Saturday, October 01, 2011

Civil War in the Sublime High-Level Online Anti-Catholic Ranks: Steve Hays and TAO vs. Jamin Hubner and James White (on Israel)

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These are always interesting to observe (see the last one I chronicled just before the evidence was removed from sight), but invariably wearisome and boorish in proportion to how long they continue. Anti-Catholics are not renowned for -- shall we say --  intellectual individuality. They tend to be a bunch of clones, at least inasmuch as they are all united against the horrendous Beast and Whore of Babylon: the dreaded "Rome"; the "papists" and "Romanists." But on the rare occasion that they disagree, it is petty and juvenile, like much of the drivel that passes for "discourse" on the Internet these days.

Jamin Hubner is an associate of Bishop James White: the Grand Poobah of online Anti-Catholics and self-proclaimed Unvanquished Slayer of All Catholic Debaters. He has often posted on White's blog. "Turretinfan" (or, The Anonymous One = TAO) has a wordy and influential blog in know-nothing anti-Catholic circles, as does Steve Hays (Triablogue). TAO also frequently writes on White's blog. All of them are Calvinists (or Reformed). White is a Reformed Baptist, however, as opposed to Presbyterians (big difference on adult vs. infant baptism there). TAO in due course sided with Hays against Hubner's position.

All Protestants, anti-Catholic or no, are doomed to engage in endless internal in-fighting. Hays has even dared to commit the unthinkable, unutterable Act of publicly disagreeing with the Grand Poobah! It's almost as momentous as the fall of Soviet communism, or the transition from horses to automobiles. One can scarcely conceptualize such a thing . . . Here is the chronology of this quarrel:


Hubner: A Brief History of Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology (6-7-10)

Hubner: With All Due Respect, Rosenberg’s Latest, Painful Pronouncement On Israel is Wrong (11-6-10)

Hays: Sleeping with the enemy (5-19-11)

Hubner: Steve Hays, Hubbub, and Hamas (5-19-11)

"Steve Hays at Triablogue doesn’t seem to like me. I don’t know why, and I wish that wasn’t the case. But that’s just the way things are. It seems to have begun when I started blogging a lot at AOMin.org. But things were especially tense after a misunderstanding between Paul Manata and a post I wrote on logic (see here). Manata had wrote a rather absurd satire piece in response (here), ridiculing me as “agent 00777 of the Christian Insularity Agency (CIA),” and so forth. Steve Hays linked to it (here) with no issue (and what seems to be excitement, saying “Click here for the juicy details!”). In fact, he even commented on it himself, furthering skepticism about my character: . . . Who is the one “sleeping with the enemy” and who is the “enemy” in the title of your blog post, and why did you see those terms as fitting?"

Hays: Siding with the Enemy (5-20-11)

"If Jamin is that hypersensitive about satire, he’s in the wrong profession. Apologetics is not for hemophiliacs. If you bleed on contact, consider a career change."


Hubner: Steve’s Reply, and My Take On Present-Day “Israel” (5-20-11)

"Until then, I think everyone should be wondering, for a well-known blogger who gives advice on how to do apologetics, why didn’t he just say so? Enough sowing seeds of doubt against another fellow Christian, and making assertions with unstated conclusions. Just be honest and say what you believe. . . . Indeed, publicly calling on the people of God to be on the “alert” for the presuppositions of a certain Christian apologist is a serious charge, and whether anyone likes it or not, it cannot just be brushed aside (though I’d sometimes like to!)."

Hays: Voodoo dolls (5-21-11)

Hubner: Steve Stoops Lower Still (5-21-11)

"Third, as if it even needed to be said, Steve’s entire argument made thus far (if there is one to be identified) is by and large, fallacious. Gary Burge could be the most evil person on the planet, a racist sexist homophobic Marxist Mormon murderer, and none of that would change the facts, or change the legitimacy of the facts if they are spoken by such a person. Steve knows that it doesn’t matter who is making an argument, what matters is what is being said."

Hays: Dupes for Hamas (5-25-11)

"Notice that Jamin isn’t making the slightest effort to be honest. For I specifically distinguished between culpable and inculpable association. Does Jamin interact with that distinction? No. Rather, he ignores it, then acts as if I’m the one who fails to draw distinctions. Go figure."

Hubner: And That Answers That (5-25-11)

". . . answering a whole set of questions from a person who refuses to do the same (only with Steve’s case, he is refusing to answer the most basic questions) is fruitless. It’s like debating the doctrine of atonement with someone who you don’t even know believes the Bible is the Word of God, or discussing inerrancy with an atheist who won’t tell you if he’s an atheist, or what have you. It’s 100% pointless. Until we know where each other is coming from, there can be no progress. And it is by all means clear that Steve does not want to (and perhaps, because he cannot) provide a positive case for his own position, let alone summarize it. He simply wants to criticize without following through and without providing anything more. I refuse to take part in that, as should everyone else."

