How A and Not A are the Same

You may have seen the story about the Larycia Hawkins, an associate professor of political science at Wheaton, who made a splash by saying that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, and by wearing a hijab for Advent. She was placed on administrative leave, and that was followed by a recommendation that her tenure and employment be terminated. Following that, the Faculty Council of Wheaton unanimously petitioned the administration to withdraw that recommendation.

Words are so challenging. If Allah, the one who has no Son, is the same as the Father of Jesus Christ, then it would appear that hiring and firing are also the same.
Words are so challenging. If Allah, the one who has no Son, is the same as the Father of Jesus Christ, then it would appear that hiring and firing are also the same.

The Wheaton statement on the whole affair is here. In that statement, they explain that the “hijab for Advent” thing had nothing to do it, but rather that their concerns were over her theological statements. In short, she could wear a hijab. Their problem is that she had the sort of thought processes that might result in her doing so.

When the Faculty Council made their request, they also posed five questions for the administration of Wheaton to answer. In the full recognition that nobody asked me, I will nevertheless endeavor to answer the questions in the same spirit that produced them, suggesting by this somewhat oblique means that the administration of Wheaton answer in this same way. Just a suggestion. That way they can murk up the protest at least as thoroughly as the protesters are murking up the Statement of Faith.

1. Does the College have a position on what can or cannot be said regarding the question: “Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?”

When you say “a position,” this appears to assume a heteronormative view of logic and sexuality. “A” position is confining, stifling. This appears to say that there is only one way of looking at these things. We believe that the way to break on through to the other side would be to embrace the full tensions implicit in the sociological narrative and so go on to say that Christians and Muslims both do and do not worship the same God/goddess/infinite force/being/yin/yang. But if this is the case, then it follows that the administration and Professor Hawkins are also saying and doing the same thing, each in our own way.

2. What is the process for determining acceptable interpretations of the Statement of Faith? Do faculty have a role in this process? How will faculty know if their views and/or statements are in danger of being judged unacceptable?

We believe that the process for determining acceptable interpretations of the Statement of Faith would have to be interminable seminars during the summer months, academic workshops at important conferences, and referral to at least three committees.

3. Is it considered proper process to place a faculty member on leave based on public statements that could be outside the statement of faith before there is a process of interpretation?

Nay! The process of interpretation must always come first. That is why we have referred these five questions of the Faculty Council — knowing that we cannot answer them unless there has first been a process of interpretation — to a committee that we here in the Admin Building like to call the Endless Committee. We would love to answer your question, but we have not yet been able to successfully work it through our process of interpretation.

4. What is Administrative Leave, and how does the Employee Handbook relate to the Faculty Handbook in the case of disciplinary situations?

“Administrative leave” is one of the deeper questions in theology. These things are often a mystery. The Employee Handbook is an even deeper mystery, as some of you have pointed out from time to time.

5. What policies are in place for administration to deal with “emergency” social media situations?

Well, again, the process of interpretation must always come first. We begin by trying to define “emergency,” and we must do so in light of the perichoretic dance, unless of course the Muslim God and the Christian God are the same, in which case there is no perichoretic dance, but only a unitarian stomp. But either way, since perichoretic and unitarian may well be talking about the same reality, not to mention dancing and stomping, it follows that “administrative leave” may also be identical to a “promotion and a fat raise.” This side of Jordan, we may never know.

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BooneCtyBeek
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BooneCtyBeek

Is the rainbow dude in the back part of the Wheaton faculty?

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

I never considered that that might be a faculty member. When I first noticed that guy, I thought, “Man, Russell Moore is really starting to lose his hair.”

Stephen Rowe
Member

Theological issues aside the labor lawyers are going eat Wheaten alive on this one.

Ochre
Guest
Ochre

Wheaten Alive: Pantheism and Lawfare in the Land of Lincoln. Dibs on the book rights!

adad0
Member

Conclusion of book:
1 Corinthians 6
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. !!!

christian
Guest
christian

Why? Private religious institutions are allowed to have statements of belief and policies that faculty must hold and adhere to.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Yes they are, but there is a problem if it can be demonstrated that other faculty members have been allowed to teach ideas that conflict with the official statement of belief. If Wheaton tolerates unorthodoxy except when it comes to Islam, it looks capricious at best and bigoted at worst.

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

Plus, she’s one of the few, if not only, blacks on the faculty, and she was, IIRC, the first black female professor ever hired at Wheaton. So if they have tolerated unorthodoxy in some white professors, accusations of racism are sure to be lodged in the near future, if they haven’t already been made.

Matthew Schraud
Member

There is also the blatant difference between variance in orthodoxy and heresy. One is orthodox, the other, well… not.

Stephen Rowe
Member

The statement of faith has holes you can drive a truck through (this is one such truck). It is possible to make a creditable intellectual defense of the administrations position but it would require that the collage also argue that Jews and Christians worship different gods as well. Talk about leaping from the frying pan into the fire!

