“The God of Calvinism is not Hitlerian. He is the very same God of Arminianism. But the logical implications of distinctive Calvinist doctrine make him (the God we both worship) out to be Hitlerian and far worse.”
I’m gratified to see that “Arminian” and I are making progress. Instead of saying the God of Calvinism is logically "worse than Hitler,” “Arminian” now says the God of Calvinism is logically “far worse than Hitler.”
I can’t tell you what a relief that is. For a moment, there, I was worried that the object of my worship was merely worse than Hitler. I can’t begin to express what a load that takes of off my mind to learn the object of my worship is, in fact, far worse than Hitler.
I do wish to thank “Arminian” for his clarification.
“It makes all the difference in the world.”
“You conveniently left out the more accurate example I gave, which illustrates the differnce.”
No, I dealt with your example.
“Secondly, I would not approve of blanketly saying that Calvinists are like Nazis.”
So as long as the blanket doesn’t cover the outer extremities, you’d approve?
“I would have to look at Robert's argument again to detemrine if there is anything to his comparison, but granting that there is for the sake of argument, I think it would be acceptable to say that Calvinist beliefs are like Nazi beliefs in certain respects.”
Fine. I just want to make sure that everyone is clear on the real standards of Arminian discourse.
“Because it would not be claiming God is such and such, but that the Calvinist view logically implies him to be such and such. It is pointing out a problem with Calvinist theology, and that should be perfectly fine, just as it is perfectly fine for Calvinists to point out what they believe to be problems with Arminian theology. This seems very obvious and basic. Are you really suggesting that Calvinists and Arminians should not point out problems with one another's theology? That would condemn much of what you write. Are you suggesting that it is unloving or uncivil for an Arminian or Calvinist to point out what he believes to be problematic logical implications with the other theology? That would condemn much of what you write as unloving and uncivil.”
What’s you’re problem, exactly? Are you just playing dumb now? Arminians like Billy Birch and Robert constantly complain about the tone of Triablogue.
If, however, any comparison, however onerous, can be justified by the claiming the accuser is simply drawing out the logical conclusions of the opposing position, then a Calvinist can help himself to the identical justification. Yet I don’t see Robert or Billy or other Arminians who harp and hype on matters of tone accord Reformed bloggers the same out.
The fact that you can’t see any inconsistency in this regard is damning evidence that you’re just another Arminian chauvinist who can only see the faults of the other team, but never of his own team. And, unfortunately, that’s endemic in the Arminian blogosphere.
“I have explained the big difference above as well as in the previous post. And you specifically say that I say what I have argued against saying. I have specifcally said that any such implications are not to be attributed to the God of Calvinism, for the God of Calvinism and the God of Arminianism are the same God. Arminians and Calvinists worship the same God, but have different beliefs about some of the things he does and the logical implications of what they believe he does. This is a huge problem for much of your response. I don't attribute anything bad to the God of Calvinism, though I think the distinctive Calvinistic conception of God has horrible logical implications.”
i) Your explanation is nonsensical. You’re trying to drive a wedge between a concept and what a concept entails. But whatever a concept entails is part of the concept. That’s the point of logical entailment. A concept is inclusive of whatever it entails. A logical unit.
ii) Perhaps what you’re attempting to do, in your muddled way, is to differentiate between logic and psychology. It is possible to distinguish between what people consciously believe, and what their beliefs logically commit them to.
That’s valid up to a point, but there’s a point at which it breaks down–as we shall see.
“There's that equivocation of yours of the distinctive Calvinst conception of God and the Calvimist God. I would not say that the Calvinist God is Hitlerian. He is my God too. But the distinctive Calvinist conception of God logically implies him to be Hitlerian and worse. Thankfully, Calvinists do not believe what their theology implies (just as Arminians do not believe what Calvinists think their theology implies).”
That alibi might work for simple, unsophisticated believers. But it won’t fly when dealing with highly sophisticated Chrisitan philosophers and theologians. And there are many degrees in-between.
It won’t do for you to say that astute Reformed thinkers just haven’t thought through the ramifications of their belief-system.
“You are sounding like a hyper-Calvinist who thinks Calvinists and Arminians do not worship the same God and that Arminians are not saved?”
And you are redefining “hyper-Calvinist” in a polemical, eccentric sense of the word.
