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John Calvin

John Calvin


"When money transactions replace gift transactions, the circle of self shrinks to eventually become the lonely, mercenary domain of John Calvin and Adam Smith. To live in the gift reverses that process, undoing the bonds of the discrete and separate self and all that goes with it. To live in the gift is to relinquish the compulsion to control, the program to label and number the world, the quest for reductionistic certainty, the drive to convert the world into money and property." - Charles Eisenstein


John (Jehan) Calvin, a strict literalist, believed Biblical scripture to be the actual incorruptible Word of God which carried absolute authority.

John Calvin, trained to be a lawyer, studied under some of the best legal minds of the Renaissance in France.

Part of that training involved the newer humanistic methods of exegesis, which dealt with a text in the original language directly via historical and grammatical analysis, as opposed to indirectly via layers of commentators.

John Calvin legal and exegetical training was important as he applied these exegetical methods to the Biblical scripture.

John Calvin systemized the Protestant interpretation of the scriptures with the publication of The Institutes of the Christian Religion.

John Calvin self-consciously imagined biblical narrative literally. He taught a corrupt literal interpretation of scripture.

John Calvin taught total depravity (people are born evil and care only about themselves) and predestination (some people are destined to hell, especially those who refute the dogma of total depravity and predestination - heretics all!).

Obviously John Calvin had a flawed sense of logic. Man is totally depraved and yet somehow those totally depraved human beings were able to perfectly document and accurately describe through Biblical accounts the attributes of God ?

"If there were no one to punish, then God would be incapable of demonstrating that he was a mysteriously vindictive God." - John Calvin

John Calvin made the claim that only his interpretation of scripture was to be absolute - with stern retribution for transgressors. John Calvin founded the first Protestant absolutist theocracy in Geneva, Switzerland.

Calvinist Geneva, the "Protestant Rome," was a totalitarian police state with systematic subjugation of an entire populace according to a specific doctrine - Calvinistic dogma.

In 1542 the council approved John Calvin's religious regulations.

The ministry was divided into pastors, teachers, lay (nonreligious) elders, and deacons. The pastors governed Calvin's Church, and their permission was required to preach in Geneva. To control public behavior, an elected group of pastors and elders were given the right to search people's homes; to banish anyone from the city; to force attendance at weekly sermons; and to ban gambling, drinking, dancing, and immodest dress.

Criticism of John Calvin and other church officials was forbidden, as were immoral writings and books about Catholicism. Punishment for first offenses was usually a fine. Repeat offenders were banished, and extreme offenses carried the death penalty. From 1541 until John Calvin's death fifty-eight people were executed and seventy-six were banished in order to preserve the moral order of Calvinistic dogma.

"Any sculpture or public art was forbidden. A special permit was required to print anything for publication. It was forbidden to write letters abroad, and local mail was all read by a committee, coming and going. Everyone was encouraged to spy on everyone else, children on their parents, workers against each other, servants against their masters." - Rafi Metz*

"Most savagely of all were punished any offenders whose behavior challenged Calvin's political and spiritual infalliblity. A man who had publicly protested against the reformer's doctrine of predestination was mercilessly flogged at all the crossways of the city and then expelled. A book printer who, in his cups, had railed at Calvin was sentenced to have his tongue perforated with a red-hot iron before being expelled from the city. Jacques Gruet was racked and then executed merely for having called Calvin a hypocrite." - Stephan Zweig*, The Right To Heresy

John Calvin was instrumental in the burning of Michael Servetus* – the physician who first accurately discribed the circulation of blood.

Michael Servetus and John Calvin communicated by letter each trying to convince the other of his theology. Michael Servetus was denounced as a heretic by Guillaume Trie, a rich merchant who had taken refuge in Geneva and friend of John Calvin.

Michael Servetus was convicted of heresy by the French inquisition but escaped before his execution could be carried out.

Michael Servetus shortly thereafter attended a sermon by John Calvin in Geneva and was arrested. Michael Servetus was found to be a heretic and was condemned to be burned alive.

The executioners tied Michael Servetus to a chair, lowered him into the flames, then raised him up, then lowered him into the flames again, and again, and again, so in all it took half an hour before he died.
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