Jane
Member

Whence the premise that someone’s sincerely held belief has to be convincing or even coherent to someone else, in order to be protected? By that measure, Hinduism should have no protections at all.

Stephen Rowe
Member

It would appear that the overwhelming majority of the faculty support her. Is the administration going to fire them as well?

Jane
Member

Supporting her is not the same as agreeing with her heresy.

timothy
Guest
timothy

Nor athiesm

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

it would require that the collage also argue that Jews and Christians worship different gods as well.

Uh, unless Jesus Christ and Satan are one and the same, Jews and Christians most certainly do worship different gods.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

And this is where I must remind myself once again that freedom of speech is a good thing even when the views it is expressing make me ill.

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

I’m confused. It makes you ill when someone points out that Jews don’t worship Jesus Christ, but Satan?

Christianity makes you ill? Why are you on this site?

How about when people point out Muslims/Hindus/Mormons/Zoroastrians don’t worship Jesus Christ, but Satan?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I am well aware that Jews don’t worship Jesus, but I reject the idea that they must therefore worship Satan. Same goes for Muslims and Mormons and so on. I am willing to believe that Satanists worship Satan. At least. they appeared to in Rosemary’s Baby. I have a Jewish friend who went to school in the deep South a few decades ago. He tells me that fellow students would ask to see his horns on hearing that he was Jewish. I have read only a few of your posts, but I have gained an impression from them that you… Read more »

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

I am well aware that Jews don’t worship Jesus, but I reject the idea that they must therefore worship Satan.

Well, and I’m being serious and trying to be respectful, if Jesus Christ is God, and Jews (and other groups) don’t worship Jesus Christ, but they’re also not worshiping Satan, then who do they worship? Do you believe there are other gods besides Jesus?

Christopher
Member
Christopher

“Do you believe there are other gods besides Jesus?”
The question is do you belive there are false gods that aren’t satan?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

No, I don’t. Jews worship God the Father. Because of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, we as Christians see God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When they worship God, Jews are unknowingly worshiping the Son and the Holy Ghost because the Trinity is indivisible. But their intention is to worship God the Father, who gave them the Torah and who commanded them to do justice and love mercy.

Christopher
Member
Christopher

The indivisible nature of the Trinity also means that if Jews regect Jesus they regect the Father as well.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

If they knowingly reject Jesus, true. But I don’t believe that every Jew who doesn’t believe in Jesus is consciously rejecting Him. It depends on how much grace they have been given.

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

No, I don’t. Jews worship God the Father. Because of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, we as Christians see God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When they worship God, Jews are unknowingly worshiping the Son and the Holy Ghost because the Trinity is indivisible. If so, then the very same is true of Muslims. They worship the God of Abraham, God the Father, as authentically as Jews do. So if Jews and Christians worship the same god, so do Muslims and Christians. Of course, neither group worships God the Father. The Bible clearly says that Jesus and the… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

My church teaches me that the words of Jesus were directed to the Pharisaic leaders of the time who were oppressing the people. He was not referring to every Jew past, present, or to come. It is also not my experience that ordinary Jews are familiar with Talmudic teachings or consider them as binding. Jewish children are routinely taught Torah, not Talmud.
My church also teaches me that God formed a covenant with the Jewish people. Of course I believe that pious Jews worship the one true God.

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

So you’re saying that Jesus’ statement here:

Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me:

only applied to a tiny number of Jewish leaders at that point in time, and should in no way be taken to mean that people it’s necessary to love Jesus Christ in order to worship God, and that Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father can be separated and properly worshiped in a non-Trinitarian manner ?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

No, I was saying that when Jesus called the Jewish leaders devil’s spawn, He was referring to a particular group of leaders. I believe it is wrong to conclude from His words that He thought every Jew was a child of Satan.
I think that pious Jews worship God with as much light as they have. I also think that it would be a blessed thing if their hearts and minds were opened so that they would believe in our Lord Jesus. Until that day comes, I believe they are worshiping the Father as best they can.

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

I see what you’re saying, but I don’t agree. Of course, far more Christians agree with your on this topic than with me. From what I can see, most Christians regard Jews as fellow believers. John Hagee even comes right out and denies Christ, saying that Jews don’t have to accept Christ to be saved – they’re saved by their genes.

Of course, these same Christians look like idiots when they then turn around and insist that Muslims AREN’T worshiping the God of the Bible, because they don’t believe Jesus is God.

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

Would you agree with this statement, jilly?

I think that pious Muslims worship God with as much light as they have. I also think that it would be a blessed thing if their hearts and minds were opened so that they would believe in our Lord Jesus. Until that day comes, I believe they are worshiping the Father as best they can.

