Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Harry Potter, Love Potions, and Free will

The value of free will does not end there. All sorts of relationships acquire special value because they involve love, trust, and affection are freely bestowed. The love potions that appear in many fairy stories (and the Harry Potter series) can become a trap; the one who has used the potion finds that he wants to be loved for his own sake and not because of the potion, yet fears the loss of the beloved’s affection if the potion is no longer used. For that matter, individuals without free will would not, in the true sense, be human beings at all, at least this is the case as seems highly plausible, the capacity for free choice is an essential characteristic of human beings as such. If so, then to say that free will should not exist is to say that we humans should not exist. It may be possible to say that, and perhaps even mean it, but the cost of doing so is very high.

William Hasker, The Truimph of Good Over Evil (Inter-Varsity, 2008) p. 156.

17 comments:

Ilíon said...

VR: "The love potions that appear in many fairy stories (and the Harry Potter series) can become a trap; the one who has used the potion finds that he wants to be loved for his own sake and not because of the potion, yet fears the loss of the beloved’s affection if the potion is no longer used."

Goodness! One might almost suspect we are "made in God's image" -- assuming, of course, that God desires our freely-given love, rather than a compulsory ersatz-love.

Robert said...

Hello Ilion,

“Goodness! One might almost suspect we are "made in God's image" -- assuming, of course, that God desires our freely-given love, rather than a compulsory ersatz-love.”

No, No, you’ve got it wrong. God doesn’t want human person to freely choose to love him. No, he wants a world full of Stepford wives who love with a perfect love, who always do what they were preprogrammed to do. God doesn’t want a world where people could actually freely choose to reject him because they have libertarian free will. No, no, he wants a world where he controls their wills and He makes all the choices. Where in the world did you ever get this notion of libertarian free will. My calvinist friends tell me that if I had LFW I could do anything I want to do, like fly to the moon. Well I cannot fly to the moon unaided so obviously LFW must not exist. And Ilion this stuff about being created in the image of God is just a quaint notion, don’t you know that God has LFW but we can’t have something that does not exist in this world? Only God can have that, if we had it He would completely lose control of the world. Ilion you need to read more, your notion of free will is just folk psychology. We are too enlightened to believe in such a mysterious idea like LFW. Get your act together Ilion.

Robert

Ilíon said...

Well, yes, there is that.

Robert said...

Ilion,

Can you teach me to fly to the moon unaided?

Some calvinists tell me that if I really had libertarian free will then I could do whatever I want and I could fly to the moon. I want to fly to the moon to prove that free will exists. Ilion you believe that libertarian free will exists can you teach me to fly?

OK, that might me a tough one. But my problem is that calvinists keep bringing up this dumb argument that if some person cannot do some particular action, they then claim that that person does not, cannot have LFW. Since God cannot sin, he cannot have LFW. We will not sin in heaven, so we cannot have LFW in Heaven. God cannot lie, so He must not have LFW.

Ilion I keep seeing this extremely lame argument being spewed foth by calvinists. It seems to me that they are making a simple logical mistake that for people who pride themselves on logic should not be happening.

P- 1 = God cannot do particular action (X)
P -2 = Unless a person can do everything, the person does not have LFW,
:’ = Therefore = since God cannot do (X), God does not have LFW.

The problem should be obvious, it does not logically follow from the fact that some person cannot do a particular action, that they no longer have choices in regards to other actions.

Calvinists make this mistake when talking about nonbelievers as well. They will claim that since the nonbeliever has a sin nature that person does not ever experience LFW. Again, it does not follow, assume that the sin nature constrains or prevents the person from ever doing any good action (that is a standard assumption held by many calvinists). OK, the person still has choices in regards to what evils he does and how he does them (say the person is killing someone, they may choose to do so with a knife or a handgun or hire someone else to do the deed), with what frequency (when the person is knifing the other guy he may knife him 10 times or 15 times or whatever number he chooses), what location (not in broad day light but in the alley or in the parking garage), etc. etc. and so on. And as long as this evil person has choices he has LFW. And if he even has a single choice then everything has not been predetermined. Ilion why can’t the calvinists understand these basic points?

