Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Lessons in how not to attack the great controvesy motif

Spectrum online has an interesting article by Alex Carpenter which to my mind speaks of the failure to separate theology from political ideology which tends to harm both views. For theology even if the writer is on the right track his thesis will be derailed because of foolish comments that have nothing to do with the theological subject. This is the case for Alex when he writes in his article Bloggin' the 28: The Great Controversy:

I hate to say it, but sometimes I'm not sure which side our existence helps out. I could see Satan pleased with millions of people thinking they are on God's side because of what they believe metaphysically while doing little to alleviate the physical horror around them. One of the weirder examples of this are those opposed to women's ordination and gay marriage. Here we have self-proclaimed and very sincere followers of God fighting to NOT allow more pastors. Huh? And fighting to NOT allow people who want to publicly commit to each other, sometimes even in church. What? It's almost humorous it is so backward. I'd laugh if it weren't so painfully true over and over and over again.
As if the view against homosexual marriage is because people don't want the homosexuals to publicly commit to each other. Which is sort of like saying the reason for a U.S. trade embargo to Cuba is because they make has nothing to do with anything It is a complete distortion of the opposing point of view.  Thus also doing damage to his political objective by use of fictional arguments of the other side. You can tell as he continues that he does not really have any facts to support himself as later he writes: 

Within this ancient language there is an echo of the moral paradoxes we see today. Those condemning marriage equality to save marriage are, in a very real way, destroying marriage for others. Those fighting against ordaining women to save the church actually weaken it by limiting full participation by more than half its members.

Condemning the redefinition of marriage does not in any way destroy marriage, the statement above has no backing...he is unable to tell the reader how either one of his two targets destroys anything they are merely gratuitous assertions. Though one could say that he attempted on the women's ordination to give some kind of reason. The fact is that even if a woman cannot be an ordained Pastor does that limit full participation? As if full participation is found only when one goes to seminary and becomes an ordained Pastor. Such logical fallacies defeat his purpose because they can't support the argument and can be easily shown to be irrelevant to his argument.  Which is something that John Osborn did in the comments section.

John Osborn
Linking each of the 28 FBs to the three or four issues that consume Spectrum, takes a certain creative genius - that genius to see things that the non-creative types just don't see. Just like a sculptor, who sees the figure of a man in what other people see as just a slab of rock, the spectrum blogger can see the issues of homosexuality, woman's ordination, and Darwinism, in other issues that other people would consider...well, other issues. This piece was particularly masterful. How many people would read the great controversy and think of Women's ordination? Some of us view these issues as a family disagreement between fellow brothers and sisters in Christ about how to interpret Scripture. But now we know those who oppose the Spectrum party-line on culture-war issues are simply on the wrong side of the Great controversy and fighting against God. And in the professional and nuanced words of Mr. Carpenter, that's just "weird."

This is good to know, now that it's been settled that Spectrum's opinions on the culture war are one and the same as God's opinions we can stop all this debate about such issues and just decide to be on God's side and stop being weird. After self-congratulatory declarations that your ideological opponents are weirdly on the side of evil, we have a little discourse on how the greatest evil is the self-deception of thinking your ideologically opponents are on the side of evil, this is immediately followed by more declarations that your ideological opponents are on the side of evil. Not only that, but apparently the denomination you choose to identify with and remain a member of, started out as the very epitome of evil (but this was probably before the clear headed thinking demonstrated by blogs like this). In the imitable words of this article: huh? what?

In fact I do rather agree with Alex on the irrelevancy of the Adventist Great Controversy motif. But he has not really advanced the argument in any way other then brought some attention to the idea that there are those that find it faulty.  Which he could have done years ago simply by referencing one of my earlier articles on the subject such as:  The Great Controversy View, and The Great Controversy if it only worked, and the short article on Is the Great Controversy Really Unique which shows that the idea of a battle between good and evil is common in Christianity but when Adventists use the term they really mean the extra's that Ellen White inserted into her Great Controversy view.

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