Sunday, February 27, 2011

Calvinism's Weak Defense Against Fatalism

Supporters of Calvinistic predestination (or, predeterminism) argue that their philosophy, Calvinism, is not the same thing as Fatalism. The online Wikipedia definition of Fatalism is:
Fatalism generally refers to several of the following ideas: That free will does not exist, meaning therefore that history has progressed in the only manner possible and that man has no power to influence the future, or indeed, his own actions. This belief is very similar to predeterminism.
According to RC Sproul's own definition (Chosen By God, page 191):
Fatalism literally means that the affairs of men are controlled either by whimsical sub-deities (the Fates)...
The Calvinistic approach is to change words, meanings, and reality in order to hoodwink themselves and others into embracing an illogical conclusion. The key words I want to use against RC Sproul are the words:
  1. Whimsical
  2. Sub-deities
Sproul says that Fatalism means the sub-deities, or gods, control the affairs of men according to their whimsical plans or desires. When a Christian in the Western world considers the Greek gods or some barbarian's deity to be the sub-deities mentioned by Sproul, then Fatalism seems outdated, ridiculous, naive and illogical. Although the word whimsical means "given to fanciful notions and erratic, unpredictable thoughts or behaviors," it is still directed by the will and pleasure of the sub-deity.

Sproul expects me, the reader, to accept his mocking of Fatalism as he defends the integrity of Calvinistic predestination. He says:
Predestination is based neither on a mythical view of goddesses playing with our lives nor upon a view of destiny controlled by the chance collision of atoms. Predestination is rooted in the character of a personal and righteous God, a God who is the sovereign Lord of history.
Now, I am a Christian and I would much rather have Jehovah be sovereign than Zeus, but do you see the contraction in Sproul's defense of Calvinism (predestination)? Sproul says Fatalism is "far removed from the biblical doctrine of predestination as the East is from the West," yet, predestination is described exactly the same as Fatalism. Sproul merely changes the name of the god and "whimsical" is replaced with "the good pleasure of His will" (Ephesians 1:5)

Sproul then states his confidence in Calvinistic Predestination while forgetting that worshipers of Zeus or other reprobates may not be quite so excited about Sproul's god having predestined Sproul to glory, while, at the same time, this same god passed by others, no fault of their own, in order to condemn them to eternal damnation. To be a reprobate in Calvinism means to be one of those NOT chosen or elected by God's good pleasure and to enjoy eternal salvation, but rather to be damned to eternal judgment in order "to show His wrath and make His power known." Sproul goes on to glory in his god while forgetting that this is not good news to others who are not predestined. Sproul is caught up in this Calvinistic fatalism and vehemently argues that it is not the same thing as Fatalism:
That my destiny would ultimately be in the hands of an indifferent or hostile force is terrifying. That it is in the hands of a righteous and loving God is quite another matter.
Once again, the only difference is WHO the god is and WHY he is acting out his predetermined will in human lives. I ask how is it different in character or essence? If you were favored in Greek mythology by the gods for no reason but the god's own desires, then this philosophy is called Fatalism by Sproul. But, if you are favored by the god of Calvinsim for no reason (the "U" of TULIP, or Unconditional Election) other than the "good pleasure" of God, then Sproul calls this glorious. Sproul is terrified to have his fate in the hands of a Greek goddess, just as I and the reprobates are terrified to have our fate (which could result in forced eternal damnation with no hope of ever having had a chance to accept Christ) in the hands of Calvin's and Sproul's god.

Sproul then uses God's name and character in vain when he attempts to sugar coat his own fatalistic philosophy as the true Christian faith by writing:
God is altogether holy. I prefer that my destiny be with him. 
Of course Sprould prefers his destiny be with his god, Sproul believes he is favored, elected or chosen by his god. But, others of us remain confused and, even, terrified that there is no good news for all of mankind.

Galyn Wiemers
Generation Word