Dear Non-Calvinist


Dear non-Calvinist,

I am reading a book that prompts the following:

Calvinism, whatever you think about it, is not like a song. One can like or dislike a song. If I disagree with you and think it is a good song and you hate it, I might wish you liked it and wonder why you can't see how great it is. But that is all I can do. But not so with Calvinism and non-Calvinism.

Calvinism is not like a song. A piece of music can no more be true or false than an argument can be in or out of tune. If you are writing a book about Calvinism and seek to persuade your reader that Calvinism is false, it is no good telling me about how bad Calvinism makes you feel and expecting me to agree with you. Calvinism may be false, but nothing you have said makes the case. 

Calvinism is not like a song. There are no good arguments that I can make that will change your tastes. At least, if you do change your taste it will not be because of good arguments. Perhaps many bad arguments will do the trick, like telling you that liking something will make you cool or popular but I shouldn't make bad arguments (at least not knowingly). 

Calvinism is not like a song. It doesn't matter how eloquently you say that you don't like Calvinism. Going on about the beauty of libertarian free will doesn't make it true any more than talking about the beauty of Narnia makes Narnia real (unless you are a Meinongian). 

Calvinism is not like a song. One can no more argue for a song, than one can support libertarian free will by explaining it while dancing around the room in a tutu. Calvinism has good arguments and so does non-Calvinism. Neither positions are enhanced by what you wear when you believe them any more than having a beard makes Calvinism more true. Tom McCall has a new book. I haven't read it yet but I am sure it will contain good arguments against Calvinism (pages 56–81 look promising).

One more time. Calvinism is not like a song. Calvinism is not true or false because of the people who believe it. If you tell me Calvinists are grumpy that does not make it false. Death Metal might make you grumpy but Calvinism is not like a... you know. If you tell me that Calvinism will make you depressed, you're are clutching at straws and even if it were true it says nothing about whether or not Calvinism is true. If you tell me Calvinism is old fashioned, unpopular, out of style or discordant, you have mistaken Calvinism for Madonna.

By the way, Calvinists are not innocent of this crime. I am not innocent of this crime! For the record, being a non-Calvinist does not make you a non-Christian or less spiritual or any other such nonsense. Wesley rocks! But who's right is not a matter of who commits more ad hominem fallacies any more than it is a matter of taste. Furthermore, I have many non-Calvinist friends who I have spent hours debating and who are thoughtful and passionately anti-Calvinist; their tastes match their convictions, but it is taste with reasoned conviction not just taste alone.

Thanks for reading and rock on!

Ben

Below is a picture of Gary Moore, the greatest guitar player who ever lived. If you disagree, you need your head examined. It is plainly true; there is no doubt.

Gary Moore

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