Lovely, Isn't It?

Dogmatism on Parade - Click to Enlarge

Weston McCarron lives in Idaho.  He’s married to my cousin, Rachel.  He’s also been reading and commenting on my blog from ages back.  Respect … Ali-G style with double handed finger snap.

Along with Napoleon Dynamite and potatoes, Weston is proof that Idaho contributes to the global awesomeness of the United States.  He’s smart, honest and asks better questions than anyone I know.

I love questions and I’m rarely taken back by them, no matter what the questions take aim at.  So, when Weston responded to my post on Tim Keller’s absolutes, I thought, “These are great thoughts and questions, let’s make them a blog.”  Weston agreed and here we are.

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Within the fairly recent past I held a handful of assumptions that each seem to be fairly ubiquitous within American Christianity and which, once considered seriously, compelled me to arrogantly and dogmatically villify multitudes of human beings that in reality I knew nothing about.

Here are those assumptions:

  1. Everyone in the world will spend eternity in torment unless he or she is saved.
  2. A requirement for being saved is to believe the right things (including at bare minimum some basic ideas about Jesus’ death and resurrection and divinity)
  3. God is perfectly good and just and wants to save people, but allows for people’s own free wills to exclude them from His salvation. This entails that:
    • Any punishment God inflicts is fully deserved and just
    • Anyone’s failure to be saved is his or her own fault and due to his or her deliberate rebellion against God’s will.

If these assumptions are correct, then anyone who does not believe the Right Things (however broad or narrow that list may be) is not saved and anyone who is not saved has chosen to be not saved by rebelling against God’s will.

Conclusion: Anyone who does not believe the Right Things must be in willful rebellion to God, and hence also in rebellion to love and to goodness, and will experience a fully deserved eternal punishment.

Does not this conclusion strictly follow from these assumptions?

Is not this conclusion an explicit intellectual commitment to demonizing everyone who believes sufficiently differently from oneself, even while knowing absolutely nothing else about them?

If so, then wouldn’t this imply that either (1) it’s a good and reasonable thing to dogmatically villify and condemn all outsiders and assume we already know everything important about them and their motivations, or… (2) there’s possibly something wrong with one or more of those assumptions?

Or did I totally miss something here?

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