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Old 04-16-2004, 11:23 PM   #16
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OK, Jonathan Edwards (Calvinist Revivalist) on Predestination.....

Everyone has something that to them is the most pure thing, the best thing. For some people, this is God. For others, it could be wealth or their own personal happiness. There is a difference between "freedom" and "freedom of the will". Everyone's will desires the one thing that they think is the best. There is NO "freedom of the will" b/c YOU do not choose what you think is the best thing. For example, if I'm correct that you are recently engaged....you did not just decide one day that you would fall in love with a marry your fiance. Also, you couldn't wake up tomorrow morning and choose not to love her anymore. You CAN choose how you love her, how you treat her, etc, but you CAN'T keep yourself from loving her. The same is true for religion. Humanity is free in a negative sense: freedom is the absence of constraint or restraint. You are free to pursue that thing which to you is the greatest thing, but you are NOT free to choose what that thing is. For those whom that "thing" is God, these are the elect. Their wills are fixed on God and they will eventually come to pursue God above all else. There are other things that are good that can be tempting, but whatever is the BEST thing is what determines who is elect.

This is a helpful metaphor:

Imagine you are on a class trip to an art museum. You step off the bus and immediately inside the lobby is a picture on the wall. You notice that five of your classmates are staring at the picture and walking towards it with looks of awe on their faces. You look at the picture and see a good painting, maybe a great painting, but you know there's a better painting you've been waiting to see inside the museum. These people didn't decide to like that painting the best, they just did. You didn't decide to not like it the best, you just don't. You look at the painting and try to see what's so great about it, but you just can't see why it's their favorite. All of you are free to walk around the museum and stare at whichever paintings you want. No one's forcing you to look at the picture in the lobby and no one's forcing the people staring at it to stare at THAT painting (constraint). At the same time, no one's keeping you from finding your favorite and no one's keeping the people in the lobby from only looking at that one painting the entire trip (restraint).

Edwards also places emphasis on the beauty of God. The thing that attracts the elect to God is his instrinsic beauty that manifests itself through Creation (Edwards has another very interesting conclusion on the purpose of Creation/humanity). For those not elect, they aren't attracted to God the way the elect are. Maybe for them money is the most beautiful thing.


I'm writing this all without my notes so I hope I didn't miss anything important.
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Old 04-20-2004, 03:58 PM   #17
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Don't worry, i really am going to give a response to this. I've just been hit with a nasty bug this weekend, and as soon as my mind is coherent enough to put two sentences together, i'll tackle this one. Sorry for the delay. I hope to be back on my feet soon.

(PS, if you're wondering why i still managed to respond to the "absolute truth" thread . . . i just couldn't resist. I knew i could write it shortly, but this response will require some effort.)
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Old 04-20-2004, 04:36 PM   #18
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Oh no worries! Get well soon!
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Old 04-23-2004, 05:31 PM   #19
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Allrighty. Back on track. Clear sinuses and I can walk without passing out! It's good to be human again.

Before I take on this beast, my first point:

Quote:
For example, if I'm correct that you are recently engaged....you did not just decide one day that you would fall in love with a marry your fiance.
So I see that you read my post in ZC. BUT, I also see that there isn't a note of congratulations. Hmm. Don't worry, I'm not offended. I'm sure you had plenty of things going on and simply forgot. It happens. I understand. Really. No big deal. No need to even mention it. I mean, it's not like people get engaged once in a lifetime or anything. Or that you're the first person on Interference that I've had any real dialogue with. Or that we're both from the same state. No big deal. I barely even noticed. And no matter what you hear from anyone else, this adds nothing to the stereotypes that many of us on the east-side of The Mitten hold of those on the west-side. I think those claims are childish and unfair. Sure, you guys may have all the museums, universities, parks, trees, people without guns, nights without wondering if Tiny & the 8-Mile Crew are going to come back for their payment, etc., but that doesn't for a minute make me think that what people say about you guys is true. That's just silly.
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Old 04-23-2004, 05:53 PM   #20
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Now for real. Sorry about that. I'm healthy again, and that seems to put me in a mischievous mood. Just ask the Mrs.

I must say that your statement were very, very intriguing. That's a new spin on predestination and the state of the elect I've never encountered before. Interesting . . . but still doesn't answer my problems with Calvinism.

Frankly, I'm not sure if I buy this "freedom" vs. "freedom of the will" thing. Everyone has a "best thing" in their lives, and they are helplessly drawn towards it as their life passion? To move back to the debate strategy of the sandbox in 3rd Grade: "says who?" This is quite an assumption to make on the psychology of human behavior, let alone make it the basis of your understanding of God.

