Friday, October 27, 2006

Event 16

The issue of lying is getting rather boring. I almost want to second Ted's yawn (or rather, his :::YAWN!!!:::).

As I friend of Paul's, I am certainly in a position of wanting to defend him. But I think it is important to note that the members of Triablogue took no "Where do you stand on these issues" test before signing on. So the fact that certain members (the ones who have spoken on this issue, at least) are in agreement gives credit to the fact that we aren't merely giving some ad hoc defense of Paul's actions. While the issue of whether or not Paul's particular actions meet the criteria for the application of biblical teaching is a separate one, we at least have been clear on what Scripture teaches.

And few who have objected to Paul's behavior have actually addressed the surrounding Scriptural issues. John Loftus tells us that his critique is an "internal" one, but he has yet to address the foundations (from Scripture) that have been presented.

DagoodS has, at least, given us some interaction with what has been stated (and particularly with the Frame article). Because I don't want DagoodS to be lazy, I won't myself be lazy. So I write this post not because I think that this issue needs any more commentary. Rather, I simply what to respond to DagoodS' efforts.
Evan May,

I will confess. I WAS being lazy. You are quite correct I only brushed over the highlights of what could be a full-blown response to Frame’s article. I momentarily thought of writing a blog entry dissecting it, but after framing the outline within my mind, found it to be obvious. And boring.
Start with Event 16. How does that fit within Frame’s proposal? It doesn’t.
By "Event 16," DagoodS is referring to this example from Frame's article:

16. Luke 24:28, Jesus acts as if he intends to go further.

Note that this is one of seventeen examples that Frame lists. So even if this particular one isn't a good example, it isn't as if Frame's entire article self-destructs or is not worthy of attention.

I think DagoodS also confuses Frame's purpose in writing his article (and, by consequence, his purpose in citing these examples) with Paul Manata's present situation. Even if this particular Scripture passage is not applicable to Paul Manata's actions, this does not mean that it is completely irrelevant to Frame's proposal.

But let's look at this passage:

(Luke 24:27-29) "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, 'Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.' So he went in to stay with them"

Jesus would often do things or say things in order to elicit a certain response from the crowd. So he tells the Canaanite woman, "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs" (Matt 15:26) in order to stir in her a response of faith, as she proclaims, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table" (Matt 15:27).

Here, Jesus desires to stir in these disciples a longing to commune with him. So he gives the impression as if he is leaving (though knowing that he intends to stay) in order to elicit their request for him to stay. Jesus uses a form of deception, and yet is without sin.

DagoodS' only reason for criticizing this example is because it is so obvious that Jesus didn't do anything wrong. But that is exactly the point. And all of these examples are merely for the purpose of supporting Frame's claim that "there are other passages in which people mislead other people without incurring biblical condemnation." Is this not the case here? How does this passage fail to meet this standard?

While Frame does give argumentation against other positions (briefly) what is the basis for his own?

Frame: But in the situation where someone is seeking to destroy innocent life, rather than to help and heal, does such a neighborly relation exist? I think not. At least, I doubt that those who misled others in the seventeen passages mentioned earlier were in a neighborly relation to their opponents. Certainly those who deceived in those passages didn’t think so. And I think Scripture concurs in their judgment.

“I think…”? “I doubt…”? “I think…”? Honestly, Evan May—would you ever accept such a position from an atheist as “argumentation”?
My guess is that DagoodS hasn't read much of John Frame. Consequently, he's ignorant about his writing style. Frame is a humble fellow. And his writing style reflects this. He is constantly aware of his own fallibility, and that his arguments can be improved upon.

But I don't think this means that he views his arguments as any less valid. And even if he did, so what? So what if Frame is not confident? That doesn't mean what he has to say is false.

Read that paragraph again. Read Event 16. Explain (if you would be so kind) how that fits.
No, Event 16 does not directly support that paragraph. But that wasn't the purpose of Event 16. Event 16 merely supports the conclusion that sometimes it is biblically permissible to use forms of deception. Other examples, however, are closer to supporting the above paragraph.

But DagoodS is holding Frame's article to standards he wouldn't want forced upon his own writings. He ignores the author's intent in his own statements. The seventeen examples support a general principle from which Frame argues more specific conclusions.
I hope you can see why, after viewing that, I considered a response unnecessary and boring.
Your response would be boring only because the topic at hand is boring--or is, at least, getting boring. And the topic is what it is because your apostate pals have chosen to bring it up and not let it go.


  1. Look, Paul Manata is a deceiver. You seem to claim he has Biblical reasons for what he does, and I don't care what the Bible says. So that's all that can be said on the matter between us.

