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Monday, October 26, 2009

Semi - Atheism & the eventual slide into modern secularism / Atheism

I view cessationism as a form of semi-atheism.

Cessationism is only one of the factors I saw which led to my speculation of modern Atheism coming from particular former christian circles. When you add Cessationism with alot of other things, then you can see how Atheism and Secularism in general eventually took over the western World.

There were alot of events one can look at in time that helped secularism become what it is now. Charlse Darwin's book.......the origin of species.....being one of them, for most christians around that time were Old Earth Creationists......including a number of Darwin's college professors. After he wrote that book however, you start to see a number of Old Earthers switch to Theistic Evolution, while a number of others lost faith and became either Agnostic or Atheistic evolutionists. YEC (Young Earth Creationism) came back in style around the 1960's, but that book(the origin of species) single handedly took science out of the hands of christianity, and completely into the hands of secularism. And so that played a role as well. And so you gotta add alot of things together in order to see a fuller picture.


"It is my view that Calvinism is semi-Atheistic. Especially those Calvinists that are "cessationists" I point the finger at the Zwingli/Calvin Compromise. This compromise was one of the reasons why the Reformed churches couldn't unite with the Lutherian churches.

But I would like to quote a few things by Alister Mcgrath to show that I wasn't wrong for speculating this.

He says on page 146 of his book "Christianity's Dangerous idea: The protestant revolution-a history from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first":

"The appeal of the Enlightenment proved greatest within Reformed circles. For
reasons that remain unclear, rationalism gained acceptance in many former
Calvinist strongholds. Geneva and Edinburgh, both international centers of
Calvinism in the late sixteenth century, were noted as epicenters of European
rationalism in the late eighteenth century. John Calvin and John Knox gave way
to the very different worldviews of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume. In
marked contrast, the Enlightenment had relatively little impact on Catholicism
during the eighteenth century-unless, of course, the French Revolution (1789) is
seen as a political extension of the ideas of the Enlightenment."[1]

He mentions this again in passing on page 264 while talking about the stripping away of the "sacred/supernatural" and the rise of the Atheistic worldview.

"While most Elizabethan Protestants were happy to follow continental ideas,
especially those of Calvin, their Jacobean and Stuart successors were
increasingly aware of the need to symbolize the interaction and interpenetration
of the sacred and secular. The poetry of George Herbert can be seen as an
attempt to retain an essentially Calvinist theology of the Sacraments, while
developing its capacity to promote the Church's social and confessional
This decoupling of the sacred from the quotidian, characteristic
of certain types of Protestantism, accelerated the rise of a functionally
atheist worldview in which God was not regarded as an active participant in the
worldview. It is no accident that two sixteenth-century European centers of
Calvinism-Geneva and Edinburgh-had became centers of rationalism two centuries
We shall have more to say about this development later. Yet it is
important to appreciate here that one of the most fundamental characteristics of
Pentecostalism is its insistence that the divine may be encountered in the
secular realm. Its astonishing success points to the reversal of this trend and
the emergence of a new form of Protestantism characterized by its expectation of
the direct experience of the spiritual within the mundane."[2]

I am not the onlyone who sees a connection between Calvinistic theology with the rise of Atheism. I'm not gonna say all, but alot of Calvinists tend to disregard any idea of "mystery" for the sake of "rationalism"/logic.

Also, if you watch the 3rd video in the BBC documentary of how modern Secularism owes alot to the Reformed sector of the
Protestant Reformation, then you will see what I mean by "semi-Atheism"

A Reformation of the Mind

The eventual slide into Atheism / modern secularism is also seen by this book, which charts some of the changes of ideas and methods which also caused a change of worldviews.

The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science

"Product Description
Peter Harrison examines the role played by the Bible in the emergence of natural science. He shows how both the contents of the Bible, and more particularly the way it was interpreted, had a profound influence on conceptions of nature from the third century to the seventeenth. The rise of modern science is linked to the Protestant approach to texts, an approach that spelled an end to the symbolic world of the Middle Ages, and established the conditions for the scientific investigation and technological exploitation of nature.

Also, when you look at the early apologetical wars about Scripture, error, ......etc. between Protestants....mainly puritans, and Roman Catholics, then you will also see that a century or so later, Liberal Protestants started to use those very same tools, and methods more consistantly in attacking the very scriptures that Protestants believe in.


"Appeals to supposed errors in the Deuterocanon have long peppered
Protestant/Catholic debates and rendered it far uglier than it needed to be.
Because Catholicism was its target, few had the forethought that this method
could be used against the rest of the Bible. As the Reformed scholar Edward
Ruess noted, "The scoffs thrown at the little fish of Tobit will sooner or later
destroy Jonah's wale." Ruess prophetic words have been fulfilled by the
extravagances of higher criticism.

After the Apocrypha controversy had subsided,
critics turned the same weapons against, not only the Prophet Jonah, but also
the rest of the books of scripture. So-called errors and absurdities were
quickly expunged from the Protocanon of the Old and New Testaments. Whole books
were labeled (or libeled) as myths and fables. The end result is a bible where
only a few passages are worthy of belief. Anti-Catholic polemicists have
unwittingly opened a Pandora's box.

They assumed no one would ever dare charge
the rest of scripture with errors and absurdities, yet the advent of liberal
Protestantism brought with it individuals who did not fear to apply these
arguments consistently throughout the entire Bible. The problem at the heart of
this line of argumentation is one of pride. It places the intellect in the role
of judge, allowing it to sit in judgement upon the word of God. [3]"

In the Roman Catholic world, we can see Atheism forming in France from Jansenism. Jansenism is very similar to Calvinism in many ways, and I find it interesting that some would link French Atheism with the Jansenism, as seen here:

"Since Jansenism had originated in Holland, the Dutch bishops were suspect; and in 1670 the Archbishop of Utrecht was summoned to Rome to answer a charge of heresy. He returned uncondemned, but in 1710 the Archbishop-elect, selected by the chapter, was excommunicated for protesting against a summons to appear before a papal nuncio at Colegne, After thirteen years' limbo, however, on 15 October 1724, Cornelius Steenoven was consecrated Archbishop, in due line of Apostolic succession, by Bishop of Babylon, whereupon the Old Catholic Church of Holland began a separate existence, one which still continues. Jansenism also survived in France but almost entirely politically and without its original idealism. The conflict it caused has, in fact, led to the accusation that it formented the spirit of atheism and the anti-religion which helped to bring about the French Revolution.. [4]"

Both Calvinism and Jansenism are hardcore forms or mutations of ruff deterministic Augustinianism, and so Augustinianism can be seen as playing a role in all this.

A good movie to watch for Atheists, as well as for semi-Atheists would be the The Exorcism Of Emily Rose
This movie was based on a true story, and it shows the conflict between modern secularism/Atheism/Naturalism and the spiritual world.


[1], and [2] by Dr. Alister Mcgrath, from the book Christianity's Dangerous idea: The Protestant Revolution-A history from the sixteenth Century to the twenty-First. Published by HarperOne. Copyright 2007

[3] pages 322 & 323 from the book "Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger: The
untold story of the lost books of the Protestant Bible" by Gary G. Michuta
(copyright) 2007

[4] pages 171-174 from the book "A history of Heresy" by David Christie-Murray


Nathan said...

My current thesis is that cessationism is rooted in a rejection of apostolic succession. So long as succession is true, cessationism is false. Of course, it might be impossible to prove my thesis, but it makes me feel happy.

Jnorm said...

You know, you may have a good point. I have to look into it more, but you may be on to something.

Thanks for bringing that up!


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