In the meantime, until they stop making this goofy argument that because a person cannot do a particular action they therefore do not have LFW, can you teach me to fly so that together we can prove LFW exists for these folks? :-)

Robert

Lurker said...

Hi Robert,

"dumb argument"

"extremely lame argument"

"being spewed foth by calvinists"

"people who pride themselves"

"why can’t the calvinists understand these basic points?"

"until they stop making this goofy argument"

Greetings in the name of our Lord. I just have a word for you. I notice an unloving spirit in all of your posts. You do not seem to evidence the fruit of the Spirit at times. I know it can be hard when dealing with Calvinists, but remember, they are your brothers. Keep in mind, outsiders are watching. They do not see the love of Christ in your comments. Keep up the good fight, though, brother!

Ilíon said...

Lurker,
It isn't Love which you're advocating, though, the word does start with the letter 'L'.

Lurker said...

Hello ilion,

Greetings, brother.

Robert knows me. I backed him up when he commented on Triablogue back when. I came down just as hard on them. I believe a man should have integrity, though. So I must call a spade a spade even when those with my same doctrinal commitments are the ones I must speak to.

Pax,
Lurker

Ilíon said...

Lurker,
Robert is "calling a spade a spade."

That at the moment he's being more blunt that you might like (or, for that matter, than I generally would be) is really beside the point.


Christ didn't call us to be wimps, and he certainly didn't call us to value "niceness" over truth -- this *always* leads to serious error and generally to the promotion and/or protection of injustices.


"Speaking the truth in love" cannot be done if one will not speak the truth.

Hans said...

Song writers might say 'I can't help falling in love with you.'

Of course, people can prevent themselves falling in love with other people.

That's the point.

If people were programmed to love loveable people, then some people would not be loved at all.

But we are to love everybody.

Even our enemies.

Lurker said...

ilion,

I respect your opinion. But Robert and I both critiqued the Calvinists for the exact same stuff Robert is doing here. The Calvinists came back and said that they "were just being tough." That they "were defending the truth." That "Jesus talked like that sometimes." Robert and I wouldn't take those excuses from them then, and I'm not going to take it now. Robert is a man of great integrity, and I will not call him a hypocrite, though you may.

Robert said...

Last year Henry posted on the Triablogue web site. Henry argued against calvinism and was insulted and personally attacked as is the habitual behavior of the Triablogers (by three people in particular: Steve Hays, Paul Manata, and Peter Pike). A couple of us thought the treatment was very sinful and unjustified. A man named Robert (not me a different Robert) posted as “Lurker” on the Triablogue website. I am going to post his three posts and also call out the person who is pretending to be Robert and now posting as “Lurker” on this the Reppert website.

The Triablogers have engaged in constant sinful behavior and have been known to pose as other persons on other web sites (sock puppets is the term, this has been shown by other friends of mine and represents reprehensible behavior, stuff no Christian ought to be participating in). It also shows how low the Triablogers can go in their desperate defense of their false theology/system of calvinism.

The person who is now lying and posing as “Lurker” is a Triabloger or close associate. I know that he is lying and pretending to be the other Robert, because I spoke on the phone today with the person who originally posted as Lurker. Here are the original posts by the other Robert/Lurker:

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Lurker said:
As a fellow Calvinist, I am shocked and disgusted by the tone of these posts from Peter, Paul, and (to a lesser extent) Steve.

I think the Lord has used you to effectively refute various heresies, but non-Calvinism is not a heresy, and the Lord commands us to love one another as a testimony to the world. You three are not manifesting love to your brother; instead, the tone of your posts manifests arrogance, anger, and disdain.

I for one would be interested in reading a *respectful* dialog on this topic; but I have no interest in worldly put-downs and name-calling.

