Religious Determinism

Religious Determinism

We now pass to a group of theories which arise not from the external, historical or psychological, investigation of the religious consciousness, but within that consciousness itself. These are determinist, antinomian, and quietist respectively.

Religious determinism results from a conviction of the omnipotence and universality of God, so interpreted that no power of initiation whatever is left to the human will. All that is done is done by God ; God’s plans are not conditional upon man’s co-operation or overthrown by his rebellion, because God knew these things before, and indeed was himself the cause of them.

This creed lays upon its adherent no commands in the ordinary sense of the word, for it does not hold him free to execute them.

Religious Determinism

Religious Determinism

On the other hand, it does issue commands in the only sense in which it allows itself to do so ; it teaches that one type of conduct is pleasing to God and another unpleasing, so that, if a man were free to choose, it would not hesitate to point out the kind of behaviour that ought to be chosen.

And indeed those who hold views of this kind often surpass all others in the rigorism and puritanism of their actual lives. This theory therefore does not really banish conduct from religion.