Naked Calvinism: the secret will of God

Youtube Version

All Calvinists who try to be consistent face a  formidable challenge.

On the one hand, they believe that God forbids us to commit sins such as adultery, thief, murder, homosexual lifestyle and so on and so forth.
On the other hand, they also believe that God predetermined and ultimately caused people to carry out all these wicked sins.

To alleviate this tension, they resort to the notion of the secret will of God.

A Calvinist website gives us a nice illustration of how this plays out in practice:

Jan-Massys-Bathsheba-Observed-by-King-David

“Think of David on the roof of his palace looking down and seeing beautiful Bathsheba washing. What was he to do? What was God’s will for him? Surely the Bible makes it plain. The Seventh Commandment states clearly: “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. God’s revealed will tells him what God wants him to do. God hates sin and desires His people to obey His commandments. But is there not another will in God? What about predestination and the decrees of God? God foreordains whatsoever comes to pass. His plan includes everything and nothing is left to chance. God “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph.1 :11). He is not the author of sin and yet, since everything is included in His decrees, sin must be there too. This means that in a certain sense it was God’s will that David commit adultery. Nothing can happen but what God wills and David did commit adultery. The implication of this is that there are two “wills” in God…

…Surely it is impossible to have two “wills” in one individual. From the case of David we see that the two “wills” in God appear to be contradictory. The secret will determines that David should sin while the revealed will tells him that he must not sin. Of course there is no conflict in the mind of God. We find it impossible to understand how God can will that an individual sin and yet not be the author of that sin. What we often forget is that God’s mind is infinitely great. We are grasshoppers in comparison to the One who sits on the circle of the earth. We cannot comprehend God fully and even after an eternity of studying Him He will still be mysterious to us.”

Following my methodology, I won’t really go into the favorite prooftexts that Calvanists use to defend this blasphemous non-sense profound truth, since if I can only show that only one text is hugely at odds with reformed theology, I would have refuted the whole system since it cannot exist without an inerrant Bible.

That said, I cannot help but notice that divine determinism is not the only plausible interpretation of most of the texts they use. It is worth noting that the text explicitely speaking of two wills, namely Leviticus 29.29

 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law”

does not say that these secret things contradict the revealed will of God and it is a stretch to think this is what the author of Leviticus thought.

There are other Biblical texts which make clear that God cannot lie (according to the authors):

Titus 1:2: “[I]n hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.”

Hebrews 6:18: “[I]t is impossible for God to lie.”

Calvinists are obliged to considerably water down the meaning of the texts and pretend they just mean that God cannot directly lie but can order men not to rape while predetermining them to commit this very sin.

Jeremiah 32:35 is extremely embarassing for all divine determinists holding fast to Biblical inerrancy.

35 They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molek, though I never commandednor did it enter my mind—that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.”

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I think it is already very hard to reconcile the non-deceptive character of God with the blue text due to the same reasons I mentioned about David and Bathsheba. But the red text seems to be a fatal blow to all kinds of Calvinist claims.
Reformed apologists do the only thing they can and try to argue that the red phrase has to be considered as an allegory or hyperbole, or that “mind” could be translated as “heart”.
But try a moment to think about what that means.
God predetermined the Israelites to commit these very atrocities. He could have given them other desires but He decided they would sacrifice their children, He is the ultimate cause of their horrible behavior.

And then, while speaking to them, he told them that He never wanted them to commit these horrendous acts, without giving them any indication this was just a figure of speech.

If Calvinism is true and God really spoke at that time, I see only two possibilities: this was either an odious and detestable act of deception or God suffered under a split-brain or multiple personality disorder back then.

Now I know what many Calvinists are going to quote:

““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isaiah 55.8)

But there is a big irony here. Reading the verse in its immediate context shows it is all about reconciliation, that God invites all evildoers to give up their wicked ways and come back to Him. This verse seems rather to indicate that God is much more loving, much more forgiving than any man can be and even than any man could ever imagine to be.
For reformed theologians, this verse means than God is probably more vicious than the worst criminal who has ever lived.

Kingdom hearts (Lothringisch: unnen).

Kingdom Hearts is a fascinating combination of final fantasy, a Japanese Role Playing Game and the universes of Walt Disney (first and foremost Mickey and Donald).

Kingdom hearts is a world (or rather many parallel worlds) where darkness is lurking in every heart, constantly trying to suffocate it.

