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  #1  
Old 09-01-2012, 10:10 AM
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Default Calvinism is a combination of Theological Fatalism and Determinism, or is it?

Calvinism is a combination of Theological Fatalism and Determinism, or is it?

Several times I've seen calvinists on this board deny that Calvinism is fatalistic or state that claims made against the theology does not reflect their belief but instead reflects fatalism. While this may be the case, I have not seen any explanation as such. If it is the case it would seem that it is in their interests to make the distinctions known, since, imo, it is on the minds of most that would considering the theology.

I'd like to offer this thread for them to make the case that Calvinism is not equal to or worse than Theological Fatalism. Regarding determinism, I don't think I've seen anyone deny that but, if there is a Calvinist that would make the case that it is not equal to or worse than determinism then that is welcome here as well. Hopefully we can come to a better understanding so that we can communicate efficiently, effectively and fairly.

So, Calvinism is a combination of Theological Fatalism and Determinism, or is it?
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:12 PM
Tom Butler Tom Butler is online now
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Thomas Paul Simmons addressed this question in his 1935 book A Systematic Study of Bible Doctrine. You can find it on line.
Quote:
Those who cannot see the difference between election and fatalism need to
consult a good dictionary. "Fate is heathen, an irresistible, irrational power
determining all events with no manifest connection with reason or
righteousness." "Foreordination and predestination are Christian, denoting
the rational and righteous order or decree of the supreme and all-wise God."
A. R. McGehee once said the following concerning the difference between
fatalism and predestination: "Fatalism is that theory of life which teaches
that all destiny is fixed from the beginning, and that intermediate
circumstances and acts do not affect that fixed destiny. The end in view,
whether good or bad, is reached by sheer fiat or caprice, and little account is
taken of morality or purpose, with meager emphasis on either divine or
human personality. It is a philosophy and not a religion. In contrast,
Determinism holds that the end or destiny in view is effected by a
combination of all preceding acts and circumstances. Election, on the other
hand, is moral and personal and purposeful, and events are divinely ordered
and controlled to produce certain moral values."
But the Arminian must either deny the foreknowledge of God or shut himself
up to blank fatalism. If God foreknew the final destiny of every man, then
that destiny was settled and fixed in eternity. By what then was it fixed?
Arminians have on the one hand a vacant throne, and on the other a fixed
future. There are just two ways out for them. They can either pursue their
infidelity toward its logical terminus and deny the foreknowledge of God, or
they can acknowledge fate as the determiner of human events. Let every
Arminian make his choice ....
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:30 PM
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Loraine Boettner says it well here;
http://www.the-highway.com/objections1_Boettner.html


1. THAT IT IS FATALISM

MUCH misunderstanding arises through confusing the Christian Doctrine of Predestination with the heathen doctrine of Fatalism. There is, in reality, only one point of agreement between the two, which is, that both assume the absolute certainty of all future events. The essential difference between them is that Fatalism has no place for a personal God. Predestination holds that events come to pass because an infinitely wise, powerful, and holy God has so appointed them. Fatalism holds that all events come to pass through the working of a blind, unintelligent, impersonal, non-moral force which cannot be distinguished from physical necessity, and which carries us helplessly within its grasp as a mighty river carries a piece of wood.

Predestination teaches that from eternity God has had one unified plan or purpose which He is bringing to perfection through this world order of events. It holds that all of His decrees are rational determinations founded on sufficient reason, and that He has fixed one great goal “toward which the whole creation moves.” Predestination holds that the ends designed in this plan are, first, the glory of God; and second, the good of His people.


On the other hand Fatalism excludes the idea of final causes. It snatches the reins of universal empire from the hands of infinite wisdom and love, and gives them into the hands of a blind necessity. It attributes the course of nature and the experiences of mankind to an unknown, irresistible force, against which it is vain to struggle and childish to repine.

According to the doctrine of Predestination the freedom and responsibility of man are fully preserved. In the midst of certainty God has ordained human liberty. But Fatalism allows no power of choice, no self-determination. It makes the acts of man to be as utterly beyond his control as are the laws of nature. Fatalism, with its idea of irresistible, impersonal, abstract power, has no room for moral ideas, while Predestination makes these the rule of action for God and man. Fatalism has no place for and offers no incentives to religion, love, mercy, holiness, justice, or wisdom, while Predestination gives these the strongest conceivable basis. And lastly, Fatalism leads to skepticism and despair, while Predestination sets forth the glories of God and of His kingdom in all their splendor and gives an assurance which nothing can shake.

