Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Richard Contradicts Himself

See the comments section of the thread here.

In addition to his contradictions in the thread above, notice the contrast between what he said about "dialogue", being "mutually edifying", etc. in our initial discussion and what he's doing now. Here's what he said earlier:

I have been rather saddened, I must admit, by your seeming lack of congeniality in the discussion. I understand that you disagree with me thus far, but you seem to go further in imagining that my positions are obsurd or grossly misusing the data. Do you really think that is the case? Do you see how my being in dialogue with such an individual immediately downgrades the quality of the discussion?...

I am more than capable of responding to each and every one of your rejoinders, and I am sure you are aware of that by now, but I do not find discussion with you for the aforesaid reasons, to be mutually edifying or on a proper footing. Best of luck to you. (source)

But now:

More cowardly "gatling gun" rhetoric, instead of informative discourse. Jason, you have little idea about my position or its relation to the data. That would take work on your part and character. Since when are laziness, misrepresenation, and arrogance Christian virtues?

If you want to interact with my position, then ask questions that unpack that position. Instead you just fire off your amatuer assault on strawmen congratulating yourself on how airtight your positions must be. Pathetic. (source)

19 comments:

  1. Jason, you have behaved like an ape. I have, like most healthy human beings, found that to be offensive and unacceptable social behavior. I am calling you on it. You threw the gentlemanly discussion under the proverbial bus the moment you began your bozo tactics and apelike social skills. Sorry... big cruel world out there. You had your chance and you threw it away. All you have left is to repent and apologize for your immaturity, chicanery, and arrogance. Then perhaps the conversation can begin on a reasonable footing where it belongs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Since Richard keeps deleting his own comments, I might as well quote what he just said in order to preserve it:

    "Jason, you have behaved like an ape. I have, like most healthy human beings, found that to be offensive and unacceptable social behavior. I am calling you on it. You threw the gentlemanly discussion under the proverbial bus the moment you began your bozo tactics and apelike social skills. Sorry... big cruel world out there. You had your chance and you threw it away. All you have left is to repent and apologize for your immaturity, chicanery, and arrogance. Then perhaps the conversation can begin on a reasonable footing where it belongs."

    Apparently, it's acceptable for Richard to say that I need psychological help, to say I'm "behaving like an ape", to refer to "bozo tactics", etc. But if people use less negative language in response to him, that's unacceptable.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Here are more of Richard's comments, from another thread, in case he decides to delete them:

    "Jason, You are a bozo... I have told you many many times now that I do support my claims. I simply have requested that you ask me for such support whenever or wherever you feel you would need it. You have not done that, but instead continue to behave like a clown and just post bellicose, misinformed rejoinders to decontextualized excerpts. That is non-professional of you....You are again committing the cowardly act of bringing out the 'gatling gun' to fire off multiple threads thus deluding your readers that you can soundly answer the 'intruder'. More bozo behavior... If you really felt you could handle the discussion, you would address a point at a time in proper discourse like adults do. I have told you this now perhaps 5 times. Every time you do this, I shall not respond to your foolish arguments, but simply blow the bozo whistle on you."

    ReplyDelete
  4. "I simply have requested that you ask me for such support whenever or wherever you feel you would need it."

    hmmmmmm, am I reading that right?

    ReplyDelete
  5. In apologetics Christian's sometimes act un-Christ like. I have seen it here at Triablogue and it saddens me; just as I have observed non-Christian's act the same way.

    When professing Christian's debate with non-believers or other professing Christian's of slightly different theological backgrounds, we are still called to a standard the secular world cannot comprehend ([Mic 6:8][James 2:8]).

    Christ (the living God) went to his trial, torture, and death, facing ridicule and insult, all without lashing out in anger or causing others to stumble - like a lamb to the slaughter.

    Even in disagreement, we are called not to cause others to stumble [1 Cor 10:32], likewise we are ourselves not to sin in our own anger [Eph 4:26].

    For this very reason, I personally can not engage in apologetics regularly; the standard is too for me to achieve. Consequentially, I have the greatest respect for those who can engage in apologetics while living up to the standard Christ sets.

    But we are all human.

    Jason said "A scholarly background does add to a person's credibility, but so far you've only identified yourself as Richard."

    Jason, whether Richard possesses a scholastic background or not, the truth or falsity of what he says should be based own its own merits, not on his credentials or lack of credentials. We all know that a person's credentials or not, have no bearing on the truth of what a person says.