Lurker

3/23/2007 4:20 PM


Lurker said:
I'm not Henry, Anonymous. I'm a Calvinist; he (apparently) is not.

Paul, I'm not asking you to blow sunshine up anyone's skirt. I'm not asking for you to be dishonest. But an honest insult is worse than an unintentional one. I know you honestly believe Henry is "ignorant," but did you really intend, "Henry allows us more glimpses into his ignorance" to be something other than an insult?

Peter, you compare my reaction (or Henry's) to the Pharisees reaction to Christ. Is this supposed to be justification for your haughty attitude, or just another example of it? Are you saying that you are modeling Christ and Henry is a Pharisee? Do I have to point out that you do not have Christ's authority, insight into men's hearts, and wisdom; nor Henry a Pharisee's hypocrisy and unbelief?

As for evidence of wrongdoing, just look at the post you made immediately before mine.

Guys, your appeal to Henry's rhetoric is an ad hominem tu quoque. Even if he has engaged in similar tactics (he has, but not to the degree you guys have), that is no excuse for you to do the same.

Brothers, please take these comments as gentle, respectful correction, offered in Christian love.

The object is not to win the argument by devastating the other guy - the object is to glorify Christ. You can do that by arguing your position without the sarcasm and chest-beating. You're making excellent points. They can stand on their own.

Henry has professed a genuine Christian faith. Until he gives us reason to doubt his word, I'm appealing to you to treat him as your brother - and not one you fight with in sibling rivalry (which is certainly NOT the standard Christ holds us to).

Lurker

3/23/2007 10:35 PM


Lurker said:

Paul, you said:

"Perhaps if I had used the synonym you liked, then I'd be 'speaking in love?'"

Perhaps if you had simply said, "Henry says:" without pejoritvie comment, that would have been speaking in love.

As for the Bible's usage, I'm not aware that we are anywhere enjoined to speak harshly to a brother, even one in error; the opposite, in fact.

You continued:

"Not all tu quoques and ad hominems are fallacious, Lurker."

I didn't say "ad hominem" AND "tu quque." I said "ad hominem tu quoque." It's one fallacy, and it's always fallacious. (See, I could offer correction without calling you a name or commenting on what you know and don't know).

You go on:

"But, I don't know about you, sometimes my brother and I, growing up, got into some fights. Sometimes that's just the way it is when brothers are arguing."

I think I addressed this point. Sure, siblings fight. Where does the Bible say this is OK? Does it not tell us to rise above our flesh and agape one another?

"But, we assumed Henry gave, and so could take."

I addressed this point, too. Simply because you see Henry behaving in a negative way, does not justify responding in kind, and escalating it further.

"I'm not down with the feminization of modern males."

And how is it a 'feminization' to be quick to apologize when offense is taken? The men I know who are examples of mature Christian manhood accept correction humbly and prayerfully. They don't try to justify their behavior before men.

Paul, perhaps you don't realize how you're coming across, here. I'm trying to offer you an outsider's perspective. You can take account of it or not - whichever is your strongest desire ;-)

I'm not asking you to minimize the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism - that would be a feminization: "Can't we all just get along?" I'm disgusted with the current state of the American church and the de-emphasis on doctrine and a concurrent emphasis on ecumenicism.

Just soften it a bit, Paul. Take the high road. You're a smart guy; you're well-read; as I said before, you're making excellent points, and I'm genuinely interested to see how Henry will respond. The Gospel is offensive; make sure the other guy is offended by it, and not you.

I'm speaking as one who has spent some time, over the years, debating JWs and other heretics online. They can be exasperating and stubborn and insulting. It's hard not to fight fire with fire. But I've learned, through the work of the Holy Spirit in me and in those that I correspond with, that 1 Peter 3:15 is not just a guideline - it's a very practical command: Others are more inclined to listen to what you say when you speak with gentleness and respect (or fear of the Lord, whichever you prefer).

