2 comments

  1. Excellent analysis! Especially in how you observed the Calvinist has a “narrative” which he must make scripture affirm. The narrative is sacred. The narrative is cannon.

    Dr. Erich Fromm – Ph.D Social Psychologist, in his work “Escape from Freedom” observes a prevailing sense of dread, and self-loathing, found within the writings and biographies of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and later among Calvinist authors.

    Fromm observes in these writings a reappearing theme – a perception of oneself as a powerless tool in the hands of a deity. And one has no true certainty of whether this deity’s intentions are benevolent or malevolent.

    Here are some quotes:
    “In his conceptions, Calvin’s god, in spite of all attempts to preserve an [amorphous and oxymoronic] idea of divine justice and love, has all the features of a tyrant, without any quality of certain or predictable love or justice.”

    “In blatant contradiction to the language of the New Testament, Calvin denies the supreme role of divine love, and says ‘For what the Schoolmen advance concerning the priority of charity to faith and hope, is a mere reverie of a distempered imagination…’ (Op. cit., 3-2-41)”.

    “One possible way to escape this unbearable state of uncertainty and a paralyzing feeling of one’s own insignificance, is the very trait which became so prominent in Calvinism: the development of a hyper activity and striving for productivity. Activity in this sense assumes a compulsory quality: the individual has to be active in order to subdue underlying feelings of doubt and powerlessness. This kind of effort and activity works to promote a sense of confidence and conciliation. As such, human effort in Calvinist doctrine has yet another psychological meaning.”

    “The irrationality of such compulsive effort is that the activity is not meant to create a desired end, but merely served to INDICATE [like the reading of tea-leaves] whether or not something will occur which has been determined beforehand, independent of one’s own activity or control. This mechanism is a well-known characteristic of compulsive neurotics. ”

    It is also the basis of the “inner worldly asceticism” which is so characteristic in early Calvinism and later Puritanism. The hostility in which this modern kind of humility and sense of duty is rooted, explains also one otherwise rather baffling contradiction: that such humility goes together with contempt for others, and that SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS ACTUALLY REPLACES LOVE AND MERCY.

    The need for certainty in being valued and loved is designed into the human frame by God himself.

    Why would God design that into a creature when his plans for that creature are torment in an eternal lake of fire?

    Calvinism produces a psychotic condition requiring repeated reassurance of divine benevolence from one side of the brain – while the other side anticipates the opposite.

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