Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Antitheism Presupposes Theism (And So Does Every Other 'Ism')"

Another fine post from Prof. James Anderson.

Hope in time of loss and loneliness

Christmas is typically a happy time for growing families. But for some people, Christmas is a sad time–made sadder because it used to be a happy time for them as well.

Think of those who spend Christmas alone. Maybe a widow or widower. The aging parent, abandoned in nursing homes. A father who lost the custody battle. A soldier abroad. A student living out of state. A runaway son or daughter. An orphan. A street person.

For Christians, this life is a refining process. In this life we keep losing things. Youth, health, people and places. We lose things we had, as well as things we might have had–lost opportunities. We lose things we miss, as well as things we’re glad to put behind us.

You can’t miss something until you lose it. You can’t fully appreciate how good something was until it’s gone.

When life is good, we have such an abundance of blessings that it’s hard to fully appreciate each individual blessing. Hard to isolate each blessing and squeeze all the good that’s contained in just one blessing at a time. For the blessings blend together. We lose count of where one ends and another begins.

When we begin to lose the things in life that make life worthwhile, it’s only then that we’re in a position to fully appreciate the true worth of what we had. You must lose what you love to love what you lose. And then you're ready to have it back. The separation prepares you for the reunion. 

In heaven we will have the pure silver without the dross. Life burns away the dross, separating the silver from the dross, so all that remains is polished silver in the world to come.

The Escondido Theology: A Reformed Response to Two Kingdom Theology

Two miracles

A kiss during the transplant
Over the last three days, Beth’s white blood cell count has gone from zero, where it had essentially been for the first week after the transplant, to 0.10, to 0.29, to 1.13. What that shows us is that the donor’s tissues have begun the process of engraftment. The first sign of engraftment is the production of white blood cells.

This is wonderful news for us, because since almost immediately after the transplant, she has been fighting a series of infections, which come and go frequently, leading to high fevers (up to 104.8), chills, and severe rigors (shaking). These became extremely painful for her, to the point that they have been giving her morphine for the pain and Demerol for the shaking.

But that she has her own immunity system kicking in means she’s past this phase of the treatment, at least. We still have “graft-vs-host” symptoms (rejection of her own tissues by the new) to look forward to, but for now, this is a minor miracle and a major milestone for us.

What’s more significant is that I’ve had a chance to watch her grow to accept the Gospel of grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, to God alone be the glory. My pastor, Matt Koerber, has been a regular visitor to our hospital room, and Beth delights to talk with him, and hear about how Christ’s atoning death and resurrection have forgiven all of her sins, and enabled her to stand before the Throne of Grace – today – clothed in Christ’s righteousness.

She won’t be home for Christmas, and we all will be shuffling ourselves around this weekend. The kids will be coming to the hospital today for a few hours, then we’ll head out to my mom’s house to visit with my brother and sister and all the cousins. At home, we’ve got a huge pile of gifts from my daughter’s elementary school and various other folks we don’t even know. Beth and I will share Christmas in the hospital – maybe some of the older kids will come to visit, but we’ll largely have some good quality time together.

I want to thank all of you who have stood by us this year – with prayers, gifts, friendship, and the many other ways you have all come into our lives. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Friday, December 23, 2011

God, Math, and the Multiverse

Mathematician Satyan Devadoss offers a Veritas Forum talk titled "God, Math, and the Multiverse" (video embedded below). I believe the talk is primarily aimed at non-Christian Caltech students.

On the one hand, I don't agree with everything he says. Plus, most of what's said only touches superficially on the subjects in the title. Although I'm fairly certain this is intentional; he probably only meant to offer a taste of Christianity to whet the appetite of the audience. On a lesser note, I'm of the opinion that questions in a Q&A session should be read by a moderator, not asked directly by the questioner since the potential for abuse is higher in the latter (among other issues).