OK. I've had my say; thanks for listening. Unless I see something requiring further comment, I'll drop back to lurker status.

Henry, if you read this, please apply what I've said to yourself as well. It's a fascinating dialog, and I invite you to continue it.

Lurker

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Now I should add a little bit more relevant information about “Lurker”/Robert that people ought to be aware of. Robert is a very smart guy, who was involved in lots of counter-cults ministry (he has a web site and has debated some of the key cult leaders including Greg Stafford). Late last year while teaching his Sunday School class he had a stroke which was later revealed to be caused by a brain tumor. He had brain surgery and has just completed chemo therapy and radiation treatments. So he has not posted anywhere for months.

So when I saw someone pretending to be him, lying, and posting on this site I found that to be extremely offensive and sinful behavior. The “lurker” here is a liar and pretended to be the other Robert, so that he could attack and insult me.

Now look at what the phony Robert is saying:

“Greetings in the name of our Lord. I just have a word for you.”

That takes a lot of gall, to be lying and then say you are doing so “in the name of the Lord”.

“I notice an unloving spirit in all of your posts.”

So we have a liar and fake, attacking me as being unloving.

“You do not seem to evidence the fruit of the Spirit at times.”

Speaking of the fruit of the Spirit, what fruit is this lying slanderer manifesting? Looks like the works of the flesh.

“I know it can be hard when dealing with Calvinists, but remember, they are your brothers.”

Speaking of “brothers”, are Christians supposed to be lying and posing as other people in order to attack other brothers?

“Keep in mind, outsiders are watching. They do not see the love of Christ in your comments. Keep up the good fight, though, brother!”

Yes outsiders are watching and what a deplorable testimony this liar and his other Triablogers represent.


“Robert knows me. I backed him up when he commented on Triablogue back when.”

Actually the real Robert/Lurker backed up Henry (see the comments above). And this person posing as Robert/Lurker is certainly no friend of mine, he certainly is not the man who is dealing with cancer and has not posted for months. That a professing Christian could lie like this and pose as another person just to attack me tells you a lot about his character. It also tells you how desperate and mean these calvinists really are. And this liar has no qualms about taking on the identity of someone else and then lying and attacking other Christians. But I am not surprised; this is standard fare from the Triablogers and their ilk.

“I came down just as hard on them.”

Actually if you read what the real Robert/Lurker said he was challenging the Triablogers not to be so mean, not to engage in such insulting speech.

“I believe a man should have integrity, though.”

What an outrageous comment coming from a total liar. Integrity would not lead a person to do what this phony is doing. This liar obviously hates me to such an extent that he has to go to these lengths to take shots at me. Again, I am not surprised by this kind of thing from calvinists. They become like their conception of god: he is mean and nasty and sadistic and will manipulate, and trick and toy with people and so will they.

“So I must call a spade a spade even when those with my same doctrinal commitments are the ones I must speak to.”

You can play games with us, but I remind you that the Lord is seeing all of what you are doing, and He is not pleased with your conduct here. If you had integrity you would publically apologize for your conduct here.

Second, you are lying again, you are a calvinist and you do not share my doctrinal commitments.

“I respect your opinion. But Robert and I both critiqued the Calvinists for the exact same stuff Robert is doing here.”

It is noteworthy that the phony Lurker did not just post one time, but actually engages in his charade with multiple posts.

“The Calvinists came back and said that they "were just being tough." That they "were defending the truth." That "Jesus talked like that sometimes." Robert and I wouldn't take those excuses from them then, and I'm not going to take it now. Robert is a man of great integrity, and I will not call him a hypocrite, though you may.”

Now that is interesting, on one hand this lying phony is saying that all of my posts have no love, but then he says “Robert is a man of great integrity”. How can you be a person of great integrity if you have no love? (cf. 1 Cor. 13:1-8) And who is this lying phony to say anything about INTEGRITY. Perhaps that is one of the problems with these calvinists they believe that you can be a person of integrity if you go around insulting other believers as they do and engaging in this kind of outrageous behavior in order to defend and protect their system of theology. This isn’t Christianity; this is what the cults to.

