I should state at the outset that this post is directed at Ed Babinski, and not his equine namesake. I don’t wish anyone to confuse Babinski with a horse—even a talking-horse—since such a comparison would be quite defamatory to the good name of the equine species, and I intend them no disrespect. Since Ed Babinski often resembles a certain portion of the horse’s anatomy, such confusion is understandable—which is why I hasten to preface my remarks with this disclaimer.
EDWARD T. BABINSKI SAID:
Steve wrote: "Ed, Care to document your sources?"
Sure, anytime, Steve. Just tell me which things I wrote about Calvin that you feel least comfortable considering, or most comfortable challening me on, and I'll supply the documentation. If you want we could write a joint article on the topic for your blog. I'll simply supply documentation and you rebut each piece I supply, piecemeal, since it's your blog. I just ask that you post the full documentation in context, nothing added or subtracted from what I send you for each question you challenge me on. Then you may reply to it at whatever length you choose. Whether or not people will accept that your explanations are all true and my documentation is all false or of absolutely no consequence, is something I'm willing to leave up to any reader of both sides.
i) I’d begin by noting that, to discredit Calvinism, Babinski must resort to a textbook fallacy. A purely ad hominem, guilt-by-association move. I like it when enemies of the faith must rely on textbook fallacies to attack the faith. That’s very reassuring.
ii) My query wasn’t a challenge to the truth or falsity of anything Babinski said. It’s simply a matter of adhering to some elementary standards of scholarship. If he’s going to make charges, he should document his charges so that we can examine the quality of his evidence.
iii) Babinski has no good reason to disapprove of Calvin’s tactics. Unless he believes in moral absolutes, Babinski is in no position to render a value-judgment on Calvin or Calvinism. How does Babinski’s worldview underwrite moral absolutes? Moreover, his evolutionary viewpoint entails such a reductionistic view of human nature that even if there were such a thing as moral absolutes, meat machines like you and me would have no rights.
I realize it may be tedious to keep harping on this point, but its fundamental, and as long as unbelievers presume to condemn Christians or Christian theology, I’ll remind them that they have no moral foundation for their condemnations.
iv) On a final point, did I ever indicate he said something about Calvin that made me “uncomfortable”? Can Babinski quote me on that? I don’t think so.
I have some news for Babinski: Calvin is not a relative of mine. He’s not my father or brother or son or uncle or nephew or cousin. In fact, I think we could safely say that Calvin was before my time. I wasn’t born in the 16C. Or even the 17C.
Calvin is a perfect stranger to me. Never met the man.
He’s just a famous person, like a lot of other famous people, living and dead. A celebrity. You know, the sort of folks we read about in history books. I don’t feel ashamed of what a perfect stranger does. If he does something wrong, why should I be embarrassed? I
The fact that Babinski thinks that anyone would feel uncomfortable about something a celebrity said or did is a revealing window into Babinski’s odd little mind. Evidently, Babinski is one of those Chris Crocker types who “bonds” with his favorite celebrity. Deeply identifies with the triumphs and tribulations of the bimbo du jour.
Babinski must cry a lot. Maybe there’s a YouTube video clip of his grief-stricken demeanor whenever his favorite celebrity is caught in some scandal. Babinski clearly needs professional counseling to overcome his intensive/compulsive feelings. Perhaps we can take up a PayPal collection.
I can, of course, understand how celebrity worship would fill the emotional void created by his apostasy. Rom 1 and all that good stuff.
Steve also wrote: "While you're on the subject, would you also like to give us a historical overview of life in non-Christian/anti-Christian regimes, such as pagan Assyria, or Japan under the Shogun, or China under Mao, or Russia under Stalin, or Germany under Hitler, or Cambodia under Pol Pot (to cite a few examples)?"
Steve, for the record, Germay under Hitler was filled with Christians who had moved to the right in reaction to the previously more liberal Weimar Republic days of Germany. So the country was moving rightward when Hitler ran for office, and the votes of Christians living in the country was where Hitler scored his biggest gains in votes and that's what got him elected. (The votes in the cities were too close to call among the various candidates.)
If you want to talk about the alleged Christian/Nazi connection, I’ll call your bet and raise you by talking about the Darwinian/Nazi connection:
Also, concerning communism and Christianity we could discuss the affinities that religion has with absolutist political ideologies that promise paradise (a worker's paradise in Marx's case) and claims to have the inerrant truth concerning all of history's questions (dialetical materialsm in the case of Marxism). It's also probably no mere coincidence that Maoists varried little red books they had to memorize and carry around like Bibles. See also Eric Hoffer's little book, The True Believer, which relates the psychological affinities b/w people who join religious, fascist, and communist mass revolutionary movements.
In other words, Babinski is reduced to admitting that unbelievers are twisted believers. Their rebellion against the Bible is a just warped form of religiosity. I can go along with that, Ed. Sounds like the Biblical diagnosis of idolatry. Thanks, Ed, for corroborating the Bible.
Leaving such movements aside, let me point out that there are more examples than ever before from much of modern day Europe, Japan, and other first world countries that a high percentage of religious believers does not appear to be necessary for the health of such societies.
i) Of course, modern-day Japan was influenced by the American occupation of Japan. Notice how Babinski runs away from pre-Christian Japan.
ii) And have I ever said that religious believers are necessary for a healthy society? “Religious” as in what? Muslims? Hindus? Wiccans?
Because Babinski is irreligious, he treats one religion as interchangeable with another. I do not.
Such countries have low percentages of religious believers, but high levels of education and vital statistics that are better in many areas than vital stats in the U.S.
Notice that Ed offers no moral criteria for the quality of life. Just college degrees and high life expectancy.
Ted Kaczynski was Harvard-educated. Leni Reifenstahl died at 101. That’s Babinski’s definition of social progress.