“And that is a big problem. And frankly, it would blow any credibility you have.”
i) You must be pretty egotistical to think you set the standards of credibility.
ii) For that matter, I don’t happen think that somebody who compares Calvinists and Calvinism to Nazis and Klansmen, even in your backhanded fashion, rates very high on the credibility meter.
iii) In addition, credibility is irrelevant in this context. Credibility is pertinent in evaluating testimonial evidence–where we depend eyewitnesses or expert witnesses for things we can’t verify on our own.
But when it comes to the pros and cons of Calvinism and Arminianism, credibility is beside the point. All that matters is the quality of the argumentation, which any competent individual can assess for himself.
“So are you a hyperCalvinist who thinks Calvinists and Arminains worship different Gods or that Arminians are not saved?”
Why do you think I’d have a general opinion on the salvation of Arminian individuals? Arminians range along a spectrum. At one end are Arminians who don’t know any better. Arminians who are saved by the God of Calvinism–despite what they believe to the contrary.
At the other end are Arminians who have a take-no-prisoners view of Reformed theology. Then you have a lot of folks in-between.
One issue is how seriously you expect me to take Arminians who say the God of Calvinism is worse than Moloch, worse than Satan, worse than Hitler.
If you expect me to take them at their word, then why should I cut them any slack when they have gone out of their way to polarize the two positions, with no middle ground?
I could try to make excuses for them. Say they’re saved in spite of what they believe about the one true God. I could say there are degrees of error. That it’s not an all-or-nothing affair.
Yet, since you don’t think they’re wrong, you don’t think that God will save them despite what they think of him. If I’m excusing Arminians on grounds which Arminians reject, then your question generates a dilemma. And if I stick with your framework, then I can give two different answers to your question:
i)Arminians commit a forgivable sin because the poor schmucks are too thick-headed to grasp the consequences of their own position.
ii)Arminians commit an unforgivable sin because they do grasp the consequences of their own position–thereby sinning against the light.
Which answer do you prefer?
“Indeed, I assume I am wrong about some things about him that I am not aware of. That doesn't mean I worship a false God. This seems very basic and obvious”
What is very basic and obvious is that your distinction ranges along a continuum. Even a Baal-worshiper may believe some true things about God.
“Of course not. You seem to be begging the question again. You posit 2 different gods here and ask about how it works if one thinks he worships one when actually worshipping the other. That's bizarre. The case with Arminians and Calvinists is that they both worship the same God yet one or both are worng about some things about him. It is self-evident that someone can be wrong about something about someone yet still be thinking about the same person and relating to the same person.”
Comparisons with Hitler, Satan, the Imperial Wizard, and so on don’t leave much leeway. Rather, it’s a way of depicting the God of Calvinism as the utter antithesis of all that’s right and true.
“But on your (erroneous) logic, if the Arminians are right, doesn't that make you blasphemers?”
I’m prepared to accept that hypothetical.
“More than that, if the Arminians are right, how do you think he will feel about the Triablogue post calling him a stupid pansy? That really is uncivil and blasphemous since it is a direct attack on the true and living God, the God worshipped by both Calvinists and Arminians.”
Why would you say such a thing? What if Pike is simply explicating the logical implications of Arminian theism?
“Well, I am not here to speak for Robert, but . . . because Robert should not be the standard of your behavior.”
That’s an evasion. The question is whether or not other Arminians agree with him. If not, then they should disown his statements.
If they don’t disown his statements, then either they agree with him, or else they disagree–but can’t bring themselves to violate the Arminian Omertà.
“Well, I have said that Robert may have gone over the line.”
What you’ve done is to hedge your bets with these noncommittal, throwaway disclaimers.
“I am more interested in a broader principle you seem to be denying, that it is perfectly civil to draw out what one thinks to be the objectionable logical implications of certain doctrine.”
So Pike’s comparison was perfectly loving.
“Moreover, I have actually identified an example of what would go over the line. Lots would go over the line. Saying the Calvinist God is Hitler or Hitelerian would count.”
Except that when we read the fine print, you have a way of glossing that to excuse and justify his statement.
“Calling the Arminian God a stupid pansy would count.”
Why? Suppose that’s what Arminianism logically entails? Or do do object to Pike’s statement merely because he didn’t tack on a little escape clause about “logical implications”?
“Or insulting the person you are discussing with would count, something you seem to do a lot.”
Does comparing Calvinists to Nazis and Klansmen count?
“It seems strange that you would ask me what would go over the line when I have already identified something that would while also saying what would not.”
That’s because you want to change the subject and substitute hypothetical examples in lieu of Robert’s concrete example.