Steve Hays seems to have thought that my most recent posts about Calvinism are implicit attacks, and that my disclaimers are phony. Even though most people know that I don't accept Calvinism, my project was descriptive rather than argumentative.
VR: The Calvinist has to say not merely that our conduct is sinful, but that our natural understanding of what is right and wrong is so badly tainted by sin that what we would ordinarily think of as bad really good if it is claimed that God has done it.
SH: i) This is one of Reppert’s conceited blindspots. In his furry little mind he imagines that deep down, in their heart-of-hearts, all Calvinists share his moral intuitions. Yet they’ve suppressed their moral intuitions to knuckle under the brute authority of Scripture, as they understand it.
But, speaking for myself, I don’t share his moral intuitions on a wide range of issues.
VR: I think choosing a world in which some people suffer eternally over a world in which they don't would appear wrong in most human contexts, and the only thing that can save the Calvinist is a greater good which is a function of God's unique status.
If I had the power to prevent the Holocaust and could do so in a way that was perfectly consonant with the all parties involved having free will in whatever sense of free will you are willing to recognize, then I would be considered acting wrongly if I failed to prevent it.
And the claim that God's chief praiseworthy characteristic is holiness rather than goodness was taken straight from Bnonn.
What you seem to deny is that human beings ordinarily know how to apply the term "good," and that the statement "God is good" means something based on some kind of commensurability between goodness as we apply it in human contexts and goodness as we apply it in theological contexts. Most moral theories, and even most moral codes, seem to include some requirement on our part to promote the happiness of others, although some put some people in the "not my neighbor" class.
In short, this is theological voluntarism in effect, with what I call the eliminative solution to the problem of evil. Let's look at the typical formulation of the argument from evil:
1. If God exists, then there are no gratuitous evils.
2. There are gratuitous evils.
3. God does not exist.
It seems to me that you a moral skeptic can get rid of 1 by saying that we don't have the kind of moral knowledge to identify gratuitous evils, either in this life or in eternity. We may dislike the fact that certain people are damned, especially if they are near and dear to us, but we can't use that as a reason to doubt God. This is what I mean by claiming that Calvinism invariably leads to the problem of evil being treated as a pseudoproblem.
So, setting aside your tendentious descriptions of our differences, I think my overall assessment of what Calvinism entails with respect to the argument from evil is correct. It is an eliminativist solution. You may in fact see that as a strength for the Calvinist.
I think you are right to raise questions about how I described the Calvinist view, in that I do think you are right in supposing that I was presupposing that there are general moral concepts that we can at least try to apply to God's actions, which a Calvinist could deny. Though lots of Calvinists tell me that their initial inclination when first becoming a Calvinist was to find it morally counterintuitive. Not every Calvinist is the moral skeptic you are.
It does matter to me that the project here was principally descriptive, an attempt to describe the Calvinist response to the problem of evil rather than an argumentative project attempting to show that Calvinists have it wrong. It seems to me that almost every time you sit down to your word processor you want to make some polemical point. That just isn't how I operate. Trying to "beat" the other guy, to show him or her up for a fool, has limited utility as I see it, because all that would show would be that my opponent wasn't all that great as a representative for his position, and surely there are better ones out there. The project of understanding the Calvinist, even though I disagree with him, is a worthwhile project in and of itself. You know that I don't agree with Calvinism, and you may try to "head off at the pass" some argument that I might make, but you should understand that I am not making one at the moment. If my statement of what Calvinists hold is inaccurate, then that is another matter. But there was not argument against Calvinism in my post, stated or unstated. You have to respect the content of the text. In fact, I always think twice about actually debating this issue. A big part of me wants to leave that job to others.
I do harbor a suspicion that, when everything is boiled down, the Calvinist theodicy is going to be a "might makes right" argument. But I haven't made that argument yet, of course. And it will probably turn out that I am too much of a moral realist to be a good Calvinist. But that is not part of the current project.