Nevertheless, I appreciate the fresh perspective Devadoss brings to Christian apologetics. He shines new light on points many of us have probably heard before. His admiration for both the arts and math and sciences resonated with me as well since I'm likewise someone who has always had an affection and respect for "the two cultures." Not to mention he's an amiable and amusing speaker. I think he did a pretty good job in the Q&A session too.

And I appreciate the Christian students making the most of the event to invite people to explore Christianity further (e.g. gift certificates, free dinners, conversations).

The wonder of God over us and with us

From John Frame.

John Loftus' Stale Christmas Cookies

John Loftus keeps repeating bad arguments that have been corrected many times, and he knows the arguments have been corrected. Earlier today, he reposted a 2006 article that I replied to that year. See here and here. Notice that Loftus has been aware of my responses for years, and has been aware that Richard Carrier has contradicted him on multiple points, yet he doesn't interact with the counterarguments. Instead, he just reposts his 2006 article, which concludes with a link to the Carrier article that repeatedly contradicts what Loftus is arguing. And Carrier's article is about the historicity of Luke's census, not the historicity of the Bethlehem birthplace. Even if we were to agree with Carrier regarding the census, it wouldn't follow that Jesus wasn't born in Bethlehem. All that Loftus is doing is reposting some bad arguments that were already refuted years ago, including by one of his own sources, and he's known about those problems with his article since the year he first posted it. And notice that the commenters in his latest thread don't seem to realize what's going on and, instead, add some bad arguments of their own while commending Loftus' terrible article.

The God-Haunted Atheism of Christopher Hitchens


Dying to Win

No Church This Sunday—It's Christmas

Is Ron Paul a Quisling?

I’m going to comment on three things Ron Paul has written. As everyone knows, RP is far and away my favorite candidate. He’s the cinnamon on my bread, the Tabasco on my hot tamale.

Here’s the full text of what I’ll be quoting from:

At its core, the WikiLeaks controversy serves as a diversion from the real issue of what our foreign policy should be. But the mainstream media, along with neoconservatives from both political parties, insist on asking the wrong question. When presented with embarrassing disclosures about U.S. spying and meddling, the policy that requires so much spying and meddling is not questioned. Instead, the media focus on how so much sensitive information could have been leaked, or how authorities might prosecute the publishers of such information.
No one questions the status quo or suggests a wholesale rethinking of our foreign policy. No one suggests that the White House or the State Department should be embarrassed that the U.S. engages in spying and meddling.

Is RP seriously suggesting that espionage or military intelligence is not a necessary component of national defense? Does he imagine that we don’t need to obtain information on the hostile intentions or offensive capabilities of other countries that might mean to do us harm? Does he imagine that they will helpfully volunteer that information to give us the lead-time to take effective countermeasures?

It was with great pleasure and hope that I observed the collapse of the Soviet Empire between 1989 and 1991. This breakup verified the early predictions by the free market economists, like Ludwig von Mises, that communism would self-destruct because of the deeply flawed economic theories embedded in socialism. Our nukes were never needed because ideas are more powerful than the Weapons of War.

So he supported unilateral disarmament? What would be the effect on our national security if hostile regimes had us outgunned? If they could wipe us off the map without fear of retaliation? What would happen if we brought knife to a gunfight?

The mantra became that American exceptionalism morally required us to spread our dominance worldwide by force. US world dominance, by whatever means, became our new bipartisan foreign policy.

“Worldwide by force”? Have we used force on 200 countries around the world?

“By whatever means”? Given the means at our disposal, we’ve been pretty restrained.

Saddest of all, this policy of American domination and exceptionalism has allowed us to become an aggressor nation, supporting pre-emptive war, covert destabilization, foreign occupations, nation building, torture and assassinations.

Does he think we should wait to be hit, then hit back with whatever survived the first strike?