We all have attractions/passions/"best things" in our lives, some of the time without explanation. If we're honest, though, most of those attractions are based on infatuations that are reinforced through logical reasons. For example, the Joshua Tree was what hooked me into U2. It was catchy, meaningful, and just kind of . . . good. I was instantly drawn to it without reason just as the example you used in the art museum. My present obsession, though, only came to life with the reinforcement of the depth of their passion, their unique perspective on Christian faith in pop-culture, the sheer brilliance of Bono's metaphor, a deeply spiritual attack in the live show, the ability to re-invent, and a never ending supply of kickin' tunes. But I love U2 because I CHOOSE to love U2. Not because I'm helplessly drawn into them. If when
the next album comes out, they announce that their entire careers were just a joke on Christianity and they were just trained actors fooling influential spiritual seekers, I'm afraid I'd have a hard time being a fan anymore. Not because I can instantly stop loving their music and their message, but because my love and devotion comes with a choice.

In the same way, I fell deeply in love with my fiance for many reasons, few of which were apparent when we went on our first date. As time went on, and as I began to know her more, I began to truly love her with passion and depth that I cannot and will not be ever able to explain. Still, I had a choice. If she suddenly told me she was a ex-con who had a sex-change operation and has been hosting orgies every Tuesday night for the last six months, I'm not going to love her anymore. I'll still have emotions for what we've been through and the emotional and spiritual ties that bind us together would not be instantly severed, but I can choose to reject and separate myself from that which is not good for me or does not deserve my love. It would be hell, but I could do it for proper reasons.

My point is, I think "choice" is a foundational piece to our love and devotion to God, and I've always had a hard time understanding those who take that out of our love for God. I love those brothers and sisters as my own blood, but I simply cannot put my intellect around that concept. God chose to love me, a wretched and worthless sinner. In light of His grace, I chose to love Him, the wonderful and glorious Lord. Hallelujah, amen.

So what do I do with Scripture that plainly uses the words "predestined," "elect," and the like? Join us next episode, same bat-time, same bat-channel.

P.S. Please feel free to respond to this before I write again. I have no resentment whatsoever to those on the Calvinist side, I just simply can't understand. But I want to. I would love to know how they answer the questions I've never been able to.
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Old 04-24-2004, 01:59 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by stammer476
[B]Frankly, I'm not sure if I buy this "freedom" vs. "freedom of the will" thing. Everyone has a "best thing" in their lives, and they are helplessly drawn towards it as their life passion? To move back to the debate strategy of the sandbox in 3rd Grade: "says who?" This is quite an assumption to make on the psychology of human behavior, let alone make it the basis of your understanding of God. [b]
I guess it's just and idea unique to Edwards. Honestly, this Edwards stuff is as new to me as it is to you...I'll try and do the best I can....

Quote:
We all have attractions/passions/"best things" in our lives, some of the time without explanation. If we're honest, though, most of those attractions are based on infatuations that are reinforced through logical reasons. For example, the Joshua Tree was what hooked me into U2. It was catchy, meaningful, and just kind of . . . good. I was instantly drawn to it without reason just as the example you used in the art museum. My present obsession, though, only came to life with the reinforcement of the depth of their passion, their unique perspective on Christian faith in pop-culture, the sheer brilliance of Bono's metaphor, a deeply spiritual attack in the live show, the ability to re-invent, and a never ending supply of kickin' tunes. But I love U2 because I CHOOSE to love U2. Not because I'm helplessly drawn into them. If when
the next album comes out, they announce that their entire careers were just a joke on Christianity and they were just trained actors fooling influential spiritual seekers, I'm afraid I'd have a hard time being a fan anymore. Not because I can instantly stop loving their music and their message, but because my love and devotion comes with a choice.

In the same way, I fell deeply in love with my fiance for many reasons, few of which were apparent when we went on our first date. As time went on, and as I began to know her more, I began to truly love her with passion and depth that I cannot and will not be ever able to explain. Still, I had a choice. If she suddenly told me she was a ex-con who had a sex-change operation and has been hosting orgies every Tuesday night for the last six months, I'm not going to love her anymore. I'll still have emotions for what we've been through and the emotional and spiritual ties that bind us together would not be instantly severed, but I can choose to reject and separate myself from that which is not good for me or does not deserve my love. It would be hell, but I could do it for proper reasons.



