Sunday Toons: The Emperor’s New Apologetics

In the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, a couple of con men exploit people’s vanity by pretending to be tailors whose work is so exquisite that only the truly wise can see it. The emperor, not wanting people to doubt his wisdom, ends up parading around nude in public, and all the courtiers and nobles convince themselves that they, too, can see his fine new clothes, and are therefore not stupid. The charade comes to a humiliating end when a child too young to be vain about his intellect asks, “Mommy, why is that man naked?”

Of course, nobody would try to pull a scam like that today, would they? Well, not unless they were selling apologetics and scholarship instead of trousers and jackets. And speaking of which, here’s an excerpt from JP Holding’s attempt to deal with last week’s Toons.

Dumplin’ just shows how stupid he is when he says that my observation was “trivial and superficial.” Dumbass, it’s the key to Paul’s whole argument! You’re just too stupid to understand the relevance of appeal to the example of an ingroup leader within the context of a collectivist society.

Yes folks, JP has an argument so refined and so sublime that only the truly wise can see it. You can’t find any fault with it. You can’t even point out any shortcomings. If you criticize it at all, you’re just proving that you are not wise. Obviously so, since you cannot perceive the brilliance of JP’s argument, which as we mentioned before is so refined and so sublime that only the truly wise can see it. And I don’t care what dangly bits you happen to see hanging out.

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Posted in Amusements, Sunday Toons, The Gypsy Curse, Unapologetics. 7 Comments »

Sunday Toons: “Out of his depth”

When I was young and full of zeal for Jesus, I met a woman who told me her approach to Bible study. “I only use the King James Version,” she told me. “I read through the passage, figure out how you would say it in modern English, and then I’m done.” Though I was too meek to say so at the time, my little Christian heart was horrified. The New Testament was written in the common language of the people of the time. By paraphrasing an archaic translation into her “normal” usage, she was stopping right at the point where a New Testament Christian would have started. How could she call that “studying” the Bible?

I was reminded of that lady when I read JP Holding’s response to last week’s Sunday Toon. Not, of course, because he was as likable as she was, but because his study of I Cor. 15 seems to stop where mine starts. This leaves him at rather a loss as to how to respond, so he begins by graduating from the silly Ned-Flanders-ish insults to real, big-boy naughty words. He begins with:

Dumplin’ Dumbass shows why he’s ahead in the Platinum race for 2008:

prompting one of his regulars to respond:

Um… JP. You just said “Dumbass”

He is swiftly corrected by another TW regular, however:

So? It’s allowed. Dumbass.

And we’re off again…

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Posted in Sunday Toons. 5 Comments »

Sunday Toons: For old time’s sake

It’s been a while since we’ve had any real Sunday Toons, but since Mr. Holding has seen fit to award me the highest honor he has to bestow, it seems like a good time to stop in for another visit. Holding, for those of you who may not yet have had the pleasure, is a self-styled Christian apologist whose approach is perhaps best typified by this insightful analysis:

Having now read more than 50 books on the subject, I can say without qualification that you are stupid in this regard.

In fact, it’s amazing how many of his analyses end with “…and therefore you are stupid,” or variations thereof. It’s a defense mechanism of sorts, a tactic intended to discourage critics from hanging around long enough to pose a real problem, though from my perspective his best defense is the relentless mediocrity of his scholarship and apologetics. It doesn’t take long to exhaust his repertoire of social maneuvers and rhetorical ploys, and after that it gets fairly repetitive and uninteresting. He’s read a lot of books, and therefore you are wrong (though sadly he has trouble providing any specific articulation of what those books contain that actually proves you wrong). Ok, yeah, we get it, that’s your schtick and you’re schtickin’ to it. Ha ha.

Still, he does now and then come up with an actual argument for his beliefs, and some of them are actually interesting to consider. It’s not that they’re right, exactly, but they’re wrong in interesting ways. One of these arguments appears in his attempt to debunk what I said about I Cor. 15.

For example, he says that “the reason Paul wrote [1 Cor.] 15 isbecause, as verse 12 tells us, he was unhappy with the number of believers who did not buy this whole resurrection business.” Um, not quite, Dumplin’. Their issue was not with whether the resurrection of Jesus happened; their issue was with what was thought to be the impossibility of resurrection (point 3) according to pagan philosophical principles. There’s no room to say that doubted that Jesus was raised; but they did doubt that they could be. As I noted in replies to The Empty Tomb, this does mean they were holding inconsistent positions. Paul’s appeal to Jesus as a model is for the purpose of saying, to persons of a collectivist mindset, “If you deny that it can happen to you, then how do you explain that it happened to our ingroup leader?”

Ok, so they weren’t denying that it did happen, they were merely denying that it was even possible for it to happen. I can see this is going to be good already.

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Posted in CAMWatch, Field Trip, Sunday Toons, Unapologetics. 2 Comments »

Now that’s an honor!

JP Holding of Sunday Toon fame is holding a contest for “Platinum Screwball of 2008,” and yours truly is currently in the lead with 45% of the vote. If you’ve read some of the “Screwball” threads over at theologyweb.com, you know what an honor it is for me to be held in such high esteem by a scholar of Holding’s calibre.

