First, my primary argument against Calvinism is semantic rather than moral. I think that there are biblical passages that say that God loves all persons, that God wants all persons to be saved, that God is grieved by sin, etc. etc., that Calvinists in the main don't simply use "reference class" arguments to criticize these positions, but rather accept them and reconcile them with Calvinism. Yes, God loves everyone, but no, that doesn't mean God is out to save everyone. An analysis of the ordinary usage of these terms (and if you accept a verbal special revelation you are bound by ordinary usage) suggests that to say this is to distort the use of those terms beyond all recognition. This argument, you will notice, requires no appeal to moral intuitions.
1. Victor, your primary argument cannot be semantic. If God is liar, then you have a defeater. Maybe God wanted people to believe the gospel and evangelize so he lied about loving all men and dying for all men. How you adjudicate between these kinds of things is beyond me. For one to claim that inerrancy might be denied and then appeal to biblical authority as his number one argument strikes me as incoherent, to say the least.
2. Furthermore, when you were given Scriptures that we took as supporting our position, you replied: "I can just say, "whatever the Bible means, it can't mean that; otherwise God would be a devil." This implies that the moral argument *is* your primary argument.
3. You stretch the "God is love" passages to the ultimate, maximizing it as far as you can. However, when Jesus says that he is "the truth" you don't afford that description that same maximizing courtesy. You appear to argue at cross-purposes.
4. The majority of Calvinists do not say that God loves everyone *in the same sense*.
5. I do not understand your "ordinary usage" point, at all. Ordinary for whom? Your modernized, Arminian, American zeitgeist?
6. You claim that 'this argument makes no appeal to moral intuitions.' The problem is that you have not given *an argument*. And, you have been given defeaters that you flippantly dismiss. That's my opinion. The one you're trying to convince. If you're not, why *argue*? Arguments are meant to *persuade*. You offer zero exegesis and think vague appeal to passages understood Arminianistically suffices for *an argument*.
To defend this objection, I would have to answer the standard "two wills" argument that comes down from Dabney through Piper. But for various reasons, I don't think that argument washes.
But Victor, you work at cross purposes with yourself again. In the post you refer us to as how you would defend your claims, you write:
Now, in order for an appeal to special revelation, such as this one, to work, we have to insist on what I call the principle of semantic integrity. First, we must believe that Scripture is not only true, but interpretable and translatable.
But the argument I'm responding to is one where you offer possible reasons for untruth. For God lying. So, on your own terms, perhaps God was lying. "Possibly," he had a good reason.
Anyway, the post you send people to is rife with errors. You never bother to prove even one of your many contentious premises. Until you do so, there's no *argument* there to refer people to.
The "divine noble lie" case I had in mind was the fact that, at least on some readings of Scripture, Christ places a short time limit on his return. He leads the church to believe, perhaps by saying so directly, that He will return within the generation. These sorts of considerations have led exapologist to abandon Christianity. Exapologist mentions one Christian biblical scholar (Allison) who takes this position and says "so what?" and I was trying to see if Allison's position could be defended.
I'm sorry, this just seems ridiculous. Of course, Ex-apologist was sliced and diced--to say it nicely--when he tried this argument over here. The problem I see with you, Victor, is that you seem to not have a problem dropping one traditionally orthodox view after another to make Christianity more palatable to unbelievers. A massive chasm separates my theology and approach to apologetics from yours. I am not confident that it will ever be broached. There are too many presuppositional issues that would need to be discussed for a productive discussion to take place and I see no indication that you have the time or desire to broach those issues.
The scenario I sketched was one in which God wants people to spread the gospel, giving them the belief in an immanent parousia is the way to do that, as a result the gospel is spread and salvation maximized, even though the claim of an immanent parousia is false.
This is ridiculous. First, the first time Jesus said it there was no NT church and no gospel spreading. Second, a resurrection and miracles is sufficient motivation to spread the gospel. Indeed, the gospel itself is sufficient motivation to spread the gospel. Third, what of the trade off? Now there are people, like ex-apologist, who disbelieve. Gospel spreading is now retarded. Indeed, was this "lie" worth it? Consider that to take the objection seriously we need to note that there was a time frame indicated--"this generation." Are you seriously implying that God put all his eggs in this basket? He was willing to risk *every other generation* for the very first one??? Even more, why didn't many people drop their belief after they found out it was based on a lie? And, why don't we read that ANYONE accepted the gospel on the basis that they were afraid that Jesus was coming back. And to pile it on some more, what the heck does this lie do to save gentiles???? At best, it would only serve to scare some Jews into the kingdom. Fourth, how are people saved *because* they only believed in Jesus because he was coming back quickly? Why bother killing a man on a cross if you're going to let people into heaven who just want to save their own necks. Who only believe because they think Jesus is coming back soon?
So, Victor, I do not see how this justification works, AT ALL. I am "as blind as a bat." And so are you. You are in the same position you are with reasons for reprobation. Therefore, consistency demands that you drop this liar argument, or your PoE against Calvinism. Of course, if you bite the bullet and claim that the above is enough to show you a POSSIBLE reason, then you have to do so with reprobation. If you can throw your "strong intuition" out of the window for reasons as weak as the above, then you can certainly do so when it comes to reprobation. Otherwise, it looks like you are inconsistent.