    A comment like this makes a debate personal, and it becomes a slippery slope very quickly afterwards.

    Richard said "Jason, you have behaved like an ape.".

    Richard, you cannot claim moral high ground making comments like this. It is hypocrisy.

    ReplyDelete
  6. ἘΚΚΛΗΣΊΑ SAID:

    "In apologetics Christian's sometimes act un-Christ like. I have seen it here at Triablogue and it saddens me; just as I have observed non-Christian's act the same way."

    Was Christ un-Christ like (Mt 23)? Is the rhetorical register of Jude un-Christ-like?

    Jason has conducted himself with great self-restraint.

    "Christ (the living God) went to his trial, torture, and death, facing ridicule and insult, all without lashing out in anger or causing others to stumble - like a lamb to the slaughter."

    You're imputing motives to others. You're in no position to know how Jason feels.

    "Even in disagreement, we are called not to cause others to stumble [1 Cor 10:32], likewise we are ourselves not to sin in our own anger [Eph 4:26]."

    Once again, you're imputing emotions. But you're not a mind-reader.

    Frankly, you come across as a self-righteous prig who prides himself as the voice of reason. You cast yourself in the role of the mediator, making patronizing comments about both sides of the dispute. You need to get off your pedestal. You're not above the rest of us.

    "Jason, whether Richard possesses a scholastic background or not, the truth or falsity of what he says should be based own its own merits, not on his credentials or lack of credentials. We all know that a person's credentials or not, have no bearing on the truth of what a person says."

    i) Richard's credentials are directly germane when Richard himself keeps flaunting his alleged credentials. Richard is posing as an expert witness. He is mounting an argument from authority by citing his alleged expertise.

    ii) Moreover, we can only respond to arguments if arguments are given. Richard isn't arguing for his position. He is resorting to rhetorical bravado and verbal intimidation as a substitute for reasoned argument.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Ekk... actually I was trying my very best at hiding my credentials (you still do not know where I teach or what I have published). Jason was all but begging that I disclose this information. I have no interest in credentials in this environment... none whatsoever.

    Don't worry... I am exiting your discussion blog at this point. Peace to you.

    R

    ReplyDelete
  8. Steve said "Frankly, you come across as a self-righteous prig who prides himself as the voice of reason. You cast yourself in the role of the mediator, making patronizing comments about both sides of the dispute. You need to get off your pedestal. You're not above the rest of us."

    Steve, I hope that's not true. The only way I hope to come across is like my Lord and my God - Jesus Christ, who I believe all Christian's seek to model our lives after.

    If I have come across as a mediator, I hope at least my judgement has been righteous (judging the tree but the fruit it produces), as Jesus commands.

    Even so, thank you for pointing out my deficiencies in a charitable way. We could all do with more humility and Ill take your comments in the spirit they were intended.

    However, you misunderstand my point about the humility of Jesus unto death. The point was not about imparting motives to others, but instead a point about Jesus's conduct in the face of opposition; secondarily it was about how Jesus' conduct is an example to us all.

    I notice that even you slip up, humility-wise in the face of opposition, sometimes lacking grace. So I hope you'll take you're own advice and also seek humility (and grace).

    I'm sure apologetics is a difficult place to dwell, but as challenging as it, we are still called to be like Christ, since Christ is judged when we are.

    ReplyDelete
  9. ἐκκλησία wrote:

    "Jason, whether Richard possesses a scholastic background or not, the truth or falsity of what he says should be based own its own merits, not on his credentials or lack of credentials. We all know that a person's credentials or not, have no bearing on the truth of what a person says. A comment like this makes a debate personal, and it becomes a slippery slope very quickly afterwards."

    As I explained in the discussion you took the quote from, Richard also failed to support his claims with evidence. The point I was making was that he neither supported his claims with evidence nor gave us reason to trust him on the basis of his credentials. You'll have to explain why I supposedly was wrong to say that.

    Regarding the behavior of Jesus, you need to address what Steve cited. He gave you examples of what Jesus said elsewhere and what was said by early church leaders like Jude. Jesus often offended people (Matthew 15:12). Even around the time of His trial and death, which you've singled out, Jesus rebuked His enemies (Matthew 26:55, John 18:23), told them they would be judged and would see His vindication (Matthew 26:64), and noted their corruption (Luke 23:31, John 19:11). He was silent during some significant periods of time, but you can't ignore what He said on other occasions. He was restrained, but not restrained enough to meet many modern definitions of love.