Hays: Instant-expert syndrome (5-25-11)

TAO: Reviewing a Blog Exchange Between Hays and Hubner (5-25-11)

Hubner: The Questions Never Asked About Israel, Part 1 (9-24-11)

"The last time we addressed this issue was in the lively blog exchange with Steve Hays (Triablogue). Steve tried to make it look like I was supporting anti-Israel sentiment and buying into Palestinian anti-Israel propaganda, primarily on the basis that I cited from a certain source whose author he referred to as “a shill for Hamas.” (That post was entitled “Sleeping with the Enemy; Hays is convinced I’m a wolf in sheep’s clothing – a danger to the body of Christ). I tried to make an effort to avoid fancy rhetoric (to put it mildly again; at one point Steve compared me to Britney Spears and accused me of having a “man-crush” on a NT professor). . ."


Hubner: The Questions Never Asked About Israel, Part 2 (9-27-11)

Hays: Allahu Akbar and Omega Ministries (9-28-11)

"AOMIN teammate Jamin Hubner continues his vendetta against the modern state of Israel: . . . Hubner sounds like one of those CNN reporters (e.g. Christiane Amanpour, Fareed Zakaria) . . . Perhaps AOMIN should team up with CAIR, or maybe change its name to Allahu Akbar and Omega Ministries." 


Combox:

Hays: "What I find curious is the split-personality policy of AOMIN on Islam. What they give with one hand, they take back with the other. On the one hand White debates Muslims and defends Acts17 against persecution. On the other hand, teammate Hubner is constantly reciting the Hamas narrative. What White builds up during the day, Hubner tears down at night. Yes, AOMIN does need to make up its mind about the role of Islam in geopolitics. "


TAO: "Suppose that Hays' analysis is correct - White is building up by day but Jamin is tearing down by night (on some particular issue). Is it not really up to White to decide whether he wants to continue to associate with Jamin? Can't he associate with him without adopting all Jamin's expressed views?"



White: Wednesday Musings (9-28-11) 

"Evidently, some feel that if any of my bloggers express a viewpoint or opinion, even if it is posted on their personal blogs and not at the A&O blog, that I am somehow responsible for it. This "your friends all have to walk lockstep with you" idea is a common one, sadly---and, if it is followed through rigorously, results in folks who are very, very much alone in the cyber realm, and probably in the "real world" as well. Recently Jamin Hubner has raised issues relating to a simple question: is the modern secular state of Israel religiously and theologically significant? Is it "Israel" as in the Israel of Scripture, or Romans 11? And if it is not, is it open to criticism? He is concerned about the strength of the movement, mainly amongst American evangelicals, that has granted to Israel not only a theological position it does not actually hold, but which precludes even the slightest mention of criticism of a secular state. Now, I am not going to re-hash everything here, but he has even been accused of being a "shill for Hamas" due to sources he has cited and issues he has raised (which seems to me to provide strong evidence of the need to raise such issues and challenge the knee-jerk reactions of many in the Evangelical community as a whole). While he has sought fair and non-emotional responses to questions he has raised, his requests have, in the main, fallen upon deaf ears, for I see no evidence that his critics really want to have a give-and-take. . . .  

"Hays is simply unfair in his attempted response to Jamin. It is scatter-gunning, it is not sober, fair, researched writing. It is "you sound like a CNN reporter" rather than "here is a more sound, historical way of seeing those events." I do not find it at all compelling, personally, and I claim no expertise in that period of history of the world! Genetic fallacies and playing to the crowd is not how disagreement between Christians should be handled.. . .

"But the main reason I am addressing this (Jamin is free to respond to criticisms of his own work) is because Steve Hays chose to drag me into this fight since Jamin is one of my contributors. Despite the fact that I have obviously given clear evidence of allowing differing opinions to be expressed even on the blog, and have never, ever asked any of my bloggers to modify or change what they produce personally on their own blogs, Mr. Hays purposefully titled his entry in such a way as to demand my involvement. You do not make reference to "Allahu Akbar and Omega Ministries" and expect me to just smile and sit idly by. I have not invested the past five plus years of my life in the study of Islam so as to allow the name of my ministry to be besmirched in such a cavalier and, quite honestly, silly fashion. In the main body of his entry he concluded with this incredible statement: "Perhaps AOMIN should team up with CAIR, or maybe change its name to Allahu Akbar and Omega Ministries." We all know Hays has a penchant for over-the-top sarcasm, but this isn't even slightly humorous because it is so far removed from reality as to rob it of any weight it might have had. Remember, this is a blog article allegedly about an article that was not even posted at the A&O website. There is obviously no reason for the inclusion of such a statement outside of "I want to stir the pot and start a war." Sad, very sad, in light of how much Steve could be doing that would be very positive and useful (being the bright guy he is). . . .

"It is absurd to accuse Jamin of being a Hamas shill, first of all. Jamin is not "constantly reciting the Hamas narrative." Let's lay that one aside immediately as it is simply not worthy of further discussion. . . .

