Sunday, November 25, 2007

Arminianism and Heroes

I was just watching the newest episode of Heroes, which aired last Monday (Nov. 19th) and I was watching the scene where Hiro Nakamura (the one who can time-travel) is giving his father's eulogy. In the eulogy, he states that "God has given us the gift of free choice."

I wonder if Arminians find these sorts of occurrences encouraging or discouraging. On the one hand, having a secular TV show where a character believes in free choice must reinforce their conviction in libertarian free will. But on the other hand, how encouraging can it be that a non-Christian, secular character (I think he is Buddhist) has the exact same notion of human autonomy as 80% of evangelicals today?

For me, it simply reinforces a long-standing conviction that libertarian free will is a philosophical, unbiblical construct which is not derived from close examination of the Scriptures, but from a humanistic philosophical system which demands human autonomy.

It should be noted, for the uninitiated, that Calvinists do believe in free choice, but not in the sense that the world or arminians who believe in libertarian freedom do. We define "free choice" as "the ability to do whatsoever one wants at any given moment." As long as you are able to do what you want, you have free choice.

It should also be noted that just because an unbeliever agrees with something an Arminian believes does not render the Arminian position untrue. I just think it is very interesting to see a form of Arminianism being advocated and agreed with by non-Christians and humanists (Rousseau comes to mind).


  1. It is an interesting point that you bring up but I thought that I bring out that in many of the traditional Asian beliefs, some form of fate, destiny, or transcendent will of the gods is often one of the cornerstones of their faith, and that all of human existence exists in subjection to the appropriate aforementioned force. As such, historically, the grand majority of humanity would side with some more conservative view of predestination. It is just us scientific and intellectual moderns that are confused by our own power (or lack there of).

  2. I've never really considered that libertarianism might actually be the novelty, worldwide. It certainly isn't here in the West, of course. We have a long proud history of autonomy and freedom from God's rule, but I guess I don't know enough about the rest of the world's perspective on things as I should.

    Certainly, Islam would side with the more conservative views of providence. That much I'm sure of.

  3. What I find interesting is the lack of religion in the show. Certainly some of the people who have these powers would be religious and would question why God gave them their gift and what He wants them to do with it. The explanation for the powers has always been evolution (just like X-men), but at least in X-men there was Nightcrawler who was a devout Christian and even shared the gospel in one of the cartoon episodes. Apparently "God questions" are no longer worthy of even acknowledging from Hollywood's perspective

  4. That is something I've noticed. It's almost humorous that everyone is fine with this idea that evolution can give people magical powers, but the notion of God doing something like that is just something they don't want to touch.

    Has there even been a REFERENCE to God? Such as a character saying, "Why has God given me this ability?" for example...

  5. I haven't actually watched Hero's this season. It's cheesy and the acting is god-awful. Plus it's an inferior knock off of the X-men and Rising Stars series. (If you want a good series read Rising Stars. It's a Top Cow comic.)

    Anyway, the statement "God has given us free will" does not exclude the calvanist conception of free will. How do you, automatically see this statement as a tendency towards arminianism in our culture, if Hiro never defines free will? He might be talking about compatibalism for all we know. Was there something else in the episode to indicate a definition of free will?... or do you just assume that when someone talks about free will in pop culture that they have to be talking about libertarian free will as opposed to compatiblist free will.

  6. Well, they did change the future and participate in something like 4 alternate time lines in the first season, would that be considered libertarian or compatibilisitc?


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