Predestination therefore differs from Fatalism as much as the acts of a man differ from those of a machine, or as much as the unfailing love of the heavenly Father differs from the force of gravitation. “It reveals to us,” says Smith, “the glorious truth that our lives and our sensitive hearts are held, not in the iron cog-wheels of a vast and pitiless Fate, nor in the whirling loom of a crazy Chance, but in the almighty hands of an infinitely good and wise God.”1

Calvin emphatically repudiated the charge that his doctrine was Fatalism. “Fate,” says he, “is a term given by the Stoics to their doctrine of necessity, which they had formed out of a labyrinth of contradictory reasonings; a doctrine calculated to call God Himself to order, and to set Him laws whereby to work. Predestination I define to be, according to the Holy Scriptures, that free and unfettered counsel of God by which He rules all mankind, and all men and things, and also all parts and particles of the world by His infinite wisdom and incomprehensible justice.” And again, “. . . had you but been willing to look into my books, you would have been convinced at once how offensive to me is the profane term fate; nay, you would have learned that this same abhorrent term was cast in the teeth of Augustine by his opponents.”2

Luther says that the doctrine of Fatalism among the heathen is a proof that “the knowledge of Predestination and of the prescience of God, was no less left in the world than the notion of divinity itself.” In the history of philosophy Materialism has proven itself essentially fatalistic. Pantheism also has been strongly tinged with it.

No man can be a consistent fatalist. For to be consistent be would have to reason something like this: “If I am to die today, it will do me no good to eat, for I shall die anyway. Nor do I need to eat if I am to live many years yet, for I shall live anyway. Therefore I will not eat.” Needless to say, if God has foreordained that a man shall live, He has also foreordained that he shall be kept from the suicidal folly of refusing to eat.

“This doctrine,” says Hamilton, “is only superficially like the pagan ‘fate.’ The Christian is in the hands not of a cold, immutable determinism, but of a warm, loving heavenly Father, who loved us and gave His Son to die for us on Calvary! The Christian knows that ‘all things work together for good to them that love God, even to them that are called according to His purpose.’ The Christian can trust God because he knows He is all-wise, loving, just and holy. He sees the end from the beginning, so that there is no reason to become panicky when things seem to be going against us.”3

Hence, only a person who has not examined this doctrine of Predestination, or one who is maliciously inclined, will rashly charge that it is Fatalism. There is no excuse for anyone making this mistake who knows what Predestination is and what Fatalism is.

Since the universe is one systematized unit we must choose between Fatalism, which ultimately does away with mind and purpose, and this biblical doctrine of Predestination, which holds that God created all things, that His providence extends to all His works, and that while free Himself He has also provided that we shall be free within the limits of our natures. Instead of our doctrine of Predestination being the same with the heathen doctrine of Fatalism, it is its absolute opposite and only alternative.
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Old 09-01-2012, 05:05 PM
HeirofSalvation HeirofSalvation is offline
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The two responses thus far have demonstrated that neither your detractors...nor the ones they are citing...have any real clue what either word means, nor what their own Theology boils down to...it's rather humorous IMO.

Here's one example:

Quote:
The essential difference between them is that Fatalism has no place for a personal God. Predestination holds that events come to pass because an infinitely wise, powerful, and holy God has so appointed them. Fatalism holds that all events come to pass through the working of a blind, unintelligent, impersonal, non-moral force which cannot be distinguished from physical necessity, and which carries us helplessly within its grasp as a mighty river carries a piece of wood.
LOL...and when they can describe to us, how God's nature, is NOT, in fact, what it is by necessity...then this is mere trick of poetry and use of large words....Specifically, the one quoted here fools the masses by equivocating between Philosophical necessity, and Physical necessity....then again, no one demands that "human philosophy" be learned anymore...so, therefore the Cal overlords are easily capable of using it's tricks to confuse the masses....another obvious example of abuse here:


Quote:
According to the doctrine of Predestination the freedom and responsibility of man are fully preserved. In the midst of certainty God has ordained human liberty. But Fatalism allows no power of choice, no self-determination. It makes the acts of man to be as utterly beyond his control as are the laws of nature. Fatalism, with its idea of irresistible, impersonal, abstract power, has no room for moral ideas, while Predestination makes these the rule of action for God and man.
LOl what a laugh...."human liberty"???? "Power of choice"??? "self-determination"??? Yeah....O.K.....Only those who have been slavishly forced to believe that "Human Philosophy" is not worth learning, will be fooled by its simple mis-use here. No wonder some Calvinists are often threatened to not allow themselves the freedom to learn "vain philosophy"...so that they might use it's tricks themselves so that the simple tithers will be be fooled so easily by such obvious category mistakes as this one. This one attempts to make the case that because the "determiner" is "personal" that all choices available are therefore somehow more signifigant than those made by a machine....Who cares????? The choices are made by a "person" or a "mind" in Philosophical parlance, yes, but this quoted fallacy pretends that because the determinitive force is personal that all actions made available to the subject are therefore "personal" and not "necessitated" or "Machina"....What an obvious lie.....
I am indeed a "mind" and a "person"....but when I use the steering wheel and pedals of my car, I am still fatalistically controlling a machine possessed of no freedom of contrary choice whatsoever......These Calvinistic Papists are using such tricks of verbiage to equivocate and trick their unsuspecting victims. If one were permitted to learn "Vain Philosophy of corrupted minds" and what-not....then one wouldn't be fooled when their Calvinist overlords used such "Vain Philosophies" themselves in order to enslave their tithing masses.

