Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ambidextrous Arminians

On the one hand:

J.C. Thibodaux, on June 1, 2010 at 1:12 pm Said:

As has already been shown, you keep making this assertion under the unscriptural premise that God has some obligation to stop people from committing evil. If He has no such obligation, then He can’t be an “eligible candidate for blame if he lacks morally sufficient reason for doing it,” as you’re arguing. Your appeal to intuition is then entirely misplaced since you’re dealing with God, not man.

http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/fallacies-of-calvinist-apologetics-fallacy-8-calvinism-doesnt-charge-god-with-the-authorship-of-sin/#comment-4715

On the other hand:

The objection at first seems appealing, because it is built on the intuitive Arminian assumption of the link between LFW (Libertarian Free Will) and responsibility (i.e. faith is predetermined, therefore we are not responsible for it.

http://evangelicalarminians.org/The-difference-maker

On the contrary, I think it's intuitive to think something is wrong with the argument that foreknowledge rules out freewill, even if people can't quite put their finger on why.

http://www.arminianchronicles.com/2009/02/more-on-choice-and-determinism.html

Normally we think we can choose the options we contemplate. Perhaps we are deceived and it’s an illusion, but believing so seems counter-intuitive. Further, it’s intuitive to think that ought implies can (i.e. we shouldn’t be held morally responsible for things predetermined before we were born).

http://www.arminianchronicles.com/2009/02/scripture-and-philosophy.html

25 comments:

  1. "....ought implies can..."

    Is Thibodaux a card carrying Pelagian or merely an intuitive Arminian?

    ReplyDelete
  2. J.C's statements seem to be about God's responsiblity; mine were about intuitions regardings man's responsiblity. If they are in conflict, it's not obvious why.

    God be with you,
    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  3. Try to be serious, Dan. The issues were clearly intertwined in Arminian theology. Man's responsibility to him? Isn't man responsible God?

    Likewise, the point of libertarian freewill in man is to let God off the hook.

    Moreover, either intuition is an adequate criterion in both cases, or in neither.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dan,

    That's not special pleading? Appeal to intuition works when you want it to, not when Steven does? Or, that's not ad hoc? Intuition works to argue for man's responsibility but for God's responsibility? Or, that's not a double standard? God's dealing with creation vis-a-vis libertarianism can't be intuitional, but God's dealing with creation vis-a-vis compatibilism has to comport with intuitions?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'd add that Arminians like Thibo and Brennon treated divine and human responsibility as internally related issues: if God is responsible, then man is not responsible–but if man is responsible, then God is not responsible.

    Since that is how they chose to frame the issue, how is it possible to decouple the two?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I haven't tracked the Arminian Perspectives thread in detail; I am simply responding to what you said here by pointing out that there's no conflict between what JC said and what I did since God is not a man.

    I don't think it's right to cross-apply whatever your intuitions are about man and apply them to God. Why not just explore your intuitions about God? That would seem to be a better approach - if your goal is to discuss intuitions about God's responsibility.

    God be with you,
    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  7. On the one hand, God:
    Psa 46:8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
    Psa 46:9 He maketh wars to cease to the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear asunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

    On the same hand as God, man:
    Psa 72:2 He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.
    Psa 72:3 The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.
    Psa 72:4 He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.

    On the one hand, God:
    Isa 54:16 Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.

    On the other hand, man:
    Isa 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from me, saith the LORD.


    I like being His creature! Don't you?

    ReplyDelete
  8. "I don't think it's right to cross-apply whatever your intuitions are about man and apply them to God."

    I appreciate that since it contradicts what both "Robert" and Victor Reppert and C.S. Lewis argued, namely, if God does what we would call a human evil for doing, then if we don't call God evil if he does it, then we have lost track of what those terms even mean. So at least it's good to note that you side with us in our answers to them ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. GODISMYJUDGE SAID:

    "I am simply responding to what you said here by pointing out that there's no conflict between what JC said and what I did since God is not a man. I don't think it's right to cross-apply whatever your intuitions are about man and apply them to God."