    But tell me this, if the Bible supports the actions of Manata (and I think that's what you and Steve are saying, but it's less than a robust defense of him), then why has Paul lost credibility in the eyes of both skeptics and Christians? Would you now go on to say that "credibility" isn't an issue to those who seek to defend Christianity? Surely not. Or are you saying that neither skeptics nor Christians properly understand the Biblical issue of lying? I take it you mean the later.

    But tell me this. Without rehashing all of what Paul has done here, since you've read it all, if there is doubt about his actions, and there is plenty of it, then why is anyone to believe him when he claims he deleted my post where I expressed alarm that an impersonator claimed he (that is I) was a pedophile? At best he says that was "innocent." Come on now. Does anyone really believe this of him? I certainly don't, but that's me. He could have deleted both posts, contacted me about them, or let mine stand without deleting it. I want to know, since this action really bothered me. Does anyone believe Paul here, that at best by deleting my post what he did was "innocent" at best. If that's the best interpretation, what's the worst interpretation?

    At the time Paul came to my Blog and said he wasn't the Discomfiter but he "talked to him" and set out to explain the Discomfiter's actions. Now that Paul has come out as the Discomfiter does anyone really believe his "innocent" at best interpretation?

    Now YOU tell me what the Bible says about what he did.

  2. You seem to claim he has Biblical reasons for what he does, and I don't care what the Bible says.

    Yeah...some internal critique!

    But tell me this, if the Bible supports the actions of Manata (and I think that's what you and Steve are saying, but it's less than a robust defense of him), then why has Paul lost credibility in the eyes of both skeptics and Christians?

    The problem isn't with Paul, but with your eyes.

    Would you now go on to say that "credibility" isn't an issue to those who seek to defend Christianity? Surely not.

    Credibility is good, but credibility at all costs is foolish.

    John, you're obviously very personally and emotionally involved in this issue. And that's why you aren't letting it go.

    But if you will re-read my above doesn't concern you. It is a response to a statement by DagoodS concerning an article written by John Frame. Whether or not Paul's particular actions were justified is beside the point.

  3. Can we move on from this?

    Can we get onto more substantive topics, like the arguments made in the comments section here?

    If anyone has a right to whine and cry about Paul Manata, I do, because he directly lied to me when I asked him if he was the Discomfiter. Do I care? No. It was a funny idea, at first. I actually enjoyed the parodies, and said so at DC and elsewhere. I even liked "Dr. X" and said I felt privelaged to be put in the "Ugly" category.

    I can dish it out, and take it. But can we move past all this stupidity?

    Let's just freaking move on. Please.

  4. The reason you don't see people refuting the Scriptural point that it is OK to lie sometimes is because we all agree on that point. Lying is generally considired wrong by most people, but most people grant exceptions. The question is, does lying for the purpose of further mockery constitute an exception?

    I think not, but I could see why Paul would think differently. He thinks mocking is a good method of convincing people that skepticism is wrong. I suspect he's wrong about that, but what do I know. If he can persuade more people that skepticism is wrong he can be a tool God uses to prevent someone from ending up in hell, and that's a good thing.

    I've argued that Eusebius would have accepted the logic to this. Regardless of whether you accept my argument on this point, I think the Christians here should at least admit that if it is true, it's not out of character for Christians. I have yet to see any of the Triablogue members suggest that what Paul did was immoral. It must be that you accept this reasoning.

    And so skeptics don't trust Christians. We don't have any reason to think that early Christians wouldn't fabricate things to further the cause, as Paul fabricates things now to further the cause. If Eusebius had done this he would have received full support from all of you.

    But why stop with lying? Would you also steal for Jesus? What if stealing money from a skeptic reduced the time he spent in activities that promote skepticism? Or perhaps if you destroy property belonging to the skeptic. How about discrediting a skeptic by spreading malicious and false rumors about him. How about kidnapping? If you kidnap the children of a skeptic you make it more likely that those kids will become Christians. If you can get away with it of course. You can't get away with a lot of those things today. But if the church was more powerful and you had lots of other like minded Christians in power maybe you could do it. If you lived in the middle ages, would you have tortured for Jesus? Would you have involved yourselves in those activities and justified it by saying that the pain inflicted pales next to the pain of hell, and if you can scare just one person into the right way of thinking all of the flames and racks would have been worth it.

    I'm afraid this all makes too much sense to me. I had a conversation with a Christian that was discussing abortion and how they wondered if it was really all that bad. After all, those kids die before the age of accountability. Their parents are probably wicked people, and if those children lived they'd probably grow up as unbelievers. This is really the best thing that could ever happen to them, just like those nursing infants at I Sam 15 are lucky to have been killed. I asked "why stop with abortion? Why not kill all kids with skeptical parents that are younger than the age of accountability." The Christian replied that he could see the logic to that and couldn't bring himself to say I was wrong.

