Ever since my deconversion, I've made it a hobby (or a habit) to challenge religion wherever I could. Sometimes I wish that I knew more about Islam or Hinduism so I could pick on those instead of just Christianity but as they say, "write what you know." Don't worry, I doubt this will be offensive at all, but for some reason it crossed my mind.
I was raised Baptist and even after I left the Baptist church at age 18, shook the dust off my feet, and vowed to not go back, I still shared a handful of theological ideas with the Baptists. At the top of the list is the idea of free will. I don't believe anyone is predestined to do anything and I don't understand how any logical person, faithful or not, could. I also don't understand denominations that baptise babies. Doesn't that cheapen the whole idea of salvation when its forced on someone who has no clue what's going on? (I'm looking at you, 16th century Spanish missionaries.) I know that no one thinks the Baptism saves the baby or anything, but still, the ritual is silly. The baby is an atheist before you pour stagnant water on its head and the baby is still an atheist after you pour stagnant water on its head. When an adult makes a well informed decision to join a faith and then wants to perform whatever ritual that faith prefers, that's one thing, but acting like your baby, who doesn't actually understand anything you say, shares your beliefs, is something else altogether.
What I really wanted to challenge was not baby baptism but rather the idea of Calvinism and pre-destination. I've only had two friends in my life who considered themselves Calvinists and I made damn sure they knew how stupid I thought/think that was/is. Just like in any religion, there's always going to be little sects of strangeness, but I've always been surprised how this one sticks around. To me, its just one more way for people to think they've been "chosen." Here's a challenge: Find a Calvinist that believes that they are someone who was simply not chosen to go to Heaven. I really doubt you can. Part of me also thinks its a way for Christians to be lazy about evangelism, which, don't get me wrong, I'm not encouraging evangelism. But if we're all predestined for our eventual eternities, then there is little incentive to make much of a spiritual difference in the lives of those around you. All the work is already done, they're chosen or they're not, right?
The biggest problem, though, is that you can't possibly be a Calvinist and believe that god loves everyone equally. Not without some really fancy theological footwork, I'd imagine. I'm sure that in the right circles I'd hear some pretty great albeit, illogical, arguments about how it all somehow works if you just look at it from the right perspective and humbly admit that god's ways are above our ways, and who are you to question the unquestionable anyway...etc...etc...etc... I don't expect to find too many Calvinist defenders here but the simple truth is that if god loves us all equally then we simply cannot be predestined. It just doesn't work with any definition of love that I can imagine. But I guess we can go a step further and say, if god loves us, why create a hell in the first place? If you try and see religion from the eyes of a deity, I think it probably looks like a big, cruel game. I can just picture angels sitting on clouds making bets about who's going to stumble upon the "right" religion. Might make a good comedy, actually. Oh well.
If anyone is in Austin, we're doing a last minute show at Antone's tonight with Soldier Thread and Hosty Duo. Show starts at 9 and should be a good time. Leah's having to bring me my other pants to work, though. I can't be rolling up to the rock show in pleated khakis, after all.
I'm sure tonight will be fun, but early soundcheck means that I don't have time to go home and spend any real time with my girls, and by the time I drag my ragged body home, Harper will be asleep. She gave me a lot of smiles this morning, though. Perhaps she knew it'd be a while before I got anymore. I love being Harper's dad, but nothing makes my heart swell as much as watching Leah play with her. Harper loves her mom so much, its ridiculous. She's taken a liking to me, as well.