Saturday, May 21, 2011

Voodoo dolls

Steve has replied to my previous post (here; apparently I’m now only “siding with the enemy” instead of “sleeping with the enemy” – phew!), and a number of interesting things come to light, though I’m not sure why Steve doesn’t just state them himself. That is, he doesn’t seem to be saying what he really wants to say: that (1) it was an unwise decision for me to be asked to blog at, and (2) that should be shut down until I meet up to Steve’s standards of apologetic ministry. Certainly that is his position – and if not, he is obviously free to publicly deny the above and explain what he really believes is the case. Until then, I think everyone should be wondering, for a well-known blogger who gives advice on how to do apologetics, why didn’t he just say so?

I’m afraid that Jamin suffers from acute Armstrong-syndrome. Patients with this malady place themselves squarely at the center of each and every issue. It’s all about them, all the time.

Jamin evidently needs to have his persecution-complex validated on a regularly basis. He tries to bait critics into feeding his persecution-complex, the better to justify his overwrought feelings of cosmic persecution. Nothing is sadder than a neglected persecution-complex

Enough sowing seeds of doubt against another fellow Christian…

Back to Jamin’s double standard.

...and making assertions with unstated conclusions. Just be honest and say what you believe (and saying my citation of a book “ought to alert one to his presuppositions” is anything but helpful for readers, as it hardly begins to explain why that is the case, or what “presuppositions” they are, or why they are wrong, why any of these things are significant, etc.).

i) I trust that most readers of Triablogue are capable of drawing their own conclusions. I’m sorry that Jamin can’t give his own readers that much credit.

ii) Is it really so hard to follow the trail of breadcrumbs?

If Burge is ordained in the PC-USA, that tells you something about his theological sympathies, or tolerance for liberal theology. If Burge is a regular contributor to Sojourners, that tells you something about his (leftwing) political sympathies. Those are presuppositions that he brings to his analysis of the Arab/Israeli conflict.

Indeed, publicly calling on the people of God to be on the “alert” for the presuppositions of a certain Christian apologist is a serious charge, and whether anyone likes it or not, it cannot just be brushed aside (though I’d sometimes like to!).

What I actually said was:

The fact that Burge is a PC-USA minister, along with the further fact that he’s a contributor to Jim Wallis’s leftwing rag Sojourners, ought to alert one to his presuppositions.

What accounts for the fact that Jamin takes a statement about Burge, and instantly transfers it to himself? Is Jamin a PC-USA minister? Is Jamin a contributor to Sojourners?

Does Jamin have such a man-crush on Burge that he treats any attack on Burge as an attack on Jamin? Is Jamin to Burge what Chris Crocker is to Britney Spears?

In addition to his persecution complex, Jamin apparently suffers from a guilt-complex. If I say something negative about Gary Burge, Jamin takes it personally. What is this? Sympathetic magic? Like stabbing a voodoo doll?

But let’s get into the substantive issues that have at least some bearing on Christian theology, since that’s where I would really want to go (and hopefully Steve is as well…).

If that’s where he really wanted to go all along, why not skip the melodrama cut straight to the substantive issues?

Now I am really confused. Is Steve actually saying that these historical events just didn’t happen?

i) I didn’t take a position on that one way or the other. Rather, as I specified, the question is whether he should be getting his information from a guy like Burge.

What about the allegation?

…Israel is guilty of committing countless war atrocities that qualify and surpass the covenant obligations in Scripture. Mass murder. Torturing men ages 14-60s. Unjust use of water supply and the abusive treatment of aliens and foreigners. The creation of millions of refugees. And so on and so forth.

ii) Jamin is asking me whether I think “and so on and so forth” just didn’t happen. But I’m afraid it’s hard for me to evaluate the historicity of “so on and so forth.” Seems a wee bit vague, if you ask me.

Just for starters, how do I differentiate between “so on” historical events and “so forth” historical events?

iii) “Mass murder”? What does that refer to? You mean, like the fake Jennie massacre?

iv) “Torture?” Of course, that word is bandied about by far left opponents of counterterrorism. For some, playing “I Love You by Barney the Purple Dinosaur” constitutes torture:

I love you, you love me - we're a happy family. With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you. Won't you say you love me too?

Yep. If that’s not a war crime, I don’t know what is.

v) “Millions” of refugees? Shouldn’t we be suspicious of a rubbery statistic like that? Does that refer to the dislocation triggered by the 1948 war? If so, were there “millions” of “Palestinians” living on the West Bank in 1948?

Isn’t a hyperbolic figure like that clearly anachronistic? Taking current population levels, then backdating that figure to 1948?

Was Yasser Arafat a “refugee”? Wasn’t he born in Egypt?

vii) “Unjust use of water supply”? Isn’t the Jordan River the main source of fresh water in the region?  If anyone could manipulate the water supply, wouldn’t that be Arab nations (i.e. Lebanon, Jordan, Syria) upstream from Israel?

viii) Due to international pressure, Israel has to exercise absurd self-restraint in dealing with her enemies. The only thing that keeps Israel from facing economic sanctions is an American veto on the UN Security Council. Even so, Israel still faces the threat of divestment campaigns. Indeed, Burge’s denomination is a case in point.

Ironically, this invites cloak-n-dagger tactics in a way that all-out war would avoid.

I don’t believe any human being (or nation for that matter) should support – either by word or deed – any secular nation regardless of what it has done, is doing, and intends to do.

You’re entitled to your Pollyannaish blather, but the US has a prefect right to support nations that support us in a military alliance against a common enemy. The president of the US has a sworn duty to defend the homeland.

