Friday, March 08, 2019

Is the status quo frozen in place?

There are some really good arguments against intersectionality. This isn't one of them. As stated, that's classic que sera sera fatalism. Don't try to change anything because everything is foreordained. Attempting to change the status quo is spiritually mutinous. 

Yes, God makes men to differ. God determines who will be blind and lame, rich and poor. But God predestines changes to the status quo. Presently, Roe v. Wade is the status quo. That doesn't mean the prolife movement is utterly incompatible with a belief in the sovereign kingship of God and His divine decree. Predestination doesn't mean the status quo is frozen in place. God predestines change. In some cases, God predestines social reform. Calvinism isn't Hinduism, with an ironclad caste-system. 

We just do what we can, and what we can do mirrors predestination. If we succeed, that was predestined, and if we fail, that was predestined. We don't know in advance what was predestined. We just go about doing whatever we were going to do. Although predestination is prospective, we discover what was predestined in retrospect.

It's very strange to see White peddle a harmful caricature of Calvinism. Surely he knows better. He should simply critique intersectionality on the merits rather than resorting to defective theological formulations. This illustrates the danger of using Twitter to debate complex issues, which encourages intellectual shortcuts. Here's a good example of a superior lineup:


  1. I find the type of static rigidity you speak of baffling. I fairly recently had a debate on YouTube (underneath an Apologia (Jeff Durbin) anti-abortion video*) with an Arminian where (the Arminian) insisted that Calvinists ought to refrain from protesting abortion and sit back and bask in God's predestination in all things. It was revelatory for the Arminian when I informed them that God's predestination involves an activity from His creatures, and that it might well be within God's plan that abortion on demand in fact be significantly reduced or even ended.

    *For the record, I do not fully agree with Apologia's stance on abortion and its attitude towards the pro-life movement in general. I have since unsubscribed from their channel for reasons entirely unrelated to the abortion debate.

  2. I really have no idea why Steve has to run over to spit at me about every six months or so, but I guess I was due my spittle today. Absurd out-of-context argument. Maybe Steve doesn't understand Twitter? This was the beginning of what is called a thread. There was more---much more. And, of course, I have sort of said a great deal about this topic over the past year, inclusive of hours of material on the Dividing Line, editing the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel, and speaking at the G3 PreConference on the topic as well. So, isolating a single tweet, ignoring the rest of the thread it was a part of, and the entire context of what I've said---well, good job, Steve. Really helps polish up the ol' credibility as they say! For those who do not have a regularly scheduled "spit at James White" thing going on, nothing in what I said for a moment is an argument against pursuing righteousness in God's creation. It does, however, argue against a worldview that does not begin with the divine decree---i.e., intersectionality, that random, chaotic thought process that sees us all as victims of impersonal forces that shape us RATHER THAN image bearers who are called to faithfulness no matter what God's providence sends our way. If Steve can't see that, I feel sorry for him. But I think he can. Only problem is, when you keep spitting in the wind, it ends up in your eyes.

    1. For a professional apologist, you're awfully thin-skinned. If you get that emotional about a dry analysis of a statement you made, you need to take a break and recenter your life.

      Yes, Twitter isn't a great medium, but you chose it.

    2. Let's be honest, Dr. James White has no business talking about social justice or intersections. He Would rather go into Islamic lands and neighborhoods to give his apologetic, than go to Chicago, Los Angeles' Compton or South Central L.A to outreach Blacks and Hispanics who are largely adopting these merely secular explanations.
      White would rather do white flight, and live in a neighborhood where the issues facing blacks or browns can be seen at a distance and criticised with cold detachment.

    3. Ludwigg, please present the argument demonstrating that one must be immersed in 'black or brown' neighbourhoods before one can offer an opinion on 'social justice' or 'intersectionality.'

      In other words, please demonstrate that one must necessarily be personally affected by a situation before one can offer their legitimate concerns and opinions about that situation.

    4. "So, isolating a single tweet, ignoring the rest of the thread it was a part of, and the entire context of what I've said---well, good job, Steve."

      Having read some of your other remarks on the subject, I am unclear how this makes your evaluation of intersectionality any better. Your response here doesn't offer any meaningful clarification or rebuttal to Steve's remarks. Maybe you are frustrated because of the Twitter pile on you received (I know I would be, having a mob of self-satisfied twits spew insults and specious arguments would be draining for anyone--that is of course why those people do it), and expected Steve to be more sympathetic. Either way, it seems over the years your content has become more personal than professional. If you don't offer the best arguments against intersectionality--the kind where opponents are forced to recognize you understand it--these kinds of situations are only going to grow in frequency and intensity.