    Since JC treats divine and human responsibility as symmetrical questions such that, if God is responsible, then man is not, and vice versa, there's a direct conflict between your position and his.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "I don't think it's right to cross-apply whatever your intuitions are about man and apply them to God."

    Then we can say God is not the author of evil even if he causally determines it. After all, your intuitions about who the "author" would be if *I* causally determined you to form an intention to sin and so sin wouldn't be able to apply to God.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Paul,

    if God does what we would call a human evil for doing, then if we don't call God evil if he does it, then we have lost track of what those terms even mean.

    But we don't create worlds or harden sinners hearts, since we are not God. Its not as if God does things that we would be blamed for if we were to do them (i.e. lieing). He does things that we do not do at all.

    God be with you,
    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  12. Steven,

    Then we can say God is not the author of evil even if he causally determines it.

    Maybe. It depends on how you define 'author of sin' I for one doen't see a difference (under Calvinist assumptions) between 'author of sin' and 'doer of sin'; since the only thing Calvinists seem to be able to exempt themselves from is the idea that God performs the act. Under occassionalist ussumptions, even that goes away.

    God be with you,
    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  13. Steve,

    Since JC treats divine and human responsibility as symmetrical questions such that, if God is responsible, then man is not, and vice versa, there's a direct conflict between your position and his.

    I just don't see the relivance of that claim. How does that mean our views are in conflict?

    God be with you,
    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  14. GODISMYJUDGE SAID:

    "I just don't see the relivance of that claim. How does that mean our views are in conflict?"

    You know, Dan, there's really not much point talking with you anymore since you don't even try to make an intellectually serious effort.

    If Thibo treats the issues of divine and human responsibility as symmetrical, then the criterion of moral intuition in application to divine and human responsibility is likewise symmetrical.

    You, however, arbitrarily treat the two as asymmetrical.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Godismyjudge said...

    "But we don't create worlds or harden sinners hearts, since we are not God. Its not as if God does things that we would be blamed for if we were to do them (i.e. lieing). He does things that we do not do at all."

    i) Once again, Dan, you're not even attempting to offer a serious reply.

    To begin with, Arminians habitually apply their moral intuitions to Reformed theism. They say the Calvinist God is diabolical, monstrous, blood-thirsty, &c.

    ii) Moreover, it would be easy to treat the issue hypothetically, viz. if humans could assume uniquely divine prerogatives (e.g. create worlds, harden sinners), then what moral duties, if any, would humans have in that situation?

    iii) Furthermore, Manata can easily come up with examples in which divine and human activities overlap, such as killing, or permitting evil.

    ReplyDelete
  16. GODISMYJUDGE SAID:

    "I for one doen't see a difference (under Calvinist assumptions) between 'author of sin' and 'doer of sin'; since the only thing Calvinists seem to be able to exempt themselves from is the idea that God performs the act."

    "Doer" and "performer" are synonymous. If, however, God is not the performer, then God is not the doer.

    You've gotten to the point where you're incapable of honestly stating the position you oppose.

    And you've put all your chips in Molinism. That's a high stakes gamble.

    Would you become an atheist if someone could prove to your satisfaction that Molinism is inadequate to the task? What, if anything, is your fallback position in case you lose that bet?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Godismyjudge said:
    Paul,

    if God does what we would call a human evil for doing, then if we don't call God evil if he does it, then we have lost track of what those terms even mean.

    But we don't create worlds or harden sinners hearts, since we are not God. Its not as if God does things that we would be blamed for if we were to do them (i.e. lieing). He does things that we do not do at all.

    God be with you,
    Dan

    6/02/2010 5:46 PM


    Dan, the argument offered by Reppert, Robert, and C.S. Lewis were that if God did something that if a man were to do it, we would blame the man, then we blame God. they said that if we disagree with that, then they don't know what to call good and evil anymore. I'm glad you agree that they offered a weak argument and that our response was on the money.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Steve,

    If Thibo treats the issues of divine and human responsibility as symmetrical

    He hasn't done that - not in the ways you are implying he has.

