Wednesday, May 25, 2011

800 Pound Gorillas

1. Is there any possibility that something is profoundly wrong with a culture that produces this (not to mention the events behind it)? That's not to indict any particular individual or the host venue. We (and I'm surely a part of that "we") are shaped by our culture, often in ways we neither desire nor perceive. Still, as long as precious few either detect the aroma or speak truthfully about what it smells like, the putrefaction will progress.

2. I wish I could say I found this not to be credible, but personal experience will not allow it:
Tina then went off to college -Maranatha Bible College in Wisconsin where one of the Deans advised her to 'keep her mouth shut' about what happened to her.
by Amy Coveno / WMUR Staff at Mon May 23 2011 12:48:09 GMT-0500 (CDT)
3. Speaking of products of a culture . . . I haven't yet heard anyone make an observation about "jihad Christianity," but Phil Johnson and Justin Taylor may tell us all we need to know, not that it's all we actually know—not by a long shot.

4. Just as a breath of fresh air, here's an entirely different sort of conversation–simply fascinating.

35 comments:

Shayne McAllister said...

I actually respect Alan Dershowitz a lot too. Some may think Al Mohler is being insane for praising him so much for being honest, but he really is. He's one of the most consistent liberals I've ever heard or read.

Don Johnson said...

Well, I'd say it is at least the same as the culture that produces this:

http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/?p=2130

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Anonymous said...

Gotta love how the fundies won't accept the "Well everybody's doing it" argument for anything insignificant or harmless (like wearing jeans to class or chapel), but they think it's completely appropriate and compelling for really serious stuff.

Keith

Don Johnson said...

There Keith goes again, making up arguments for other people.

My point isn't that "everybody's doing it." My point is that these problems are not part of fundamentalist culture any more than they are of SGM culture.

But you knew that.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

d4v34x said...

Don,

Re: these problems are not part of fundamentalist culture any more than they are of SGM culture.

So what??

Don Johnson said...

So the whole premise of the post is baseless.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

d4v34x said...

There's nothing profoundly wrong with culture A because culture B may have the same thing or another that produces similar problems?

James Kime said...

Bottom line is this Dave: if Fundies do it, you don't talk about it. If everyone else does it, well, it is probably because of their slippery slope from back in the '50s.

Stop going against the family Dave.

Anonymous said...

"My point isn't that "everybody's doing it." My point is that these problems are not part of fundamentalist culture any more than they are of SGM culture."

Oh, I see, it's not that everybody's doing it, it's that nobody's doing it -- is that it? (cause these problems are not part)

Or is it that I wasn't specific enough -- you didn't mean "everybody", you just meant one other body? So, instead of the "everybody's doing it" argument, I should have been more precise and said that it's a variant of the everybody's doing it argument, technically referred to as the "Well, they did it too," argument.

It's funny how that one is also valid for some things but not for others.

The premise of the post was a question: "Is there any possibility that something is profoundly wrong with a culture that produces X?" How can a question like that be baseless?

Anonymous said...

Why is this place referring to some weird, cult-like group whose seemingly sole purpose in life is to make sure that people go back about 12 centuries? Aren't you referring to some weird group of patriarchal people who think that dating is wrong and that some bizarre "courtship ritual" is the main focus if one's life? My question is this: Why do you even take group of people who focus on such a bizarre, outlandish topic and make it the focus of their life seriously? If you actually think this group is serious or to be taken seriously, then I wonder about your mental state. To me, that's like actually wondering why people show up for job interviews in clown garb aren't taken seriously. Do you expect us to take your post seriously if you actually attribute legitimacy to such odd groups who focus on such bizarre topics?

Anonymous said...

Before jumping all over you, maybe I should read a little less quickly. On closer look, maybe you agree with me that these weird sub-sects of people who go off on these bizarre tangents, such as "courtship," and make it the focus of their lives, are ripe for problems. Please excuse my poor reading skills if I misunderstood your post.

Don Johnson said...

The premise of the post,as I understand it, is that there is something peculiar to the culture of fundamentalism that produces this sort of problem. That's the '800 pound gorilla'. Others allege the same thing of SGM. Others allege the same thing of the NYPD, see a recent case in the pages of the NY Times.