My humble suggestion is to replace it with a policy of Mutually Assured Respect. This requires no money and no weapons industry, or other special interests demanding huge war profits or other advantages.
This requires simply tolerance of others' cultures and their social and religious values, and the giving up of all use of force to occupy or control other countries and their national resources.

i) Other countries aren’t culturally monolithic. Countries often contain a variety of sometimes competing subcultures. What about countries where a Muslim majority persecutes a Christian minority. Which national subculture should we tolerate–the Christian or the Muslim?

ii) Likewise, what is RP’s fallback when other countries don’t share his mutuality?

Many who disagree choose to grossly distort the basic principles shared by the world's great religions: the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments, and the cause of peace.

Now he sounds like he’s running, not for President of the United States, but President of the Parliament of World Religions.

Is he a religious pluralist? Does he really think the Golden rule, the Ten Commandments, and the cause of peace are basic principles shared in common by Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc?

Do Hindu polytheists honor the First Commandment of the Decalogue? Do Muslims practice the Golden Rule? Has he ever heard of dhimmitude? Do Muslims practice the cause of peace? Has he ever heard of jihad?

Religions all too often are distorted and used to justify the violence engaged in for arbitrary power.

Does he think jihad is just a “distortion” of Islam? Isn’t Islam historically and inherently a militaristic religion? Wasn’t Muhammad himself a warlord?

Treating other nations exactly as we expect others to treat us.

How is that a recipe of noninterventionism? If our foreign policy ought to mirror their foreign policy, and they are aggressor nations, then by parity of argument, we should be an aggressor nation.

Refusing to threaten, bribe or occupy any other nation.

Does RP think a credible threat is not a necessary component of national security? Doesn’t that have deterrent value?

Is the controversy over building a mosque near ground zero a grand distraction or a grand opportunity? Or is it, once again, grandiose demagoguery?

No doubt some politicians are grandstanding. Indeed, RP’s own article is a case in point.

The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque.

For a “Constitutionalist,” RP has a strangely skewed view of the 1st Amendment.

i) To begin with, the 1st Amendment also protects the right of protestors to protest. Why is RP attacking the Constitutional right of American citizens to exercise their 1st Amendment right to protest the mosque?

ii) Was the establishment clause designed to protect Islam? I thought it was designed to prevent the Federal gov’t from creating a national church.

The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom?
In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.
They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill-conceived preventative wars…This is all about hate and Islamaphobia.
But many conservatives and liberals do not want to diminish the hatred for Islam — the driving emotion that keeps us in the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Why is RP reciting the CAIR playbook? Why is RP attacking Americans and defending Muslims? Whose side is he only? Where do his loyalties lie?

There is no doubt that a small portion of radical, angry Islamists do want to kill us but the question remains, what exactly motivates this hatred?

What about Islamic theology? Ever consider that?

The justification to ban the mosque is no more rational than banning a soccer field in the same place because all the suicide bombers loved to play soccer.

Seriously? Mosques are used as front organizations to launder donations to terrorist networks abroad. Mosques are used to indoctrinate Muslim-American youth in jihadist ideology. Mosques are a natural recruiting center for terrorists. They hide behind religious protections. That’s equivalent to a soccer field? Seriously?

Conservatives are once again, unfortunately, failing to defend private property rights, a policy we claim to cherish.

Suppose Planned Parenthood opened a clinic across the street from a high school. Suppose concerned parents picketed the clinic. Would RP attack the parents for protesting the location of the clinic?

What about the right to boycott a business?

What would we do if 75% of the people insist that no more Catholic churches be built in New York City?

If Catholic churches were equivalent to mosques–yes. RP operates with the simpleminded principle that you should treat everyone the same way. He can only keep one idea in his head.

But the correct principle is to treat like things alike while you treat unlike things unalike.

The point being is that majorities can become oppressors of minority rights as well as individual dictators.

Conversely, a Muslim minority can (and will) game the system to oppress the majority. They collude with local authorities. If you oppose them you’re guilty of “hate speech.”

The outcry over the building of the mosque, near ground zero, implies that Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to those who are condemning the building of the mosque, the nineteen suicide terrorists on 9/11 spoke for all Muslims. This is like blaming all Christians for the wars of aggression and occupation because some Christians supported the neo-conservative's aggressive wars.

