Calvinism: For People Who Prefer Diagrams to Actual Human Contact

Calvinism: For People Who Prefer Diagrams to Actual Human Contact July 14, 2009

Down in the comboxes on the recent James White fracas, some of the AOMinions turned up, not so much to talk as to download pre-recorded Calvinist boilerplate like:

If anyone on this comment page actually cares about the person Mary, who is a created Being, saved by God’s grace, do as she did.

A concise encapsulation of Catholic Marian teaching and everything my book has to say.

You’ll find those answers in Scripture alone.

A purely human tradition and non sequitur stapled on to Sacred Tradition artificially and not following one bit from the words preceding it.

Take off the stapled-on bit and we completely agree. Why then seek to fight?
To this, no reply is made, simply another pre-recorded download:

The old, orally passed down teaching defense is what the Romanist must turn to in order to defend his beliefs. The fact that the gospel was already completed and delivered before being written demonstrates that we are to be on guard against the Romanist and every other sect that commits similar errors. (Galatians 1:8) What will the Romanist be told to believe tomorrow? Who knows, because he is never satisfied with the once and for all delivered gospel. The additions, which are supposed orally passed down non-verifiable traditions, will continue to flow from the hills of Rome. Never satisfying and always leaving it’s followers wanting for more, because Jesus Christ doesn’t satify the appetite of those He hasn’t saved. They always need more.

As for me, the Jesus of the Scriptures is so much more than I could ever want or need. He and He alone has my heart, soul and mind. When my eyes look to Heaven in prayer, it is my God and Savior that is the object of my heart. I can’t even imagine directing it any where else. That’s what happened to this former Romanist in the spring of 96. It took me almost a year to understand from the Scriptures why I was unable to pray to anyone else besides God. I just couldn’t do it anymore. It’s because He and He alone purchased me with His blood. No one else. That’s why.

I know I can’t make you understand this, it has to come from the Holy Spirit. I hope it does.

Nice Calvinist boilerplate. Very Pavlovian. Soooooo…. pre-recorded. Cuz he thinks for himself.

Oh, and you gotta love the “I was raised Catholic and can tell you…” stamp guaranteeing freshness.

Even better is the “works availeth nothing” thing after working to post one piece of Calvinist agitprop after another. One of the mysteries of predestinarians is why they constantly labor to push things along to a foreordained conclusion in which not one syllable they write has anything whatsoever to do with bringing that conclusion to pass. Is evangelization busy work? Who knows?

It point (as it always has) to the central flaw at the core of Calvinism: its deep and fundamental inhumanity. The Prophet Chesterton remarks:

Every one who has had the misfortune to talk with people in the heart or on the edge of mental disorder, knows that their most sinister quality is a horrible clarity of detail; a connecting of one thing with another in a map more elaborate than a maze. If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment. He is not hampered by a sense of humour or by charity, or by the dumb certainties of experience. He is the more logical for losing certain sane affections. Indeed, the common phrase for insanity is in this respect a misleading one. The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.

The madman’s explanation of a thing is always complete, and often in a purely rational sense satisfactory. Or, to speak more strictly, the insane explanation, if not conclusive, is at least unanswerable; this may be observed specially in the two or three commonest kinds of madness. If a man says (for instance) that men have a conspiracy against him, you cannot dispute it except by saying that all the men deny that they are conspirators; which is exactly what conspirators would do. His explanation covers the facts as much as yours. Or if a man says that he is the rightful King of England, it is no complete answer to say that the existing authorities call him mad; for if he were King of England that might be the wisest thing for the existing authorities to do. Or if a man says that he is Jesus Christ, it is no answer to tell him that the world denies his divinity; for the world denied Christ’s.

Nevertheless he is wrong. But if we attempt to trace his error in exact terms, we shall not find it quite so easy as we had supposed. Perhaps the nearest we can get to expressing it is to say this: that his mind moves in a perfect but narrow circle. A small circle is quite as infinite as a large circle; but, though it is quite as infinite, it is not so large. In the same way the insane explanation is quite as complete as the sane one, but it is not so large. A bullet is quite as round as the world, but it is not the world. There is such a thing as a narrow universality; there is such a thing as a small and cramped eternity; you may see it in many modern religions. Now, speaking quite externally and empirically, we may say that the strongest and most unmistakable mark of madness is this combination between a logical completeness and a spiritual contraction. The lunatic’s theory explains a large number of things, but it does not explain them in a large way. I mean that if you or I were dealing with a mind that was growing morbid, we should be chiefly concerned not so much to give it arguments as to give it air, to convince it that there was something cleaner and cooler outside the suffocation of a single argument.

Logical completeness and spiritual contraction fits the madness that is Calvinism perfectly. The “Jesus Christ doesn’t satify the appetite of those He hasn’t saved” is the Calvinist way of saying that the world is divvied up between the Elect (and Calvinist are *always* fortunely among them and the rest of us, whom God may have created for the purpose of damnation). I well remember a conversation years ago on Steve Ray’s board, when a well-meaning unbeliever asked, “Does God love me?” The Catholics, of course, replied out of the common sense of the Tradition and said, “Of course!” The Calvinist on the board was bound by his diagram to reply, “I don’t know.” If you win the cosmic lottery and are Elect, then yes. If not, too bad for you.

Because of the insane logical completeness and spiritual contraction of Calvinism, it’s adherents say mad and inhuman things like:

What great lengths the creature will go to in order to seek help and comfort of other creatures in the spirit realm. The one true eternal God revealed in the Scripture’s doesn’t satisfy the creatures on the broad road. Instead, they turn to one another, thinking they can obtain what only God can provide. Repent and trust God alone!

Normal people do not pit God against his good creatures this way. But Calvinism (which Trent analyzed as a resurgent form of Manichaeaism) routinely does, at least in it anti-Catholic polemics. Of course, five centuries has done something to wear the edge of Calvinism more demented hatred of creatures. Even the guy who wrote this would probably not slap his child if he sought comfort in the arms of his mother after a scraped knee or (like Calvin) have somebody flogged for praying at the grave of a loved one. Calvinists, after long exposure to normal human emotion, have backed down on the creatures are absolutely worthless in providing help and comfort. They have figured out, at least on a day to day basis, that human rightly seek help and comfort from creatures all the time. That’s why there aren’t any Calvinist Child Rearing Books urging parent to punish their children as godless infidels when they call for their mothers after a nightmare, or Calvinist counselors slapping grieving parents around for their sinfully misplaced love of their dead child or Calvinist marriage counselors urging couples to stop finding love and consolation in the idolatrous love of their spouses.

Instead, the Calvinist zealot now confines his denunciation of enjoyment, supplication, and love of creatures strictly and solely to those creatures who happen to be dead. That’s what that qualifier about the “spirit realm” is all about. My combox Calvinist knows, at some level, that it’s insane to shout “trust in God alone” to a child who wants his Mother. He senses at some level what non-insane people know: that one of the ways God mediates his love and help to us is through creatures like our mothers. So he doesn’t denounce people for honoring their mother or asking her help. But when it comes to the Mother of God, all the demented rhetoric comes out full throttle, even though it is no more crazy to ask for her help than it is to ask for the help of our earthly mother.

I doubt this correspondent can be persuaded to disengage from the project of downloading pre-recorded Calvinist boilerplate to consider such an obvious bit of common sense. But I hope others, not caught in the grip of Calvinist insanity, might.

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