  5. Jon,

    If the person you were speaking with said that about abortion, then he is an idiot. Children are born into this world with original sin and children of wrath, even as the rest. This "age of accountability" is a false presumption. Every child is born into this world conceived in sin and in need of Christ. Should God save an infant dying in infancy, that is His prerogative to do so and we know that He is good and merciful. However, that doesn't mean every infant dying in infancy is automatically saved by virtue of being an infant. Because this person you were speaking with has accepted a false premise (viz. age of accountability) he is blinding himself to the truth, and if he can't bring himself to say that abortion is wrong he's obviously confused. Anyway, this is off topic....

    I do want to say that of all the atheists that post over here I have the most respect for Daniel Morgan. He's the only one I've seen that engages in discussion without the whining and personal tit-for-tat. I could even say he is mature :-). As far as all this stuff with Manata, the atheists are blowing this out of proportion because they don't like Paul's apologetic style. I like to call it "seek and destroy", and he's earned a lot of (juvenile) enemies for it. I'm not saying whether I agree or not with all that Discomfiter stuff, but Paul's credibility hasn't changed in my eyes. So, stop with the wah, wah, waah!


    the twinkie

  6. You guys, stop picking on me. I am sorry for lying, and impersonating other bloggers. I realize now that it is wrong to do that, and my Biblical reasons for doing so were based on poor interpretation and exegesis.

    Atheists, please forgive me.

    I repent in ashes and shame.

    Maybe its not OK to lie and use the "I'm in a war" excuse....

  7. You'll all be happy to know that I'll be defending atheism and John Loftus on Gene Cook's radio show next week.

    I'll be offering my new argument: The Pinocchio Syndrome.

    I'll let you all in on a secret: Gene Cook watches WWF wrestling.

    The point: He supports liars!

  8. Fake Manata,

    Give it up will ya? Not really funny. Ooh, the discomfiter's back. Hey, what's wrong with the WWF? That's real athleticism there...

  9. I'm assuming the discomfiter stops when Loftus stops.

    I'm assuming that when Loftus leaves it alone the discomfiter will be killed by the green man.

    I'm assuming that Loftus wanted to push this, but he chose poorly because of how bad the discomfiter embarrassed him he tought he'd get rid of big D but now big D's back.

  10. Listen discomfiter, I don't need you to defend me. I'll come on that show and kick some theist butt! I'll even wear my wrestling boots and cape to get on Gene Cook's good side. Maybe I'll do a few moves on Manata, close-line, pile driver, is he going to be there? I'll dismantle his arguments too...

  11. Brothers in Christ, please, stop the madness.

    Our atheist brothers need our love and prayer, not our mental gymnastics and dodging/weaving when it comes to our own moral hypocrisy.

    In Christ.

  12. Man, this madness with all this brother Blark, green man stuff has got to stop

  13. Daniel Morgan wrote:
    Can we move on from this?

    Let it never be said that Morgan and I disagree on EVERYTHING! :-D

    This whole exchange is about as exciting as watching three-year-olds debate their bedtime....

  14. Discomfiter. The Green Man knows, and your crimes will be punished.

  15. Calvindude, Daniel, I couldn't agree with you more. The trouble here is that Paul Mantana has become the issue.

    And, Daniel, quite right. It was a parody, it was funny. And, yes, John, what was allowed to stand was not only wrong, but hurtful. But let us move on, please, people.

    Let the infants fight in the sandbox, by all means, but shall we leave them alone?

    And Sir Richard Arcos will stop posting silly entries when people stop being silly.

  16. The Green Man says little. But this must stop.

  17. O.K. Evan May. I’ll give another crack at it, to see if I can explain what I am talking about regarding Frame’s article.

    John Frame rightly starts off listing numerous passages which make it clear that lying is wrong. God does not lie. All Satan does is lie. Bad people lie. Good people don’t. Proverbs repeatedly paints deceit in the worst possible light. Mosaic code prevents lying. Ever single passage that refers to lying in a generic sense, places it in the “Don’t do” category.

    To his credit, John Frame recognizes that even with this clear direction, there are problematic instances in which God seems to condone, and even initiate deceit. As we all know by now, he lists 17 of them, including Jesus’ deceit of Luke 24:28. (Please note: it is Frame that claims this was an action of misleading in his article.)

    I like the title “Event 16.” Sounds dramatic.

    John Frame then touches on various approaches on how to deal with these situations. John Frame chides John Murray’s approach for failing to take into consideration one of the events. (Event 2.) Frame goes on to reject the other claims, for the same reason—failing to take into account the Event(s):

    Article: And none of these explanations helps us to understand why God himself deceives people in passages #13 and #17.

    (Curious that Frame did not include Jesus as God in Event 16.) At least to me, the author is intoning that any proposal that fails to take into one of his listed Events is inadequate.

    Evan May: DagoodS' only reason for criticizing this example is because it is so obvious that Jesus didn't do anything wrong.