Statistically, I think it can be shown that the incidences of these kinds of problems occur no more frequently in any of these groups than in society at large. That is not an excuse, it defeats the premise. There is nothing peculiar to the culture of any of these groups that produce these problems.

There is something peculiar to humanity that does, of course.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Ben said...

That's not the premise Don.

greglong said...

So what is the premise?

Anonymous said...

The "anonymous" right after James Kime -- the one at 5/28/2011 12:04 AM -- was me.

I was in a hurry and forgot to sign.

Keith

Anonymous said...

Don,

As Ben has already indicated, you missed the premise, but I'll let him explain his premise more fully if he likes.

However, even if you did properly ascertain the premise, you have a problem with your "separate over ministry philosophy" type of fundamentalism.

You say: "There is nothing peculiar to the culture of any of these groups that produce these problems. There is something peculiar to humanity that does, of course."

If that's the case, there is no reason for all of the obsessing over "standards" (dress, music, ad infinitum) in your party's position. Even the most die hard BJU loyalist I know doesn't argue that Scripture actually requires men to wear neck ties, or limits the wearing of blue jeans, or forbids electric guitars and syncopation, or outlaws setting foot in a movie theatre but requires attendance at Shakespeare and the Opera, or . . . well you get the point.

All the fuss over these CULTURAL things is supposedly a result of wisdom and training in discipline and the avoidance of sliding into worldliness.

Well, if cultures don't make any difference. If no matter what we do we'll all have the same result because "sin is common to man." Well, then all of these "standards" are a waste of time.

Of course, statutory rape and mishandling of power are not unique to the IFB subculture. No sane person would make such a claim. However, is there anything in all of the restrictions of this subculture that produce anything better than that which is common to society at large? If not, then what is the point?

Keith

Don Johnson said...

Keith, I'd like to get Ben's answer to 'the point' of the post. But in answer to your question, I'd say that it is my belief that the culture of fundamentalism actually sees less of the problems cited here. That, of course, is my opinion, and it is harder to back it up with objective observations. Objectively, I can show that it is no worse than culture at large.

Further, regardless of the actual effect of this particular question, I am for the promotion and advancement of fundamentalist teaching and culture because it is right and in obedience to the Scripture.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Ben said...

The premise is that what is represented in the link is not the product of a culture that's worth saving. I realize that's basically what I said before, but I don't know how to say it more directly. We can argue over various possible causes (which are not mutually exclusive)—theology, personality, unexamined habits, priorities, depravity, etc.—but that conversation's pointless for those who can't see that something's profoundly wrong with the culture.

"Objectively, I can show that it is no worse than culture at large."

Well that's damnation by faint praise if I ever saw it. Someone argued a few years ago that fundamentalism is simply the authentic expression of biblical Christianity. I thought that was you, Don. But I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

"I am for the promotion and advancement of fundamentalist teaching and culture because it is right and in obedience to the Scripture."

Huh? This is more question begging. You are just saying that whatever is right an in obedience to Scripture is fundamentalist teaching and culture. That's fine if you want to say that is the ideal. However, it is not the same thing as talking about the actuality.

Look, I don't think that anyone can reasonably say (and I don't think Ben is saying) that fundamentalism set out to produce some of the problems that have developed within it. It is also not reasonable to say that fundamentalism is the only subculture/faith tradition to manifest any particular problem.

Nevertheless, when things start happening in a culture, it is wise to analyze what is going on in that culture that is facilitating those things -- whether they also happen in other cultures or not.

Finding that extramarital sex is common in Italian culture does not prove that there is nothing in American culture which is contributing to the increase of extramarital sex.

Similarly, abuses in SGM or Amish or Roman Catholic cultures do not prove that there is nothing in fundamentalist culture which contributes to abuse.

Like Ben said, "As long as precious few either detect the aroma or speak truthfully about what it smells like, the putrefaction will progress."

Keith

Don Johnson said...

Well, Ben, from what you say, I don't think I missed your point.

So now we are at the usual impasse. You think there is something fundamentally (systemicly?) wrong with the culture of fundamentalism. I don't. I think there is always need for correction, reproof, redirection, revival, but I don't think the core philosophy is flawed.

