john w. loftus said...
“Some of the most mean spirited people on the web toward us apostates are Calvinists.”
Assuming, for the sake of argument, that this is true, why does Loftus care how people treat him? Remember, Loftus is a moral relativist. So he can’t very well say that we’re wronging him if we’re mean to him.
Like every other unbeliever, Loftus is living a lie. He pretends that atheism is a liberating experience. He’s no longer hobbled by the shackles of the Christian faith. Yet Loftus doesn’t live by his creed.
It isn’t quite correct for Van Til to say that unbelievers are living off of the borrowed capital of Christian theism. It isn’t borrowed—it’s stolen.
Loftus continues to think that everyone should be nice to him even though his worldview commits him to moral nihilism. He’s a fake and a fraud.
“Because I am a reprobate and going to hell, then with their God they feel justified in treating me just like their God does, and I find that utterly repulsive.”
Well, there is a certain logic in treating people the way God treats them. Should a Christian treat people better than God treats them?
That said, the way I deal with Loftus has nothing specific to do with my Calvinism. Rather, it’s dictated by two other considerations:
i) I treat Loftus like an enemy of the faith because he has made himself an enemy of the faith. Loftus is like a suicide bomber who whines about how the Marines treat him like an enemy combatant. Well, if you strap on a shaheed belt, you may have that effect on other people.
If Loftus weren’t such a militant, outspoken atheist, I’d handle him differently. But when he attacks the Christian faith, I reserve the right to counterattack.
ii) He’s a dishonest opponent. He raises an objection to the Christian faith. I (and others) answer him on his own grounds. His response is to repeat himself. Recycle the same refuted objections.
If he offered respectable objections, his objections would be treated with respect. When his objections are disreputable, they richly merit my disrespect.
“Their theology not only creates atheists, as Clark Pinnock wrote, but it also motivates me like no other 'respectable' theology to debunk the Christian faith.”
Loftus keeps trotting out this silly complaint. How would Calvinism create an atheist? Calvinism is not the only theological option on the table. What about Lutheranism or Arminianism or Catholicism or Orthodoxy, &c.?
Logically, the only reason that Calvinism would create an atheist is if a man perceives that Calvinism presents the most candid and consistent interpretation of the Bible, and the very clarity of Calvinism leaves the him bereft of any theological fallback position.
Why would Loftus find that objectionable? Does he think that people should be Christians under false pretenses? That they should be kept from facing the Bible squarely and thinking through the implications of their theology?
Why wouldn’t Loftus appreciate the fact that Calvinism cuts through all of the confusions and evasions and narrows down the range of alternatives to a stark choice between atheism and Reformed theism?
Doesn’t Loftus want to bring the issue to a head? Push the fence-riders off their perch, forcing them to come down on one side or the other?
I’m reminded of John Derbyshire, the cradle Anglican, who lost his nominal faith in middle age when, for the first time in his life, he sat down and actually read through the Thirty-Nine Articles:
“My Christianity was of the watery, behavioral Anglican variety…I was once hanging around in the National Review offices talking to an editor (since departed) who was also an Anglican, though an American one — which is to say, an Episcopalian. We got to talking about the Thirty-Nine Articles that define Anglican faith. Did she actually know any of the articles, I asked? No, she confessed, she didn’t. I admitted that I didn’t either. We looked them up on the Internet. There we were, two intelligent and well-educated Anglicans, a fiftysomething guy and a thirtysomething lady, gazing curiously at the articles of the faith we had professed all our lives.”
“Working in America, and especially exchanging e-mails for several years with National Review readers, I lost my Anglican innocence. Take a fish out of water, it dies; take an Englishman out of Anglican England, his faith takes a blow. It doesn’t necessarily die — I know plenty of cases where it didn’t — but people of really feeble faith, like mine, need every possible support, and emigration knocks one prop away. In America, at any rate for most conservatives (taking my Episcopalian colleague as an exception), you are actually supposed to think about your faith, and even, for heaven’s sake, read about it!”