    Nope. Not at all. My reason for criticizing John Frame, is that he is guilty of the same thing he accuses others—failing to consider one of his own listed events in proposing a solution! That being, obviously, Event 16.

    Event 16 is about Jesus talking to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He acts as if He would go further, and they persuade him to stay.

    Look at what John Frame said: (And as a half-whine I would indicate that this is explicitly what I stated in my first comment when this was first raised, and I have yet to see a single poster address it.)

    Article: It does appear that the Bible passages listed above ALL have to do with the promotion of justice against the wicked who are seeking innocent life. (emphasis added)

    Question: Were the disciples wicked? Were they seeking innocent life? Was Jesus promoting justice by misleading them? The article goes on:

    Article: At least, I doubt those who misled others in the seventeen passages mentioned earlier were in a neighborly relation to their opponents. (emphasis added)

    Jesus being the one who “misled others.” Are we claiming that he was not in a neighborly relation to his own disciples?

    Look, Evan May. I was fascinated by the concept of believers claiming that they can deceive others solely because of the other person’s beliefs. “Interesting ramification upon debates over Christianity,” I thought. I wondered how believers could flesh that out. Frame’s article was thrown at me, and after seeing how Event 16 did not remotely conform to what Frame was saying, and he was as guilty as those he accused of ignoring an event in support of his conclusion, I brushed it aside.

    I probably should have done a full critique. I honestly did not think one could take it that seriously, upon seeing (what appears to me to be) a mortal flaw in the reasoning.

    Everyone seems to want to relate this back to The Discomfiter. And I should have not mentioned it, either—I just found the situation amusing, and wanted to interject humor.

    All I wanted was to figure out which situations believers have the opportunity to deceive me when debating Christianity. ‘Nuff said.

    (Note. This was written earlier. If you think I am prolonging a situation, rather than attempting to ascertain information, please disregard. Thanks.)

  18. I don't recall anywhere in the Bible where Abraham was chastised for lying...twice! Yet the bible states that he was blessed. The same with Rahab. I don't know......

  19. Anon, you don't? I seem to recall Abimelech giving Abraham a serious dressing-down over the Sarah business in his kingdom. And Pharaoh wasn't exactly pleased, either. 'Ah,!' I seem to hear you say, 'but what about God?'

    Well, since the powers that be are of God, and it is at his will that Kings rule...

    Well, you see my point, I hope.

    Now, in the case of Rahab, she lied to protect the ives of the spies who went into the land at God's command. To punish her for protecting the people of God would be perverse, don't you think?

    The trouble here is manifold, but I think it might be helpful to draw a distinction between permissible lies (disinformation to the enemy in time of war, hiding a person from men who want to kill him) and lies that are wrong, such as Abraham's misrepresentation of Sarah. Otherwise, we end up with the ridiculous position that any form of misinformation is wrong, up to and including in time of war. That is mad.Does anyone honestly believe that undercover police operations, in which police officers lie about their true identity are wrong? Was it wrong for Churchill to give out false information about where the allies would land on D-Day?

    If this matter is to go any further, might I suggest that some nitwits drop all this: 'yah, Rahab/Michal/Jesus lied to proect innocent life!' twaddle and get down to the real grey areas. Otherwise, people, we are just wasting time.

  20. Oh, and having glanced at M. Curry's comments, may I observe that M. Curry appears to have lost himself in his own little paranoid world of conspiracy theories.

    Me, I'm a voluntarist, Jon. My ancestors were persecuted for their faith, both the Hugenots who were driven from France and the Prmitive Methodists, who were persecuted for not belonging to the Church of England. So don't come the Spanish Inquisition route with me, sonny-boy.

    And I'm sorry about the chap who couldn't see that willful murder is wrong. But, when in conversations, just remember, I've heard secularists justify Stalin, as advocate the removal of the children of believers to be raised as unbelievers by the state, not to mention justifications of slavery. And yet I would not state that these are positions shared by most atheists. In one case, this was a chap who'd got trapped by an argument and decided to go off the deep end by taking his argument to its logical conclusion.

    Just remember, Jon, that the Bible does not explicitly state that there is such as thing as an age of accountability.

    And, lastly, we are not to do evil that good may come.

  21. Well if saying "here take any piece of land you want", and then giving a thousand shekels and livestock and servants is a serious dressing down, then I would have hated to see what he would have done if he were pleased! But I really do understand your point. Of course one has to be pretty careful what one says around these parts. The dressing downs come pretty fast and furious on this site as well......

  22. The dressing-down was verbal, the giving of land and money was designed to shame Abraham, to say 'look, you man of little faith. You thought I was the big bad man who'd kill you - but I'm your pal.' This is the heaping of coals on the head through kindness.

    Just put yourself in Abraham's place for a moment, try to get an Abraham's-eye view of the matter.

  23. LOL! Is this really you? Okay!