Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Protestant Philosophy and Government Policy on Poverty

Calvinism had its roots in concept of "Predestination," a theology that held as follows:

God, who knows and sees all, including the future, has already selected (predetermined) all those human beings who will be saved and go to heaven.  Because fallible, finite humans neither know nor comprehend God's infinite plan, we cannot know who is saved or not.  Consequently, it's possible that the drunk passed out in the street or the beggar on the corner are among God's chosen, the ones He has already selected for salvation.

Accordingly, good Christians should have unconditional mercy towards ALL people. Otherwise we might offend God by judging or harming someone who is beloved and saved in God's eyes.  The roots of Calvinism started from this point of radical humility, at the root of the concept of Predestination.

That fallible human beings cannot begin to comprehend the boundaries of God's love and mercy is a profoundly humble, charitable and beautiful notion.

Unfortunately, once put into human application, interpretation of the theory of Predestination degenerated into the mundane notion that one's appearance or status in the earthly realm actually reflected one's status in Heaven or in God's eyes.  In the light of the radical humility of the uncorrupted Predestination theory, which recognized and honored God's greatness and infinite mercy, the arrogance of the degenerated interpretation is plain by comparison.

Given the undue "faith" and weight accorded to the earthly items, treated as indicators or signifiers of divine intervention or salvation -- that a guy with 5 Mercedes is more likely to be saved than a guy who has to take the bus -- the sanctification of mundane possessions, wealth, and STUFF is unmistakeable as flat out idolatry.

Tragic and shameful!

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