    5. 'White would rather do [sic] white flight...'

      How on earth is White 'do[ing]' white flight? Please elaborate.

  3. 1. So I went back to James White's own Twitter thread (which Steve cited in his post). I didn't see anything there that helps his case here. If anything, White just doubles down on what he said.

    2. Next I went to AOMin. It appears White just copies and pastes what he said in his Twitter thread into his latest post.

    3. I didn't bother trying to watch the DL. However, White often uses the tactic that "You have to read, listen, and watch my googleplex of written literature, podcasts, YouTube debates, and so on before you truly understand my position. If you don't, then you're ignorant and uninformed about what I'm arguing!"

  4. If what James White says or does is outrageous, it should be easily demonstrated without putting words in his mouth or seeking to assign motives. Why is there a need to make him sound as if he's arguing for "an ironclad caste-system," when he's clearly not? Why is there a need for Epistle of Dude to similarly putting words in James' mouth he never said. Why does Ludwigg presume to know things about James' motivations that only God knows? Such criticisms give the distinct impression that there's a greater interest in personal destruction than truth. I plead with you in the name of Jesus Christ to reconsider what you're doing.

    1. White's tweet, which I reproduced verbatim, is formulated in classically fatalistic terms. Try engaging the argument.

    2. ancientpathstv

      One of these days I'd like to put together a video that highlights all the times White has accused an opponent of not understanding his position or being ignorant of his position because they didn't read or listen to or watch his stuff.

      To be fair to White, before almost every debate, he does strive to read, listen to, and watch everything his opponent has done. However, in this case, it's a red herring. One doesn't need to read or listen to or watch White elsewhere to argue against his clearly presented position here and now.

    3. '... Such criticisms give the distinct impression that there's a greater interest in personal destruction than truth.'

      Says someone who has just lumped Steve's and Epistle's genuine criticisms (there does appear to be a genuine concern here) in with Ludwigg's bizarre and irrational/swivel-eyed criticism.

      So tell us, how concerned are you with truth?

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  6. @Danny,

    " Ludwigg, please present the argument demonstrating that one must be immersed in 'black or brown' neighbourhoods before one can offer an opinion on 'social justice' or 'intersectionality.' "

    Very simple. If you do not dwell in a community, or text of any kind, how can you even begin to have a proper exegesis of a community in a profound level? One is reduced to a New Living Bible translation of a people's lives.

    " 'White would rather do [sic] white flight...'

    How on earth is White 'do[ing]' white flight? Please elaborate."

    When was the last time James White went into Chicago, Compton and South Central L.A to tackle liberal views? When did he ever live in these shady areas? One rather hears his travels to lands infiltrated by terrorists in Europe, and Africa where he remarks about preaching the gospel denying Mohammed as a prophet to many conservatives in Islam, only later to hear about bomb attacks few weeks later in one of these places.
    White should stick to Islam amd NT criticism. Otherwise, he will keep sounding like a dated conservative from the 80's or Tucker Carlson from Fox every time he seeks to engage cultural topics.

    1. "When was the last time James White went into Chicago, Compton and South Central L.A to tackle liberal views? When did he ever live in these shady areas?"

      Are we still talking about intersectionality, the theory about the how interconnected power structures affect the poor and ostracized? If credibility on the topic requires lived experience with the whole of the theory, you'll be volunteering for several lifetimes before you understand it.

      Many of the people who live in "shady" areas are more socially moderate than what passes for (generally upscale) "liberal views." And most of the discussion around intersectionality is politically partisan or academic. The best way to study and respond to the issue is to read about it.

      Besides, as someone who has sometimes lived and worked in "shady" areas and for traditionally marginalized populations, let's not pretend these sorts of experiences give anyone right of center a voice on cultural issues.

    2. 'If you do not dwell in a community... how can you even begin to have a proper [understanding] of a community in [sic] a profound level?'

      That doesn't begin to address the point in a meaningful way. You've just tweaked your original assertion. So let me tweak my request accordingly: Please demonstrate that one must necessarily have a profound-level understanding of a community before one can legitimately offer their concerns and opinions regarding that community.

