Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Silly infidelity

JL: Silly silly man. You just don't get it, do you. What if I responded by saying this: "so do I? I too opt for truth over warrant."

Saying so makes no difference if we still have disagreements about the truth.

SH: Silly silly Loftus. I was responding to your hypothetical. I was answering you on your own grounds.

According to your hypothetical, we don’t disagree over the truth. For your hypothetical stipulated to the truth of Calvinism.

So the issue, as you chose to draw the lines, was precisely one of prioritizing warrant over truth.

If, according to your arbitrary dichotomy, it’s a choice between being right despite all the illusory evidence to the contrary, and following the deceptive evidence, then it’s better to be right rather than wrong.

The only value of evidence is if it points you in the right direction. If you are going to postulate a hypothetical scenario in which the evidence is systematically misleading, so that it’s a choice between a true belief in the teeth of the evidence, and going with the evidence even when the evidence is bound to lead me astray, then, yes, I opt for truth over warrant. That would be the only rational option given the way you have rigged the alternatives.

You just don’t get it, do you? Even when it’s your own hypothetical!

JL: For you to respond that you have an inner witness of the Spirit doesn't help your case since that witness may be to mislead you due to God's secret will for you to believe against the total evidence (i.e. even your distinction between truth and warrent and what you've concluded about it, silly).

SH: The decretive will of God is a Calvinistic category. And according to Calvinism, the witness of the Spirit does not cause a man to believe against the totality of the evidence. The witness of the Spirit is not a deceptive witness.

You are evoking categories from Reformed theology, radically redefining them, and then attempting to generate a point of tension.

But if you redefine the key terms, then it ceases to be an internal critique. The tension is not generated by the inner logic of Calvinism, but by your semantic subterfuge.

JL: All I'm doing is asking you what justification you have for believing if you cannot know the secretive will of God? And the answer must be that you have none.

SH:

1.If you’re asking about the assurance of salvation, then I’ve already blogged on that subject on several different occasions.

2.If, on the other hand, this is one of those imaginary scenarios like the Cartesian demon, Matrix, brain-in-a-vat, butterfly dreaming he’s a man or vice versa, then I’ve already blogged on that subject on several occasions as well.

JL: Now do you see my point?

SH: I see your point better than you do.

What Loftus has done, in his blundering, inchoate way, is to graft a counterfactual onto a factual state of affairs.

He’s affirming and denying Calvinism at the same time. He transplants Calvinism into his counterfactual scenario, modifies some key ingredients, acts as if he can keep everything else in place, then throws this ad hoc reconstruction back in my lap to resuscitate.

But, needless to say, you cannot arbitrarily redefine some elements without making a number of corollary adjustments.

There’s really nothing left for me to respond to. It isn’t Calvinism anymore. Rather, it’s a makeshift hypothetical that doesn’t hang together.

JL: Yes or know, and I could care less what one could call such a theology, whether it be Reformed or Catholic, or even atheist. I'm asking you to go deeper into your theology than you are willing to go. And the bottom line is that you don't know that what you believe is true nor that you please the God who truly exists, nor that you will be with this God in heaven for all eternity, based upon your present theology.

What I'm asking you is why you think you believe correctly, why you think you please this God you beieve in, and why you think you will be in heaven, based upon YOUR OWN THEOLOGY, and elucidated by me in this so-called hypothetical.

Okay? Ready to try again. Because if you sidetrack the question again then it's obvious you cannot answer it at all.

SH:

1.It’s funny to see the way he accuses me of “sidetracking” the question when I’ve been answering his question in exactly the way he chose to pose his question.

2.Then you have his utterly incoherent challenge, according to which, on the one hand:

“I could care less what one could call such a theology, whether it be Reformed or Catholic, or even atheist.”

While on the other hand:

“I'm asking you to go deeper into your theology… based upon your present theology… based upon YOUR OWN THEOLOGY.”

At the risk of stating the obvious, if Loftus is trying to mount an internal critique of “my own theology,” by generating an inner tension based on “my own theology,” then it does make a wee bit of difference whether the theology is question is “my own theology” or Catholic theology or “even atheism.”

26 comments:

  1. *Sigh*

    Listen Steve, if you're going to dismantle my arguments every time I respond to you, I'm going to stop commenting on your blog again. I thought maybe you would miss me and be a little nicer. I should have known better I guess...