The keyblade is a mysterious weapon allowing to defeat the sinister creatures spawned by the obscurity.

kingdom_hearts_2_by_Bellebaby

My favorite game of the series is “Kingdom hearts, birth by sleep” which take place at the very beginning of the story.

In the above link all cutscenes of the movie have been gathered.

I think that this movie is wonderful for children.

Besides being very entertaining, it conveys profound moral messages and lessons. But adults can find many things inspiring too.

Since it lasts six hours, it is obvious it cannot be watched at once.

Spoiler are allowed in the comments!

 

 

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Lorraine Franconian  – Lothringisch

Kingdom Hearts isch e faszinierendi Kombination von Final Fantasy, e RPG, un de Universum von Walt Disney (vor allem Mickey un Donald).

Kingdom Hearts isch eeni Welt (oder eher viele parallele Welte), wu de Dunkelhäit in jedem Herz lauert un ständig versucht, es ze ersticke.

De Schlisselschwert isch eeni mysteriösi Waffe, de verwendet werd, um de unheimlichi Kreatüre ze bezwinge, die durch de Dunkelhäit hervorgerufe were.

kingdom_hearts_2_by_Bellebaby

Mien Lieblingsspiel von de Serie isch “Kingdom hearts, birth by sleep“, de gonz om Onfong von de Geschicht stattfinn.

Im obrigen Link sin alle Szene vom Film versommelt.
Ich denke, dass de Film fir Kinner wunderbar isch.

Es isch nit nur gonz ongenehm sondern  vermittelt aach profunde moralische Botschafte un Lektione.

Do es sechs Stunde dauert, isch es selbstverständlich, dass ma es nit uf emol lun kinn.

Spoilers sin in de Kommentare erlaubt!

A mathematical proof of Bayesianism?

This is going to be another boring post (at least for most people who are not nerds).

However before approaching interesting questions such as the existence of God, morality and history a sound epistemology (theory of knowledge) must already be present. During most (heated) debates between theists and atheists, people tend to take for granted many epistemological principles which are very questionable.

This is why I spend a certain amount of my time exploring such questions, as a groundwork for more applied discussions.

I highly recommand all my reader to first read my two other posts on the concept of probability before reading what follows.

Bayesianism is a theory of knowledge according to which our degrees of belief in theories are well defined probabilities taking on values between 0 and 1.

According to this view, saying that string theory has a probability of 0.2 to be true is as meaningful as saying that a normal dice randomly thrown has a probability of 1/6 to produce a “3”.

Bayesians like asserting over and over again that it is mathematically proven to say we ought to compute the likelihood of all beliefs according to the laws of probability and first and foremost Bayes formula:

BayesGeneral

Here I want to debunk this popular assertion. Bayes theorem can be mathematically proven for frequential probabilities but there is no such proof that ALL our degrees of belief behave that way.

Let us consider (as an example) the American population (360 millions people) and two features a person might have.

CE (Conservative Evangelical): the individual believes that the Bible contains no error.

God-said-it-believe-it-1

FH (Fag Hating): the individual passionately hates gay people.

homobashing

Let us suppose that 30% of Americans are CE and that 5.8% of Americans hate homosexuals.

The frequencies are f(CE) = 0.30 and f(FH) = 0.058

Let us now consider a random event: you meet an American by chance.
What is the probability that you meet a CE person and what is the probability that you meet a FH individual?
According to a frequentist interpretation, the probability equals the frequency of meeting such kinds of persons given a very great (actually infinite) number of encounters.
From this it naturally follows that p(CE) = f(CE) = 0.30 and p(FH) = f(FH) = 0.058

Let us now introduce the concept of conditional probability: if you meet a Conservative Evangelical, what is the probability that he hates faggots p(FH|CE)? (the | stands for „given“).

If you meet a fag-hating person, what is the probability that he believes in Biblical inerrancy p(CE|FH)?

To answer these questions (thereby proving Bayes theorem) it is necessary to get back to our consideration of frequencies.

Let us consider that 10% of all Conservative Evangelicals and 4% of people who are not CE hate faggots: f(FH/CE) = 0.1 and f(FH/CE) = 0.04. The symbol ⌐ stands for the negation (denial) of a proposition.

The proportion of Americans who are both conservative Evangelicals and fag-haters is f(FHCE) = f(FH/CE)*f(CE) = 0.1*0.3 = 0.03.

