
Seriously, since you, as Debbie, have NO input at all, and your determinist god has to force you to believe and gives you faith for yourself, you really have no volition so how do we know what you say is from god when the Holy Spirit tells us something completely opposite of what you say? How do you know for sure you are not being taught by Satan? After all, your faculties and reasoning ability do not enter in to it at all.
Anyone who believes the God of scripture MIGHT cast a baby into damnation is being taught by the evil one because that is what HE WOULD DO. Scripture is NOT vague on WHO GOD IS.
“People aren’t coins, and God’s image is not an engraving; God’s image is freewill.”
Yes. And that will not do for the tyrants and philosopher kings who want to rule.
“Where did I ever say it was sin to discuss in depth? ”
I read your “church lady” comments at TWW.
“The ‘wisdom of the world’ is formidable.”
But this stuff isn’t wisdom at all. I refuse to use terms improperly like that. And once they mention mathematics, I’m like Willow, “Bored now.”
“Because so many Christians refuse to clothe themselves in a rational understanding of their faith and of God, then usually fall easily before these kinds of atheist intellectuals.”
The problem is that Christian faith is not wise, not philosophical, not about wisdom, not about morality, not about anything but accepting that some events took place. And these events are not very believable. Jesus was born of a virgin, went around casting out demons, was crucified not as a normal crucifixion but as a penal substitutionary death for our sins, and then he rose from the dead. None of that is rational. And it has no relationship to morality, other than to destroy it. It has no relationship to wisdom (practical use of morality), other than to cast it aside. It has no relationship to philosophy, other than to say “Who needs philosophy when you’ve got the assertion that certain mythical events are facts and that by believing them as facts you get a get out of hell free card to go rape and pillage?”.
Christians can’t stand up to atheists because they’re hypocrites. They condemn homosexuals for their sin, only to turn around and say “but if they were Chrisitan homosexuals it would be Ok because we’re justified by faith not by works. We’re all just sinners saved by grace.” They yammer on about “absolute morality” and how atheists can never have one, and yet they reject morality out of hand themselves by their moronic “justification by faith alone” doctrine.
Now, here’s the real question, have you ever seen Dawkins in a debate with a Jew? He cowers in the corner with his tail between his legs. What’s he going to say? Go to youtube and watch Dawkins and Jonathan Sacks. It wasn’t a debate per se, but more or less. Dawkins actually cows down and says that what he wrote in The God Delusion about “The God of the Old Testament is the most despicable character in all fiction, megolamaniacal…” and so on, Dawkins cows down to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and says he was only joking, because Sacks accuses him of antisemitism. Sacks says “Your reading of the Old Testament is a Christian reading” and Dawkins doesn’t know how to respond to that. Sacks shows that the OT isn’t about faith in the Christian sense of believing nonsense against evidence, but is about trust in God and hope for a better future. He also need not deny evolution because there is no Paul in Judaism declaring that death entered the world through sin and therefore he can interpret Genesis 3 exactly like Pelagius that Adam and Eve would have died anyway and were never intended to be immotal. What can Dawkins say? Nothing.
Without the Trinity, what do the atheists have left to attack? How can they show that belief in God is absurd? No Trinity, no God walking around as 100% God 100% man, not nonsense about casting out demons, no nonsense about faith in the sense of “the evidence of things hoped for and substance of things unseen” (i.e. blind faith in nonsense). Furthermore, Dawkins can’t show misquotes of the OT in the OT itself like he can with Paul or the gospels. He can’t show that Zechariah misunderstood Isaiah 7 and made up a story about a man being born of a virgin that never happened to fake the fulfillment of a prophecy he didn’t understand at all like Matthew did, because Zechariah didn’t do that.
The atheists cannot touch Judaism, and they know it, which is why they focus on Christianity. The atheists need the Trinity, they need a man-god, they need the texts of the gospels about demon possession and speaking in tongues, they need Paul and all his contradictions. Because all of these things make belief in God look absurd.