OK, I do have answers for this. I'll try to explain, but I have trouble with words sometimes....First, look at your last few statements about if your fiance turned out to be a horrible person. Yes, you'd break up with her. BUT, you'd still love her. You'd break up with her NOT b/c you don't love her anymore, but because you shouldn't love her anymore. Like you said, the break-up would be painfull, like "hell".

Gosh, I've got all these explainations that make sense in my head....I wish we could talk in person....

OK, one thing I did not explain about Edwards before is that he believes in the idea of understanding + affection. This means for everything we understand, we have some emotional reaction to it. Your loving your fiance is NOT a result of you deciding to love her, it's a result of you understanding things about her and then reacting to those things you know about her with love. Your love of U2 is not your choice to love them, it's your understanding/knowing how Edge plays guitar, what Bono's voice sounds like, etc, and reacting to this with love and admiration.

Do you really choose to react the way you do? I don't think so. I mean, there's a lot of bands out there I respect and I'd like to be a fan of, but I just can't like them. I just don't get into the music. I can't choose to love them or not love them b/c my emotions regarding their music are simply based on the knowledge and understanding I gain from my senses, like what they sound like, look like, etc.

Instead of looking at things you can't choose to do, consider something you can't choose NOT to do. This is horrible, but say something really awful happened to your fiance, like she was raped and beat up. Could you choose NOT to be sad? Could you really choose NOT to care at all? I don't think so.

Can you really say WHY you love her? Take me for example, I don't know why I love my boyfriend, I just do. Consider this: when I met him he was dating someone that lived like 10 feet down the hall from me and they'd been going out for years. I tried NOT to like him, b/c he already had a girlfriend. But I can't stop myself from liking something I just plain like! I didn't sit down one day and tell my emotions to like him, either. It just happened. I can say all the little things I like about him, all the things I know and understand that cause an emotional reaction of love, but I CAN'T say that I choose to feel this way or WHAT it was that made me feel this way.

Also, Edwards, having an aswer for everything, would say that if you were to break up with your fiance, she was never that best "thing" anyway. Kind of like how people would try and make you fell better by saying "oh, she wasn't the ONE for you anyway...". Edwards recognizes that there are many "things" we hold in high regard, and a lot of times we *think* we know which one is best, or we try to make the one WE want to be the best be the best, but in the end, only one is best. That's why Christianity can still for Edwards be a life-long struggle to find God. You can start out thinking that money and greed is the best, but later on find God and realize you were totally wrong until then.

OK, I have to work on a project now, please ask as many questions as you want!
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Old 04-24-2004, 02:00 PM   #22
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I guess a summary of what I said would be:

What you *think* is your choice is really just a reaction to something you know and understand.

Like you said, if U2 becomes a sell-out, you quit liking them not because you choose to, but b/c you're reacting to something they did that you understand.
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Old 04-30-2004, 06:25 PM   #23
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I know, I'm the slowest reply-er in history. This wedding planning stuff just plain sucks. If Phil ever pops the question, tell him you want to go to Vegas and do it Britney Spears style. It's just easier for everyone.
____

Lies, I think our main point of difference here is coming down to symantics. I think we're using different terms in regards to the same idea. That being said, though, there are some things I definately disagree with you on. That'll come later . . .

Quote:
Can you really say WHY you love her? Take me for example, I don't know why I love my boyfriend, I just do.
I have to divide where I agree and disagree with you here on where attraction meets true LOVE. No, I cannot say exactly why I was first attracted to The Lady or why she first caught my eye. Sure, she's blindingly beautiful, intimidatingly intelligent, and one of the genuinley funniest women I've ever met. But you and I both know that attraction is more than that. It's emotion, it's chemical reactions, it's animal instinct. However, I CAN say excatly why I love her. In fact, for our one-year anniversary, I made a little heart-shaped box and filled it with 200+ reasons why I love her, each piece of paper describing a small reason of her persona that makes me love her and want to spend the rest of my life loving her. I know it in my heart AND in my head. And I would be quite uncomfortable doing all of this wedding planning if I couldn't love her with both.

This is one of the ways that I think our society has jacked up their view of love. I think one of the reasons marriage is failing so badly in our country is because people have relied too much on "love" to come from the heart and not the head. Too many Hollywood movies where the couple throws logic and wisdom to the wind to frollic off into the sunset of infatuation. Too many songs on the radio seeping into our minds the false teaching that all we really need in life to feel happy is one more shallow relationship. And we come to where we are today. Men and women frustrated, bitter, and angry at one another because the "feelings" of infatuation have worn off, and the bare bones of love aren't enough for them. They've been so indoctrinated into believing that love is all heart that they can't even recognize it any more when the emotions die down.

