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Old 11-10-2007, 01:30 PM   #61
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How so? Grace is for everyone, and you don't even have to do anything good to get it. Seems beyond fair to me.
Are you really telling the whole story here?

Isn't it the case that Calvinists believe that some are eternally damned through no fault of their own but on the whim of a capricious Creator? How fair is that?
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Old 11-10-2007, 01:43 PM   #62
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Isn't it the case that Calvinists believe that some are eternally damned through no fault of their own but on the whim of a capricious Creator? How fair is that?
No, that's not what I believe and yes, I'm a Calvinist. As a Calvinist, I believe that God is entirely omnipotent. He knows everything, he controls everything. If he *wanted* to preeminently save some people and damn others, he could. That's all I believe. Just like I believe that if God *wanted* to have it rain money on me, he could. So I give election about as much thought as I do money raining down on me. For me to say that *I* am saved and *you* are not is downright blasphemous. I am not God and thus, I can't pretend like I know who is saved and when and why. To do so is to me a waste of time and again, blasphemous. The theme at the heart of all of Cauvin's theology is simply that GOD is in full control and thus we cannot assume that our works will save us or that we could even try to understand things the way he does. General and Special Revelation are also Calvinist theologies, but see people only ever bring up the things that have been twisted and bastardized over time (the idea of predestination and election). No one wants to talk about the things that make sense, they only bring up the things that have been misconstrued to exclude and put down others. General Revelation says that ALL people have access to God's grace simply by being part of the creation. Therefore, someone on a remote Pacific island speaking and unknown language with no books or Bibles is just as Christian and just as saved as anyone else. Cauvin's ideas of election and predestination were more of afterthoughts when you consider how much time and volume was spent on his other ideas (but again, no one seems to really care about that....). It was the church leaders and people after him that clung to it, probably to try to glorify themselves and belittle others. Point is, if you believe in a God that is totally in control of everything, you cannot logically say that it's not possible for him to know beforehand and pre-elect. Doesn't mean it happens or that people should assume they are in one group or the other, it just means that if it were God-willed, it could happen.

I personally believe that grace and general revelation are about as fair as it gets.
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Old 11-10-2007, 02:07 PM   #63
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Here is the thing about grace and works. ... In my personal experience I have found that my works affect my faith in grace. When I fail to uphold God's moral law or fail to pray or remind myself of God's will and love through reading the scriptures...I find that it affects my faith and trust in God. Although I do believe I am saved by faith rather than works, I have found that my faith is quite affected at times by my works...and vice versa.
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:26 PM   #64
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the thing is...grace says that no one is righteous in the creators eyes...no one is always selfless...no one always chooses a long term good over a short term good....grace says that man owes something he can't pay, but the one wronged(god)..(or the human being choosing to forgive) is choosing to forgo the payment of that debt.
In order to buy into grace, you have to buy into the idea above. If you believe on the other hand that some people are basically pretty good (and thus have no need of grace) then it does become manifestly unfair. The good people get in on the merits of their goodness, while the assholes ride in cackling all the way, on the merits of grace.

I personally agree with popsadie's statement above so I don't have any complaints about grace. I'm grateful for it.

I think what we may be missing is what I believe is the transformative power of grace. I don't see any assholes riding into heaven cackling at how they managed to work the system of grace to get in. Grace, once understood and accepted, changes a person, I believe. If it doesn't, then I don't think you've really accpeted the grace of God, nor do I believe you will WANT to spend an eternity wtih a God who won't let you live in the cruel and self-centered way in which you are accustomed.

I understand the idea that BonoSaint implied of not wanting to see the most brutal human beings--the rapists and murderers and so on-- receive grace at the end no matter who sorry they are for what they did or how changed they've become. But ultimately, I would contend that a refusal to grant grace to some penitents on the grounds that their crimes are just unforgivable would ultimately create a sadder, more painful universe.

And Irvine, on one point I agree with you. Certainly all of this is how we deal with the reality of our impending deaths. The issue isn't so much that we're coping via the hope of grace (or karma or whatever esle) as it is whether we may be right that there is something else beyond this span of 70-90 years (if we're lucky) or if indeed there is no hope at all beyond what we've got in front of us. As long as our beliefs about what may come after POSTIVELY affect what we do with what we KNOW we have--this moment, then I don't see a problem.
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:42 PM   #65
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I appreciate your points. I don't know that I want someone who is genuinely remorseful and changed be punished for all time. But, yeah, I want some kind of accountability. Wanderer make a good point a while back. Who is God to forgive the harm one does another? That doesn't belong to Him.
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:46 PM   #66
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but..in Christian theology..the harm does.
We are created by God and therefore owned by God. As the owner and creator of humans, He has the power to forgive the harm done to or by one of his human creations.
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:51 PM   #67
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There we part.

Although I once believed, perhaps this is the reason I no longer do. I understand the theology. I no longer buy into it. I'm not trying to challenge anybody else's beliefs. The older I've gotten, the more humanist I've become, the less theistic.
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Old 11-11-2007, 07:19 AM   #68
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I really, really should stay out of these discussions. For my own sake.
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Old 11-11-2007, 08:10 AM   #69
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I really, really should stay out of these discussions. For my own sake.
No, you really shouldn't stay out of these discussions. . .for our sakes
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Old 11-11-2007, 08:49 AM   #70
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Thank you for your warm and appreciated welcome while I sort all of this out for myself. I cannot reconcile humanity with the theology I hear so I cannot go there. From the time I was young to now, I always looked for the commonalities between man and God. What was the meeting point? And I always thought that there was a meeting point beyond being a creation. I always speculated that humanity was the conscience of God and we are valuable not because we are to love God but we are to challenge him. If there is a God, that seems true to me.
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