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  1. #241
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journey
    I laugh at your renditions of the doctrines of the reformed faith.
    Yeah. Cause you sound so jolly, and all.
    They're running just like you
    For you, and I, wooo
    So people, people, need some good ol' love

  2. #242
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journey View Post
    Jennifer, you build a straw man. If you were truly "in the reformed tradition" for many years as you claim, then you know the doctrine of common grace. How God restrains the evil in man by His grace so that we are not as evil as we can be. You pick and choose the doctrines you want to expose to make a mish mash of the faith you rejected.
    With the above, my issue is that this is not observably evident. Your doctrine isn't derivable from experience or observation, it's merely a choice on your part to believe a particular interpretation (i.e, "your doctrine"). That's what you don't seem to get here.

    Generally, you leave no basis for communication with other people, you preach rather than engage -- either trying to overwrite their beliefs with yours or you respond defensively as if they will overwrite yours with theirs if you dare to seriously entertain or understand them. I guess that makes sense, you don't ever seem to make an actual argument for anything.

    I laugh at your renditions of the doctrines of the reformed faith.
    Does this mean we don't have to talk to each other anymore?
    (PS. I'm okay with that.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #243
    Supreme Allied Commander Take Five's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Into It View Post
    I'm sure no one will answer the question I posed in my previous post, as if it is somehow unfair.

    I want to point out a couple contradictions that every Christian should be aware that his beliefs necessarily encompass.

    1. The Christian God is infinite.

    Infite means NO boundaries. If you don't think the gum on the bottom of my shoe is your God, then you have admitted a boundary to him. Infinite means no boundaries. There cannot be an infinite God and a gap between you and him. It's a contradiction.

    The second contradiction applies not only to Christians, but to all monotheists, as well as any scientist who is anything other than atheistic or pantheistic. Nearly everyone on the planet harbors this contradiction within their rationalization of reality, but strangely I have never heard anyone be called out on it, nor have I called anyone out on it myself. It is a statement of reality that the vast majority of everyone on the planet would deem ridiculous, yet that same majority claim to believe it, and so much of our science has been built upon it.

    Matter cannot be created or destroyed.

    Think about this, folks. Everything around us that we ascribe a symbol to, such as buildings or plants, can be created or destroyed. All actions are merely results of other actions, which are merely results of other actions, ad infinitum.

    I STRESS: AD INFINITUM!

    It is a fallacy to apply the law of causality to the Universe as a whole. There is no REASON to suppose that it had a "beginning." When it is claimed that "God created the universe" the question that naturally follows is "Who created God?" The only reasonable answers (and I use the word "reasonable" LOOSELY here) are "God created himself" or "God has always been there." To say God created himself requires retardation on an immeasurable scale, so I will skip replying to that response. To say that God has "always been there," implies that you really are privy to what "infinity" means. For the Christian, it is easy to apply something like infinity to a being that can't be sensed. But when we say that what is all around us may be infinite- what we can really sense may be EVERLASTING, God becomes all too real, and the notion is dismissed.

    They would have us believe that it is more likely for something that cannot be sensed AT ALL to be infinite than for something that we already know can not be created nor destroyed to be infinite.
    Glarthir?
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    "If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. "--Niccolo Machiavelli

  4. #244
    Senior Member Helios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    But it definitely impacts one's view of the universe and humanity.What does it mean to REALLY believe that every human being is essentially depraved at heart? Incapable of any good whatsoever? Always out to appease their own motives? (Which is what Romans Roads Christians claim to really believe. Our righteousness is filthy rags, our throats open graves, we're given over to sin and licentiousness on our own, we are murderers and liars and thieves and gluttons and whatever else you'd like to name... and yup, it's all in there in great detail in Romans and Psalms and wherever else.)
    I'm afraid you are labouring under a misapprehension. Take, for instance, the following passage:

    "The doctrine of Total Inability, which declares that men are dead in sin, does not mean that all men are equally bad, nor that any man is as bad as he could be, nor that any one is entirely destitute of virtue, nor that human nature is evil in itself, nor that man's spirit is inactive, and much less does it mean that the body is dead. What it does mean is that since the fall man rests under the curse of sin, that he is actuated by wrong principles, and that he is wholly unable to love God or to do anything meriting salvation. His corruption is extensive but not necessarily intensive."(Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1991, p.61.)