You call yourself a Christian and engage in this kind of thing?

I will also say that the calvinistic theology produces this kind of person, someone who will do whatever they can to attack and malign other believers who reject calvinism. We have the evidence right here in front of us in the form of this phony. But he is not the only one, other Triablogers have been found out to be sock puppets as well.

Robert

Lurker said...

Hi Robert,

I am grieved that you would imply that I am a "sock puppet" and that you have not engaged in "sock puppet" activities in the past. I thought we were on the same side. Here is a "Henry" at Triablogue:

_____________

__HENRY__: "It also needs to be remembered that a **possibility** by its very nature means that the **possibility** IS NOT ACTUAL. If something is **actual** it is **not a possibility** and if something is a **possibility** then it is **not yet actual** (an action cannot be both a possibility and an actuality at the same time)."

And here is "Robert" at another blog.

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/04/contemporary-compatibilism.html

__ROBERT__: "Calvinists **want to believe** that many are eternally condemned by God and hell bound before they were ever born. Instead of being honest and forthright and consistent admitting that God makes this choice **actively** and **wants** to damn these poor people. The calvinist seeking to downplay their true belief by means of semantic word games comes along and says:: “well God **actively** has mercy on the elect [the lucky ones] but he **merely passes over** the reprobates [the unlucky ones]”.

_____________

I have never seen anyone use so many **s, let alone **s at all. And there are numerous other similarities. You sock puppeted, Robert. To blame others for the same is hypocritical.

Also, my brother from another mother, I am distressed that you would say that I "attacked" you. I simply pointed out your hate speech.

You are doing the same things as those Calvinists are doing. That you continue to justify your hate mongering is disturbing my soul. I thought I would entreat your conscience. Surely you know that your mean-spirited talk is offensive. Surely you don't think that you can talk like that but they can't, right? You know very well that if Steve Hays, Paul Manata, Gene Bridges, or Peter Pike called your argument "dumb" or "lame" or that you "spew forth" nonsense, or that your arguments were "goofy," you would have a field day with their meanness.

Robert, why the double-standard, brother? Others are watching you justify yourself while you condemn others for the same behavior. This doesn't look good, Robert. Your point would have more force if you weren't two-faced about it.

Take my words as they were meant to be: preserving salt. I want to see you restored. Don't stoop to the level of your enemy.

This will be my last post. I only meant to call your own words to your attention. I have done that. How you procede with that information is "up to you." See, I'm a good libertarian! :-)

Pax,
Lurker

Robert said...

I must point out that someone pretending to me has posted claims against the Triabloggers. I do not know Lurker personally and I doubt his name is Robert. This is obviously a dumb ploy by calvinists who have nothing better to do with their time than use insults to smear me by making me look like a hypocrite. I think everyone will agree with me that inventing a person with a stroke as a sympathy ploy is beyond anything any Christian should do. That's why we know the Triabloggers are behind it.

Triabloggers constantly create sock puppets because they are deceptive, evil people. Calvinism causes this wicked attitude. You cannot trust anything that a Triablogger says, even if one posts under my name and pretends to attack them. It's all part of Satan's ploy.

To the Robert who posted before me, I challenge you to depart from your wicked ways and repent. You are a tool of the devil!

Victor Reppert said...

I didn't think I would be the one who defends Calvinists, but even if your "sock puppet" charge against the Triabloggers is correct, one can't extrapolate from that kind of behavior to the idea that Calvinists are evil. There have been many men of great integrity and faith who are Calvinists: C. H. Spurgeon and J. I. Packer, and George Whitefield come to mind off the top of my head.

Anonymous said...

Victor, you forgot Jesus and Paul! :-D

Victor Reppert said...

A tad anachronistic?

Anonymous said...

Victor,

Notice the ":-D"

All in fun.