In the 19th century Charles Darwin had a bulldog (T.H. Huxley), but in the 16th century Jesus had a bulldog too. And this bulldog didn’t just bite rhetorically. His name was John Calvin, and under the right circumstances he had no compunction about literally taking your head off. Here’s what John Calvin said about himself:
A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.
And Calvin spoke of hell and damnation with a matter-of-factness that chills the blood (at least it does mine):
God preordained, for his own glory and the display of His attributes of mercy and justice, a part of the human race, without any merit of their own, to eternal salvation, and another part, in just punishment of their sin, to eternal damnation.
2009 marks the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth. Some are marking his birth in celebratory terms. Frankly, this baffles me. Could somebody please explain what he said or did that makes him someone worthy to look up to, or model oneself after, in the 21st century?
In any case, during his own era Calvin didn’t like Copernicus. I wonder what he would have made of Charles Darwin, and Charles Darwin’s bulldog, T.H. Huxley. An encounter between John Calvin and Charles Darwin (or one of Charles Darwin’s supporters) might not have made a pretty picture, as this video by a conservative Christian group clearly intuits:
I think it is interesting, in this video, that Darwin is positioned, as it were, as the “other”—the crasher of a patriotic party—and as someone who, in a sense, haunts the psychological ring of the conservative psyche. Darwin must be violently knocked out of the center ring by a more powerful historical figure, a man who insisted on sola scriptura, John Calvin, God’s bulldog.