What makes you respect someone; Honesty, thoughtfulness, compassion, wisdom, knowledge? Do your respect someone who gives a sermon which you know is factually incorrect? Perhaps you can always say he/she just did not know the facts. What happens when you talk to that person and point out the error and they say no, I stand by my statement completely? I can tell you what happens to me I lose all respect for their positions.
In life there are a vast array of opinions and feeling and speculations, more than enough to constantly stimulate our minds. Which is why when someone tells you something untrue and then when pointed out that it is untrue they refuse to acknowledge the error or change their position what does one have left to listen to in that person. They have taken the position that fact and truth are unimportant to them. There is no point in discussion with them because for whatever reason they have lost their objectivity. The strange thing is this so often happens in the area of religion and politics. It seems to not even matter what end of the spectrum one falls on either, liberal or conservative. Some of the most precious ideas are held without any regard for the truth, the facts or reality and reason.
This was brought home to me this last week on the Spectrum blog, which is frequently Progressive Adventist and liberal politically oriented. In a comment under the article entitled A Horrendous Betrayal of the Gospel By Charles Scriven. The article is titled rather like the National Enquirer as the article is really just a criticism of singing the National Anthem during a church service on the 4th of July. The reason being that Christianity is for everyone not any one country or people. He might have a point if he were referring to the singing of the The Star-Spangled Banner in
The problem comes when Chris Blake who is apparently a minister someplace wrote this comment, here is the first two paragraphs:
Last year I preached a sermon in College View Church about the virtue of non-combatancy: our great need for creativity and imagination and resilience when fighting evil; our tendency to believe in the myth of redemptive violence; the penchant when you own the biggest hammer in the world to see everything as a nail; the odd presence of the American flag in front of the sanctuary; and the non-violent model of Jesus. Normally CVC sermons are televised the following week. Mine was not. (Smile.)
The myth of redemptive violence is easily swallowed in a culture that force-feeds the myth every second with every dollar. Thankfully, some still do not buy it, will never buy it.
To which I responded:
By myth I take it you mean fiction, what is the myth of redemptive violence?
To test your definition: If it is really a fiction (myth) then we should be able to demonstrate that no one has ever been saved from the hands of threatening or evil or violent people by the acts of violence by people trying to save the threatened people.
I won't ask you to support the statement about the culture that force feeds the myth every second with every dollar because I am sure even you realize that that statement is a gross exaggeration.
The funny thing is that even after pointing out that the statement is a gross exaggeration in the next comment he said he stood by the comment completely.
Redemptive means deliverance or rescue from whatever ails or threatens us. So if we're threatened by violence, we should be able to redeem that threat by, for example:
Overthrowing the democratically elected head of
Forcing Ho Chi Minh to retreat from 1955-1975.
Arming Saddam Hussein in his fight against
Arming Osama bin Laden in his fight against the
Training Timothy McVeigh to kill.
Creating terms like "collateral damage" to minimize war horrors
Arming the world with military weapons; in fact, making more in weapon sales than we give in foreign aid.
Here I could list 500 more examples of how redemptive violence "pays off" ultimately in more violence and mayhem. (You could counter with Adolph Hitler and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but that's the exception.)
The first thing you will notice is that he puts World War II as an exception. Which means he is saying that Redemptive violence is a myth (a fiction that violence saves anyone except in certain exceptions) Which of course means it is not a myth, that at least some of time it is a reality. The second thing you note is that his list of examples does not include the Gulf war, fought to free
In the above Chris Blake is just selectively choosing his examples, it is an example of subjective reasoning, choosing what is important and listing that while ignoring what goes against your theory. It is merely an attempt at being persuasive by hoping that others don’t know history enough to doubt your rendition of the facts. The real violation of logic comes when he acknowledges the exception to his thesis that redemptive violence is a myth. When someone acknowledges in their own words that their thesis is wrong because it has exceptions how can they continue to stand by that thesis. Something then is very wrong.
But there was still the very gross exaggeration comment made. Most people realize that words like all, and every are often indicators that a logical fallacy is being used. So when Chris Blake says: “every second with every dollar” most of us would think there is an exaggeration here. I would hope most of us would see through such statements but as you will see that is not the case. Chris Blake then tries to use some statistics from “Stockholm International Peace Research Institute” to back up his statement. I could go into the numbers statistics but even here Chris Blake in his own words shows that his assertion is false. He writes:
More than half of all discretionary spending of the
He has falsified his own statement that every dollar is used to forced feed the myth of redemptive violence. (Again most should realize that our culture spends lots on other things also, healthcare, education, entertainment, food etc)
What bothers me most is that Charles Scriven commented on Chris Blake’s posts:
You are gift to us all. Thanks for the Sassoon and Owens poetry. Thanks for the history and numbers you cite. Your passion is seismic.
That sounds like it is meant as praise, praise for history and numbers which are inaccurate and used to defend a thesis of redemptive violence that Chris Blake’s own words show is untrue. But yet Chris Blake concluded:
And you think I'm exaggerating?
I stand sadly by every word of the previous post.
The question then becomes why do some lose all objectivity when certain of their cherished beliefs are shown to be incorrect; Going so far as ignoring their irrationality and the irrationality of others. Being wrong is understandable standing by your error when it is revealed is irrational. I don’t really know the reason but I am sure that it damages us all and is not something that we should ignore when it occurs.