Being required to fill in an internet application in a way that the system prevents

åäöI experienced something the other day which reminded me of Calvinism . My daughter and I had to fill in an application on British Airways‘ website for her trip to the USA, and it was very important to fill in her name EXACTLY as written in her passport. I already knew the importance of this from before, and a few months ago I read in our local paper about a man who neglected to write an ”H” in his application which should have been there in his last name. He solved the matter by officially changing his name, which he luckily had time to do before his departure to the US…!

The only problem for us when we filled in our application was that the system prevented us from using any other letters than the ones between a-z – and that wasn’t the first time we’ve run into that internet problem. Our name is BJÖRK, and ö is a completely different letter than o, and neither are the letters å and ä forms of a. So should we LIE as we usually do when we fill in such applications and write BJORK, or should we use BJOERK (which resembles the pronunciation of ö better) and which is commonly done when it comes to airlines tickets and elsewhere? If that man with the lacking H got in trouble, maybe we will get in trouble for adding an extra E which shouldn’t be there? We weren’t quite sure how to fill in that important document, but we knew that it was EXTREMELY IMPORTANT and a REQUIREMENT that both the first and the last names were written EXACTLY as written in the passport, or else she might not be able to enter the country.

We tried with an O and hoped for the best, and we also had to lie in the same way when we filled in our little city (which has an Ä in it), and to top it off I had to lie a final time when I paid the 14 dollars that we owed and which had to be made by a credit card where my unfortunate last name appears once again. I chose O instead of Ö there too, right under the information that the name must be typed in EXACTLY as it appears on the credit card (which is Björk with an Ö). So once again the system asked me to do something that the same system prevented me from doing.

(Our most common lie when it comes to such applications happens when we must fill in a zip code, which we don’t have. We could try with our own address digits but that almost never works, but typing ”00000” or similar works at times.)

Anyway, this reminded me of Calvinism, because according to this doctrine God actually commands us to do something that he has prevented us from doing. We are told to REPENT, which we can’t unless he enables us and predestines us to do so, and apparently he has not enabled everyone to repent since most people will (according to the Bible) end up in hell for not having repented or believed in God.

Acts. 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth ALL MEN EVERY WHERE to repent

There are also many other things we are told to do which we can’t – for instance stop sinning – and that is something God has prevented most people from doing (if Calvinism is right). Nevertheless, he will still punish them for not repenting and for their sins which he caused them to commit. Only the elect will be able to seek God and repent, and the non-elect are prevented from doing this. By God.


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