I like the way the Calvinist religion has boiled its doctrine down to a simple acronym: TULIP, and have crafted an acronym in response, not for my atheist doctrine, but one that lays out the fundamental question I think is at the heart of the conflict between us over what to believe and how to believe it.
Here’s the Calvinist acronym.
- Total depravity: This doesn't mean people are as bad as they can be. It means that sin is in every part of one's being, including the mind and will, so that a man cannot save himself.
- Unconditional election: God chooses to save people unconditionally; that is, they are not chosen on the basis of their own merit.
- Limited atonement: The sacrifice of Christ on the cross was for the purpose of saving the elect.
- Irresistible grace: When God has chosen to save someone, He will.
- Perseverence of the saints: Those people God chooses cannot lose their salvation; they will continue to believe. If they fall away, it will be only for a time.
Now here’s mine on the question: what should we believe and how should we believe it?
I’d love to hear your response to the question, but also any objections you might have to any of my 12 precepts. However to avoid a double standard, anything answers or objections you make applies to your beliefs as much as they do to anyone else’s. Whatever you say can and will be used for and against your beliefs too: