Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Trump is a Presbyterian & they Believe in Predestination #ccot

I've had a number of arguments with people who complain that Trump was never born again and has never asked God for forgiveness:

Trump self identifies as a Presbyterian:

but attends the Church founded by the power of positive thinking guru, Norman Vincent Peale 

Presbyterians believe in predestination:

It's ironic I'm defending Presbyterians. After my grandmother converted from Presbyterianism to Catholicism, her family shunned us as pagan, idol worshipers because we're not iconoclasts and still have statues and stained glass windows in our churches. However, I'd like to live by the Golden Rule and treat others the way that I wish to be treated, rather than solely reciprocate how they treat me.

Catholics agree with most Protestant denominations in the concept of free will: that each individual is responsible for asking God's forgiveness for our sins. Of course,  Protestants don't believe in the Sacrament of Reconciliation or the need for priests, hence Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.

Usually, people who assume free will is true just ignore the contradiction between an omnipotent God and the actions of individuals exercising his/her free will. Most people just shrug their shoulders and say it's a mystery. Presbyterians tilt the balance in favor of God's omnipotence.

PBS "Closer to Truth"   Robert Lawrence Kuhn interviewed Villanova University Professor Jesse Couenhoven on the subject of Predestination ( you have to click on link to watch - no embed video, sorry, but below is the transcript):

Jesse: Predestination is the idea that sometime before [human] history, God has made a plan that covers the whole of history and that throughout time, then, God is trying to make history conform to that plan.  So then the question is 'How would that work? In what way can we still have genuine agency [ free will ] and some kind of authority of our own, if God seems to be the One telling the story of the universe?' 
So the plan, that's addressed by doctrine of predestination is really the plan of salvation, the question of who, ultimately, is going to be in a positive relationship with God.  And so traditionally, there are different ways of thinking of what it would mean for God to be 'predestining'. One concept called 'single predestination' says that God is really just focused on the ones that God wants to have an eternally positive relationship with and so that the plan that God makes is for certain individuals to be with God and God is enacting that plan, but there might be all sorts of other things that are happening in the universe.  Then there are disputed views about this. Maybe, one possibility would be, God doesn't really do much, they [mankind] are on their own. So you could have the possibility that some of the people that God did not predestine, still make it in, somehow if they have their own libertarian freedom of choice where they get to decide: 'Do I love God or not?'

Robert: Those seem like the better guys because they weren't forced to do it.  God controlled the others and they got in by robotic technique but those other guys - I like those - they're better!

Jesse: Yeah, now it's possible to think of predestination in a way that allows everybody this freedom of choice. So one traditional definition of what it is for God to predestine, basically includes God's foreknowledge, and then suggests on the basis of God's foreknowledge, has a plan for your life that's already based on what He foresees that you will choose independently, on your own, as it were.

Robert:  But that's not really predestination.  And that's sort of foreknowledge under the cloak of predestination.

Jesse:  Well that is certainly what those who are influenced by St. Augustine would say. It's not real predestination.

Robert:  So, any way, we have a single definition of single form predestination.  If there is single -there must be a double.

Jesse: Yes, the other possibility is that God elects, before the creation of all things, that some people will be in, and that some people will be out. 

Robert: So, making an affirmative 'out' decision.

Jesse: Yeah. Right, so that would be the strongest possible version of the double predestination is that there will be a definite intentionality as to who is in and who is out. 

Robert: Now what is obvious from all of this is that you gain the so called 'good' of God's sovereignty, you're giving up a huge amount in human freedom.  

Jesse:  Well, I think the answer to that is 'yes and no.'  I guess I'm not convinced that we're giving up that much if human beings don't have that many undetermined free choices.  I'm kind of a compatibilist, all right? You can be free but also be under necessity, of a certain sort.

Robert: Right,   so there can be a determined series of physical laws, or God could...

Jesse: ...just make stuff happen, yeah.   

Robert:  Then it's even more sure because it's God doing it

Jesse: Right

Robert: Then the real core of the question is 'Do you have an ultimate choice or is it 100% sure that you will have to go the way God programmed you?'

Jesse: Right, for Augustine there would definitely at least be instances where you definitely have to go the way God programmed you 

Robert: Right. Do you think predestination is fair? If that's the way the world is, would that be a world you'd like to live in? 

Jesse:  I think, possibly, yea.  We always tend to think it will be problematic if we don't have control, but think of something like falling in love, for instance.  

Robert: But the difference here is when God decides it - it's done, it's absolute. It's multiple handcuffs on every cell of your existence. And if you're chosen, well,  you may not have free will but at least get something to benefit by, supposedly. But if you're on the other side. That's a question. Is  that fair? Or, maybe, God doesn't have to be fair. 

Jesse: A lot of these authors classically did not think that God had obligations or responsibilities, because God is the generator of obligations and responsibilities. 

Robert:  If God, especially under double predestination, determines that person is not part of the saved, whatever that may mean, is that fair to the person?
Jesse: If you're a genuinely responsible agent, then it can be fair to blame you for things even if you're not independent kind in the way of freedom of choice conception of free will might want you to be.  But these questions about predestination can really open up fascinating avenues into the issues of free will.

I view non-Presbyterians - usually Evangelicals and Mormons - who cavalierly demand Trump surrender the tenet of predestination in order to be considered a true Christians as modern day Torquemadas. Demanding Presbyterians give up their belief in predestination - that God decides who is saved and who isn't - would be similar to Catholics demanding Protestants surrender their belief in sola scriptura. Again, if you believe in the Bill of Rights, you'll respect different denominations interpretation of scripture.

From CATHOLICS 4 TRUMP  AUGUST 9, 2016 blog post "Zmirak: “Christians Would Be in a Fight for Civil Survival” Under Clinton Presidency"

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