predestination

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Unlike Christians from nowadays, Christians from past placed the fundaments their life in glorification of God. Especially, Calvinists worked systematically and enthusiastically under the “predestination” ethic where all the plans and after-lives are predestined by God. Although, no one can tell the difference between the one who is saved and one who is not, Calvinists wanted to work diligently, to answer God’s calling. After the discussion we had in class on Tuesday, I thought about concept of predestination more closely. Main topic of the discussion was that If one cannot tell the difference between the one who is saved and who is doomed and one is already destined to be doomed, why even bother to work for the glorification of God and why even try to answer God’s calling. However, I thought it is possible to think backwards. Why not try to construct a better life through positive thinking process where one can simply think he is saved. This attitude can create rationalized and systematized works and lives.

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2 Responses to “predestination”

  1. Conrad Says:

    Interesting idea of thinking backwards. I don’t particularly have any specific comments, rather I would like to caution the idea of making sweeping generalizations about christians of any age. There are thousands, perhaps millions of people who claim to be “christians” and I don’t ever think i’ve met two who think the exact same thing. Whether or not that’s a good thing is an entirely different post. However I do think it is a bit quick to make a generalization that all christians nowadays have abandoned the fundamental purpose of glorifying God. It is interesting that in order to rationalize a belief in God, you work backwards. I find in many sciences and “proofs” the place most frequently started is an assumption. For Christians it’s “I believe God exists, inspired people to write his law in the Bible, and Manifested Himself into human form in Jesus Christ to save us from ourselves.” For geometry, Two parallel lines will never cross, into infinity. Well just like you can’t prove God exists to someone who doesn’t believe, neither can you prove two parallel lines will never cross to someone who doesn’t believe. It takes faith. Too often I think our culture denies it’s dependence upon faith. We here at eastman have a HUGE faith that spending all this money and practice time will get us a job in an orchestra, and that people will still want to hear orchestras when we’re out of school. Faith is all around us.

  2. gmackin Says:

    One thing I would like to endorse wholeheartedly here is Conrad’s cautionary note. Christianity has always been a highly diverse faith. It is true that something has changed over the last few centuries regarding the practice of Christian faith, but I am deeply reticent to adopt the idea that earlier expressions of this faith–which not only included things like cathedrals and the B minor Mass, but also witch burning–were somehow more genuine.

    I am, however, less convinced by Conrad’s brief discussion of the relation between faith and geometric proof. In particular, the claim about two parallel lines is a claim that is true by definition. One cannot test whether two parallel lines will ever cross, because (a) a “line” does not empirically exist, and (b) the idea of “parallel” simply means that the two lines will not cross. There is no more “faith” in accepting this claim than there is faith in accepting the claim that ” bachelors are men.”

    I’ll add that there is a long and venerable tradition of trying to prove God’s existence along these lines–i.e., to prove that the very idea of God as the greatest and most complete being means that He necessarily exists. In some sense, is at the heart of the “ontological argument,” used by Avicenna (aka, Ibn Sina), Anselm, and Descartes, among others.

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