Some on here have been making the outrageous claim that one cannot discover the doctrines of grace (nicknamed "Calvinism") without having been programmed by outside influences. I invite all sides to give their testimony as to how they reached their current conclusions. While some of us may have been "programmed" and do little more than regurgitate what we've been taught -- and perhaps even defend what we think we know only because we have too much pride to admit we're wrong -- I don't think that's always true. And I don't think that you can associate this with one view or another. I think this type of error is personal, not tied to Calvinism, Arminianism, or any other view. I've told my story a number of times, with more or fewer details. Again, even though my personal testimony includes having been "programmed" for free-willism, I do not make any claim that all free-willers have been programmed. Mine is a single data point, and that's all. I read C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity around the time I was saved. I was extremely impressed with the book, and I wanted to emulate this "hero" by writing my own apologetics piece. One might say I was programmed for "free-will" by C. S. Lewis, because free-will was a crucial part of his argument. So, in keeping with Lewis' approach, I decided free-will would be the central part of my argument. So I set out to write this apologetics piece founded on the principle of free-will. But I could never finish it. Every time I explored a new avenue in drawing my conclusions, I was reminded of one or more scriptures that contradicted my reasoning. I finally gave up. The very fact that I could not write this piece bothered me so much that I had to keep searching scripture to find out what was really true. Over time, I was satisfied that my former ideas of free will were incorrect, and had settled into basically what is nicknamed "Calvinism". I had no idea who Calvin was at the time, and wouldn't discover Calvin or Calvinism for several years. I didn't know anything about Arminius, either. I recall someone saying a friend of mine was an "Arminian", and I had no idea what that meant. One day, I stumbled across a TV preacher who read the Gospel account where Jesus said that He spoke in parables so that "hearing they would not hear, seeing they would not perceive...etc.". The preacher said, "You see, He doesn't want all of you." I got that same impression from this passage, but that seemed pretty radical for a preacher to say to his audience, so I listened a little while longer. The preacher mentioned Martin Luther's book, Bondage of the Will. I bought the book and read it. There may have been some ideas in that book that were new to me, but I spent most of the time reacting to Luther's understanding of scripture by saying, "Yeah! Yeah! That's exactly how I read it!" So even when I brought in an "outside influence", it did nothing more than solidify the conclusions I had already drawn. .