Monday, July 04, 2016

Making the world safe for child-rapists

The primary objection that freewill theists raise to Calvinism is a moral objection. They say Calvinism is morally repugnant. Moreover, freewill theists like Jerry Walls routinely accuse Calvinists of deceptive rhetoric to conceal just how awful Calvinism truly is. 

Here's a recent statement by freewill theist philosopher Victor Reppert on the problem of evil:

Well, I personally would rather live in a world in which children are raped than in a world without free will. 
But I suspect you will find my preference repugnant. 
A world with childrapists raping children is a better world than a world in which they are prevented by God from raping. Yes.

For some readers, especially rank-and-file freewill theists, it might be shocking to be exposed for the first time to stark implications of their own position. Have you ever heard Jerry Walls or Roger Olson say something like that? 

Although most freewill theists aren't as blunt or forthcoming as Reppert, his underlying position isn't idiosyncratic. It's just the particular example that's so grating. 

A freewill theist is committed to the proposition that many horrendous moral evils in this world are divinely preventable. Assuming divine benevolence, they have to say that God doesn't intervene more often to prevent them because a world in which God did so would be worse overall. It would sacrifice some greater good.


  1. "Well, I personally would rather live in a world in which children are raped than in a world without free will."

    Well, Jerry is a double winner. He gets to live in a world with both.

  2. most of the time the defense is "God gives us free will so we can choose to do good things." The defense is the proposed good that "I" get to do because I have free will, not that child abusers get to use their free will to do evil. It's a rare free will defender who insists that God permitting the rape of children is part of the price of admission.

    So when non-Calvinists accuse Calvinists of any kind of narcissism the reason it rings hollow is that a theodicy in which you concede the point that you'd rather live in a world where children are raped than one without free will is because. if these non-Calvinists ALSO reject substitutionary atonement. they are establishing a theodicy in which they get their free will at the price of kids getting raped. How that is less narcissistic than what non-Calvinists say Calvinists believe is beyond me.

  3. people can be narcissists regardless of the formal doctrines they espouse, obviously. A 60 year old Calvinist in the United States might not be as narcissistic as a 19 year old Arminian in the same country, who might not be as narcissistic as a 18 year old Lutheran in the same school. But in polemics on the internet this frequently gets forgotten.

  4. Every time I hear something like this, I think of the new heaven and new earth. Won't we be prevented by God from raping children there? I would think since God will give us our new nature, it's is fault that we will no longer be able to choose evil.

    I wonder how the quote would sound if it were worded that way: "Well, I personally would rather live in a world in which children are raped than in heaven."