On the one hand, RP opposes foreign wars. On the other hand, he supports the right of Muslims to infiltrate America. So it’s no longer a question of letting them do their thing over there while we do our thing over here.

No, he’s also defending their right to come over here and bring their social blueprint with them. After a while, there’s no escape. He rejects the American occupation of Muslim countries while he accepts the Muslim occupation of America.

Modern Muslims employ an incremental strategy. They begin to transplant Sharia law into the soil of the host country. Demand increasing concessions. Impose their twisted values on the rest of us. Eurabia. We’ve seen this process at work in the UK and the EU.

No one has a right to offend them. They are free to attack Christian expression with impunity, but Christians are denied the right to criticize Islamic faith and practice.

RP is so blinded by his myopic focus on “blowback” and “neocons” that he can’t see the enemy hiding in plain sight.

The story of Christmas


HT: Andy Naselli.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Luke 2:11 - An Explicit Statement of Jesus' Divinity

Conflicted atheism

On the one hand, Luke conducts this moralistic pep rally for the faithless:

After Atheism

by Luke Muehlhauser on December 16, 2011 in General Atheism
Congratulations. You figured out the universe runs on physics, not magic.
Given your background and normal human psychology, that may be an impressive feat. It took memore than 20 years.
Please enjoy resistingdebunking and openly mocking religion.
But don’t stop there.
Now you’re living in the real world, and there are real problems here. In the real world, there is no rule that says the good guys win in the end. We live in a world beyond the reach of God, things can go very wrong, and we need your help.
“Critical thinking” is just the start. The rabbit hole of better thinking goes deeper. There aremathematical laws of thought, a mainstream cognitive science of how we depart from them, and experiments showing us how to do better.
Aiding the slow death of religion and superstition is also just a start. We face more pressing concerns, like the fact that every few decades we invent a new technology that can destroy our entire species.
After atheism comes adulthood, with all its challenges and its opportunities. Want to be a hero? Good. We need heroes. Here’s what you do.

On the other hand, this is the rotting foundation of his moral vision:

My Latest Thoughts on Desirism

by Luke Muehlhauser on December 19, 2011 in Ethics
I’ve finally come to admit that I probably won’t continue to record the Morality in the Real World podcast, which intended to explain the moral theory of desirism. People ask me if I still “believe in” desirism, so let me explain my current thinking. First, a few reminders:
  1. Desirism never posited anything more than the standard, reductionistic, scientific picture of the world.
  2. Given that most uses of moral terms refer to things that don’t exist (categorical imperatives, divine commands, etc.), my MitRW co-host Alonzo Fyfe several years ago proposed a set of “reforming definitions” for moral terms intended to (1) capture something similar to what most people had meant when using moral terms, but (2) capture a set of processes thatactually exist. This is standard practice in moral philosophy: see Rawls, Brandt, Railton, etc.
  3. Most moral theories treat acts as the primary objects of moral evaluation, but Alonzo’s reforming definitions made motives (“desires”) the primary object of moral evaluation, ala Adams (1976).
  4. Alonzo’s reforming definitions construed (non-moral) “value” as a relation between desires and states of affairs, such that a state of affairs has value just in case it is desired.
  5. The existence of a desire is a state of affairs, and according to desirism desires are the primary objects of moral evaluation. A desire is”morally” good, on the desirist view, if it tends to fulfill other desires. This phrase “tends to fulfill” needs quite a bit of fleshing out, which is what we started to do in our podcast. An important point is that this claim does not require that desire fulfillment have any “intrinsic” value: see A Harmony of Desires.
  6. Whether you want to call this a theory of “moral realism” or “anti-realism” depends on your attitude toward the meaning of those terms: see Pluralistic Moral Reductionism and Joyce (2011).

