In A President Blinded by Righteousness, Ron Fournier argues that Barack Obama’s basic flaw is that he has too much faith in human nature. He does not seem able to conceive that people will frequently choose what is wrong, what is against their interests, or what is destructive to society as a whole.

Ukraine is illustrative of a flaw in Obama’s worldview that consistently undermines his agenda, both foreign and domestic. He thinks being right is good enough. From fights with Congress over the federal budget and his nominations, to gun control, immigration reform, health care, and Syria, the president displays tunnel-vision conviction, an almost blinding righteousness. I’m right. They’re wrong. Why isn’t that enough?

The President’s policies and legislation always assume the best in human nature (unless he’s talking about rich Republicans who are just to the right of the Antichrist), that people are always reasonable, rational, and logical.

If given a choice between working or not working, people will surely work. If given the choice of a healthy lifestyle or a self-destructive lifestyle, they will surely choose the former. If given the choice between living in helpless poverty or taking the opportunity to better themselves, well, of course they’ll roll up their sleeves. And when it comes to nations, surely they will know what’s in their best interests and always pursue that. They will like us if we like them more. They’ll prefer talking to us to bombing us.

Calvinism produces more realism
The President could do with a good old-fashioned dose of old Calvinism to help him understand that we are so morally and spiritually depraved that we often have no idea what is in our interests, and even when we do we may still choose the wrong, the false, the destructive, and the insane.

But it’s not just Democrats who could do with more theology, so could the Republicans. True, they seem to apply total depravity to the poor – they assume the worst there. But they seem to think that the richer you get, the less depraved you become. Deregulation is the answer – the less laws that affect the wealthy, the more law-abiding they will become.

Both sets of politicians reveal an astonishing naïveté about human nature resulting in naïve policies and legislation.

Calvinism produces more prayer
But Calvinist theology would not only produce more realistic policies; it would also produce more prayerful politicians. They would have much less confidence in themselves and in the branches and bigness of government to effect personal, societal and national transformation. They would see their and our desperate need for the Holy Spirit to restrain evil, prompt civil good, increase common grace, and save souls; producing earnest prayer for God’s blessing.

Calvinism produces more bi-partisanship
One thing I’ve noticed about myself as Calvinism works its way deeper and wider into my soul is that I’m less dogmatic than I used to be. I’m not talking about being washy-washy when it comes to Christian doctrine or morals; I’m talking about areas of wisdom, decision-making, discernment, application of Scripture, and so on.

The more I come to see my own depravity and corruption, the less I trust myself and the more I want to consult with others and hear others’ ideas about the best way forward. We could do with so much more of that spirit in our politicians instead of this ex cathedra certainty about everything they propose and the instant denigration of everything from the other side of the aisle.

Calvinism produces more hope
While Calvinism puts less faith in faulty frail human nature, it puts much faith in the great grace of God. While the imagined goodness of human nature gives us no confidence whatsoever, the immeasurable goodness of God makes us incredibly hopeful. That’s a “hope and change” that’s based on real hope and can produce lasting change.

  • Len Scott

    If Calvinism produces more bipartisanship then why not simply change the article to “Why Every Politician Should Be A Christian”? After all, Arminians would agree with everything you say here.

  • Mark N.

    “Calvinism produces more bi-partisanship”

    I get the theoretical point you are making here, and would wholeheartedly agree that this *should* be the outcome.

    However, how I’m doubtful that Calvinism can produce more bi-partisanship in the big sandbox (public square) until it produces some sort of significant bi-partisanship in the small sandbox (the theologically Reformed community)!

    There is just so much bitter partisanship and name calling in our theologically Reformed circles that we should not be surprised that people are receiving our high claims for the potential impact Calvinism would make on the public square with a healthy dose of skepticism.

    I’m not at all trying to contradict your point, but merely trying to highlight the work we have to do on the the more local, community level in producing more statesmen rather than bulldogs in our circles. This, I believe, would lead to better results both internally and externally in the public square.

  • David Brainerd

    This is completely backwards. Obama is a Calvinist who thinks everyone is born retarded and has to have him to tell them what to do and his nanny state to give them everything. Calvinism is the source of the problem. And as for his support of homosexuality, there’s your “total depravity” right there, the “born that way, can’t do any better” excuse that Calvinism and Gaydaism both teach.

    • David Brainerd

      And the claim that “Calvinism produces more prayer” is laughable. How exactly does a belief that God has pre-scripted everything make people pray more? Oh, yeah, IT DOESN’T. Epic fail.

      • John Hendryx

        David, you are confusing fatalism with personal determinism. A Calvinist prays because he believes God is the one who actually opens people’s blind eyes, unplugs their deaf ears and turns their heart of stone to a heart of flesh and save them. Election by itself, does not save, it has no saving power. Union with Jesus does. Election is the blueprint of what God intends to do in time by the redemptive work of Christ, preached by the church and applied by the Holy Spirit, who joins us to Christ. God ordains the ends and the means (prayer, preaching) to accomplish his goal.

        But what purpose would a non-Calvinist have to pray for someone if God can
        do nothing to change that person’s naturally hardened will? He could do no more than outwardly
        persuade people, just like we do. So if you don’t believe God can actually save and change a person, then prayer would be pointless.

        And non-Calvinists believe Jesus has exhaustive foreknowledge. So if Jesus already knows who won’t be saved then that fact is already fixed so why would he spend time trying to do something that he knew with certainty could not possibly take place?

        • David Brainerd

          Calvinists always have to exaggerate everything. Non-Calvinists don’t necessarily say that God can do nothing to change a person’s mind. But if its all up to predestination, praying for God to change someone’s mind is totally pointless because its all already decided. So only the non-Calvinist can make any sense of this type of prayer. Nor is it necessarily true that all non-Calvinists believe in exhaustive foreknowledge. Indeed, even those who claim to, in reality can’t truly believe this, or they wouldn’t be praying for God to change anyone’s mind. In reality, everyone, even the Calvinists, knows on some deep level that exhaustive foreknowledge is bunk, and this shows especially when it comes to how they act with regard to prayer and evangelism. Dogmas like those only affect what people claim in debate, for in reality everyone lives as if they have freewill and as if everyone else does, and they pray as if people have freewill generally but they expect God to exert some control on others in certain ways at certain times. If only people would align their beliefs to the reality of how they actually operate in life, rather than holding mythical beliefs that don’t work in real life (and that they know don’t work in real life) then we could actually have unity. But the devil has an interest in keeping half of christendom procliming a mythical unworkable determinism, and so they will, despite the fact that they know inside that it is a lie, they will conform to the devil’s wishes because they fear human authority, the so-called and self-appointed pastors who claim to be some sort of vicars of Christ but are in reality the devil’s ministers who impose this nonsense.

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  • Steven Birn

    Obama doesn’t quite have the faith in human nature you think. He has that faith for the progressive elites he surrounds himself with. But he doesn’t have that view of the rest of us. We have to be coerced into buying health insurance improved by him or coerced into not buying food he doesn’t approve of with confiscatory taxation. His faith isn’t in mankind, it’s in government.