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  2. Silly silly man. You just don't get it, do you. What if I responded by saying this: "so do I? I too opt for truth over warrant."

    Somehow, when I read Steve's last response, I knew that Loftus was going to completely miss the point he raised in his own hypothetical and respond with something like this.

    It was either that, or John W. Lost Us would do a similar parody response. Apparently, no such parody was needed.

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  3. Evan,

    What parody response? Why don't you guys take me seriously? I make the "real" arguments and counterarguments. It's John W. Loftus that give the parody responses. That guy won't stop dogging me...

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  4. Also take note how Steve and his T-Booger buddies can't refute my hypothetical situation that I don't believe in anyway. I mean, if they can't refute a position I DON'T hold, how can they refute a position I actually DO hold? Ha ha ha pinheads!

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  5. I don't get it. Why doesn't he realize that he isn't asking a question about your theology, but of a faux theology?

    It's not silly, it's make believe.

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  6. One more time. If you cannot know the secretive will of God, and the revealed will of God is undercut by the secretive will of God, such that the Calvinistic God is known to be duplicitous, revealing one thing and secretively decreeing opposites, then how do you know your God is pleased with you and that you will go to heaven and that I won't when we both die? That's the question, and you have failed to answer it. Go ahead answer this problem for your Clavinistic theology once and for all. Don't throw out any more red herrings; don't sidetrack the issue. Deal with it head on.

    How do you know that what you believe will gain you access into heaven based upon the evidence which God decrees you to believe that conclusion? It could be the exact reverse of what you think.

    You cannot quote to me from the Bible to support what you believe here, nor to any particular evidences, since the Bible is merely the revealed will of God, and the evidences you believe are accepted by you because of God's secretive will. How do you know God is pleased with you and you'll be in heaven when you die?

    The answer: You don't. Admit it for all to see. You D-O-N-'-T! It could all be reversed. And if this is the case you could have faith against the evidence...you could think your reasons are intelligent when it is exactly the reverse...you think my objections are stupid whereas it is your objections that could be stupid, because God is secretively decreeing you to accept absudities and stupidities as the truth.

    So tell me, when Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell everything and follow him, did Jesus really want him to do this or not?

    And as far as the atheist dilemna goes, I've already written about it here, and you've never answered what I said there either.

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  7. Loftus wrote:
    ---
    If you cannot know the secretive will of God, and the revealed will of God is undercut by the secretive will of God
    ---

    Who says "the revealed will of God is undercut by the secretive will of God"?

    Oh yeah. Atheists do.

    On the other hand, I (as a Reformed Christian) don't believe God's secret will undercuts His revealed will at all.

    1) God's revealed will (or His precepts) are for MAN, not God. Thus, God is not bound by His precepts. He is bound by His promises (for He cannot lie--such is His nature), but not by His commands for what we ought to do.

    2) As a result, God cannot possibly break His precepts.

    3) God hasn't promised us a life free from pain and death. In fact, He has promised us just the opposite as punishment for our sin.

    4) Let us use a hypothetical where Adam kills Bob. God's precepts are: "Murder is wrong." God's secret will is that Adam kill Bob. Adam, however, doesn't kill Bob because he wants to follow God's secret will; he kills Bob because he hates Bob. Adam, therefore, is knowingly violating God's precepts. Since Adam cannot know God's secret will (since, by definition, the secret will has not been revealed) then Adam cannot possibly be acting because of God's command, but instead contrary to it. Therefore, Adam has sinned in breaking God's precept. God, however, has not sinned because a) the precept wasn't for Him and b) Bob does not deserve life anyway (his life is an act of mercy on God's part), and thus God can inact judgement on Bob by using Adam as a tool to that end, even though Adam's desire is not to be a tool but to simply break God's command.

    Naturally, trying to engage in any of the above points won't help out your hypothetical argument wtih Steve, and thus you will not even attempt to interact with a legitimate position. But such is not surprising, given your past behavior.

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  8. John,

    Studying one simple doctrine would have stopped your embarrassment.

    You're asking a question those stupid ancient people asked. I know how you like to rail against the ancients. You love the chronological snobbery fallacy. If it's old it sucks, is your motto. Well, your questioning about can God send Steve to hell is the same as the medieval question, "Can God send the Virgin Mary to hell?"

