That’s a Good Question

At the advent of my plunge into existential despair, I attended a church service at the one place left in the city where there are appreciable numbers of young Christians. The fresh-faced boyish smiles of young, married Nice Guys; the frenetic, cacophonous ticking of female biological clocks, the sterile and ingratiating greetings of the people at the door… it’s a last stand against the encroaching wave of secularism–a breeding ground for the last generation of naive and idealistic evangelical children.

The pastor, a lawyer with a deep and soothing voice (that makes you wish you at least had a pastor with a deep and soothing voice back when you were in the habit of listening to pastors) spoke of the “existential” tension we feel as we resist the truth, the Truth, that we do not choose God. He chooses us. One of the pretty young things put up her hand.

“Why didn’t God just pick everyone?”

A palpable silence filled the room.

“That’s a good question… I… I don’t know,” said the pastor, diffidently. The silence returned.

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2 Responses to “That’s a Good Question”

  1. He did pick everyone but not everyone chooses Him.

  2. I was going to respond with the usual persiflage (“Really? Man, you should have been there; you would’ve put a stop to all this terrible Calvinism”) but the terseness of your comment leads me to believe that you may have missed the point, so I will expand a bit.

    I wrote this to imply that Calvinism doesn’t make any sense, since even our friend the pastor cannot imagine a single reason why it might be true (yet he’s basing his life on it being true). Obviously if you are not a Calvinist, you will agree with me that it doesn’t make any sense. So thank you for your support.

    But since you’ve got me typing: I think it is hard to wiggle out of the argument that any robust Christian doctrine will, in the end, either be Calvinist or have some predestination mixed in. How do you explain all that stuff Jesus says about nobody being able to come to him unless the Father draws him? His sheep knowing his voice? People’s eyes being darkened? Moreover, how do you explain the purely empirical observation that the vast majority of Christians who “pick” God just happen to have been “picked” to be born into Christian families? Based on logic, the Bible and plain observations, it would seem that most (I said most) people’s beliefs arise from external circumstances that would be controlled almost exclusively by God (if God indeed were there controlling them).

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