    God be with you,
    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  19. ii) Moreover, it would be easy to treat the issue hypothetically, viz. if humans could assume uniquely divine prerogatives (e.g. create worlds, harden sinners), then what moral duties, if any, would humans have in that situation?

    There would be more to it then that. God is the source of morality (either by nature or choice). But if man was the source of morality, and had the power and knowledge to create worlds... the senario starts to look like what if this man was God - and we are back to the same problem we started with.

    iii) Furthermore, Manata can easily come up with examples in which divine and human activities overlap, such as killing, or permitting evil.

    Overlap, yes. But God does not perform the same act man does. God didn't throw Joseph into the pit or refuse to let Isreal go or crusify Christ. Further, God's motives were different than Joseph's brothers, or Pharaoh or the Jews and Romans. So there are significant differences in the acts and intentions.

    God be with you,
    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  20. "Doer" and "performer" are synonymous. If, however, God is not the performer, then God is not the doer.

    You may have missed the point although perhaps I could have been more clear. I am not saying per Calvinism, God performs sinful acts. Just the oposit, per Calvinism God does not perform sinful acts - and that makes sense to me even from an external perspective.

    The point however, is that since, Calvinism, denies God is the author of sin while He predetermines sin's occurance; the most viable definition of 'author of sin', per Calvinism, seems to be 'doer of sin'. You are of course welcome to offer a counter definition of 'author of sin' that fits within Calvinism.

    God be with you,
    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  21. And you've put all your chips in Molinism. That's a high stakes gamble.

    Would you become an atheist if someone could prove to your satisfaction that Molinism is inadequate to the task? What, if anything, is your fallback position in case you lose that bet?


    Not an atheist, no. I don't think God would allow that, even if it meant taking me out or reading off 2 chapters of things He created so I would come back to my senses.

    If I found out Molinism was wrong, I would continue seeking the truth, but I would just do so elsewhere. I suppose I would sooner be a Calvinists than an Open Theist, but who's to say there are not other options besides Calvinism, Molinism and OT.

    I really don't view Molinism or Calvinism as high risk gambles. It's tangential to the gospel. The key is believing the things the bible says you must believe to be saved and not believing the views it anathamatizes.

    God be with you,
    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  22. Paul,

    Dan, the argument offered by Reppert, Robert, and C.S. Lewis were that if God did something that if a man were to do it, we would blame the man, then we blame God. they said that if we disagree with that, then they don't know what to call good and evil anymore. I'm glad you agree that they offered a weak argument and that our response was on the money.


    Before I agree with it, what was your response?

    God be with you,
    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  23. "The point however, is that since, Calvinism, denies God is the author of sin while He predetermines sin's occurance; the most viable definition of 'author of sin', per Calvinism, seems to be 'doer of sin'."

    Or it could even mean originator in the morally relevant sense. Calvinists can allow that God is the ultimate originator but that that is irrelevant for purposes of ascriptions of moral blame.

    "Before I agree with it, what was your response?

    Well, there were many (cf. the entire debate, I posted a post with links to all the entires). One was to use C.S. Lewis' remarks about Christianity not turning out how you'd expect. If it gave us everything we expected, we should think it was made up. Another was to point to several areas where God does things we do and the terms are not univocal (like 'knowing' for instance). Another one was to point out that God's a different being than us, a sui generous being who stands in a unique relationship to creation that we don't stand in; thus, we shouldn't expect our intuitions about created things to necessarily carry over to the creator.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Paul,

    Or it could even mean originator in the morally relevant sense.

    Isn't that just looking at 'doer of sin' from a different angle? Isn't performing sinful acts the basis of moral responsibility, per Calvinism?


    God does things we do and the terms are not univocal (like 'knowing' for instance). Another one was to point out that God's a different being than us, a sui generous being who stands in a unique relationship to creation that we don't stand in; thus, we shouldn't expect our intuitions about created things to necessarily carry over to the creator.

    Sounds reasonable.

    God be with you,
    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  25. Massive debate between Calvinism and Arminianism that took place between (mainly) Victor Reppert, Steve Hays, Paul Manata, and Dominic Bnonn Tennant. http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/06/calvinism-vs-arminianism.html

    ReplyDelete