    The answer to this is in two words: Covenant Theology.

    God binds Himself by His covenant, and if He fails to keep it He promises He will kill Himself. Since it is impossible for Him to die, it is therefore impossible for Him to fail to keep His covenant.

    "then how do you know your God is pleased with you and that you will go to heaven and that I won't when we both die?"

    John, is this your understanding of Christain theology? God IS NOT pleased with Steve qua Steve. God is pleased to look at Christ INSTEAD OF Steve.

    So, how does Steve know? He trusts in Christ's life and death, you don't.

    You really should go back in to hiding John, you're helping Christian theism out more than your disciple The Discomfiter did.

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  9. John, Im forgot to mention that the 900's are calling and they want their arguments back.

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  10. It's interesting how Loftus likes to use theology (or rather his misunderstanding of it) as his excuse for not obeying God's command to repent and believe the gospel. God has made a way of salvation through Christ His Son. The way is made plain, a Saviour has been provided, and all men are invited to come to Him and be saved. That's it. Take God at His Word. Stop with the "what if God decreed that I not be saved", that is the sophistry of fools....

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  11. God's revealed will (or His precepts) are for MAN, not God. Thus, God is not bound by His precepts. He is bound by His promises (for He cannot lie--such is His nature), but not by His commands for what we ought to do.

    And how exactly do you know that God keeps his promises and that he doesn't lie? This is his revealed will, but secretively, who knows, right?

    Adam, however, doesn't kill Bob because he wants to follow God's secret will; he kills Bob because he hates Bob.

    And Adam hates Bob because God has decreed from all eternity that Adam hates Bob enough to kill him. Adam cannot do otherwise.

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  12. These arguments of mine are some of the same one's that non-Calvinist Christians make too....oh but everyone misunderstands Calvinistic theology who dosen't agree with it.

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  13. The bottom line is John that you're going to be judged based upon what was in your heart (your motives) and upon what you did (your actions). You can argue yourself into oblivion, but if you stay on this course, your mouth will be shut before the Almighty and you will be in eternal woe and sadness. That should keep you awake at night. We know that God keeps His promises and that He is a God of truth because of the testimony of Scripture and the matching testimony of the Spirit dwelling in our hearts. We don't worry about God secretly decreeing the opposite of what He has promised. We are not worried about Him secretly being out to get us, while on the other hand He has offered us peace through the gospel. The God of your imagination is duplicitous because of the weight of the guilt you feel due to your sin, but the God of the Bible is not so. If I forsook the Lord of glory like you have, I would be suspicious and fearful too. I guess your mindset isn't all that surprising.......

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  14. I think all you have to do is accurately state what the doctrines of grace known as "Calvinism" teach. And when you don't believe what God has revealed because you think He secretly is doing the opposite, well, then you're just paranoid. Probably due to your guilt.....

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  15. Paul Manata, a proud member of Triblogue, who for reasons unknown, posts as other strange users, said:

    "So, how does Steve know? He trusts in Christ's life and death, you don't."

    Trust in Christ does not equal "knowing." Duh.

    Answer the phone, the 800's are calling Paul.

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  16. John wrote:
    ---
    And how exactly do you know that God keeps his promises and that he doesn't lie? This is his revealed will, but secretively, who knows, right?
    ---

    You know, this isn't really as hard as you're trying to make it.

    If I say, "I promise to call John Loftus in 10 minutes" how would you be able to tell whether or not I keep my promises? (Answer: wait 10 minutes.)

    Whether I keep my promises or not has absolutely nothing to do with my "revealed" statements; it has to do with whether or not I do what I say. The same thing applies to God.

    Loftus wrote:
    ---
    And Adam hates Bob because God has decreed from all eternity that Adam hates Bob enough to kill him. Adam cannot do otherwise.
    ---

    You still have no concept of the difference between ends and means. In other words, to say, "Adam hates Bob because God decreed it" is still simplistic.

    Adam does not hate Bob because Adam wishes to obey God's secret decree. Adam hates Bob because Adam is a sinner and wants to do whatever he can to thwart God. You have done nothing here but reform the original argument one step back, which of course only requires my original response yet again.

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  17. Mr. Mantrata,

    John Loftus asked,

    "how do you know your God is pleased with you and that you will go to heaven and that I won't when we both die?"

