I just got back home from Petland, picking up some treats for my dog. As I went to the checkout line, a lady with some cat food and other things was ahead of me. Here’s a paraphrase of the ensuing conversation between “Cat Lady” and the checkout clerk. My comments are in brackets.
Clerk: [scanning cans of food, and singing a silly song] Cat food, cat food, I’m allergic to cats!
Cat lady: That’s interesting. Why do you work at a petstore?
Clerk: Well, you see people don’t realize that whatever is going to happen is going to happen regardless. [Determinism?]
Cat lady: What makes you say that?
Clerk: You see, I’m a Christian, and according to what I believe everything that’s going to happen is going to happen. You can’t change it. [I’d like to think the guy is a Calvinist, but this is sheer fatalism. No informed Calvinist would state things this way.]
Cat lady: Maybe, but I do believe that we have free will [True enough…depending on the definition you’re employing of the term “free will.” I think she was responding to his unhealthy fatalism.]
Clerk: Well yeah, we have free will about whether we’ll go “up” [heaven] or “down” [hell]. [Classic Arminianism. Interesting. So God determines everything that will ever take place….but leaves in our hands-Oh, Sovereign creature!-the greatest possible choice, i.e. the efficacy of Christ’s atonement!]
Cat lady: I’m going to have to disagree with you there. But, if it works for you…! [Typical postmodern pragmatism. Let’s not say the other person is wrong..no, no. To each his own. What matters is that a belief “works,” not whether it fairly represents reality]
Thus the conversation ended there. I stood there, biting my tongue. I actually wanted to correct the clerk more for his poor presentation of God’s sovereignty than Cat lady for her relativism. But I knew it wasn’t my place to butt it and wax theological.