      Your original assertion was that White 'has no business' talking about social justice or intersectionality. You need to substantiate that claim.

      'When was the last time [White] went into Chicago, Compton and South Central L.A [sic] to tackle liberal views? When did he ever live in these shady areas?'

      1. I don't know. When was the last time 99.5% of those involved in the debate entered these areas? Before policy-makers and groups/individuals who have the ear of policy-makers bring forth initiatives regarding social justice and intersectionality is it a requisite that they must have been into Chicago, Compton and South Central L.A. and 'earnt their stripes' before even voicing their concerns let alone before initiatives can take hold?

      2. Why merely Chicago, Compton and South Central L.A.? That's a bit elitest, isn't it? Where's your diversity? What about all the other 'shady' and non-shady areas on the map? Surely these other areas have their stories to tell. And by necessity every story would be unique since no two cities are the same, and thus in order to gain a 'profound-level' understanding of the vast intersectional map, one would have to ditch one's family and commitments and spend the rest of this life immersing oneself in the field, which would not even begin to be long enough, as Matthwew has pointed out above.

      3. You appear to have a very peculiar definition of 'white flight'; it does not mean what you think it means.

      4. You still need to provide an *argument* demonstrating that one must necessarily be immersed 'in the field' before one can legitimately offer their opinions on a matter.

      'White should stick to Islam amd [sic] NT criticism...'

      On what basis? Has White 'dwell[ed] in Islamic communities and gained profound-level understanding of those communities? Has he 'lived and breathed' Islam? How on earth can White begin to engage Islam? It couldn't be because it has defined itself through its sources and other commentaries, could it? Likewise, why would anyone bother to write books about the fields of social justice and intersectionality were it not assumed and understood that people had the ability to comprehend and discuss/debate the issues?

      'Otherwise, he will keep sounding like a dated conservative from the 80's [sic] or Tucker Carlson from Fox...'

      1. The quality of White's critiques of social justice and intersectionality is utterly irrelevant to your claim. Your claim is simply that he has no business whatsoever talking about these issues based on his not being immersed in certain areas you picked out arbitrarily. You are yet to provide anything resembling a justification for that claim.

  7. @Danny, I provided the reason for White to stop dabbing into cultural political issues for the main reason of lacking an intimate dwelling with social justice issues. Once again, it is no surprise Journalist go into wars, foreing countries, and many different places to capture and report stories: if you are not in a place seeing for yourself, talking to the affected people,then you can not fully understand and truly address a situation. Heck, just listen how carefull White is about radical muslims. Why? Well, because he sits down and talks to them! His most recent debates with that radical muslim everyone was criticizing him for, for example.Hence, his careful approach to a serious topic that White himself has said would be thought different by him if he did not sit to talk and analyze the far right wing of Islam.
    James White should stop trying to reproduce Albert Mohler by trying to report cultural changes in America: we have Mohler for that.

    1. A typical unresponsive response.

      1. Journalists entering foreign war zones in order to seize upon an opportune moment is disanalogous to the ongoing domestic socio-political affairs with which we are dealing here.

      2. On (1), rolling with the analogy, once reporters in these war zones *report back* with the details, does the world sit in silent anticipation awaiting the reporters' return to their homelands so that they (the eyewitness reporters) can express their concerns and opinions to domestic citizens, or do various domestic journalists, analyists, pundits, bloggers, and others offer their concerns and opinions based on the presumed adequacy of those first-hand reports? Really, even with your disconnected analogy you shoot yourself in the foot.

      3. Yes, White sat down with a radical Muslim. What's your point? He's also talked at length with individual 'SJW's and 'progressives,' but apparently that's not enough in your book. *Surely* he must immerse himself *in their culture*, right? Why do you keep moving the goalposts? You need to keep up with your own arguments.

      4. On (3), White was indeed criticised. Among other criticisms, some said he compromised and had his judgement clouded. That he lacked *critical detachment* in that setting.

      5. On (4), being in the thick of something is no guarantee of objectivity and critical detachment. In fact, there is the very real danger that one's outlook be impaired by such narrow and potentially tribalistic surroundings.

      5. Has Mohler dwelled in Chicago lately? Has Mohler immersed himself in Compton recently? When was Mohler last in South Central L.A. doing outreach, Ludwigg?

      By your own standards laid out in this thread you have refuted yourself left and right.