And the atheists need religion to deny this life and be all about an afterlife. Judaism isn’t. The OT isn’t. But Christianity is. So Christianity is their favorite religion. If Christianity ever dies out, the atheists won’t know what to do with themselves. How do you prove faith in God absurd without the Christian God who proclaims through Paul that everyone is born damned and has to jump through some dogmatic hoops to “get saved” or he’ll burn them in hell forever over nothing? You can’t.
Dawkins could try –he doesn’t, but he could try to say that none of the OT prophecies has ever been fulfilled and prophecy is all hooey. Yet the Jews have continued to exist after so many persecutions and being exiled from their land multiple times. Better than that, after almost 1700 or more years of having no state of their own, they’ve re-established their state. These things militate against the claim that none of the OT is true. They also disprove the Christian claim that the church has replaced Israel and “God is done with the Jews.” The re-establishment of Israel is the death-blow to atheism and to Christianity. It proves that Christianity never did take over the promises and prophecies, and that the covenant of Sinai is indeed an everlasting covenant that has not been revoked and never will be. And it proves that atheism is hooey because clearly there is a God, as Isaiah said to the Jews so long ago in the voice of God “Ye are my witnesses.” Their very existence proves God’s existence. And their very continuance disproves Christianity because there is no way they could have survived this long after being “replaced” by the church unless in fact they were never replaced and their covenant is still in effect. But if their covenant is still in effect, then Christian theology is 100% wrong which is why I’m done with Christianity.
“Trust that the wisdom of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.”
The problem is that what Paul counts as the “wisdom of men” is the Old Testament and what he counts as “the wisdom of God” is Pagan nonsense.
If he made the same statement but meant it the other way around, I would agree. But I know what he means, so his statement is false.
“I did say that the Bible, which is the final and only authority, doesn’t have much to say about the subject. ”
The Bible in the sense of the OT doesn’t much on it because its one of the “secret things” that Moses said is none of our business in Deut 29:29 = The mysteries belong to God, but what has been revealed belongs to us and our children so that we can keep all the words of this teaching (or law).
True religion doesn’t consist in your idiotic speculations about the afterlife, but in shutting up and doing what God said to do, living a moral life. Quit yammering about predestination and made up nonsense about the afterlife, and obey God.
In other words:
With the OT you have miracles in the narratives, yes, but they’re not the message itself as in the NT. They serve an entertainment type of function to keep you reading the story, which if you read often enough will make you wise by virtue of the philosophy hidden below the surface.
But with the NT, the miracles are the story. There is not philosophy, not nothing; just the miracles. Heres’s a man who did a few miracles, so then, worship him as God.
The OT makes men wise; the NT makes them crass idolaters.
The miracles of the OT can be taken literally, or not, and it doesn’t matter. The miracles don’t have to be literal for “Thou shalt not commit adultery” to be a wise commandment. With NT, if you don’t take the miracles literally, there is nothing left, because all it is is “This man did these miracles; so worship him as God.”
Lydia: I do want to thank you. You have just shown in your outlandish comments to me why Tom Ascol and Mark Dever are wise in not answering ridiculous charges.
Strike the word outlandish. I am sure you are sincere in your comments Lydia.
Why should public communicators who expect people to pay them for their words from a stage and attend their conferences, buy their books, implement their church discipline methods and believe their interpretation of the bible, answer questions? How silly of us!
Argo, You might enjoy information on Tom Ascol’s (Founders Ministry) promotion of the 1845 Conference. It is about taking the SBC back to its “roots” as in Pro Slavery and Calvinists. :o) Oh, and the book they feature on their site teaching people how to be deceptive so you can take the church reformed without them knowing it. (Quiet Revolution)
And of course, you are aware of the highest integrity of Dever who opened his arms to the fleeing Mahaney, good friend and protector of child molesters.
What men of integrity!
It is easy to see why Debbie can speak for them and say it is not wise to answer questions they don’t like. :o)