In high school, I converted to Calvinism, and was a Calvinist for eight years — until I came to Asia two years ago.
Calvinism is the belief that God chooses who he wants to go to heaven, and everyone else willingly chooses hell. After six months of trying to prove free will, one day I read, “and all those who were appointed to eternal life believed.” I closed my Bible, walked into the room where my dad was on the computer, and said, “the Bible says only those who were appointed believed. I am done arguing about this.” And from then on, Calvinism was apart of my being.
Today I am not a Calvinist, mostly because I went oversees and saw that in reality, people in this region of Asia are Buddhists, not because they weren’t chosen, but because they were raised Buddhists. I also realized that most of my friends haven’t actually rejected God; they just were raised without a god, so don’t believe in him and never considered the possibility that God exists. In other words, the Calvinist doctrine that some people hate God and other people love God didn’t add up. Buddhists don’t hate God. They have no reason to hate someone they never contemplated existed.
Calvinism is not possible unless you conclude that God plays favorites and chooses more people in certain countries than others.
In short, travel has changed my view of Calvinism. Travel has actually changed my view of everything because I don’t see things so literally now. I used to read verses such as in Romans chapter 3 that says that no one seeks after him and think, literally, “no one seeks after God.” Instead of realizing that 1) every people group in this world originally did not seek after God because like some of my friends, they’d never thought to and 2) Paul’s letters were written to a specific culture, a culture that obviously wasn’t seeking God, again, like my Buddhist friends. (Only Paul’s audience seemed pretty immoral)
I confess I still love a good discussion with Calvinists. They make me smile and laugh when they start talking about babies saying hateful things and doing all these things babies don’t do. They only prove my point that the Bible cannot be understood so literally.