Maybe some of y’all could drop by and help him out with the voting, though. So far he’s only found twenty people interested enough to cast a ballot.

 
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Posted in Amusements, Sunday Toons. 4 Comments »

Sunday Toons: A world of books

This week I thought we might pay a visit to the Tektonics forum over at theologyweb.com, home of the monthly “Screwball Thread” wherein JP Holding and company defend The Faith by hurling animated smilies at people whose words displease them. If you’ve been following the September SCrewballs [sic] thread, you’ll know that Holding has recently started following the XFiles Friday posts here, and they’re apparently putting a bit of a burr under his saddle. This week’s installment has him so worked up that he breaks from his usual pattern of simply posting excerpts, and tries to fisk them (or at least the bits that he quotes). In doing so, he gives us a bit more insight into his own personal world, and his techniques for insulating himself from those aspects of the real world that might prove troublesome.

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Posted in Sunday Toons, Unapologetics. 4 Comments »

Sunday Toons: New wineskins

As charismatic Christians like to tell us, Jesus once said, “Nobody puts new wine in old wineskins,” meaning that old traditions can’t always accommodate new movements of God, or something to that effect. He never said anything about putting old wine into new wineskins, however, and I think that’s a pretty good metaphor for how Christians re-frame Scriptural teachings to accommodate new interpretations. JP Holding gives us a good example of this in his article on “Biblical” faith, which we started to look at last week. But before we get to Holding, let’s do a quick review.

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Posted in Sunday Toons, Unapologetics. 4 Comments »

Sunday Toon: The Scholar’s Snare

Never a dull moment around here: yesterday, Challenger Grim spent a good chunk of the day arguing that I was wrong to reject the notion that everybody’s world view is based on some kind of arbitrary, non-logic-based and non-evidence based faith. Meanwhile, in JP Holding’s Sunday Toon for today, Holding accuses me of failing to understand that faith must be a conclusion based on evidence and reason. And if that weren’t ironic enough, Grim went from here to Holding’s home turf, where he proposed devoting an entire thread to discussing what a “screwball” I am for denying that all knowledge is based on arbitrary faith—and Holding sympathized with him! Apparently, Grim is unaware that Holding’s definition of faith explicitly rejects the kind of faith that Grim is arguing for, and/or Holding is unaware that Grim’s definition of faith is as toxic to his own definition as it is to skepticism. Either that, or he just doesn’t care so long as he gets to mock non-Christians (plus any believers who fail to live up to his “scholarly” standards of what it means to believe).

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Posted in Sunday Toons, Unapologetics. 7 Comments »

Sunday Toons: More shame and honor

Last week we started looking at JP Holding’s “parody” post on the subject of atonement, but ended up spending most of our time looking at his views on hell. This week, I want to finish up with the original post, which (once you wipe away some of the froth and foam) does actually try to make a point or two.

Despite his protestations, honor and shame were the spoke upon which Biblical society revolved. It was as important to them as paying the bills is to us. I’d recommend that Dumpy read some works by credible scholars on this subject (like Malina and Rohrbaugh), but since he is still a fundy at heart, still reading “death” in the Bible in terms of nothing other than physical death (rather than wholesale separation from God), I may as well ask him to tie his own liver in a knot while wing-walking on an SR-71. The chances are better he can do that than grasp Biblical scholarship.

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Sunday Toons: More blaming the victim

Continuing his critique of my post on Compromising God, JP Holding devotes a separate page to the question of what atonement means, especially in light of his views on eternal punishment. (Oddly, he entitles his web page “Apologetics vs. Bible-based faith,” an apparent reference to a completely different and unrelated post.) And as usual, he begins by urging his readers to assume that I’m stupid (and thus can safely be ignored).

When people can’t get yoor basic stance on things right, you know you’re dealing with some stupid. Guess what that makes poor Dumplin’ Dumbash.

His address to my material on the atonement begs to assume that I hold a view of hell as “eternal torment.” Not quite — if by that Dumpy means literal fire and brimstone.

The gypsy strikes again: Holding has garbled what I said about his stance on eternal punishment. I didn’t call it “eternal torment” nor did I say anything about “literal fire and brimstone.” I used the same term Holding uses: “eternal punishment.” But perhaps that’s also wrong? Let’s look at the link Holding has posted (twice!) that explains what he really means about hell.

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Posted in Sunday Toons, The Gypsy Curse. 3 Comments »

Sunday Toons: The authority of men

In this week’s Sunday toon, JP Holding explains why he responds to my posts by giving me “mean” nicknames, insulting my intelligence, and in general mocking me personally in any way he can. He does it because

It’s so much easier to attack the person than attack the argument…

Of course, true to the spirit of the Gypsy Curse, he intended that as a personal attack on me. Nor did he stop there: the full sentence reads, “It’s so much easier to attack the person than attack the argument; but to be fair, Dumpy isn’t competent in even knowing what the arguments are, or even who is making them, so who can blame him?”

Jesus must really have ticked off that poor old gypsy.

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Posted in Sunday Toons, The Gypsy Curse, Unapologetics. 17 Comments »