“Desire” in desirism was always a metaphor for “whatever a completed neuroscience tells us about the thing that is sort of like the thing we currently call ‘desire’,” and my studies in the neuroscience of human motivation and agent theory in AI have encouraged my view that something close enough to “desire” exists to support a notion of “value,” while in another sensehuman motivation in particular works quite differently than the folk theory of desire claims. Overall, I’ve shifted away from finding it useful to talk about human “desires” when I’m not talking casually.
But the larger reason I’ve stopped talking about morality in the language of desirism is that I’m tempted to not use moral terms at all. Moral language is thoroughly confused and corrupted and strongly motivated, and I’m more tempted than ever to abandon the entire language and start with a new one.

Will I continue to use desirist language on a regular basis? Probably not, because (1) moral language itself is not that appealing to me anymore in serious discussion...

Ron Paul on the run

Gingrich and the Courts

The Arminian inferno

I’m going to expand on something I said earlier. According to Arminians, why does God damn anyone? Why does God send anyone to hell?

The stock answer is that God can’t force free agents to trust him, love him, worship him.

There are, of course, obvious problems with that answer. Monergism isn’t forcing the sinner to do something against his will.

Likewise, even on libertarian assumptions, it’s implausible to insist that there’s no possible world in which every agent freely does what’s right.

However, let’s examine the question from another angle: To say that God can’t make everyone go to heaven doesn’t logically entail God sending anyone to hell.

If the Arminian God can’t make everyone believe in him, so what? Why must he make unbelief a damnable offense? Why would he consign someone to eternal torment or everlasting misery just because they refuse love or worship him?

Wouldn’t it be more loving to create a tropical paradise for them to spend eternity? Even if they were thankless, wouldn’t we expect a loving God to do whatever he could to make them as happy as possible? Do as much for them as they allow him to do? Do them good (rather than harm) regardless of their ingratitude?

Now some Arminians (e.g. Rauser, I. H. Marshall) are annihilationists. But that raises the same question. If God can’t make everyone go to heaven, the logical alternative is not to zap them out of existence. Why not let them continue in unbelief? That’s a lower quality of life than heaven, but it’s better than oblivion.

Maybe an unbeliever wants to play golf forever. A limited existence, to be sure, but a loving God could easily let him spend eternity in a wonderful golf resort, with other godless golfers.

Perhaps the Arminian would say that let’s unbelievers off too easily. But there are problems with that response:

i) First of all, that’s a very different argument. The Arminian is no longer contending that God must send unbelievers to hell because he can’t make them believe. Rather, he’s saying God must send them to hell because they’re unbelievers.

ii) but that just pushes the question back a step. Why must a loving God make belief a condition of avoiding hell?

iii) In what sense would God be unjust if he didn’t punish unbelievers? According to Arminians, Jesus made universal atonement for sin.

Perhaps the Arminian will say sinners must believe in Jesus’ atonement. If so, why does a loving God make that a prerequisite for avoiding hell? Why can’t he just forgive the redeemed, whether or not they love him back?

According to Arminianism, God is as loving to sinners as they permit him to be. He can be more loving to some than to others. That’s up to them.

But love doesn’t require reciprocity. Indeed, there’s a type of disinterested love that gives and gives, expecting nothing in return.

The accidental universe

"The accidental universe: Science's crisis of faith" by Alan Lightman.

Tebow in defeat

We walked toward the exit -- among the last to leave the locker room after a 41-23 loss to the Patriots on Sunday -- as I began to ask the first of what I hoped would be a series of questions.

"How is the strength of your faith impacted after a loss?" I started.

"It puts things in perspective," Tebow said. "God is still God. I still have a relationship with Christ, and a loss doesn't change anything. Win or lose, everything is still the same. What matters is the girl I'm about to see, Kelly Faughnan. If I can inspire hope in someone, then it's still a good day."

And just like that, with a transition smooth enough to make a movie producer proud, Tebow crossed through the threshold of a doorway to the glowing face of a 22-year-old survivor of a brain tumor. After one question, the interview was over. A more important priority awaited him.
Read the rest here.

