Monday, February 19, 2007

"God hates me because of something I didn't do"???--Huh?

A little while back I encountered the quote above on a blog.

The quote is not my belief, nor was it the blogger's. It was his representation of Calvinism, which he called, "Diabolism." The rest of the post was just as bad. It was one of worst and most willful misrepresentations of Calvinism I have ever seen.

I call it a "willful misrepresentation" because he admitted others have brought forth the same objections I did in the comments section. He has been told that is not what Calvinism teaches or is about, yet he doesn't care. The comments went back and forth for a bit, but as he has comment moderation enabled he didn't post my last one.

So how could somebody define Calvinism as the quote above? Simply misrepresent Total Depravity--which is the teaching that we can not and will not choose God on our own. He expanded that to teach that Calvinism teaches there is no good in Matter--meaning it was Manicheanism. Manicheanism is an ancient heresy that taught a separation of matter and spirit. Matter is evil and spirit good, so it is a form of dualism. This is perhaps an oversimplification, but that was the approach he took.

Anyway, while I posted comments on what Calvinists did and didn't believe, he mostly ignored the main points and made light of the minor ones. My last comment explained why I was no longer going to comment, and I rebuked him for the misrepresentation. I understood he had no desire to become a Calvinist, and he could have posted something explaining why he disagreed with what Calvinism really teaches. I'm sure he does disagree with that as well. That comment never appeared on his blog.

Why do people feel they need to misrepresent something they disagree with? I try to be fair to views I disagree with. I shake my head at some of the shameful material put out by professing Christians against various cults and other religions. They don't stick to the straight forward facts, but engage in fanciful interpretations and manufactered theories to shoot down the other group's unbiblical beliefs & practices. They could stick to the truth and still make their case, but they go overboard and wreck it. It happens on our side, it happens on others. This other blogger, (who I won't identify--at least for now, the more unknown he is the better.), did point out a way he felt misrepresnted by my comments--so I took that into consideration, asked him questions, and proceeded from there. Most of my questions were not really answered, but for the ones he did answer I thanked him.

So what is this allabout?
It's two things, actually.
1-Letting you know about an odd misrepresentation of Calvinism; and
2-A roundabout way to say please don't misrepresent those you disagree with, and if I do that to you, please let me know.

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Blogger Joel said...

I'm a little slow in commenting here, but I have to say that I've always known you to be fair toward people whose beliefs you don't hold. The blogger you refer to takes Calvinism to a reductio ad absurdam, a tactic I've seen used on Catholics and loathed then, too. (Although again, I've never seen you do that.)

Also, in response to a question you asked me some time ago, I have to admit that I can't cite an example of James White using a straw man argument, which means either that he doesn't use them or that I'm not intelligent enough to catch them if he does. (Either one is possible; he's intellectually formidable.)

7:51 PM  
Blogger pilgrim said...

Well, I know you know who it is, since I got the link off your blog.

I think he went beyond reductio ad absurdam though. That's an understatement. It sounds like he dreamed up new definitions...

3:32 PM  

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