Friday, February 09, 2018

Aim low

Roger Olson recently posted "Why My Conversations with Calvinists are Rarely Productive".

What's ironic about his post is how it replicates the Street Epistemology of atheists. Fact is, most folks aren't good at defending their beliefs unless they do that for a living. That's hardly unique to lay Calvinists. That's true if you start grilling the average Christian. 

That's especially true if you question them on the spot. That's why even someone as brilliant and educated as William Lane Craig engages in meticulous research for every debate, so that he will have prepared answers at the ready. 

As a rule, when you quiz most folks on why they believe what they believe, it doesn't take long before they run out of answers. If you challenge Ben Shapiro, Michael Medved, or Mark Levin on their political beliefs, they can go several layers deep because they're smart, articulate, and do that for a living. They have lots of facts and figures at their disposal. But even they have to work full-time on those issues to stay on top of the issues.

By contrast, if you conduct man-on-the-street interviews, they usually bottom out very fast. That proves nothing regarding the truth of their beliefs. 

Even for professional philosophers, it's hard work to provide a rigorous justification for your position. 

If you attack soft targets, you get predictable results. That's true for just about anything. Freewill theists are no exception. 

What sometimes happens is that you have a bright young cradle Christian who takes his faith for granted, suddenly finds himself in a situation where his faith is challenged, comes up short, then begins to relay his faith from the bottom up, one story at a time. Not everyone has the aptitude or opportunities to do that. But it's beneficial for others if they share the results of their experience. 

It's funny how Olson acts as though his experience confirms his negative view of Calvinism. Acts as though he scored a coup. He's too hidebound to realize that you get the same result whenever you challenge people to justify their beliefs, unless that's their area of specialization. Some people have the talent, but not the training or leisure time. 

Olsen is recycling objections that people like me have repeatedly refuted. 

1 comment:

  1. "Why My Conversations with Calvinists are Rarely Productive" <-- I would have answered, "Because Roger Olson is involved in one side of the conversation" myself...