"It all boils down to this: Steve Hays doesn't like Jamin Hubner, nor his views (that's obvious). So, for some reason, he is now trying to hold me responsible for the views Jamin expresses on his own blog, as if the foundational assumption has to be that everyone who writes for my blog must walk in lock-step with my views on all things. If I will not publicly excoriate Hubner for taking a position Hays finds to be in error (and evidently to be reprehensible), then I am to be criticized for such a failure. Of course, fair minded folks realize that Christians must associate with people who have differing views on all sorts of things for the obvious reason that none of us agree perfectly on all things! If I were to invest the time (which I promise you I will not) to investigate everything Steve Hays has ever written, would I find differences between him and say Jason Engwer, who also writes on Steve's blog? Is there perfect agreement in all things between all people on Triablogue? If not, why the double standard? I am very disappointed that Steve Hays has chosen to go down this path. I think I have explained why he is in error to do so more than clearly enough. I have set the record straight, and I leave it to truth-honoring and truth-loving folks to decide for themselves."    

Hubner: The Questions Never Asked About Israel – Part 3: What Really Happened From WWI to 1922 (9-29-11)

Hays: The Protocols of Anti-Zionism (9-29-11)

Hays: Cross, Crescent, and Star of David (9-29-11)

Hays: Geisler Syndrome (9-29-11)

"If Dr. White can quote where I suggest that Hubner is a shill for Hamas because Hubner has criticized the Dispensational view of modern Israel, he’s welcome to do so. Otherwise, he’s burning a straw man. . . . Jamin is acting exactly like the average CNN reporter . . . Is Hubner a jihadist? No. He’s just a dupe for the jihadists. . . . Wherever possible, Islam tries to suppress Christian expression. And that agenda is facilitated by willing dupes like Hubner. . . . Once again, White is taking the CAIR line. We mustn’t blame all the “good” Muslims for a few “isolated incidents” perpetrated by a fringe group. Unfortunately, White is suffering from Geisler Syndrome. Geisler syndrome is when a mentor automatically covers for his protégé. White constantly faults Norman Geisler because Geisler automatically covers for Ergun Caner.. . . Because Caner isn’t White’s own protégé, White can clearly see the problem with Geisler. But because Hubner is White’s protégé, he lacks the same objectivity in that case. Taken by itself, that’s simply a common human foible. What’s more unfortunate is that in order to defend his protégé, White is now sticking up for “moderate” Islam." 

Combox:

Hays: "Actually, White is now dragging the rest of AOMIN into this issue. What's more, he's playing the "moderate Muslim" card, which undercuts what he's been doing for the past 5 years."

TAO: "I suspect that there is some degree of "talking past each other" going on here, since I get the feeling that Dr. White is starting to think that your position is that "all Muslims inherently hate and want to kill all Jews," which surely is not your intent. Of course, I'm not sure you've expressed what your view is. Perhaps if you did, it would open the door for Dr. White to agree with it."


[complete]: "Here is his reply accusing me of doing what Norman Geisler has done in perpetuating the Great Evangelical Cover-up regarding the many myths and lies of Ergun Caner. The ability to not only disregard the obvious meaning of my words, but to stretch to this incredible length, speaks so loudly to the length to which Mr. Hays is willing to go in the prosecution of his case against those he personally dislikes that I truly need to make no further comment. I simply ask the reader to compare what I wrote to his response, see how the substance of my reply was ignored, and that what he does say in response ignores my clear intent and purpose, and make your decision on the basis of the facts. I pray the Lord's blessings on Steve, and on the whole Triablogue team. I simply pray he will recover his balance and seek fairness in his future efforts."


Hays: Trusting the Enemy (10-1-11)

Hays: Geostrategic Morality (10-1-11)

"Since Jamin Hubner lacks the moral discernment to properly frame the Arab-Israeli conflict, we need to walk him through the process."

Hays: Them thar knee-jerk Bahble thumpers (10-1-11)


TAO: Supporting the Arabs With Unsound Arguments (10-1-11)



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3 comments:

Adomnan said...

The first thing these garrulous guys need to figure out is that James White is not a "Dr."

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Dave,

Watching the interplay between the actors of this play for some odd reason seems to be a cross between Satre's "No Exit," and the classic BBC sitcom, "Are You Being Served?". But more importantly, we can all breathe a sigh of relief since Mr. Hays will have no trouble holding Messrs. White and Hubner "accountable" as this plays out since they both list what churches they go to on their websites.

Seriously though, rather than sniping at each other, they all need to get together and say a prayer along these lines to help them get over their differences and focus on what is really important, like giving the reasons for their hope:

Keep us, O God, from all pettiness;
let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.

Let us be done with fault-finding
and leave off all self-seeking.
May we put away all pretense and meet each other face-to-face without self-pity and without prejudice.

May we never be hasty in judgment
and always generous.

Let us take time for all things,
and make us to grow calm, serene, and gentle.

Teach us to put into action our better impulses, straightforward and unafraid.

Grant that we may realize that it is the little things of life that create differences, that in the big things of life, we are as one.
And, O Lord, God, let us not forget to be kind!

God bless!

Paul Hoffer said...

That should have been "Sartre"...grumble.