Rauser's spooftexting

According to Randal Rauser:

Many Christians assume that God loves all people. This is hardly surprising since scripture declares that God loves all creation (John 3:16-17) and desires to see all people saved (1 Tim.2:4; 2 Pe.3:9).

i) Since Rauser denies the inerrancy of Scripture, why is he prooftexting his position? According to him, the Bible frequently misrepresents God’s character. Frequently misattributes actions to God. So even if we grant his interpretation, what presumption is there that these passages accurately reflect God’s true intentions?

ii) How does Jn 3:16 teach the omnibenevolence of God? Isn’t that promise restricted to believers only–a rather small subset of humanity at large?

iii) Apropos (ii), why would an omnibenevolent God even require faith? If he were really omnibenevolent, wouldn’t he create a physically pleasant afterlife for unbelievers? Why could they not spend eternity on a tropical paradise, forever ignoring God–if they so choose?

iv) Is kosmos synonymous with “creation” in Jn 3:16-17? No. As one commentator explains:

Some argue that the term ‘world’ here simply has neutral connotations—the created human world. But the characteristic use of ‘the world’ (ho kosmos) elsewhere in the narrative is with negative overtones—the world in its alienation from and hostility to its creator’s purposes. It makes better sense in a soteriological context to see the latter notion as in view. God loves that which has become hostile to God. The force is not, then, that the world is so vast that it takes a great deal of love to embrace it, but rather that the world has become so alienated from God that it takes an exceedingly great kind of love to love it at all. A. Lincoln, The Gospel According to St. John, 154.

This meaning is attested in standard Greek lexicons, viz. BDAG, EDNT.

iv) 2 Pet 3:9 doesn’t denote all human beings.

God’s patience with his own people delaying the final judgment to give them the opportunity of repentance, provides at least a partial answer to the problem of eschatological delay…The author remains close to his Jewish source, for in Jewish though it was usually for the sake of the repentance of his own people that God delayed judgment. R. Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, 312-13.

v) 1 Tim 2:4 doesn’t denote all human beings:

The purpose of the reference to ‘all people,’ which continues the theme of the universality in this passage, is sometimes misconstrued. The reference is made mainly with the Pauline mission to the Gentiles in mind (v7). But the reason behind Paul’s justification of this universal mission is almost certainly the false teaching, with its Torah-centered approach to life that included either an exclusivist bent or a downplaying of the Gentile mission…Paul’s focus is on building a people of God who incorporate all people regardless of ethnic, social, or economic backgrounds. P. Towner, The Letters to Timothy and Titus, 177-78.

It may be that they [the false teachers] were consumed with genealogies because they restricted salvation along certain ethnic lines (1 Tim 1:4)…When Paul says that God desires all to be saved (1 Tim 2:4), and that Christ was the ransom for all (1 Tim 2:6), he may be responding to some who excluded Gentiles from salvation for genealogical reasons…Titus 2:11 should be interpreted along similar lines…Paul counters Jewish teachers (Tit 1:10,14-15; 3:9) who construct genealogies to exclude some from salvation. T. Schreiner, Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ, 184-85.

Back to Rauser:

Indeed, the notion that God is loving to all, a doctrine known among theologians by the fancy name “omnibenevolence”, would qualify for many as a basic axiom, a starting point for all further theological reflection.

According to a Catholic philosopher, that’s actually a theological innovation:

As such, it may be surprising to discover that theologians within the Calvinist tradition reject the doctrine of divine omnibenevolence.

If Rauser were intellectually serious, he’d interact with Paul Helm’s essay “Can God Love the World?” in chap. 8 of Nothing Greater, Nothing Better.

The other position stakes out a more unambiguous position by declaring without qualification that God does not love those he does not save; indeed, he hates them.

The love/hate lingo is a carryover from Mal 1:2-3. It’s a Hebrew idiom for select/reject. A hyperbolic rhetorical contrast.

