James White attempted to respond to my latest post:
It's an interesting window into how his mind operates these days.
Steve Hays of Triablogue has decided to go full tilt attack mode.
White has been in full tilt attack mode for weeks now. That switch is jammed.
Of course, that is NOT my focus, and no one reading my comments or listening to my presentations could ever think it is. It is easy to shift the focus and then accuse me of “dodging” but it is likewise fallacious to its core.
Did I suggest that was the focus of his presentation? No. BTW, a presentation can have more than one focus.
Rather, I've pointed out that he's derelict not to address how his position meshes with Christian social ethics vis-a-vis our duty to protect the innocent from gratuitous harm.
Do forgive, me, Steve, for not limiting myself to your particular interests.
But that's the problem. It shouldn't just be my particular interest. Social ethics ought to be a matter of common concern for White as well.
But Rich and I are both dealing with all sorts of people making that exact argument.
Which I never denied. But one problem is when White accuses his critics of broad-brushing Muslims, but then proceeds to broad-brush his critics.
Your Hays-centrism leads you to attack me for not just focusing on—you.
A petulant response. I never suggested that he should focus on me. Moreover, I never suggested that he should focus on any one thing. He keeps pedaling that false dichotomy.
Rather, he should include an explanation of how his position is consistent with Christian social ethics regarding our duty to protect the innocent. Evidently, he's forgotten the context of the debate.
This isn't me attempting to redirect the initial topic of conversation–although there'd be nothing wrong with that. Rather, my response is actually pegged to how White himself originally framed the issue. Listen to his introductory comments in this video:
He started off by describing how many Americans in general as well as many Christians in particular are responding to the threat of militant Islam. So it's not as if I interjected security issues into a discussion that was originally about something else. To the contrary, the security issues are the express backdrop for White's own response. His response is in explicit reaction to that. But now he's lost track of his own argument.
Sorry, Steve, but I do not consider you a relevant player in the field of apologetics to Muslims.
My, what a self-important statement. Has he always been this haughty? Let us hope he doesn't fall off that high horse and break something.
Till then, you would do well not to read into my comments a focus upon you.
Another petulant response. Where's the evidence that I was reading into his comments a focus on me?
What I actually, said, of course…
What he actually said? I was quoting him verbatim. That is what he actually said.
I am sorry, but this is just an astounding example of ignorance of Hays’ part. He may well be in dialogue with all sorts of Muslims, reading authors from a wide spectrum—but if he is, he hasn’t given a scintilla of evidence of it here. How on earth is that first sentence even coherent? Islam isn’t monolithic—there is an obvious spectrum of belief and practice that can be traced by careful scholars (with open minds anyway) all the way back to the earliest centuries…He then, mockingly, it seems, notes something that I did not believe any Christian apologist questioned: that the Qur’an is not a consistent, homogenous work of theology. Does Steve Hays want to drop his sarcasm and try to defend the idea that the Qur’an is not variegated in its materials? Maybe he’d like to take a shot at demonstrating the hadith, as a corpus, are consistent? How much of the entire body of the hadith have you even read, Steve? Might want to do your homework before playing Apologetic Sniper.
For some reason, White is simply unable to follow the argument. He acts as if I think Islam is monolithic. Acts as if I deny the diversity of the founding documents. What accounts for such a systematic misreading of what I wrote? Is it just that he's so accustomed to stereotyping people that he forces them into his typecast roles?
As I actually framed the argument, the question at issue isn't whether there's "an obvious spectrum of belief in practice in Islam." The question at issue isn't whether the Koran is theologically heterogenous and variegated in its materials.
Rather, as I've explained on more than one occasion, the actual question at issue is the logical relationship between White's emphasis on diversity in Islam and his contrary emphasis on the alleged parallel between orthodoxy/orthopraxy in Christianity and Islam.
White's two arguments tug in opposing directions. If, on the one hand, Islam is essentially and originally diverse, then, according to White, Christians have no right to distinguish true Muslims from nominal Muslims, for there is no singular standard of comparison. He keeps harping on that.
Yet, in the very next breath, White will say Muslims, like Christians, are entitled to differentiate true Muslims from nominal Muslims. His specific example was a jihadist who gets drunk and has sex with prostitutes.
Moreover, White himself, in this very broadcast, comments on the need of pollsters to "filter out" (his words) "nominal Muslims" (his words) from "truly religious" Muslims (his words) or Muslims "representational of the worshiping community" (his words).
Yet he berates Americans in general and Christians in particular who distinguish true Muslims from nominal Muslims. Why is he so blind to his inconsistency on this point? It isn't even subtle.
So, just what “back to back contradiction” am I “oblivious” to? We can’t say, since Hays sort of forgot to explain it, let alone prove it.
Actually, I've explained it on more than one occasion. Is he just too angry to follow the argument?
Again, someone who has actually listened to what I have said would be scratching their head wondering what Hays is up to. How is this relevant to what I said on the DL today?
It's relevant because he was riffing off of Ben Shapiro's video ("The Myth of the Tiny Radical Muslim Minority"). Shapiro is concerned with the threat posed by militant Islam. Is Islam a "violent religion" or a tolerant faith. Shapiro frames the issue in terms of flying planes into skyscrapers, beheading journalists, &c.
I didn't drag the security issue into this debate. Once again, White lost track of how he himself initiated the discussion.
I was pointing out that those doing the “all Muslims are the same” argument (which, by the way, was the EXACT argument of the big weight lifter guy in the video I referenced—who, evidently, Steve seems intent upon defending)
It's easy to pick on someone like that. But a professional Christian apologist has a duty to engage the best representatives of a position.
Is Hays ready to defend the thesis that all interpretations of Sharia are identical all across the Islamic world? It is an indisputable fact that there are differing interpretations of Sharia.
Once more, White is no longer able to follow an argument. The question at issue isn't whether "all interpretations of Sharia are identical all across the Islamic world," but whether they become a flashpoint for Muslim adherents living in the West.