Friday, March 05, 2010

Arminian patricide

Arminian theology contains both logical and emotional tensions. This comes to the surface in certain Arminian apologists. You’d expect an apologist to either take his position to a logical extreme or at least as far as he dares to take it.

What comes across in Arminian apologetics is, at best, a deeply ambivalent attitude towards God. That’s because God is a potential threat to human autonomy. Excessive divine “interference” would infringe in their libertarian freedom.

So the Arminian has to keep God at a distance. Strike a balance between too much God and too little God.

This is why, when some Arminian apologists talk about God, it sounds like the parable of the prodigal son–minus the happy ending. At a certain level, the Arminian prodigal may be grateful to the old man for the gift of life and a chance to be forgiven for his youthful indiscretions.

But he values the gift more than the giver. The old man is putting a crimp in his style. The Arminian prodigal is chafing under the bit. He needs his space. Needs the independence to do his own thing. “Give me my portion of the estate, then get lost!”

This also explains the patricidal rhetoric you find in some Arminian philippics. I don’t think it’s coincidental that the author of the Oedipal complex was an atheist and an apostate.

For Freud, God was the ultimate father-figure. And you needed to assassinate the old man to enter your own manhood. To be emancipated from his oppressive authority.

The same attitude ranges from lowbrow atheists like Hitchens and Dawkins to highbrow atheists like Nagel and Sartre.

Likewise, Arminian apologists resort to any buffer mechanism they can devise to insulate their freedom from the transgressions of a meddlesome God.

They use scorched-earth rhetoric to defame a God who even intends whatever comes to pass. In that respect, it wouldn’t take much of a stressor for Arminians like that to flip into militant atheism.

1 comment:

  1. We freely obey the Father's will out of love for Him. Let me ask You a question: what beauty do you see in the prodigal's return, if it was done out of predestination? If it was already determined that he will do so by forces external to him? If he was programmed to do so.