    In addition to studying passages like the ones Steve cited, I suggest studying the behavior of men like Ignatius, Polycarp, and Irenaeus. If they were alive in our day and behaved in the manner in which they did in early church history, many today would criticize them as unloving. You can't read much of the early Christian literature without realizing that things like rebuke and correction, which are so often characterized as unloving today, were considered part of the definition of love by the earliest Christians (and ancient Jews). Some of the Biblical passages about rebuking people, such as the passages on rebuke in Proverbs, are directed to people in general, not just Divinely inspired individuals. Scripture even instructs not just rebuke, but even rebuke with "severity" in some cases (Titus 1:13; see, also, 1 Timothy 5:20).

    If you think rebuke isn't appropriate in a case like Richard's, or that I rebuked him the wrong way, you'll have to explain why.

    You're right when you say that it's difficult to do apologetics. Those who want to do that sort of work should approach it carefully. But those who criticize them should be careful as well.

    ReplyDelete
  10. ἐκκλησία imputes anger to Jason, then says that's un-Christ-like. But aside from the fact that ἐκκλησία isn't privy to Jason's emotional state, Jesus was capable of anger (e.g. Mk 3:5). Does that make Christ un-Christ-like?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Steve said "ἐκκλησία imputes anger to Jason, then says that's un-Christ-like. But aside from the fact that ἐκκλησία isn't privy to Jason's emotional state, Jesus was capable of anger (e.g. Mk 3:5). Does that make Christ un-Christ-like?"

    Steve, the comment about anger was not that I was accusing Jason of being angry (I agree with you, Jason more than most, conducts himself with restraint). Even so, no controversy should ever become personal.

    The comment about not sinning in anger, was not directed at Jason but rather a complimentary point that shows, regardless of the circumstances, Christian’s are not to cause others to stumble and sin. The purpose of provocation is the issue and the standard is clear in [Romans 12:18]:

    If Christ did not cause others to stumble throughout His entire ordeal of cruxifiction, and we are called not sin in our anger, the standard is that we are never to provoke others to sin, or be to be provoked ourselves whatever the circumstance.

    The [Eph 4:26] quote does NOT say "Do not anger" as you rightfully point out, but it does say in anger do not sin, and by extension; in judgement do not sin; in controverst do not sin etc (obedience is always superior to sacrifice [1 Sam 15:22]). But I suspect my point was plain to you.

    You cite Matt 23 as evidence Jesus caused offense. I presume your logic is that - if Jesus caused offense, we who model ourselves after him can also cause offence (if I'm wrong, please correct me).

    But Jesus had perfect knowledge and He did not have anything in His eye that would prevent him from seeing clearly what was in the eye of others. Jesus did offend others, but His offence was completely due to His perfect recognition of sin. Can any us make the same claim?

    As a consequence, Christian’s are specifically called not to offend others [ 2 Cor 6:3][1 Cor 10:32] for two reasons: Firstly offence Christian’s cause is strictly suppose to be the domain of the Holy Spirit who knows the hidden places of a man’s heart and is responsible for making us like Christ (therefore offense by righteousness is really still Christ doing the offending). The world is offended by Christ-likeness and this is not our part but the Holy Spirit. Secondly, when we ourselves, take over this responsibility (and err in our judgement) we bring down judgement on Christ and give others an opportunity to reject the Gospel.

    Jesus did not compare others to bugs, nor did he question their rational abilities, nor did he belittle, he simply spoke the truth and it was his holiness that caused offence. Rebuking others is also not comparing them to bugs ... questioning their rational abilities etc. The Bible does not prohibit us from speaking or exhibiting the truth.

    So here's the thing, one may be the most logical, Biblically sound, and factually correct apologist around, but if one is leading people away from the Gospel rather than towards it, this example is clearly not the example of Christ. When one engages in Christian apologetics and professes to be a Christian, one must especially honour [Romans 12:18][2 Cor 6:3] and [1 Cor 10:32] and others.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "Jason, you have behaved like an ape. I have, like most healthy human beings, found that to be offensive and unacceptable social behavior."

