Friday, May 08, 2009

Epistemic Virtues Bureau

In all seriousness, Victor Reppert posted a quote from Mark Driscoll and asked, "Is this where Calvinism leads?" Here's the totality of his post:

A Seattle Calvinist mega-minister, Mark Driscoll, had this to say to his flock: "If the resurrection didn’t literally happen, there’s no reason for us to be here. If the resurrection didn’t literally happen, there are parties to be had, there are women to be had, there are guns to shoot, there are people to shoot."

Great shaking of the head.
Now, putting aside the question as to how Reppert identifies "Calvinists," why does he wonder if this is where Calvinism leads? And, what is he shaking his head about?

I have heard, quite literally, hundreds of Arminian and evangelical Christians make very similar claims.

So, what in Driscoll is problematic? Is it that he claims the Christian faith is worthless without an actual resurrection? So worthless, in fact, that we may as well eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die (there being no resurrection of the dead)?

If this is what Reppert is objecting to, will he then post a blog titled, "Is this where Pauline thought leads?" I'm specifically referring to these claim:

I Cor. 15:

13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.


29 Now if there is no resurrection, ... 32 "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."

Will Victor "shake his head" at Paul?

So, it looks like Driscoll is right on here.

Now, the only other claim Victor could be shaking his head about is the "people to shoot" claim.

Now, there's two ways to interpret this. The first way is that Driscoll is claiming that if Christianity is false people will act like monsters. Similar to the claim that if God doesn't exist people would be as bad as they could be.

I disagree with this claim (indeed, it's opposite is true: If the Christian story is true, people will act like moral monsters). That's not how the moral argument should be phrased. However, it's not as if these kinds of statements are unique to Calvinism. Anyone who has cracked open a philosophy of religion book that covers the moral argument will note that these kinds of statements are repudiated as not being an expression of the moral argument for God's existence. It is clear that these authors don't have only Calvinists in mind. So why is Reppert using this to attack Calvinism?

A second interpretation is that Driscoll is making a point in a provocative way; namely, there is no moral justification you can give me by which I shouldn't kill people if Christianity is false.

Now, this isn't the best way to put things, and we might argue that a god could still exist if Christianity is false so morality would still be grounded (however, I don't think that argument is good for other reasons irrelevant to this post, and I'd also bring in claims of internal rationality to support Driscoll's conclusion)), but we can't really fault Driscoll for giving a more traditional moral argument.

That Victor sinks to these levels is just sad. I wish there were something for philosophers like the BBB or the Bar. For if there were, I'd report Reppert. Perhaps someone should start something like, I dunno, the Epistemic Virtues Bureau, EVB.


  1. Repper could very well be on the verge of apostasy.

  2. No. Just need to not take DC too seriously.

  3. Debunking Christianity, that is.

  4. Victor,

    We could have told you that years ago. Didn't you ever hear of their Bird Man argument? Squawk, squawk, baby.

  5. Valerie Tarico, the author of the post I referenced, says

    "In fact, the former Calvinists among us were taught that anyone who is not "washed in the blood" is utterly depraved. For real."

    So I think she thinks that Driscoll's remarks follow from, and illustrate the Reformed doctrine of Total Depravity. I should have caught her mistake.

    I think Tarico's a psychologist of some kind.