1. This will be a follow-up to my previous post on James White:
You gotta love Steve Hays over at Triablogue. Only he can do long-distance mind-reading. He can take an announcement about an upcoming program that really contains NOTHING about what I'm going to actually say, and write an entire article refuting me...before I even say anything! Says VOLUMES about his prejudice, to be sure.
i) His reaction is so bizarre. I quoted him verbatim, then commented on what he said. He responds by claiming I did "long-distance mind-reading" by refuting him "before [he] ever said anything".
I replied to the content of public statements he made. That's a matter of public record. His response is utterly at variance with reality. I was explicitly responding, not to the DL before it aired, but to something he posted in the public domain.
Moreover, what I replied to wasn't simply an announcement of an upcoming program. Rather, his statement contains substantive content. It's as if he doesn't remember what he himself said, and didn't bother to go back and reread what he said before dashing off his off-the-cuff remark to me. Once again, here's what he originally said:
Watching all the standard emoting going on this evening (expression of emotions without the exercise of rational thought), as expected. But seeing a lot of the standard "lump all the Muslims together, this guy was mainstream, he was just doing what Islamic law says to do," blah blah blah. Then the Steven Anderson video comes out and the same folks are, "Well, he sure doesn't represent me! He's a radical and..." blah blah blah, without anyone stopping to say, "Whoa...I just really engaged in a double standard there, didn't I? I mean, if I want the freedom to demand I be differentiated from Steven Anderson, then, by all logical standards (as if anyone concerns themselves about such things anymore), I need to extend that right to others, including Muslims who are horrified by a guy mowing folks down in a night club as if he were the hand of Allah or something." But hey, I'm a dinosaur and don't really feel very at home in today's Western society so please feel free to ignore me.
ii) Moreover, this is not an isolated statement. This has become part of his shtick. He's taken to accusing Christian critics of Islam of hypocrisy. So his statement has a larger context, as part of an ongoing allegation. It's a continuation of allegations he's made in the recent past.
Evidently, White has developed such a hair-trigger reaction to any breath of criticism that he instantly reacts to substantive criticism without bothering to pay attention to what the critic actually said. And it's not the first time he's done this. On another occasion, on the same topic, he got what I said exactly backwards. He's too negligent to carefully read what I actually say. Fine. That's his problem, not mine. But it would behoove him to be more careful so that he doesn't publicly embarrass himself with demonstrably false allegations.
iii) Furthermore, he's become impervious to logical or factual correction. I've explained both here and in previous posts how his purported analogies are fallacious. He doesn't even attempt to engage the argument.
iv) White's problem is that he's become a Muslim partisan. In the wake of yet another jihadist attack on American soil–and these have been piling up during Obama's tenure–his first impulse is to defend Muslims and attack their critics.
That's exactly what the liberal establishment does. When Muslims attack, the liberal establishment responds by defending Muslims to forestall a feared backlash against Muslims. It's a win/win for jihadis. No matter how often Muslims do wrong, Muslims are always in the right and their critics who are always wrong. We saw this in the aftermath of 9/11, when the education establishment responded by indoctrinating American students on how Islam is a religion of peace.
If Muslims firebomb a synagogue, expect the authorities to respond by protecting mosques. Must be ever vigilant against that impending backlash against Muslims. Never protect non-Muslims from Muslim aggressors; rather, always protect Muslims from the imminent chimerical backlash against Muslims.
We see this bias in White. He's become so personally identified with his Muslim pals that his first impulse is to defend Muslims and attack their critics, when Muslims commit murder and mayhem.
Perhaps he thinks this gives him street cred with Muslims. They will view him as an honest broker. An evenhanded referee. Something like that. Unfortunately, it makes him a tool for Muslims.
v) Apropos (iv), It's no longer enough for White to be a Christian apologist who debates Muslims. Rather, he's become a self-promoted liaison between Muslims and non-Muslims. He's now the go-between who defends Muslims against the alleged hypocrisy of Christian critics.
One problem with that posture is that shifts the burden of proof. The onus is not on Christians to defend how peace-loving most Muslims supposedly are. Rather, the onus is on Muslims, if they are, in fact, peace-loving, to disassociate themselves from the militants. There are various ways to do that, such as expelling militants from mosques. Shunning militants in their community.
2. Since he brought it up, I'll make some comments on the DL show:
i) First part of the show was a rehash of fallacious accusations he's made before about Christian double standards.
ii) Later on, he corrected the misuse of Rom 12. Some Christians quote that out of context as a command that we should mourn incidents like the Orlando massacre. He pointed out that the Pauline injunction is to, for, and about members of the Christian community. That's a salutary corrective.
iii) He made a valid point about how the so-called LGBT "community" is a misnomer.
iv) He used a good illustration about how, if workers were killed in a math lab explosion, there wouldn't be the same public reaction to their demise.
v) He made the valid point that the gay nightclub was a "den of iniquity".
All those points are a good counterbalance to political correctness, both in the media and among "progressive" Christians.
vi) However, he used that as a setup to suggest that we should view the shooting rampage as God's wrath against sin. Judgment fell.
He said traditionally, Christians would interpret humanitarian disasters like raging fires in cities as providential judgment against sin. He said God determines when he's going to cut people off.
vii) Problem with his position is that it consists of half-truths. Yes, God determines when he's going to cut people off. But that hardly validates the inference that a humanitarian disaster ipso facto represents divine judgment. On the one hand, Scripture says some humanitarian disasters are acts of divine judgment. On the other hand, Scripture warns us not to turn that into a general principle (e.g. Job 1-2, Jn 9:1-3; 11:1-4).
viii) Why would the Christian God use a Muslim terrorist as a messenger? Isn't that sending mixed signals?
ix) Another obvious problem with inferring that any particular humanitarian disaster is an act of divine judgment concerns the apparently random distribution of humanitarian disasters. Consider how many gay nightclubs there are worldwide. How can we validly infer that someone shooting up a single gay nightclub represents divine judgment? If gay nightclubs were routinely struck by lightning, if sinkholes opened up beneath gay nightclubs and swallowed them whole, if freak accidents beset gay nightclubs at a statistically improbable rate, then we'd have good reason to conclude that God was sending a message.
On the face of it, humanitarian disasters that strike unbelievers don't seem to be any more discriminating than humanitarian disasters that strike Christians, viz. Christians who die in house fires or church fires or traffic accidents. From a human standpoint, there is no discernible pattern. There's no basis to automatically correlate a humanitarian disaster with divine judgment. It's too haphazard.
From a theological perspective, everything fits into a larger design, but we aren't privy to the larger design, so we can't use that as a frame of reference to evaluate any particular humanitarian disaster.