    Richard is likely an atheist who believes humans are advanced apes. So we have, on Richard's view, one ape criticizing another ape for acting like an ape.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "Richard Contradicts Himself"

    Doubtful that it's been the first time.

    Doubtful that it'll be the last time.

    ReplyDelete
  14. ἐκκλησία said...

    “Even so, no controversy should ever become personal.”

    Really? Paul got very personal in 2 Corinthians (to take just one example).

    “If Christ did not cause others to stumble throughout His entire ordeal of cruxifiction…”

    Really? Isn’t Christ the paradigmatic stumbling block?

    “…and we are called not sin in our anger.”

    You keep imputing anger to Jason as if you had access to his consciousness. Are you psychic?

    “You cite Matt 23 as evidence Jesus caused offense.”

    I did nothing of the kind. You accused Jason (and others) of un-Christ-like discourse. So I cited Mt 23, which–by definition–is Christ-like discourse. Yet it’s far harsher than anything Jason ever said.

    “I presume your logic is that - if Jesus caused offense, we who model ourselves after him can also cause offence (if I'm wrong, please correct me). But Jesus had perfect knowledge and He did not have anything in His eye that would prevent him from seeing clearly what was in the eye of others. Jesus did offend others, but His offence was completely due to His perfect recognition of sin. Can any us make the same claim?”

    Well that’s pretty choice coming from you. You initially fault Jason for “un-Christ-like” conduct. You said “all Christian's seek to model our lives after [Christ]… Jesus' conduct is an example to us all.”

    When, however, I cite an obvious counterexample from the lips of Christ, you do an about-face. Now you’re faulting us, not because we’re un-Christ-like, but because we’re too Christ-like. Instead of “modeling our lives” on the “example” of Christ, you reverse yourself and fault us if we emulate Christ’s conduct in the way he dressed down the Pharisees (Mt 23).

    And keep in mind that Jason’s remarks were extremely mild compared to the language on display in Mt 23. I’m arguing from the greater to the lesser.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Cont. “As a consequence, Christian’s are specifically called not to offend others.”

    You behavior towards Jason is offensive. You set up an invidious comparison between yourself (“I have seen it here at Triablogue and it saddens me”) and Jason (among others). That’s a way of making yourself look good at the expense of others.

    “Jesus did not compare others to bugs…”

    No, he compared them to wolves and vipers, tombs and hellspawn. I guess that was meant to be complimentary.

    “Nor did he question their rational abilities…”

    He said they were spiritually blind.

    “Nor did he belittle.”

    So the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in no way belittles the Pharisees?

    “So here's the thing, one may be the most logical, Biblically sound, and factually correct apologist around, but if one is leading people away from the Gospel rather than towards it, this example is clearly not the example of Christ.”

    You know, if you think you can do a better job, nobody is stopping you. But you don’t do apologetics; you just criticize those who do. You can’t bring yourself to get any dirt under your nail gloss. Instead, you wag your white-gloved finger at Jason, who’s doing all the hard work while you assume the self-appointed role of morals police.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Steve said: "You keep imputing anger to Jason as if you had access to his consciousness. Are you psychic?"

    Steve, I stand by the assertion that I've seen un-Christ like behaviour here at Triablogue, but that doesn't mean I was necessarily accusing Jason.

    I also stand by your point that Jason generally exhibits restrain. I haven't changed my original position or done an about-face.

    About imparting anger to Jason, I agree with you I do not know his emotive state. You keep attacking this strawman and I keep denying that I was doing what you accuse me of. My position in this respect also has not changed.

    Nor has my position changed that moving off of an argument onto someone's credentials is not sound reason, or that demeaning others by comparing them to bugs, etc is un-Christlike.

    About your point that Jesus himself offends, yes I continue to agree that he does. To that I also pointed out that it was His holiness as a contrast to sin that was responsible for the offence he caused.

    Jesus did not use the flaws of others as a dialectic technique, and He did not belittle. His identification of sin as sin is different than comparing people to bugs for example.

    Given His perfect knowledge and impeccable conduct, the leeway afforded Him is a bit broader than that afforded us which is why we are specifically prohibited from trying to offend.

    We should not simply assume parity given the ample admonishments elsewhere in the Bible for us not to purposefully cause offence else we risk being wise in our own eyes [Pro 3:7][Psa 36:2].

    ReplyDelete
  17. ἐκκλησία wrote:

    "Nor has my position changed that moving off of an argument onto someone's credentials is not sound reason"

    You haven't interacted with what we've said about that subject.