The proportion of Americans who are NOT conservative Evangelicals but fag-haters is f(FH∩⌐CE) = f(FH/⌐CE)*f(⌐CE) = 0.04*0.7 = 0.028.

Logically the frequency of fag-haters in the whole American population is equal to the sum of the two proportions:

f(FH) = f(FHCE) + f(FH∩⌐CE) = 0.03 + 0.028 = 0.058

But what if we are interested to know the probability that a person is a conservative Evangelical IF that person hates queers p(CE|FH)?

This corresponds to the frequency(proportion) of Conservative Evangelicals among Fag-Haters: f(CE|FH).

We know that f(FHCE) = f(CE∩FH) = f(CE|FH)*f(FH)

Thus f(CE|FH) = f(FH∩CE) / f(FH)

FagBayesFrequencies

Given a frequentist interpretation of probability, this entails that

FagBayes

which is of course Bayes theorem. We have mathematically proven it in this particular case but the rigorous mathematical demonstration would be pretty much the same given events expressable as frequencies.

If you meet an American who hates gays, the probability that he is a Conservative Evangalical is 51.72% (given the validity of my starting values above).

But let us now consider the Bayesian interpretation of probability (our degree of confidence in a theory) in a context having nothing to do with frequencies.

Let S be “String theory is true“ and UEP “an Undead Elementary Particle has been detected during an experience in the LHC“.

StringTheory

In that context, the probabilities correspond to our confidence in the truth of theories and hypotheses.

We have no compelling grounds for thinking that

StringBayes

, that is to say that is the way our brains actually work or ought to work that way in order to strive for truth.

The mathematical demonstration used to prove Bayes theorem relies on related frequencies and cannot be employed in a context where propositions (such as S and UEP) cannot be understood as frequencies.
Considering ALL our degrees of beliefs like probabilities is a philosophical decision and not an inevitable result of mathematics.

I hope that I have been not too boring for lay people.

Now I have a homework for you: what is the probability that Homeschooling Parents would like to employ my post as an introduction to probability interpretation, given that they live in the Bible Belt  p(HP|BB)?

Image Of Thomas Bayes

Faith, science and philosophy in Lancaster (UK)

 faithScience

Has the incredible progress of science shown that God’s existence is very unlikely?

 

Did not archaeology prove that neither Moses nor Abraham really existed?

 

Is it very plausible that the Gospels are legends written long after the facts?

 

Is a Christian supposed to believe that the Bible is free of errors and contradictions?

 

All of these are vital questions which are too often repressed and explained away in many parts of Christendom.

For many folks in the Western world, the only possible choice seems to be between a brainless religion and atheism.

This has prompted me to start a blog several months ago where I hope to show that there is also a third way:  https://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/

You can choose the categories you are interested in by just clicking on them.

(Since English is not my mother tongue, don’t expect literary perfection there).

If enough people are interested, I would like to start a series of talks and open discussions on such topics at the university of Lancaster (UK).
I will raise much more questions than provide answers and I would like people with different worldviews to be present.

I have only one small expectation: that we won’t end up yelling at each other 🙂

Challenges and rational arguments against belief in God and Christianity are warmly welcome, but ridicule, mockery and emotional bullying won’t be tolerated.

If someone is interested in my blog, he or she can contact me at:  lotharlorraine@gmail.com

Existentielle Rap (zwosprochig – bilingual)

Existentielle Rap

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Ich denke niet, dass Kunst (im witen Sinn) nur unsere starke menschliche Verlonge nach Schenheit erfille sollte.

Miner Mäinung nach sollte een begabte Künstler aach fundamentale Froje iwer de Realität ufwerfe, selbstverständliche Dinge rusfordere un unseri Leidenschaft fir de Gerechtigkäit entfache.

Ich glawe, dass Hip-Hop (besonders Rap) eeni wunderbare Opportunität sin kinn, Veronnerungen ze fördern, un zwar nie nur in de Gesellschaft sondern aach in unsere eigene Herz.

Obwohl ich niet mit allem eenverston bin, finne ich de folgende däitsche Rap-Kompilation fantastisch.

Wenn de willscht, kinnscht de nun aach diene eigene Hip-hop-Gesange mit uns teele!

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Existential rap

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I don’t think that art (in the broad sense) should only satisfy our strong human longing for beauty. To my mind a gifted artist should also raise fundamental questions about reality, challenge things we take for granted and spark our passion for justice.