Example. I was talking with a friend of mine a couple of years ago. She was venting her frustrations to me over how her boyfriend was planning their engagement and future wedding so "logically" and "systematically." She complained about how love was supposed to be about feelings and emotions, and his method of using his head was "killing her." Now, once the emotions subsided and we could talk rationally, it turned out that this guy was simply using common sense to plan out finances, job-situations, etc. to make sure they could set up their future family in the best possible situation. She wanted them to just run off on a whim and get married in secret. It boiled down to the simple fact that she wanted to get married a lot sooner than he did. And based on the facts on both sides, I had to advise her to stick with HIS plan, not hers. Love is a gift from God, and it entails more than just emotion and feeling. It encompasses the head, the heart, the spirit, the soul, the hands and feet and guts and everything else in this crazy shell we live in. It encompasses all that we are. To limit love to just the heart is to diminish what love is supposed to be. It's asking for love to come from a small percentage of who you are instead of all that you are and all you will be. Basically, this is a long way of saying that you're supposed to know WHY you love someone (and I mean LOVE, not just attraction), for true love needs reasoning and logic just as much as it needs romance and emotion. Love needs all of you.

That being said, I can't in any sense limit myself to believing that the things that are important to me became important to me just because I've reacted in a pre-conditioned way to outside stimuli. That's insulting to those things that I care about the most. I love them and they love me for a REASON. For reason comes from my mind, and reason is part of who I am. To love them with all of me, I must love them with reason. Anything less requires that my love for them is nothing more than a shadow of consequences. And quite frankly, I can't accept that.

We need reasons for loving those around us. When times get rough or The Lady has found a way to make me upset, I need those cold, hard reasons to remind why I stick through this relationship when it gets difficult. Reason is the anchor that holds our love together when the storms continue to rage around us. Reason is the rock upon which our future family can stand strong throughout the changing seasons. I need reason, and the fundamental aspect of reason is CHOICE. I choose this or that because it makes the most sense to me. I choose because reason guides my thought process. I may not choose to be attracted to The Lady, or U2, or God for that matter, but I surely choose to love them. They have all given me ample reason to do so and have proven themselves worthy. My emotions are obviously connected to that choice, but it's a heck of a lot safer to let your emotions follow your head than let your head follow your emotions. If I choose to love or not to love, my emotions will eventually catch up.

Quote:
Also, Edwards, having an aswer for everything, would say that if you were to break up with your fiance, she was never that best "thing" anyway. Kind of like how people would try and make you fell better by saying "oh, she wasn't the ONE for you anyway..."
Oh, c'mon. That's not even good logic. That's a dog chasing its tail and getting satisfaction out of a mouthful of fur. I don't even have to break this argument down. I think you're smart enough to see the problems with this one. Edwards is simply covering his own butt by begging-the-question.


BTW, totally off topic, but I was thinking the other day about when the last time was I visited Grand Rapids. It was last year when the Dead Sea Scrolls were exhibited at the Public Museum. Did you get a chance to see that? Oh, man, what a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was so glad to have been able to see them. All of my Hebrew professors were extremely jealous. (Oh my, that makes me sound like a huge nerd.)

Anyway, I've got to close up work again. We seem to be spiraling around this one theme, and I haven't even gotten to my major problems with Calvinism yet! Oh well, maybe next time.
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Old 04-30-2004, 07:23 PM   #24
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I have a joke for Calvinism ... But I don't think it would add to the discussion. So I'll
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Old 04-30-2004, 07:32 PM   #25
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Feel free to share. Lies and I will always find a way to get back on topic.
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Old 05-01-2004, 01:14 AM   #26
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JOKE---> If I were Calvinist, I would not be saved at all.
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Old 05-07-2004, 05:35 PM   #27
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One week and no response. You haven't given up on me, have you?
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Old 05-26-2004, 12:16 PM   #28
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One last "bump" to announce the official death of this thread. I'm terribly sorry if I offended you, Lies, or said something to make you stop responding.

Good luck and God bless. See you around.
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Old 05-26-2004, 02:19 PM   #29
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Hey, wait! Honestly, I was hoping you'd bump this again 'cus I was too lazy to dig around
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Old 05-26-2004, 02:20 PM   #30
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OK, where were we.... your last post is frickin' loaded! I've got to get my mind back on track (reminder: I heard of all this stuff for the first time this spring, so it's new to me as well and sometimes I just don't have a good answer!)
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