Last edited by HeirofSalvation; 09-01-2012 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 09-01-2012, 05:51 PM
Mexdeaf Mexdeaf is offline
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Since you seem bent on getting a philosophical answer and I am admittedly no philosopher, one of the greatest Calvinist minds of our day (in my opinion), Dr. R.C. Sproul, has his doctorate in Philosophy from the Free University of Amsterdam. You might check out his writings to answer your questions.

Here is what he says about determinism- http://www.reformationtheology.com/2...eterminism.php
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:14 PM
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Sadly methings "humble" thinking may not be the motive. No need to "Defend" such an error. Just use webster and be done is 15 seconds.

Give you a chance. "Orange is really green. Or is it?" Assurdities.
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:38 PM
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Can anyone actually give an answer that is their own or at least in their own words? This is surprising.
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Old 09-01-2012, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humblethinker View Post
Can anyone actually give an answer that is their own or at least in their own words? This is surprising.
You want my own words to answer your question in the OP?

"No."
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Old 09-01-2012, 07:27 PM
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Taken from Primitive Baptist Online

Fatalism is the doctrine that all things, great and small, mental and material, were eternally and inexorably predetermined, by an external, arbitrary, irresistible fate, or destiny, or necessity, an endless and admantine chain of causes and effects, so that nothing, not even any thought, or feeling, or word, or action of any human being can, by any possibility, in the slightest respect, be different from what it is, and thus no man is really to blame for anything he does, because he cannot help it. The word fatalism is derived from fate, which is the Latin word fatum, meaning something spoken or declared by some intelligent being who has power to make his words good; and as the word fatum indicates, the doctrine at first implied the supreme and universal, yet un-moral government of God; but it afterwards came to mean a shadowy, undefined, mysterious, impersonal, unconscious, unintelligent power, even at times above the power of God. Fatalism annihilates the moral character and the moral government of God, and the moral nature of man, and the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, and reduces man to a mere involuntary, irresponsible machine or automation. No sane mind, whether heathen or Christian, has every fully believed it, or can believe it, in all its boldness and deformity; for by the very constitution of our moral nature, every man knows, as well as he knows his own existence, that he is a voluntary and accountable being; that he ought not to do many things that he does do, and that he ought to do many things that he does not do. All the laws, literatures, histories, and religious of mankind teem with demonstrations of this momentous and universal truth, which is inherent in the natural conscience of the human race (Rom. i-iii). The doctrine of fatalism is the rebellion of the carnal heart against this universal principle of our nature, seeking to excuse itself for its sinfulness by throwing the blame, the responsibility, upon the Creator (Gen. iii.12). But even nature teaches, and the Holy Spirit effectually impresses that teaching upon the inmost recesses of our being, that we alone are altogether accountable and blamable for our wrong-doings, and that our Holy Creator is not at all responsible for them, and that therefore we justly deserve condemnation and punishment at the hands of the Righteous Governor of the universe; and the Spirit of God further teaches us that it is only of His merest, His sovereign mercy, that we can be pardoned and saved from that everlasting ruin which our sins richly merit. Any doctrine that lessens the accountableness and blamelessness of man belittles and tarnishes the grace of God.
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Old 09-01-2012, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humblethinker View Post
Calvinism is a combination of Theological Fatalism and Determinism, or is it?

Several times I've seen calvinists on this board deny that Calvinism is fatalistic or state that claims made against the theology does not reflect their belief but instead reflects fatalism. While this may be the case, I have not seen any explanation as such. If it is the case it would seem that it is in their interests to make the distinctions known, since, imo, it is on the minds of most that would considering the theology.

I'd like to offer this thread for them to make the case that Calvinism is not equal to or worse than Theological Fatalism. Regarding determinism, I don't think I've seen anyone deny that but, if there is a Calvinist that would make the case that it is not equal to or worse than determinism then that is welcome here as well. Hopefully we can come to a better understanding so that we can communicate efficiently, effectively and fairly.

So, Calvinism is a combination of Theological Fatalism and Determinism, or is it?
Here in my own non-Calvinistic words, "NO".
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