Monday, November 02, 2009

On Calvinism

Why the hatred for Calvin, asks Andrew Brown? Well, he wasn't a very nice man and the blood of Michael Servetus bears witness against him - but since this isn't enough for Andrew Brown, thought I might take a moment to take issue with his argument.

Calvin's cosmology was remorseless, depressing and anti-human - can anyone who has actually read him take issue with this? Brown's point is that since a number of secular philosphers take an equally bleak view of the human condition, why is Calvin given such a hard time for it?

Methinks the answer is pretty goddamn straightforward: no matter how bleak an atheist philospher's view of the world is, at least they don't invite us to worship a deity that created it this way.

Weber had Calvin's measure when he said that Calvinism overcomes the theodicy problem by utterly obliterating the goodness of God. Was there ever an artist that hated his own work quite as much as Calvin's god? I don't think so. This is why theists and atheists alike despise Calvin. They are right to do so, in my view.

Anyway, here's a question that, in my experience, believers find more difficult to answer than the theodicy question. It's this: why does god want us to worship him? Believers usually respond with reasons why they want to worship him and why He is worthy of it and so on. But that isn't what I asked. The prize for a winning answer to this question is a copy of Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion.

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