Okay… It’s Friday… and I already have a post in the queue for Free-Writing Friday. Apologies… but…
I sat down to the computer to type up something for next week… and lo and behold: An opinion article from the New York Times sprang up on my homepage. I sure hope it was legit… because I didn’t bother to fact-check it… otherwise, this is a highly entertaining, yet moot discussion…
Here’s the link to get us started:
The article asks the reasonably cognizant question of why rural America voted for Trump.
And reduced it to… hold it…
The difference between Calvinist and Lutheran Christianity.
And I quote:
“… Republicans believe people are fundamentally bad…” (per Rev. Watts…)
This… by the way… is the fundamental belief of the Lutheran religion AND why, to this day, I always get a cold chill when passing in front of a Lutheran leaning church. *brr*
In contrast, Mr., um… I mean… the good Reverend Watts is quoted as saying… “…while Democrats see people as fundamentally good.”
That, my friends is the basis of the Calvinist belief. We are born innocent, and the World turns us Bad…
The ideals that our friend, Sam Hodgson, is discussing is… well… the fundamental nature of man… or, to update the phrase to the new neuter term: Humankind.
Are we born evil, or free of sin? Where and what is the basis of sin? Are the people at the Temple of Isis still doing good works, serving the poor and impoverished… or what?
These were the questions pondered in meeting after meeting, in various Councils, of… what’s that place? Oh! Yeah… Nicea! (The First one was in 325 AD, soon after Constantine… the Emperor, um… Great… declared Christianity the State religion of Rome…)
But, the debate reached a decided head when Luther, God rest his soul, questioned, like prophets before him – the purpose and the reach of the power of the priesthood, oh *ahem* The Church. He, Luther, nailed his thesis to the church doors, all 97… whoops… 95 of them… always get that wrong, apologies… questioning the virtues and purpose of its leadership…
He, Luther, did not intend to separate from the church, by the way… no more than Jesus intended to separate from Judaism… Well, at least until the end there…
What were we discussing?
Oh yeah… Luther and Calvin.
Okay… so, as you may have guessed… I was raised Calvinist. As were quite a LARGE portion of the founding families of the great United States of America. Mine date back to the French and Indian War era, but I digress…
From a Calvinist perspective… let me impart some stark realities in the life of a Calvinist child.
You spend probably all of first and second grade… from about the age of 6 to almost 8 years old worrying whether or not you are in The Book of Life. It’s an agonizing time. You question, well, a lot… and you really question the nature of right versus wrong.
What is The Book of Life? Oh… (It’s not like that South American themed cartoon movie…)
Well, The Book of Life, to a Calvinist, is the book… THE BOOK. Not the bible, which is really just a running commentary of events… The Book of Life is THE BOOK in which all the names of those Saved Souls has been written. Here’s a snippet: “Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.” (http://www.reformed.org/calvinism/ )
Per Revelations (read it)… there are only a few hundred thousand that will actually have the privilege of the Rapture at End Times… (Only so many seats it seems). Sorry to tell you… but, not everyone will be saved.
But… then… there is that whole New Testament of our Lord, Jesus Christ. He died for our sins, right? We are saved, right?
Well, if you believe humans are inherently bad, then, it makes it easier to account for the lack of seats at The End Table. According to a Lutheran, if you don’t accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior… then, so be it. You will burn in the eternal fire. Hence, according to Mr. Hodgson up there… you would be a Republican.
But… Calvin said, Hang on a minute guys… you can’t tell me that this sweet little baby goo-ga-ing is evil? Surely we are born innocent?
Well, then Jesus died for ALL of our sins. And we are all, therefore, saved. But…
Only some, pre-chosen will get the honor of the Rapture and a space in Heaven.
But… Does that justify bad behavior? Does that justify bad work?
Not to a Calvinist.
Calvinists do good work… because it is the Right thing to do… NOT because we will get a reward in the end.
No one knows whose name in written in The Book of Life… only God has that knowledge. And when, and if He calls us home… we will know our name. In the end, regardless, our hearts will be light as a feather… and we will know that what we left behind was Good… Pretty good ending if you ask me.
So… Us, the dreaded Democrats. Us, the dreaded Calvinists, that built this great country with their work ethic of doing Good because it was Good and not for a Reward… of money, or a space in Heaven…
…do we let those that see life, that see humans, as inherently bad… do we let them win?