Religious Indoctrination 9/20

My discovery of Calvinism brought on a crisis. The idea that salvation had been predetermined and that there was nothing anyone could do to have any control over their ultimate fate rattled me. What if it was true? Calvinism was supported by various texts from the Bible, after all.

I decided that if it was true, there was nothing I could do about that. If I knew I was one of the ‘vessels of wrath’ would that change how I lived my life? The answer I arrived at was no. I cared about my friends and family. I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I didn’t want to live a selfish life doing whatever I wanted with no regard for the feelings or experiences of those around me. Ultimately I shrugged and moved on.

When I read about Calvin himself, any last fear I had over Calvinism dissipated. By their fruit ye shall know them. The man was a colossal asshole and hypocrite and his actions in no way marked him as someone that was trying to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, or that had love for anyone other than himself. John Calvin is lucky there’s no Hell for him to spend eternity in.

The literal, inerrant Word of God was the next to fall. I had never known that a group of European men got together hundreds of years ago to decide what texts belonged in the Bible and which would be removed. I was faced with a dilemma.

If God gave humanity free will than these men could choose, of their own free will, what texts would continue to be taught.

If God intervened to preserve the texts of the Bible exactly as He wanted, He would have to temporarily take free will from those men so that they would decide the way He wanted.

If God could temporarily take over the free will of humans in order to make them decide to keep the Bible the way He wanted, then He could take over the free will of humans at any time in order to make sure they didn’t commit sin that would prevent them from reaching Heaven. So why didn’t He?

I decided the reason there was a curse mentioned for people that altered Scripture and taught said altered Scripture was because the Bible could, indeed, be altered. What was in there could be considered a guide, at best, and one that should be approached with some level of skepticism. If any particular text did not fit with the words and actions of Jesus as outlined in the Gospels, there was no real reason to give it weight. Yes, the words and actions of Jesus were also not guaranteed to be accurate, but they were often things I felt were objectively good for humanity, with or without religion to back it up.

I believed in a God of love that wanted us to act with love towards others. Love is patient, love is kind, love does not brag and is not arrogant, love does not seek its own, etc. etc.

Part 10

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