    "Total Inability" being synonymous with Total Depravity, another title used for an identical idea.

    No, or very few, Christians believe that all non-Christians do nothing but evil; even Calvinists, of which Boettner was an example, affirm no such thing.

  5. #245
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helios View Post
    "The doctrine of Total Inability, which declares that men are dead in sin, does not mean that all men are equally bad, nor that any man is as bad as he could be, nor that any one is entirely destitute of virtue, nor that human nature is evil in itself, nor that man's spirit is inactive, and much less does it mean that the body is dead. What it does mean is that since the fall man rests under the curse of sin, that he is actuated by wrong principles, and that he is wholly unable to love God or to do anything meriting salvation. His corruption is extensive but not necessarily intensive."(Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1991, p.61.)

    "Total Inability" being synonymous with Total Depravity, another title used for an identical idea.

    No, or very few, Christians believe that all non-Christians do nothing but evil; even Calvinists, of which Boettner was an example, affirm no such thing.
    Thank you for taking some time to actually explain your point coherently and kindly, I appreciate that. I am very aware of the point that you made here -- "What it does mean is that since the fall man rests under the curse of sin, that he is actuated by wrong principles, and that he is wholly unable to love God or to do anything meriting salvation." -- and your response helps me reframe or clarify what my thinking process was. I agree that I was vague or seemed to have "missed the point."

    I have two different responses to this (and I am thinking as I go, so I'm sorry if this ends up being more convoluted/messier than it needed to be).

    #1. One thing I was doing was focusing on how the scriptures tend to be lived out in practice, in day to day life... rather than focusing on a purely doctrinal approach such as what you're doing.

    Ideas have unexpected implications... especially when you're dealing with people who do not think complex and abstract thoughts well.

    If you examine how people interact with each other, you might see how a theology such as what you describe often gets bent and twisted when people with a non-theological mindset have to apply it IRL... it colors their perception of unbelievers and impacts their ability to love.

    And this even occurs when the theology is explained to them.

    I come from a subculture of Christians made of middle-class rural-setting Americans, it was all I knew growing up and has remained so even throughout most of my adulthood. The fine points of the argument you've made here are lost on them. People cannot distinguish between the sort of "total depravity" that you describe here -- where (my words) people are flawed in that they are incapable of ever choosing God on their own -- and the sort of depravity they associate with particular cultures not their own.

    So for me, Christian living consistently involved inflicting xenophobic and anti-intellectual judgments on others outside the faith. I can't begin the number of times I heard the motivations of scientists or experts in some field (who were not even personally known to the Christians slandering them) being treated as moral lepers because they happened to hold an opinion that didn't conform to the Christian's expectations -- because of an inability to understand this complex topic of total depravity. It was not understood as this "inability to choose God," it was considered (and is often preached about) as direct rebellion of God, waving your fist in God's face.

    And the word "depraved" is not used in our vernacular, is it, to mean some sort of "intellectual neutral assessment" of someone's metaphysical spiritual condition before God, is it? If you're going to call someone "depraved," I think that is inequivocably read by ANYONE in this country as you meaning they're a "sick, perverse SOB." We use loaded language that the doctrine has defined to define one way but never really seems to filter down or get practiced as such.

    So yes, I "get the theological definition," but it carries connotations with it that greatly color the behavior of many conservative Christians and how they view other people, and it leads in a very practical and direct way to intolerance and bigotry.


    #2. I feel like the theology is pretty disingenuous to try to reduce this to some impersonal "inability to choose God" when that is not how unbelievers were actually referred to in the Bible itself, the source doc.

    Total depravity (the inability to choose God) was not spoken of in neutral terms, it was not really ever distinguished from moral character. The Bible is very clear about the heinous outcome of the inability to choose God, and I quoted some of those passages above. David for example was very clear about what [he thought] God's attitude was towards those who were not graced by God to accept him as their master. We can pull up lots of quotes about those who were lost without God, in the OT and NT, and there is not any real distinction between being damned by God and being in a condition of total depravity. If God doesn't intervene and save you, you're going to hell because of total depravity (i.e., you can't choose God, therefore you're God's enemy, therefore you'll spend eternity separated from God); and if you go to hell, then you're fair game to be vilified as per the many scriptures noted.