    You write:

    "We should not simply assume parity given the ample admonishments elsewhere in the Bible for us not to purposefully cause offence else we risk being wise in our own eyes [Pro 3:7][Psa 36:2]."

    If you're saying that we should have a motive other than being offensive, then who disputes that point?

    Scripture, like other sources of morality, gives us many general principles that have to be balanced with each other. Sometimes one principle will conflict with another. We have to decide which principle is more relevant or has a higher priority in a given situation. A single action might have both good and bad results, and we have to make judgments in each case about how the different factors involved weigh against each other. Rebuking a person might have both some good and bad results, and we have to decide what the overall balance is.

    As far as language is concerned, on the one hand we have language that everybody or almost everybody considers acceptable. On the other hand, there's language that everybody or almost everybody considers unacceptable. What you've been focusing on in this thread is language that's between those two categories. Comparing somebody to something like a bug or snake could be acceptable or unacceptable, depending on the surrounding context. If the person being criticized is guilty enough, and the language being used to criticize him is qualified enough, the language could be appropriate.

    Saying that Jesus can use such language because He knows the heart, whereas we can't due to our ignorance of the heart, isn't sufficient. Evil often exists outside the heart. We don't need to know Adolf Hitler's heart in order to responsibly conclude that he was involved in some highly significant evil. Similarly, it's insufficient to point out that men like Jude were Divinely inspired authors of scripture. The fact that they wrote scripture doesn't prove that their status as scripture writers is the reason why they could use the language they used. You would need more of an argument than that. As I pointed out above, many of the Biblical passages giving people permission to engage in rebuke and other such behavior are directed to believers or people in general, not just Biblical authors, church leaders, or some other such category. And post-apostolic sources like Polycarp and Irenaeus don't seem to have interpreted scripture as you're interpreting it. They may have been wrong, but their use of language that's often considered unloving today does carry some weight as evidence of how we should interpret the Biblical principles involved.

    (continued below)

    ReplyDelete
  18. (continued from above)

    However, even if it's acceptable to use highly negative language at times, a person could choose to avoid it. The acceptability of that language doesn't require every Christian to use it. Maybe you think the best approach to take, given our societal context, your own weaknesses, or other factors, is to refrain from the most negative acceptable language. You could use it, but you choose not to. That approach can make sense, and it's the approach I take on a lot of these language issues.

    But if somebody else decides to use the more negative language, you have to allow him freedom in the other direction. If you sense that an individual may be going too far, perhaps sensing that he has bad motives for using some language that could be justified under other circumstances, then you could point that out to the person. But you would have to adjust your response according to the ambiguities of the situation. And there's a lot of ambiguity in a context like a blog and with language as vague as what you've cited (comparing a person to a bug, etc.).

    Some of these things are hard to judge. We should act accordingly. If you think a blog like this one is wrong on some of these matters, then balance that observation with the good the blog does, the harm done by the people the blog's language is used against, how much of the blog staff's time you're taking up when you criticize that blog, how you're affecting its reputation, and other factors. When I disagree with the language used by other people on this blog (as they sometimes disagree with my language), I think what they're doing wrong tends to be relatively minor in the larger context. I treat it accordingly.

    ReplyDelete
  19. In all Jason, I agree it is about balance.

    Most Christians aren't so bold as to contend for their faith as vigourously as folks here. It's also likely folks here face such opposition, so frequently, that their skill to simply refute becomes finely honed.

    One strategy I believe the non-believer sometimes employs, is less about winning an argument, than it is about goading the Christian into acting in an un-Christ-like way simply to show that the Christian standard is impossible.

    I agree that sometimes rebuke is necessary - just as Christ rebuked Satan in the Judean desert, but if insult becomes mistaken for rebuke, and discernment is not employed with diligence, the Christian is more in danger than the non-Christian, and the non-Christian has cause to judge the Christian.

    (Don't be offended that I specifically continue to avoid your comments on Jude, because it is my sincere belief that few have actually discerned who the false teachers represent that Jude was having to address, so to deal with Jude out of context won't bear fruit IMHO. Though perhaps a thorough read of Obadiah with scrolls 1QM, 4Q491-496, and a solid knowledge of the history of the House of Judah might suggest an answer; but that for another time.)

    ReplyDelete