Elijah John wrote: Or their internal sense of right and wrong. People do this all the time.
Yes, most people can pass the easy tests. But, under harder tests, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to trust only on one’s abilities and innate sense of morality.
Civil disobedience. Internal sense of right and wrong. Passive or active resistance.
The Nuremberg prosecution did not appeal to civil disobedience or an internal compass. They did not say to the perpetrators, “You should’ve exercised civil disobedience. You should’ve had an internal sense of right and wrong. You should’ve resisted.” Even they had to appeal to a higher power (which they had to invent).
The “authority” figure or government does not necessarily defer.
And most likely would not defer to a higher authority.
A non-Calvinistic (or non-Pauline) Theist would argue that even the atheist’s internal sense of right and wrong was implanted by the Creator.
I would say that everyone (including Calvinists) would agree that everyone (including atheists) has an internal sense of right and wrong. The question though is, if tested, would people always choose the right thing? I argue no.
These teachings seem more in line with observable reality than does Pauline or Calvinist dogma.
Here’s what I observe. All people can do good or bad. But, given certain circumstances, anybody can commit the most vile evil.
As a note, Calvinism is not the only position that accepts total depravity. Arminianism does so as well.
It is advocated to various degrees by many Protestant confessions of faith and catechisms, including those of some Lutheran synods, and Calvinism. Arminians, such as Methodists, believe and teach total depravity, but with distinct differences. The key distinction between the total depravity embraced by Calvin and the total depravity taught by Arminius is the distinction between irresistible grace and prevenient grace.