In a revision of an earlier indiscretion in print, Nick Gier continues to dub us the “Moscow Taliban.” This device of calling conservative Presbyterians Talibanesque was (in Gier World) quite a witticism, and one which Gier felt obliged to give credit for, and so he acknowledged Mark Potok, from the world’s richest civil rights organization. Comparing conservative Christians to conservative Muslims! What a bon mot! However did you come up with it?
There are “chilling parallels,” don’t you know. The howlers begin in the first paragraph, and in this review, I shall limit myself to the first three paragraphs, lest I vex the limits of patience, both my own and that of my readers.
“There are some chilling parallels between Christian and Islamic fundamentalists. Both divide the world between believers and unbelievers, and by deciding for themselves who is saved and who is damned, they think that they can play God with our lives.”
The structure of this argument is a sight to behold. “There are chilling parallels between the Allies and the Nazis. Both of them divide the world between friend and enemy (“Ooo! I never thought of it that way before!”), and both of them are interested in complete hegemony over the beaches of Normandy!”
Or how about this? “There are chilling parallels between Islamic and secularist fundamentalists. They both divide the world between those who are with them and those who are not with them . . .” Churchill once described a fanatic as someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject. Does that apply to our local secularist crazies or not?
The howler in the second paragraph is when he refers fondly to “the secular culture of liberal democracy, the most peaceful and prosperous means of social organization ever devised by human kind.” But secularism raw is responsible for the deaths of tens of millions, and secularism lite (liberal democracy), while still pretty bad (Roe v. Wade), is nevertheless held in check in those nations which have had a strong Christian heritage.
The third paragraph reveals that what Nick Gier doesn’t know about Presbyterian theology could be the basis for a great library, the likes of which the world has never seen. He says, “Of greatest concern, however is the fundamentalist view of the violent end of the world.” He says this about me, and Steve Wilkins, even though both of us are postmillennialists, which is the view that the future of the world is going to be characterized by an approaching and inexorable peace. The lion will lie down with the lamb. The spears will be beaten into pruning hooks. Cats and dogs will get along. In the coming millennial glory, philosophy professors will start making sense. Confusing us with the lurid end-of-the-worlders and Armageddoners is like confusing licorice with Altoids, and is about par for his scholarly course. All in three paragraphs, and he hasn’t even broken a sweat.
He is doing all this because he is personally gearing up for our Trinity Fest this next August, wanting the faithful to rally round again for another dud of a counterprotest. But if he really wants to lead that charge, with scholarship as sloppy as his can be, then I suggest he take a couple months off and go through his own publications to sift out any, um, unattributed citations there. I believe he has a word for that when he thinks others might have done it. Without adequate preparation, were there any such, it might come out at an embarrassing time for him.