(Isn't it a bit ironic that some Evangelical Christians type away tomes on why civilization can't survive without Christianity, on computers invented and manufactured by atheists, agnostics, and Buddhists?)
i) Isn’t it ironic that you know nothing about elementary Christian doctrines like common grace? No doubt your ignorance made it easier for you to commit apostasy.
ii) And did we say that civilization can’t survive without Christianity? Japan survived for a centuries as a vicious, brutal stratocracy.
iii) It’s comical of you to suggest that unbelievers have a monopoly on computer science. That’s really quite droll. You should join the circus.
I could also cite an example nearer Calvin's day, the case of what took place in the Netherlands after Calvin had died but before the Thirty Years War, when relatively liberal Christians (for their day and age) formed the first successful republic in Europe, a place that prospered immensely, with freedom of religion, people of all religions trading equally with one another, and each worshipping as they pleased rather than as a king demanded they all do, and it was even a center for controversial exciting new works to be published from Hobbes to Spinoza, that publishers in other parts of Europe were afraid to publish.
i) Up to a point, I don’t have a problem with freedom of religion. On the other hand, if a Muslim migrates to the West, bringing with him such pious customs as jihad, sharia, honor-killings, child marriage, female circumcision, &c., then there are limits to my tolerance.
ii) I also find it amusing to see you pose as a champion of religious freedom when so many of your cohorts try to persecute Christian expression.
But here's what happened to this first success republic in Europe, what happened was that conservative Calvinists despised the prosperity that their fellows were enjoying under this experiment in a republican form of government and these Calvinists plotted with Catholics to reinstall a kingship which they deemed more godly than a republic, because they thought it was more important for a nation to fear God than gain in prosperity, and they hated that the Dutch East India Trading Company was not striving to make Christian converts out of everyone they hired and met in Asia.
In other words, you attack “these Calvinists” because they’d rather save souls than guilders. If only they’d been more venal and materialistic, you’d commend them. But because they put evangelism ahead of filthy lucre, you disapprove.
Hence the first successful republic in Europe was undone by conservative Calvinists. Though of course the Netherlands is back to being liberal today, and a republic. Calvinism just doesn't last so far as governmental systems go. Geneva today is over 40% Catholic and they erected at least one (I've read more than one) statue to Servetus, even naming a local football team after him. And Calvin's Academy is likewise more liberal than it was when he founded it.
i) Considering the fact that secular Europe is committing demographic suicide, you might need to adjust your actuarial charts.
ii) I don’t care that much about process issues. What matters to me is not so much the political process, but the end-product. A process is just a means to an end, not an end in itself.
iii) You also ignore the role of Calvinists like Calvin, Knox, and Rutherford in challenging absolute monarchy.
Puritanism in Britain and in the U.S. likewise lost it vigor. Such systems just don't hold up.
Do you apply the same yardstick to secular systems like communism and socialism?
Human creativity, curiosity and questions undo them all. Harvard was quite conservative religiously, then the questions began entering there, and Yale was founded in reaction to Harvard's loosening of its conservative orthodox heritage. Now look at Yale.
This is so olde hatte. Do you think you’re telling me or anyone else something we haven’t heard before? In the meantime, you disregard the rise of new Christian institutions of higher learning.
Schools of the highest caliber attracting professors and students of the highest caliber for two centuries or more, do not remain as conservative in their religious beliefs as when they first began.
Actually, the Ivy Leagues are chockfull of politically correct quackery.
You know about Westminster Theological Seminary?
Gee, Ed, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that place. What do they sell? Lingerie? Fried chicken?
Van Til taught there.
Van Til? Doesn’t ring a bell. Is that a brand of cheese—like Gouda, Leerdammer, and Limburger?
Founded by Machen who left Princeton Theological Seminary (home of B.B. Warfield, but by Machen's day Princeton Theol. Sem. had grown too liberal, so the fundamentalists left Princeton to found Westminster Theological Seminary.
Thanks, Ed, for your first grader’s grasp of American Presbyterian history.
Today Westminster is having difficulties with professor Peter Enns and his book, Inspiration and Incarnation and the faculty's endorsement of him staying, but the administration told him to git gone because they don't approve of his broadening of the definition of inerrancy.
You know, Ed, for a computer savvy library, you’re remarkably ignorant of facts in the public record. If you bothered to mouse over to the website of WTS, and go to “Official Theological Documents,” you could learn in a hurry that opposition to Enns wasn’t limited to the administration. There was substantial opposition to Enns from his colleagues.
And there's Paul Seely, a graduate of Westminster Theol. Semn., and his book the inerrancy question that nearly destroyed Glenn Morton's Christian faith. Seely also expressed himself with such aplomb and conducted such massive research in a few papers that they were published in the journal of Westminster Theol. Seminary, papers outlining why the creation stories are those of a flat-earth believing culture, and that the tower of Babel story is likewise probably mythical.
Considering the fact that I personally debated Seely, your appeal leaves me less than overwhelmed. His performance was less aplomb and more of a bomb.
I'd chalk up Seely and Enns as having had too much contact with the full range and depth of bibilical scholarship in the outside world.
Once again, Ed, this is yet another illustration of your studied ignorance. There’s no dearth of evangelical seminaries out there committed to the inerrancy of Scripture—whose OT faculty is quite conversant with comparative Semitics. They’ve studied with the leading figures in the field.
So in future I'd expect Westminster to also be considered too "liberal" by some Calvinists who go off to try and found another little retreat from modern scholarship.
Ed, you’re the one, in your pitifully demonstrable ignorance of who’s who, that’s on a little retreat from modern scholarship. But thanks for making a public fool of yourself, and the cause you so disably represent.