”I completely agree with Ben.”
Birds of a feather…
“Let me add that the comments quoted in the OP did not call God Hitler nor call Calvinist Nazis or fascists. I believe it stated that Calvinist theology, which the auhtor rejects, makes God like Hitler and makes God racist. There's a big difference between saying the Calvinist God is x vs. saying Calvinistic theology makes God out to be x.”
Explain the “big difference.”
Suppose I said Roger Olsen is like Josef Mengele.
Suppose Roger Olsen rankled at that comparison.
Suppose I responded by saying, “Hey, Rog. I didn’t say you *were* Josef Mengele. I only said you were *like* Josef Mengele. There’s a big difference, ya know!”
Robert is saying the God of Calvinism has the same moral character as Nazis and Klansmen. And he says the same thing about Calvinists. Where’s the “big difference”?
In addition, you say you “completely agree” with Ben. Well, Ben said “I agree that it would be wrong to flatly call the Calvinistic conception of God Hitler, but I don't think it is wrong to point out that Calvinism seems to logically lead to such conclusions.”
Well, if you agree with Ben that it logically leads to Hitlerian conclusions, then what’s the “big difference”?
“Calvinists and Arminians worship the same God?”
We worship the same Hitlerian God?
”If the Calvinistic conception of God's dealings with people resembles in some way the way that Hitler dealt with people, or if the Calvinistic conception of election resembles (on some points and to some extent) racialism that we would normally view as immoral, then I don't see a problem with that being pointed out.”
Does this mean your defending Robert’s statements? Yes or no?
“But mostly, when people make such references they are just speaking of what seems to them to be logical implications of each other's theology.”
Even if that were true, it doesn’t let Robert off the hook. He’s repeatedly lectured Tbloggers about how Christians should be civil and charitable in how they address believers and unbelievers alike. His rhetoric about Nazis and Klansmen stands in blatant contradiction to that oft-repeated claim.
“The big difference seems easy to grasp. One says that another's conception of a person logically implies the person to be like x, whereas the other asserts the person to be x. Your example doesn't fit the situation.”
How is that a big difference in the context of this debate? There’s an ontological difference between being x and being like x. But every invidious comparison takes that ontological difference for granted. So what?
If Robert says a Calvinist is like a Nazi, he isn’t claiming that a Calvinist is a Nazi. Identity is irrelevant to what makes the comparison invidious. But makes it invidious is the allegation that both parties share the same moral traits.
“In this example, we are talking about the same person, but advancing very different views of how he acts as well as different opinions about the logical implication of how he acts.”
Once again, how is that relevant to the issue at hand? An invidious comparison naturally reflects the viewpoint of the speaker. And the butt of the invidious comparison will normally reject the invidious comparison. That has no effect on the intent of the speaker.
“But that the Calvinist conception of God makes him out to have such character.”
In which case you agree with Robert. In which case, where’s the “big difference”? You say it makes him (the God of Calvinism) out to have a Hitlerian character. And that’s suppose to make a “big difference”?
“The big difference is that we contend that God does not act that way and does not have that charcater.”
Irrelevant. The question at issue is not whether Arminians differ from Calvinists. That’s a given. The real question is whether Arminians agree with each other on the Hitlerian character of the Calvinist God.
“Our point would be that your conception of God implies him to be Hitlerian (worse really) in our opinion, though we happily see that you inconcsistently don't think he is Hitlerian.”
If the Calvinist God is Hitlerian, yet Calvinists lack the moral discernment to recognize Hitlerian evil when it’s staring them in the face, then isn’t that, itself, gravely evil?
“Are you now a hyper-Calvinist who thinks Arminians are not saved?”
What does hypercalvinism have to do with it?
“It is sounding like you don't think Calvinists and Arminians worship the same God.”
i) You’re the one who chose to frame the issue in those terms, not me. I’m merely answering you on your own terms. That says nothing about my own position, one way or the other.
But given your chosen framework, doesn’t that generate an internal tension. On the one hand, you say Arminians and Calvinists worship the same God. And since you think the Arminian God is the true God, then if we both worship the true God, Calvinists also worship the true God.
On the other hand, you say the Calvinist God is worse that Hitler. How can we worship the true God if the God we worship is worse than Hitler?
ii) Are you trying to drive a wedge between our concept of God and the God we really worship?
If so, would you apply that to a Baal-worshiper? He mistakenly thinks he’s worshiping Baal, but he’s really worshipping Yahweh.
iii) But since you bring up with issue of salvation, you seem to be hedging your bets. On the one hand, you feel free to use this bridge-burning rhetoric about the Calvinist God. But if you think the Calvinist God is Hitlerian or worse, then isn’t he a false God?
If, on the other hand, the Calvinists turn out to be right, then doesn’t that make you blasphemers?
Why do you think your attitude towards the true God would have no bearing on your salvation? It’s not as if you’ve left yourself a fallback position. If you use slash-and-burn rhetoric about the Hitlerian God of Calvinism, then haven’t you gone out of your way to cross a line of no return? To foreclose any avenue of retreat? I don’t see that Robert (for one) is leaving himself an out. So why should I?
Making allowance for the anachronistic labels, what if an ancient Israelite compared Yahweh to Hitler or Himmler or the Imperial Wizard of the KKK? How would that position the Israelite on the day of judgment?
“But it is not uncivil or unloving to point out what you think are the logical implications of someone else's doctrine. Are you saying that is uncivil or unloving? Now it may be that Robert has gone over the line by going beyond that. Is that what you are saying? Or do you think the mere drawing out of what one thinks to be the objectionable logical implications of doctrine is itself uncivil or unloving? That would be strange IMO.”
If Robert hasn’t gone over the line, then what would it take to go over the line?
I don’t have a problem with invidious comparisons. But what type of rhetoric could ever count as uncivil or uncharitable if no matter what adjectives you use, if now matter what comparisons you use, you can always justify your scorched-earth rhetorical on the grounds that you’re merely pointing out the logical implications of the opposing position?
Robert, Billy Birch, and other Arminians constantly presume to lecture us on the proper tone of Christian discourse.
Yet they turn around and either use or defense the use of comparisons between the Calvinist God and Moloch, Satan, Nazis, and Klansmen, as well as applying the same comparisons to Calvinists.
If you think that’s justifiable, so be it. I’m merely judging you by your own standards.
But if you think that’s justifiable, then I can’t imagine any rhetoric, any invective, that could possible cross the line.
Do one or the other.