Victor Reppert said...
The Calvinist has to say not merely that our conduct is sinful, but that our natural understanding of what is right and wrong is so badly tainted by sin that what we would ordinarily think of as bad really good if it is claimed that God has done it.
i) This is one of Reppert’s conceited blindspots. In his furry little mind he imagines that deep down, in their heart-of-hearts, all Calvinists share his moral intuitions. Yet they’ve suppressed their moral intuitions to knuckle under the brute authority of Scripture, as they understand it.
But, speaking for myself, I don’t share his moral intuitions on a wide range of issues.
ii) I’d also say that somebody who votes for Barack Obama doesn’t have a terribly firm grip on moral clarity. Not to mention his continued advocacy of Obama’s social vision. That’s a good test-case of how Reppert’s moral intuitions cash out. Has all the cash value of Confederate currency.
In ordinary human contexts, moral goodness/righteousness/holiness is centered around, among other things, the minimization of the suffering of others, or maximizing the benefit of others.
In order to preserve continuity of meaning between the conception of good as it is applied to humans and that which we apply to God…
i) Observe Reppert’s fond resort to the royal “we”–as if he’s the spokesman-at-large for the human race. I don’t recall voting for that ticket.
Moreover, I can’t help noticing that Reppert’s ethical intuitions correlate to a high degree with what we’d predict for an American academic who came of age during the Sixties. Is that intuition, or is that social conditioning camouflaged as intuition?
Suppose Reppert were born in Iran. Supposed he were sent to the local madrasah at the age of 4. What would be his “ordinary” concept of goodness in that event? What would “continuity of meaning” with respect to God and man amount to in that case?
ii) One of the fundamental differences between Reppert and me is that I’m a moral skeptic. Sure, I have moral intuitions, too. But if I were an atheist rather than a Christian, I wouldn’t put any stock in my moral intuitions. I’d chalk that up to social softwiring or evolutionary hardwiring. I might feel every so strongly about right and wrong, but as an atheist I’d consider the source. Which would be illusory. A powerful illusion, but illusory all the same. Nothing beneath the circuitry except natural selection or social brainwashing.
Reppert is (allegedly) a Christian because he’s a moralist. I’m a moralist because I’m a Christian.
iii) On a related note, I’m far more cynical than Reppert is. Always have been. To me, he’s a familiar, simpering stereotype. The softheaded dupe who never learns from experience. The kind of guy who plays the chump for every sociopath with a good sob story. If Reppert were a juror in the Menendez trial, he’d have to bring a fresh box of Kleenex to court every day.
As a result of (ii) & (iii), he and I have no common ground. He’s shouting across a chasm. The only thing he hears back is the echo of his own tinny voice.
If we can dismiss any idea that there are some actions that would render God bad if (per impossible if God is necessarily morally perfect) God were to do them, then the concept of God's goodness doesn't tell us anything about what we can expect God to do.
The acrid odor of a straw man going up in flames.
By making the claim that God primary praiseworthy characteristic is holiness rather than goodness…
Another flaming straw man. Someone should teach Reppert not to play with matches.