I often see (in the comments of this blog and elsewhere) people describe their difficulty with Compatibilism (or Calvinism or Determinism) as being contradictory and requiring belief in paradoxes. How can we be responsible puppets? It’s not possible.
In response, I will do to things: (1) Show you this from wikipedia
The Nature Of Determinism
The exact meaning of the term determinism has historically been subject to several interpretations. Some, called Incompatibilists view determinism and free will as mutually exclusive. The belief that free will is an illusion is known as Hard Determinism. Others, labeled Compatibilists, (or Soft Determinists) believe that the two ideas can be coherently reconciled. Incompatibilists who accept free will but reject determinism are called Libertarians — not to be confused with the political sense.
(2) I post a large section of a document that I found this weekend which I thought might add to the argument. And just to prevent you from being angry at the end, I will warn you – I am being tricksy (As Gollum would put it) in this post.
Here is the document, which is completely contrary to how I view God. Apparently the author is describing a Determinism that is very compatibilist in its leaning. I have included only the parts pertinent to my argument. My comments are below.
DO YOU believe in Determinism? Most people in Christendom do. In view of this, you would think that there could be no question about it. But there is, and lately even some of its supporters have added fuel to the controversy.
Why should a subject like this be of any more than passing interest? Because Jesus himself said: “Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” So our entire future hinges on our knowing the true nature of God, and that means getting to the root of the Determinism controversy. Therefore, why not examine it for yourself?
. . . <Brief description of the traditional view> Is such reasoning hard to follow? Many sincere believers have found it to be confusing, contrary to normal reason, unlike anything in their experience. ThIS confusion is widespread. The Encyclopedia Americana notes that the doctrine of Determinism is considered to be “beyond the grasp of human reason.”
Many who accept Determinism view it that same way. Monsignor Eugene Clark says: “. . . Since there is nothing like this in creation, we cannot understand it, but only accept it.” Cardinal John O’Connor states: “We know that it is a very profound mystery, which we don’t begin to understand.”
Thus, A Dictionary of Religious Knowledge says: “Precisely what that doctrine is, or rather precisely how it is to be explained, Determinists are not agreed among themselves.”
In this regard, Jesuit Joseph Bracken observes in his book What Are They Saying About Determinism?: “Priests who with considerable effort learned . . . Determinism during their seminary years naturally hesitated to present it to their people from the pulpit, . . . . Why should one bore people with something that in the end they wouldn’t properly understand anyway?” He also says: “Determinism is a matter of formal belief, but it has little or no [effect] in day-to-day Christian life and worship.”
Catholic theologian Hans Küng observes in his book Christianity and the World Religions that Determinism is one reason why the churches have been unable to make any significant headway with non-Christian peoples.
. . .
However, contending that since Determinism is such a confusing mystery, it must have come from divine revelation creates another major problem. Why? Because divine revelation itself does not allow for such a view of God: “God is not a God of confusion.”—1 Corinthians 14:33, Revised Standard Version (RS).
. . .
If Determinism were true, it should be clearly and consistently presented in the Bible. Why? Because, as the apostles affirmed, the Bible is God’s revelation of himself to mankind. And since we need to know God to worship him acceptably, the Bible should be clear in telling us just who he is.
First-century believers accepted the Scriptures as the authentic revelation of God. It was the basis for their beliefs, the final authority. For example, when the apostle Paul preached to people in the city of Beroea, “they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.”—Acts 17:10, 11.
Since the Bible can ‘set things straight,’ it should clearly reveal information about a matter as fundamental as Determinism is claimed to be. But do theologians and historians themselves say that it is clearly a Bible teaching?
. . .
The Encyclopedia of Religion says: “Theologians agree that the New Testament also does not contain an explicit doctrine of Determinism.” Jesuit Fortman states: “The New Testament writers . . . give us no formal or formulated doctrine of Determinism. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology similarly states: “The N[ew] T[estament] does not contain the developed doctrine of Determinism.
What About Determinism “Proof Texts”?
IT IS said that some Bible texts offer proof in support of Determinism. However, when reading such texts, we should keep
in mind that the Biblical and historical evidence does not support Determinism.
Any Bible reference offered as proof must be understood in the context of the consistent teaching of the entire Bible.
Very often the true meaning of such a text is clarified by the context of surrounding verses. . .
Here the author provides many verses which seem to support what he is saying and handles many verses that support typically used to counter his views. This is the bulk of the document
So here is the tricksy part – I got this document from the Watch Tower and then replaced all instances of the words “The Trinity” with Determinism.
I just wanted to point out that if you are an anti-determinist, your style and manner of argumentation may be similar to those who don’t believe that Jesus is God. How did it go?