    I, Klaatu, said,

    "So, how does Steve know? He trusts in Christ's life and death, you don't."

    You, Mr. Mantrata, said,

    "Trust in Christ does not equal "knowing." Duh."

    i. You'd need to define 'know.'

    ii. We can know things on the basis of another's testimony, especially the testimony of Jehovah.

    iii. How does one enter heaven? By trusting in Christ's work. Can one who does not trust in Christ go to heaven? No. So, follow the implication: How would we know that one person would go to heaven while another would not. Well, one way would be that one trust's in Christ, the other does not.

    iv. For example, how do we know who will win the superbowl, the Padres or the Chargers. I could say that the being a football team is a necessary condition to going to the superbowl, since the Padres are not, I know they won't win the superbowl.

    Now, the anology breaks down, of course, but that's not the point. The difference is that in the Christian worldview, trusting and resting in the active and passive obedience of Jesus Christ is necessary and sufficient to get sinners to heaven.

    Therefore my answer most certainly answered how we would know why Steve would go to heaven and not John Loftus.

    v. Now, if you want to deny covenant theology then John's argument breaks down to this

    a) If we ignore the details of the Christrian worldview then we'll find problems with the Christian worldview.

    b) How uninteresting.

    vi. Duh.

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  18. There is no "the Christian worldview," there are TONS of different Christian Worldviews...most believe in some points, but differ on man other key points.

    Calvinism is a bankrupt system for angry former gang members like Paul Manata to feel justified in their anger.

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  19. Atheism is just for grade school drop outs, like anonymous.

    There *is* one Christian worldview, the one God revealed.

    Now, there *are* different *takes* on what that worldview is.

    For example, there is *one* answer to 1+1, but there may be many (infinately!) *wrong* answers to that question.

    Just because some people give the wrong answer that does not give us the right to say that there are many answers to 1+1!

    Hill billy atheist, anonymouse, confuses *adherents* of a system with the system itself!

    Anything else you need help with?

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  20. Paul "incognito" Manata said:

    "There *is* one Christian worldview, the one God revealed."

    He did a pretty crappy job of it.

    "Now, there *are* different *takes* on what that worldview is."

    Due to said crappy job.

    "Anything else you need help with?"

    Yes, I have some pesky neighbors that aren't Calvinists. Perhaps you could go 'old school' on them for me, and give them a little of the old 'rear naked chokehold?'

    Thanks!

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  21. Mr. Mean Calvinist9/06/2006 10:18 PM

    Mr. incognito as anonymous said,

    "He did a pretty crappy job of it."

    Okay, let's say he did. How would this refute my argument? Hint: It doesn't. So, maybe you can gird up yer loins and try to deal with an argument head on?

    Oh, and what universal standard of crapiness are you using?


    "Due to said crappy job."

    I don't see how the worldview is crappy because different people have different takes on it. Maybe you could spell out the objection. You don't need to worry about getting embarrassed because you're posting aononymously. Furthermore, did the universe do a crappy job on math, logic, and morality because people disagree on said subjects? How's that foot taste?

    "Yes, I have some pesky neighbors that aren't Calvinists. Perhaps you could go 'old school' on them for me, and give them a little of the old 'rear naked chokehold?'"

    But you're not one either, so should I start with you?

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  22. Anonymous,

    Don't pick on Paul Manata for posting under so many different names.

    You see, he is a SERIOUS apologist, and needs to maintain a SERIOUS and RESPECTFUL image. That is why he can't have his "real name" associated with all of the 'interesting' comments he makes around the 'net.

    He's a clever young fellow, and doesn't want these cute little retorts with atheists to come back and haunt him later.

    He is striving hard to be respected, loved, and even someday REVERED.

    (perhaps, he'll even reach 'Gastrichian Status' at some point!)

    So stop picking on him. He's trying to be 'all things to all men,' as the good book says.

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  23. Paul,

    These little snowball fights with unbelievers is immature. This is high school lunch room stuff. Please refrain and leave them to themselves.....

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  24. Paul,

    These little snowball fights with unbelievers is immature. This is high school lunch room stuff. Please refrain and leave them to themselves.....

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  25. ooops, I only meant to say that once.........but I guess it bears repeating

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