With those differences between us, the conversation will likely be unable to progress any further.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

d4v34x said...

Don,

1. Core philosophy.

2. Implementation and resultant culture.

TWO DIFFERENT CATEGORIES.

Anonymous said...

What d4 said.

This is the crux of the reason that no progress seems to be made with in these discussions with apologists for old school fundamentalism. They want to insist that their position is correct regardless of what's going on.

Don Johnson said...

Dave, ok, fair enough. But would you say "implementation and resultant culture" produce child abuse and cover-up in fundamentalism? Is that what you are saying? Is that what Ben is saying?

Well then, prove it. I don't see any evidence for it.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jeremiah 33

Ben said...

Don wrote (a while ago):

"The premise of the post,as I understand it, is that there is something peculiar to the culture of fundamentalism that produces this sort of problem."

1. I never said anything remotely resembling that. Fact is, your interpretation of my premise shifts over the span of this conversation.

2. +1 to "what d4v34x said."

My point has been clear enough to d4v34x and Keith. I'm not going to take the time to explain it to you further. Frankly, my point isn't to convince you. I'm speaking to the guys who are now where I was 8-15 years ago. Guys who heard good teaching in their Bible classes but never really saw it applied outside the classroom.

You are helpful in my pursuit of that objective, of course, because you remind them of what the other option looks like. They get to decide what they think about who's right. And I'm pretty comfortable with that.

Anonymous said...

"So now we are at the usual impasse. You think there is something fundamentally (systemicly?) wrong with the culture of fundamentalism. I don't. I think there is always need for correction, reproof, redirection, revival, but I don't think the core philosophy is flawed."


You just proved that this conversation cannot be continued because no one is even close to being on the same page and we are wondering all over the place. I don't think fundamentalism is in dispute or up to debate either. But that right there is the problem: I am talking fundamentalism and you are talking, if I understand correctly, IFB. They are not even close to being mutually exclusive. The fundamentals of the faith are something we should all agree with, but unfortunately the fundamentals get mixed up with the cultural aspects of IFB, and they are not necessarily the same.

d4v34x said...

Don, note that the OP directly indicts a particular conversation (in which, admittedly, I was a participant) and only implicates the events it discusses.

Anonymous said...

"Well then, prove it. I don't see any evidence for it."

This is rich. Again, no on is claiming that the platonic ideal of fundamentalism causes abuse or cover up. And no one is saying that they would not rejoice to see redirection and revival.

However, to say that the shadow of that ideal which we all must live with (if we can borrow a bit from the wise pagan) has provided no evidence of cultural problems . . . well, then all 800 pound gorillas are invisible.

Keith

Don Johnson said...

Well, Ben, if I am misunderstanding you, I would appreciate being enlightened. I'm not the only one who doesn't get it, see Greg Long's post. He seems to be hearing the same thing I am.

But whatever, if you want to be an oblique, smug, cool kid, go ahead.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

James Kime said...

Do you really want to be enlightened if at the same time you perform yet more driveby insults?

Prov 9:8

Don Johnson said...

pot, meet kettle

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

P. S. Yes, I really would like to understand, because the point is not clear to me.

James Kime said...

The verse gives the option to be wiser or play the fool. You choose to lob another insult, one which made no sense.

Several people have made clear the intent of the post. Your desire to understand appears... insincere.

Don Johnson said...

Could you point to those posts that clearly explain what the point is? I'm not getting it.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jeremiah 33.3

Joshua Caucutt said...

Don said:

"So now we are at the usual impasse. You think there is something fundamentally (systemicly?) wrong with the culture of fundamentalism. I don't. I think there is always need for correction, reproof, redirection, revival, but I don't think the core philosophy is flawed."

That is the fundamental (no pun intended) difference. I have relatively recently come to the conclusion that there is no "fundamentalism worth saving" and the the core philosophy IS indeed flawed.

I was a fundy of the fundies at various points of my life and when I saw problems, I thought that it was only an issue of "doing fundamentalism better". It turns out that the entire structure is built on a faulty foundation and anything we can do to fix the roof or replace the windows is a waste of time.

Ben said...

I will affirm that Josh was a fundy of the fundies.

d4v34x said...

I would hear more on this flawed foundation, (falsely so-called?).