I believe that hip-hop (especially rap) can be a wonderful opportunity to foster changes not only within society but within our own heart.

Even though I don’t agree with everything, I find this German rap-compilation truly awesome.

If you want you can share with us your own favorite hip-pop songs.

 

Thematic list of ALL posts on this blog (regularly updated)

My other blog on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)

Are ALL religions bad? Sin ALLE Religionen schlecht?

Is Faith a virus?

Image

This is a common claim of the New Atheists.
Richard Dawkins led the way as he wrote: “I think a case can be made that Faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.”

The problem is that this claim is extremely ambigious.

Does that means that all kind of supernatural beliefs are harmful?
Or does that mean that more than 99%, 78% or 50% of them cause harm?

Frankly speaking, I don’t see how the progressive and liberal Christianities of Thom Stark, Randal Rauser, Rachel Held Evans and many others (including myself) who FIGHT fundamentalism is harmful for society.

So, if the New Atheists want to become more than the hateful ideogists they currently are, they should clearly define (in a verifiable manner) what they mean and present evidence to buttress the claim that EVERY kind of Faith is noxious.

Until they do that, we are justified to ignore their rhetorical assertion as being “not even wrong”.

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Lorraine Franconian – Lothringisch

Isch de Glawe een Virus?

Es isch eeni häufigi Behauptung von de näie Atheisten.

Richard Dawkins hat damit begonne, als er geschriewe hat:
“Ich denke, dass ma gonz gut bewäise kinn, dass de Glawe een von de schlimmste Iwel der Welt isch, de ma mit de Pocken-Virus vergläiche kinn, wobei es schwieriger isch, es ze vernichte.”

De Problem isch, dass diese Behauptung extrem ambigü isch.

Bedeutet es, dass alle Arten von iwernatürlichen Behauptungen schädlich sin?

Oder bedeutet es, dass meh als 99%, 78% or 50% von ihnen Schade verursache?

Ehrlich gesot, sehe ich gar niet wie de progressive un liberale Christentüme von Thom Stark, Randal Rauser, Rachel Held Evans un viele oneri Lit (wie mich), die de Fundamentalismus bekompfe, fir de Gesellschaft schädlich sin.

So wenn de näiei Atheiste meh als de hasserfillte Ideologe sin wolle, de sie zerzit sin, sollte sie gonz klar (uf eeni verifizierbare Weise) definiere, was sie mäine un Bewäise präsentiere, um ihre Behauptung ze untermauern, dass JEDE Art von Glawe schädlich isch.

Bis sie das dun, sin wir gerechtfertigt, ihre rhetorische Behauptung als “niet sogar falsch” ze ignoriere.

My blog on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) (Link Here). 

Naked Calvinism: why the difference between single and double predestination does not matter

Youtube Version

 

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According to the doctrine of double predestination, God actively works to save some people but also to damn others. The first ones will enjoy everlasting bliss in His presence while the others will suffer the eternal flames of hell.

Most Calvinists insist they just believe in single predestination, that is that God just works for saving His elects while abandoning all other people to their well-deserved fate.

In what follows, I will show through an analogy that, given Calvinist presuppositions, the difference between the two kinds of predestination is insignificant.

Let us consider a group of twenty children who are playing football besides the ocean. One girl (I can be very sexist at times)  shot the ball in the wrong direction. The children are so eager to pursue the game that they disobey the order of adults not to swim in this dangerous zone and soon all are in the water. Very quickly they are carried away by a formidable tide.

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Jerry Gooddeer happened to be there in his boat. He has the possibility to save all kids. Let us now consider two possibilities:

1) Jerry decides to save Mary, Lucy, John and Peter while pushing away all other children so that they cannot escape death.

2) Jerry decides to save Mary, Lucy, John and Peter while not helping the other kids reach his boat, thereby letting them drown.

Why 1) may be worse than 2), there is little doubt that no sensible person would call Jerry a loving man in the last case.

But let us now consider

2′) Jerry decides to save Mary, Lucy, John and Peter while not helping the other kids reach his boat, thereby letting them drown.
Before everything began, Jerry made it certain that the ball would escape to the children and that they would feel the irrestible desire to run and swim after it.

The injustice of being predetermined to hell

Morally and practically speaking, I fail to see any significant difference between 1) and 2′)

DoublePredestination

Evangelist Kerrigan Skelly gives us a complementary perspective on that question whereby he quotes John Calvin.