It’s also simplistic to describe Israel as a “secular nation.” Aside from the sizable number of observant Jews in Israel, let’s not demean the leavening presence of Messianic Jews in Israel.

I think it would be a good idea for James White to do another show with Michael Brown, only this time he can ask Dr. Brown to discuss the Arab/Israeli conflict.


  1. Jamin Hubner said:

    The creation of millions of refugees

    1. Maybe I'm mistaken but it sounds to me like the United Nations had a hand in this "creation of millions of refugees."

    On the one hand, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) defines a "refugee" in the following manner based on the 1951 Refugee Convention and expanded by the 1967 protocol: "owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it."

    But on the other hand, the Wikipedia entry on refugees notes: "The major exception is the 4,600,000 Palestinian refugees under the authority of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), who are the only group to be granted refugee status to the descendants of refugees according to the above definition."

    If this is true, why are Palestinian refugees granted this special refugee status to include their descendants when no other refugee group is allowed to include their descendants?

    After all, those born in the British Mandate of Palestine before 1948 would doubtless constitute less than 4.6 million!

    2. Also, at least as far as I understand about Pres. Obama's current policy, doesn't he advocate a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as seek to grant the right of return to Palestinian "refugees" (as defined above)? If so, why would the Palestinians need to return to their supposedly former land - i.e. the British Mandate of Palestine which as I understand would include the whole of modern Israel - if they already have their own separate state? If Palestinians are granted both, then how will there be two states? Wouldn't this threaten Israel's very existence?

  2. The Middle East peace process assumes that one is working with the other party in good faith. Israel is the only party of good faith in this scenario.

    Let's look at the indisputable facts:

    1) No Arab state has ever offered to absorb into themselves the suffering Palestinian people. The Arab nations hate the Palestinians almost as much as they hate the Jews. They are considered as "offscouring."

    2) Those who pull the puppet strings of the Palestinians have no intention of creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel, and are only "in it" for themselves, playing the victim game in order to line their pockets with the naive good will of foolish leftists in Europe and America. Useful idiots all.

    3) The enemies of Israel, which means everyone living in the area, have sworn to destroy/eliminate/eradicate the state of Israel and the Jewish people from the face of the earth. The only state the puppet masters want is that which comes by occupying Israel's land.

    4) The only ones who have ever done any good for the Palestinians at all are the Jews in Israel; the Jews are our only friends in the region.

    5) While Arabs can be a noble and ingenious people, Muslims in general have nothing to offer the world but pain and suffering and create nothing of benefit to anyone. They are masters of murder, mayhem and destruction; they know nothing of the One True God.

    5) Wallis is a useful idiot of the left. Sojourners is a crapfest rag. Mr. Hubner is very close to being a useful idiot for the left with a false and naive understanding of compassion which is not at all biblical; an overly sentimental compassion without any attending logical thought to guide it.

    I hope Dr. White considers more carefully who he has writing for his blog.

  3. Let's not be too harsh on Hubner. Yes, he's blinded by his hatred of Dispensationalism, but he's our brother in Christ. Let's rebuke in gentleness.

  4. S&S states,
    Let's not be too harsh on Hubner. Yes, he's blinded by his hatred of Dispensationalism, but he's our brother in Christ. Let's rebuke in gentleness.

    There is a long history with Jamin among many folks who have tried to help him see the lack of wisdom with his hasty, shoot from the hip apologetics.

    These are not trollish hacks looking to stir up strife with him, but fellow brothers - men who for the most part share his particular theology on matters - who have offered meaningful criticism and thoughtful push back on many of his items he has posted, only to be brushed aside as irrelevant and a bother to him.

    This is not a good attitude to foster as a young apologist. I have had a lot of similar digs and smack downs from folks like Steve and others like him since I started my blog 6 years ago now, and rather than turning off my comments and isolating myself from critics by pretending that I'm just too busy with important matters because I am a big time blogger, I actually tried to learn and grow and improve my arguments, even though I may still sharply disagree with detractors.

    I can only speak for myself in this regard, but if most folks who are animated about Jamin are like me, I personally benefit greatly from Dr. White and AOMIN ministries so it troubles me when I see his sophomoric material show up there occasionally.

  5. Oh, and BTW.
    I speak as one with heavy Dispensational leanings who does believe Israel will be restored in a future kingdom. Even if one takes Jamin's CT perspective about Israel, honestly, isn't there a better, less problematic "Reformed" oriented writer to whom you can point with regards to the covenant-land issue? Why appeal to a leftist shill for your argument?

  6. I often read Alpha & Omega's blog, but I always skip whatever Jamin writes. I don't dislike him personally, but I really don't care for his writing at all. That said, I think he has potential in another ten years or so to be good.

  7. I am just stating the facts before us. If someone wants to dispute what I have said, we can talk.

    The conclusions I draw are my own. My comments about Mr. Hubner are meant as a rebuke, yes, but there is nothing ungentle about them. The harsher stuff was for Wallis and his rag.

  8. RvdS,

    It's getting old beating your comments down. You're confusing leftist *shill* with leftist *persons*. Granting your claim about those persons for the sake of argument, what does being a leftist *person* have to do with, say, Plantinga's argument for his proper function account of warrant (note, even though you don't know what his account is, it should be easy to answer)? Nothing; it's irrelevant. However, in a *political* discussion, does leftist *shill* have to do with with the discussion? Quite a lot, I'd say. It's relevance seems easy to discern. Your bark frequently doesn't match your bite, and if you persist in your poorly reasoned comments, which frequently ad nothing to the discussion and are easily shot down, I think someone may remove your voice box so you can't bark in the combox anymore. At this point, you've just been neutered, let's leave it at that so you can keep the voice box.