    In general, I see theology (which arose later) as an attempt to reconcile ambiguities or even contradictions within Scripture. The theology did not come first, the scriptures (oral tradition or, eventually, the written) did... and then the theology was derived FROM the ideas in it, to either justify the scripture or explain it.

    This is why some issues persist within the church for decades, centuries, or millenia -- the same arguments are being made time and time again.... because these are ambiguities or inconsistencies that do not easily go away and the theology cannot really reconcile them.

    If you weren't God's chosen (starting with Israel, which conquered Canaan by supposedly slaughtering all of God's non-chosen people, lost in their depravity or "inability to choose God on their own"), then you were justified in viewing outsides not as unable to choose God on their own but as vile sinners full of corruption and rebellion against God. In that sense, the Christians I described in #1 are closer to their historical counterparts within Scripture, and "total depravity" seems like an intellectual attempt to sanitize the Bible's view of people who are not orthodox believers.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #246
    Senior Member Journey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    With the above, my issue is that this is not observably evident. Your doctrine isn't derivable from experience or observation, it's merely a choice on your part to believe a particular interpretation (i.e, "your doctrine"). That's what you don't seem to get here.

    Generally, you leave no basis for communication with other people, you preach rather than engage -- either trying to overwrite their beliefs with yours or you respond defensively as if they will overwrite yours with theirs if you dare to seriously entertain or understand them. I guess that makes sense, you don't ever seem to make an actual argument for anything.
    I had thought that my doctrine e.g. arguments would be understood by you as a "former follower of the reformed faith." Apparently I was wrong.

    Does this mean we don't have to talk to each other anymore?
    (PS. I'm okay with that.)
    Sorry to disappoint you, but I will respond to you whenever I feel the urge. You, of course, can always ignore me.
    "My Journey is my Destination."

    "Today Counts Forever." R.C. Sproul

  7. #247
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journey View Post
    I had thought that my doctrine e.g. arguments would be understood by you as a "former follower of the reformed faith." Apparently I was wrong.
    I understand them; I just thought you would glimpse my intentions a bit better, via use of your N.

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I will respond to you whenever I feel the urge. You, of course, can always ignore me.
    Okay, that works.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #248
    Senior Member Journey's Avatar
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    What you don't fathom, Jennifer, is that I did not choose to believe God. God chose me to believe Him. That is the ultimate difference between you and me at this point in time. Whether He has chosen you to believe Him is yet to be seen. Is that "N" enough for you?

    And though it seems to be the last thing you would want, I am praying that you will choose to believe God.

    You may call this "preachy" or even "arrogant." It is not meant in that manner at all. It is simply the most loving thing I could say to you.

    As I edit this I wonder why I bothered to write it at all. It will only be met ill will. Almost I delete it, but something holds me back.
    "My Journey is my Destination."

    "Today Counts Forever." R.C. Sproul

  9. #249
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journey View Post
    What you don't fathom, Jennifer, is that I did not choose to believe God. God chose me to believe Him. That is the ultimate difference between you and me at this point in time. Whether He has chosen you to believe Him is yet to be seen. Is that "N" enough for you?

    And though it seems to be the last thing you would want, I am praying that you will choose to believe God.

    You may call this "preachy" or even "arrogant." It is not meant in that manner at all. It is simply the most loving thing I could say to you.
    Calvinism is not the only form of Christianity, nor the only valid form. Many scholars, going back to Nicaea, would find this line of rhetoric strange and heretical.

    A god that creates men to be damned (which is the implication of both the doctrine of election, and the omniscience of the deity) is not omnibenevolent, by its very nature.

  10. #250
    Senior Member Journey's Avatar
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    I don't claim that God is omnibenevolent. More over and much more importantly God doesn't claim in His Word to be omnibenevolent. That seems to be more a wish of man than an attribute of the Creator.
    "My Journey is my Destination."

    "Today Counts Forever." R.C. Sproul

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