And why does he hate them? I will argue in a subsequent post that the reasons are arbitrary. That is, he could just as easily have loved those he hates and hated those he loves as hated those he hates and loved those he loves. That, I would submit, is a deeply disturbing implication, both theologically and pastorally.

An alternate history doesn’t have the same set of people. An alternate history has different genealogies as well as different tradeoffs.  

Hubner's dissimulation

Jamin Hubner has done a couple of recent posts. Among other things, he says:

But seriously, can you imagine if our judgments on people’s character and the reliability of their work was based solely on the reading of other people‘s opinions of them? I don’t have to consult secondary sources on the work since I’m one to produce them.

That's simply a lie–which he keeps repeating ad nauseam. In addition to book reviews I've also cited Burge's op-ed pieces in Sojourners. That's Burge in his own words. And this is in the public domain:

No matter who or what group uses a particular source, that does not determine its truthfulness. The truth is true whether its used or abused, understood or misunderstood, popular or unpopular, etc.

i) That's fine if you already know that your source is truthful. But we generally turn to sources when we lack firsthand knowledge of the event. So the source is our source of information. In that case it would be credulous not to consider the quality of the source.

ii) A reporter's preexisting reputation is certainly germane to evaluating his credibility. Take Joseph Smith. The fact that he had a preexisting reputation as a charlatan (e.g. dabbled in the occult) rightly figures in how we evaluate his testimony.

We have to ask in situations like these: how does the author intend the source to be used? Since Tur (and Hays, who made the original accusation about Burge’s work being pro-Hamas) have not even read the original source themselves, they are incapable of even knowing what the author’s intention really is.

That's the fallacy of question-framing, where you act is if there's only one correct way of broaching the issue. But aside from book reviews, if Burge has also tipped his hand in other sources, you don't have to read his book to know his position. You can just as well get that from other things he's written.

All of this is a distraction from the truth and the main concerns that I’ve tried and contiually try to raise: whether or not “Israel” today is the “Israel” of OT...

A red herring–since I haven't used that argument.

...regardless of its continual cover-up of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Which begs the question.

Moreover, if Israel is engaged in a campaign of “ethic cleaning,” then it’s certainly a very inefficient campaign.

If there is some hidden pro-terrorist agenda behind this Wheaton NT professor’s work that we should know about, then perhaps that should be demonstrated before going any further.

A straw man. Obviously Burge doesn't see it that way. That's the nature of dupery. If you knew you were being duped, you wouldn't be a dupe.

But do any of these “reviews” (which I have looked at) really establish through adequate facts and documentation that this college professor is intentionally helping terrorists (a “shill for Hamas” promoting pro-Hamas “propaganda”) through his work or otherwise?

Notice the equivocation. Burge doesn't regard them as "terrorists," but as victims. He sees their response as self-defense.

Either Jamin is consciously caricaturing the objections or else he's so wrapped up in self-justification that he can't think clearly.

I’ve read the book! I know what’s in it.

And how is his vouching for the book different than a reviewer?

The burden of proof is to demonstrate that so-called pro-Hamas’ propaganda actually is pro-Hamas propaganda – if that’s what all of this is really about. (For me, it’s obviously more than that, esp. since I know that Burge’s assertions can/could have been substantiated by a number of other sources, as Burge says nothing profoundly new in the larger scheme of things.

i) Yes, he can cite other sources. For instance, he recently cited a thesis which contained supporting material like a video of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Seems to me that's a decidedly suspect source of information.

ii) Conversely, I've cited counterevidence. For instance:

That’s why I ignored this tangent on sources and sought to address the underlying presuppositions behind Hays’ violent reaction by asking him 3 simple questions, all three of which Hays (to my knowledge) has not to this day answered himself.

Like a lawyer asking "simple" questions.

(Oh, and I did just notice that this ‘Hamas Shill’ and Hamas ‘propagandist’ just wrote a new book endorsed by Craig Blomberg, Marshall, Longenecker and others).

So he's saying we should judge a book by hearsay?

Jamin continues to suffer from lack of responsible mentoring.