Charles Taylor Thursday #3: How Calvinism eats itself.

William Brafford

William Brafford grew up in North Carolina, home of the world's best barbecue, indie rock, and regional soft drinks. He just barely sustains a personal blog and "tweets" every now and then under the name @williamrandolph.

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2 Responses

  1. Robert Cheeks says:

    I don’t think it’s proper to say ‘Calvinism eats itself’.’ However, I’m not qualified to proffer a critique simply because I don’t concur with a number of the Calvinist tenets, perhaps out of ignorance.
    The truth is we live in a tension defined by the poles of immanence and transcendence. The truth of this tensional existence is that it is a whole, not a separate immanence, nor a separate transcendence rather a completion of being existing in reality and non-reality, cojoined with the arche (the Divine ground). What the Greeks called the ‘metaxy.’

    Another consideration perhaps applicable to Calvinism, from Stefan Rossbach’s classic study, “Gnostic Wars,”: “Accordingly, the myth comes in the literary form of the ‘system, ‘ an all-encompassing totality, a ‘fullness’ in itself that memorises the loss of pneumatic fullness and thereby contributes to its restoration….The ‘systems’ of Jonas’s ‘Gnostics’ are descriptive, logical or ‘ordering’ systems. They were not used as analytical devices to symplify what it otherwise chaotic reality.”
    Consequently, the question is Can we look at Calvinism, or elements of Calvinism, as a gnostic derailment seeking, “a ‘second’ reality which is the ultimate answer to all questions for everyone?”
    One of the primary ‘self-descriptions’ of Gnostic associations is the idea of the “selected (the ‘elect’) of God, etc.
    WB, I’m not preaching here, rather mulling about ideas and concepts. Feel free to point to my flaws, errors, and miscues.Report

  2. Rufus F. says:

    One of those old sweeping theories that I still quite like was the idea that Calvinism paved the way for psychology by putting adherents in a position that they had to search their behavior for clues to their inner state. I think this goes with what you’re saying about Calvinism tying in to secularism because somehow or another Freud will come along and replace the local priest with the local therapist for much of the west. It could be that there’s an sbsurd conflict between this intense Calvinist worship and it’s disconnect from election which pushes people away from the church and towards self-scrutiny. But, of course, that’s all speculation.Report