Perhaps we argue about Calvinism/ Arminianism because we don’t understand time as God does

Imagine a world that is flat like a piece of paper. Two-dimensional characters live there. They can go foreward and backwards and left and right, but not up or down. They don’t have any words for “up” or “down.”

Flat world1

You are standing close to the edge of their world at one corner, looking at 2 inhabitants named Pancake and Paper. You start talking to them. All they see is your waist. You describe to the your head and feet and general shape, and how your waist is at the edge of their planet. Because they don’t understand up and down, they imagine you lying down flat in their world. Pancake believe, by the explanation you gave, that your feet is closest toward them and your head furthest. Paper believe the opposite. They start arguing about your position.

Flat world

 

The problem is that Paper and Pancake don’t understand the up-down dimension you also use to live in.

I think the problem with Calvinism/ Arminianism can be solved in a similar way.

Time is a dimension in which we can only walk one way – forward, but can only see one way – backward. We know the past, not the future. We go towards the future, not the past. We cannot see or go to any era.

But, by what is said in the Bible, God knows both past and future. He is omnipresent, and without beginning or end. As such, God was/will be present in both the past and the future. This diagram shows, in light yellow, where God sees and is in time. It shows, by contrast, a human being walking towards the future too.

god sees and is

How does this relate to the Calvinism issue? Well, according to Calvinism, God elected some people before the foundation of the world. From our human perspective, that means God chose some people – and neglegted to choose others – without them even existing yet.

But within this perspective he could have chosen us before the foundation of the world – while actually looking at us, while seeing us respond to the gospel.

Basically, Calvinists say it happens in the order of: 1) God saves you. 2) The world began. 3) you were born. 4) God worked in your heart to accept him.

Many other believers say it happens in the order of : 1) The world began. 2) you were born. 3) God worked in your heart to accept him. 4) 1) God saves you.

But if God is not limited to our time, then he could save in His time, a time which we cannot figure out if it is first or last, the same way the Flat World inhapitants cannot figure out if your feet is closer or further than your head from them.

Most objections to Calvinism is seemingly meaningless when we understand that God don’t see time as we do:

Two objections to Calvinism, and how God seeing all time and being in all time seem to answer them:

Objection 1: What is the point in evangelism, if God already decided who will be saved?* God may have decided to save Sipho and Fatima and Hans and Elma because he saw Sipho and Fatima and Hans and Elma responding to evangelism.

Objection 2: Election makes God cruel and arbitrary. Not if He elects while seeing and knowing and being in the past, present and future.

My conclusion

Calvinism/ Arminianism is probably not worth debating over. There is not a right or wrong answer here. Where a belief or nonbelief in election leads to wrong actions, then it becomes a problem. But election itself, if God knows and sees past, future, and present, should not be the problem it is. It should not cause church splits.

At least this is how I see it.

______________________

Note:

*Before making the argument above, I answered “What is the point in evangelising, if God already decided who will be saved?” this way:

It matters a lot to the elect. Knowing Jesus is it’s own reward in this life, and it inspires a meaningful life of “loving others as yourself” and making a difference in other lives by the power of God. It makes a difference to the life of the elect on earth if he is saved just before dying or live his life for God. Similarly, to the elect it makes a difference how much they walk, day by day, with God. Christianity also has an effect on the lives of others among whom the Christians live – Christians introduced literacy to most languages on earth, started hospitals, etc.

So yes, the gospel do make a difference in this world -directly to those who accept it, indirectly to others – whether people can go to heaven without hearing it or not.

God the abusive boyfriend?

One new(ish) claim among Internet atheists is that the Christian God is an abusive partner.

The usual argument (at its strongest) goes about like this:

God accuses the believer of sin and “forgives” and then accuses of sin again. God expects you to sacrifice for Him. He says He is better than you and your best deeds are like filthy rags to him. He wants to be in control of your life. You have to fear him. If a human partner was like that, it would have been seen as abusive. – Terrible anti-Christian argument

The problem with the above arguments is that everything in it is completely out of context. Continue reading

Good News Clubs and their critics, part 2: A summing up of the Good News club message

Suppose you had a Ferrari that was currently not in roadworthy condition, but that could be like new if you spend $2 000 dollar on the spares needed to repair it. This car would be unroadworthy right now, but not worthless – it will really be worth spending the money to repair the car.
The CEF message is sort of like that, except that it regards each person as the unroadworthy or ex-unroadworthy Ferrari, originally made very good (in God’s image!), that could be or was repaired by the price Jesus paid.
This article will be a report on the CEF message. Fans and critics of CEF alike has to agree that what is reported here is more or less what Good News Clubs teaches. The degree to which the message is good or bad could be disputed, that this is taught cannot. If you are familiar with CEF, you could skip or skim this post.
There is a message that is part of CEF teacher training and in some form part of almost every CEF lesson. CEF sums it up into a Wordless Book of 5 colors, sometimes:

Wordless-Book

The Wordless Book

Gold: God made everything, God made you. God loves you and wants you in heaven with him. God is holy. (Gold stands for a crown – God is King – or for the streets of heaven.)Dark: But you sinned and God cannot allow sin in heaven.(Dark stands for darkness in the heart)
Red: Jesus was punished for your sin on the cross. (Red is the color of blood.) He rose again from the death.
White: If you choose Jesus, your sins are forgiven, and you can be with God in heaven one day. (White is the opposite of dark)
Green: Grow as a Christian by knowing the Bible, praying, witnessing, asking God’s forgiveness when you sin again, and meeting with other believers. (Green is the color of growing grass and plants.)

