In Buddhist culture if something bad happens to someone there is little rational incentive for compassion because in the back of their minds, scratching at their skull, is the inescapable fact that their religious explanation for suffering instructs them to conclude that the suffering before their eyes is not truly a senseless tragedy that should have been avoided—rather it is karma’s fate or karma’s justice for the victim’s past lives of sin and wrongdoing.
Similarly in Calvinism the absence of a rational incentive to extend compassion is also present—even though few Calvinists ever consider it. In a Calvinist construct if something bad happens to someone, such as a child being senselessly killed in a drive-by shooting, it cannot truly be said to be a tragedy “that never should have happened”—because a Calvinist must recognize the fact that God desired and causally determined that the “bad thing” would happen. “Oh my! This is so sad, so horrifying, such a senseless tragedy!” is simply not a response that makes logical sense in a Calvinist construct given the fact that God decreed it and therefore meant for it to occur.
A Calvinist, like a Buddhist, must always wrestle with the internal tension that A) someone is suffering but B) a higher authority in the universe meant for it to happen. However throughout history one can point to many Calvinists who have responded in genuine compassion to the tragedies and evil sufferings that befall others in this fallen world. Moreover many Calvinists have sought to rectify these causes of evil and suffering so that they don’t ever happen again—as if it never should have happened.
This commendable response is not a testament to their Calvinistic beliefs but the power of the born again nature that overrules our incorrect theologies such that Christ’s compassion flows through us to the hurting and oppressed people of this world. Praise God that most Calvinists do not take their beliefs to their logical conclusions and dwell there—for if they did this world would be all the more tragic and in need of genuine compassion and love.