[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Monday, May 28, 2007

I hope you don't agree with this quotation

by Matthew

I mark Religious Studies exam papers for extra money. The age group is 15-16 (religious education in school is no doubt a foreign concept to you Yanks).

There is a series of questions on Islamic views on life after death. One of these questions poses the statement:

'A loving God would not send people to hell'. Do you agree?

A candidate gave this answer:

No, I do not agree. Allah is all-merciful. If he chooses to forgive you, you are forgiven, but if he chooses not to forgive you, then you burn in hell.

Does that sound familiar?


  • Of course I would imagine the quote was made with one concept of God in mind (the Christian God who is love) vs. the answer, apparently given by a Muslim, whose concept of God is anything but loving and personal.

    I of course, as a Christian, believe that God is both loving and just; and that the question creates a false dichotomy between the two, or at least fails to recognize a full orbed view disclosed by the Bible relative to God's nature. In other words the question is informed by a "rationalist" concept of God that does not resemble the God revealed in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.

    In short, I don't agree with the epistemology and anthropology that gives cause to the question in the first place.

    In Christ

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Monday, May 28, 2007 5:34:00 PM  

  • Do the Calvinists and the Muslims share a god?

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, May 28, 2007 6:14:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    don't you believe God is going to send people to hell?

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Monday, May 28, 2007 6:19:00 PM  

  • Matt,

    It's hard telling the difference between the Calamites' eternal, unconditional, efficacious, and unchangeable decree and the Muslim god Allah.

    I suppose going to hell at the sovereign behest of a personal God is better than going to hell at the whim of Allah. But the whole ordeal seems to be a difference without a distinction.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, May 28, 2007 8:52:00 PM  

  • The difference between the Muslim god and the Calvinist God is distinct.

    The Calvinist GOD is different in the sense that man won't choose Him, because ultimately God did not choose the reprobate.

    The Muslim god capricously determines a person to paradise or not; in other words, a person could be the most devout Muslim their hole life, go on haj keep all the pillars, and allah could, on a whim, say nah you don't get to come to paradise.

    The difference, only people who reject God, in the Calvinist schema end up in hell; in the Muslim paradigm anyone could end up in hell, even believers.

    There is a difference that is distinguishable.

    I think if there is to be a critique of Calvinism, the best way to approach it, is to avoid non sequiter points; as this reflects a false "implied" parallel.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Monday, May 28, 2007 9:37:00 PM  

  • Bobby, good thoughts.

    The same statement was posed in connection with Christianity, Judaism and Islam and even Hinduism (except with Samsara- spiral of reincarnation, instead of hell).

    In one sense, the Calvinist god might be said to be capricious, in that he gives some people a false intellectual faith that cannot save. So potentially a Calvinist may fear that he is one of those people chosen to fall away and thus prove in time not to be among the elect.

    Antonio, I suppose both Calvinists and Muslims have been influenced by the methodology of Hellenistic philosophy.

    TJP, thanks for dropping in.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, May 29, 2007 1:00:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    You're right there might be the same psychological angst (i.e. subjective); but there is still a categorical conceptual distinction. I.e. In the Muslim perspective God condemns believers to hell, in the Calvinist framework God does not condemn believers to hell (i.e. objective).

    I suppose the causal determinism involved in both could be attributed to Aristotelian/Neo-Platonic metaphysics a la Augustine and the Christian influence upon the formation of Mohammed's thought or later through Averroes in the case of Islam.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Tuesday, May 29, 2007 1:57:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    1) A God of love would not send anyone to hell:

    I disagree. He sends to hell those and only those who die in their chosen sins and for that very cause.

    2) Allah is all merciful etc.,

    I disagree. Allah is not all merciful. Allah cannot forgive sins at all. Allah cannot send people to hell. In fact, Allah can't do anything since he doesn't exist, except in the mind of his followers. Not like Jehovah at all.

    3) Sound familiar?

    Assuming that you are referring to the second quotation, it sounds like material which folk use to ask those sort of mischievous questions that can stir up the pot and yet leave the questioner with the excuse that he only asked. It encourages others to do likewise as the comments box shows.

    P/s I assume Matthew that our discussion a couple of posts ago over the supposed Christian girl who insisted on fornicating has finished? You were for throwing her out of the Assembley, leading me to ask if she was saved by grace, but kept by works.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, May 29, 2007 3:29:00 AM  

  • Goodnight, this question is perhaps a little mischevious. But I think I have a valid point.

    The question you asked about the position of the girl in relation to the church was essentially a pastoral question.

    A person might take a quite different position with regards to the girl's salvation than I do and yet might make allowances for her behaviour with regards to her acceptance by the local church.

    Or one could hold that she was saved while still persisting in the sin and hold that she should be excluded until she had repented.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, May 29, 2007 5:38:00 AM  

  • No, I don't agree with the quotation.
    I am so glad that I am not in a Muslim country or from a Muslim family.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, May 29, 2007 7:36:00 AM  

  • There are quite a lot of Muslims here. But contrary to the fears of a lot of Christians, Britain will never become an Islamic country.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, May 29, 2007 7:55:00 AM  

  • Calvinism does not put forth a Hellenistic view of determinism in spite of our high regard for Augustine.

    By Blogger jared, at Tuesday, May 29, 2007 9:33:00 AM  

  • The determinism of Calvinism is not derivative of Hellenism, but the heavy reliance on deductive logic certainly is.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, May 29, 2007 9:44:00 AM  

  • I'm quite certain that the Greeks did not invent logic, though I am willing to grant that they codified it into what is typically understood as Western culture out of which Calvinism has come. At any rate, it is not against Scripture to utilize deductive logic (based on the principle of non-contradiction) whether lightly or heavily, especially considering that Scripture itself uses deductive logic. In fact, the first human words recorded in Scripture, though poetic, are quite logical.

    By Blogger jared, at Tuesday, May 29, 2007 1:40:00 PM  

  • Deductive logic is highly useful. However, we must be careful not to centre our theology on deductive syllogisms, as I believe Calvinism does.

    We can also use inductive reasoning examining the Biblical material in order to form the structure of our theology.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, May 29, 2007 2:55:00 PM  

  • Calvinism is actually Christo-centric which, if you think about it, is also Logo-centric. It is not coincidental nor insignificant that John uses logos for Jesus in the opening of his gospel. However, I do agree with you that our theology should not center on deductive syllogisms and that inductive reasoning can inform our theology with just as much truth as deductive reasoning. Mystery should be afforded an appropriate place too since we are finite creatures and cannot understand all things.

    By Blogger jared, at Tuesday, May 29, 2007 7:44:00 PM  

  • Oh, and the candidate's answer does sound familiar: he sounds like a Muslim.

    By Blogger jared, at Saturday, June 02, 2007 7:59:00 AM  

  • I dare say he or she might be.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, June 02, 2007 1:32:00 PM  

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