Continue reading

BDSM is not “safe.” It is full of predators and cover-ups for predators.

 

Kinksters who are honest admit that the BDSM scene has predators. Kitty Stryker say:

Basically, we [Kitty and Maggie Mayhem] realized that we have had very similar negative experiences in the BDSM scene. When we started talking about these abusive situations more, we realized this was more of a widespread problem. It wasn’t just us… we discuss how abuse is generally never seriously confronted. For example, consent — especially in regards to kinky sex — is joked about and made a punch line. These jokes about safe-wording have a darker undercurrent since essentially we are laughing about the lack of consent. We like to talk about why this is problematic. And one of the main issues we’ve noticed is that many people don’t feel comfortable going to their community leader or dungeon monitors about their sexual assaults.

There’s this “victim blaming attitude” people like to take. Many people responded saying that maybe if I safe-worded, I wouldn’t have been abused. But there’s not always a definite time to safe-word sometimes, because such unexpected and out of the ordinary situations come up. And who really is going to safe-word in a culture where the person who safe-words is called a wimp? … And there’s this attitude that if you are a submissive who safe-words, you’re a difficult submissive.

…neglecting the possibility of rape and abuse is symptomatic of our unwillingness to talk about consent and the reality that it’s not always there.

Many of her commenters agree:

…abuse within BDSM is a problem …Sadly, if a Top or Dominant is popular, has money, throws a good party/event, etc., that Top/Dominant will be given a pass. Too many people are willing to offer the most ridiculous justifications as to why these individuals should not be banished from our community. – Guest

Continue reading

Good News Clubs and their critics, part 1: Where I and the critics strongly agree.

106456110I was doing something called Service Year for Christ when I first heard of CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship). The very first thing lecturers from CEF’s 3 months Training Institute told us was to learn Matthew 18:1-14 by heart, and to meditate upon it:

  At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2  He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5  And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

6  “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea…

10  “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven…

14…your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

CEF people taught me children matters. Continue reading

Can atheists call God a murderer?

Can you spot the difference?:

a) Gerald has houses which he borrows to Joe Jones, Sally Smith and Martin McDonald. He moves them from those houses to other houses, also provided by him.
b) Joe Jones, Sally Smith and Martin McDonald had legally bought houses. Gerald moves them from those houses, with no thought over where they will go from there.

Now, the second one:

a) God gives life to Joe Jones, Sally Smith and Martin McDonald. He moves them out of this life to another reality, also provided by him.
b) Joe Jones, Sally Smith and Martin McDonald started their life with no God having a hand in it. God moves them out of this life, with no thought over where they will go from there.

Aggressive atheists like to claim that God is a murderer, for those times in the Old Testament when he killed.
But God cannot be a murderer if scenario (a) is true. In order to come to the atheistic conclusion that God is murderous, you need to start with the atheistic assumptions that life did not come from God, and he has no control over any future life.
As such, atheists cannot use a murderous God as a premise, before proving that a human’s life is not from God and God is not in control of the future life.

“Women don’t sleep with nice guys” – how I think that rumour got started

I think the way some men came to that conclusion is like this:

Their Premise 1: “I am a nice guy”

The majority of people on this planet thinks of themself as decent people. Murderers think of themselves that way, and philanthropists do too. People who work at rape crisis centres think of themselves as good people, and rapists do too.

Their Premise 2: “Some guys get more sexual action than me – and they are not as nice as I am”

That may or may not be true. Other possible truths about some of these situations could be:

> The guy who claims to get all the attention could be lying about their success with women, with the unsuccessful guys believing him.

> The “nice guy” with that perception could be less nice than the one who gets the action – but he overvalues himself.

Their Conclusion: Women prefer guys who are not so nice, and hate good guys

Firstly, both premises may or may not be true. But if the premises are both true, it could also lead to other conclusions.

> The not-nice guy who gets the girl could be one who ignored the woman’s “no” – and women are afraid to go to the police, as the message will tend to be that it is hard to prove rape if she actually went on a date with him.

> Some not-nice guys are liars. Women sleep with them because they think these guys are good guys, who do not have a criminal record/ accept responsibility/ want to marry them/ are financially capable of doing their part/ will stop hitting them/ love them/ whatever. In this case, the woman does not want to date a bad guy, but she believes untrue things about this guy’s goodness.

> Women do not hate men they do not sleep with – they often deeply respect and appreciate many men whom they do not sleep with, the same way many men have respect and appreciation for some men they do not sleep with.

> Men who sleep around less are actually more likely to get and stay married – if women really hated them, the opposite would have been true.

My conclusion:

All of the above leads me to a different conclusion about men who complain of being “too nice” to be wanted by women: If a man complains that treating women “nice” is wrong because he don’t get women to use and throw away that way, he is not nice enough at heart. In his heart, he is an exploiter who idolize successful exploiters.