Saturday, 23 February 2013

What do I think about the doctrine of 'election'?

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I absolutely loathe it. I shun it. I regard it as poison.

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I mean the idea, or set of ideas, that God (because of his abstract, absolute, total omniscience - and that 'because' is loaded with assumptions, many dubious) pre-decided who was to be saved and who was to be damned, that therefore people are created either to be saved or damned - and that any notion I may hold concerning the importance of my own choices, the role of will, the exercise of my free agency, is a delusion; because the outcome is pre-known, pre-decided, pre-destined...

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Which is not to say that I deny that many great Christians - and far holier than myself - have 'believed in', given public assent to, election.

But election is still a toxic idea in and of itself at the level of common sense and personal application - and election requires tremendous personal and social countervailing forces to be ranged against it in order that it be not harmful.

In some exceptional persons, and in some situations in the past, such countervailing forces were in operation - and therefore election was not fatal; but when it was not fatal, I believe its implications were downplayed or disregarded or explained away or subsumed under complex qualifications... or something.

Because on the face of things, election is a horrible notion leading to paradox, numbness, nihilism.

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Far better to see our mortal life as a real trial, open-ended; where salvation is not wholly done-for-us and something remains for us to do; where personal choices are truly free and have genuinely-divergent spiritual outcomes; and where not just what we think but what we actually do makes a difference in the ultimate scheme of things.

Far better to live like this, on this basis - and this is, I am sure, much closer to the truth of the matter.

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