If not, why not?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Yes, I agree with it. The official teaching of my church, which I am compelled to believe, is as follows: “The Moslems, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who at the last day wiill judge mankind” (Lumen Gentium 16). Though the Islamic faith does not acknowledge Jesus as God, it does revere Him as prophet, and also honors His virgin mother. Moslems “prize the moral life, and give worship to God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.” Not a popular point of view these days, but one that is binding… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

“Prize the moral life” is not the same as giving worship to God, a professing atheist can do that much. Since the Islamic faith does not acknowledge Jesus as God it does not acknowledge the God whom Christians worship. Either Jesus was telling the truth about Himself (John 8:24; John 8: 42; John 14: 6-7) or He was not even so much as a prophet. Either the apostles knew what they were talking about (John 1:1; John 1:14; Acts 4:12; Acts 17: 30-31; 1 John 2:23) or their teachings should be disregarded. I know Jesus did tell the truth about… Read more »

Christopher
Member
Christopher

“If so, then the very same is true of Muslims. They worship the God of Abraham, God the Father, as authentically as Jews do.”

Jews worship the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” muslims don’t .

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

Jews worship the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” muslims don’t .

But earlier you said this:

The indivisible nature of the Trinity also means that if Jews regect Jesus they regect the Father as well.

So Jews, who reject Jesus Christ, reject the Father as well, but they do worship the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

This is a blatant contradiction. But feel free to spin away.

Christopher
Member
Christopher

That’s why I used the scare quotes. My point was that jews and muslims don’t worship the same god by their own definitions.

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

See; I knew you could spin it!

(I never said you could do it well…)

Christopher
Member
Christopher

I’m not sure what you think I’m spining.

Jane
Member

They don’t unknowingly worship the Son and the Holy Spirit, they consciously reject and blaspheme them. Let’s say Annabella says she loves my whole family. But she happens to hate my second daughter. When asked why she hates my second daughter while loving my family, she says, “Because she’s not part of your family, according to me.” Does she actually love my whole family? Does she in fact therefore really love my second daughter? Can I nonetheless be kind to Annabella despite her disturbing delusions about my family and her hatred for my daughter? Yes. But I can’t possibly claim… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Jane, I think that would be true for Jewish people who have been given grace to believe in the Son and yet who reject Him. Among the Jewish people with whom I share ties of family and friendship, there is ignorance rather than conscious rejection. Suppose in your analogy Annabella likes your second daughter but simply cannot believe, on the evidence she has seen, that she is your child. Let’s say the circumstances are such that membership in your family is a matter of faith rather than proof. Most of my life is spent with Jewish people. I have not… Read more »

Jane
Member

But DOES she really love my family, regardless of whether you call it “inability” or “blasphemy” or something else? I don’t see how she can legitimately say that. She might genuinely THINK she loves my family, but if she insists that one particular person is not a member of my family and will have nothing to do with that person (can we at least call the Jewish/Muslim attitude toward Jesus that?) she is not genuinely loving my family as my family really is. She is loving a false image in her mind that stands for my family, but she is… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I think there is a difference between Christians having fuller revelation than the Jews and the Islam rejecting that fuller revelation. While the Jews were culpable at the time for rejecting the Messiah, as much as the Jews had up until Jesus was correct (give or take, and noting that modern Judaism diverges). But Muhammed introduced a false religion that rejected what God had already revealed. Thus Islam is not incomplete in the way that Judaism is. So the relationship of the Jews to Christianity is quite distinct from Islam to Christianity (as a religion). We know more than the… Read more »

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

Also, this:

He tells me that fellow students would ask to see his horns on hearing that he was Jewish.

is almost certainly nonsense. It’s common for Jews to portray themselves as perpetual victims of eternal Christian hate. And for the most part, it’s not true. On the contrary, what I see is a raging Jewish hatred of Christians.

Every day, day in and day out, scores of Jewish journalists and academics attack evangelical Christians as monsters, who are filled with a murderous hatred of non-whites, gays, foreigners, and of course, Jews.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

You said: ” It’s common for Jews to portray themselves as perpetual victims of eternal Christian hate.” Even if that were true, I think we Christians have given them reason to think so. Expelled from England in 1290 and from Spain in 1492. Killed by the hundred by priest-led villagers with pitchforks. Killed by the thousands in Russian shtetls. Killed by the million in the camps. Less deadly but still wicked: for centuries Jews were banned from government and the professions. Only a few occupations were open to them, resulting in gentiles blaming them for excelling in those professions. But… Read more »

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

But I have a feeling that we are not likely to discuss this rationally. We’re discussing it rationally so far, and I can think of no reason that we can’t continue to do so. Expelled from England in 1290 and from Spain in 1492. Killed by the hundred by priest-led villagers with pitchforks. Killed by the thousands in Russian shtetls. And this had absolutely nothing to do with Jewish behavior? It was just poor, innocent Jews minding their own business, being good neighbors, until those evil, hate-filled Christians turned on them and began killing them for absolutely no reason whatsoever,… Read more »

Stephen Rowe
Member

The Jews in England were guilty of one crime….not being Christians. At least is Spain there was a history of collaboration with the moreish invaders. The fact that all a Jew had to do to remain was convert to Christianity suggests that “This had absolutely nothing to do with Jewish behavior”. Where do you get your information Estes?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I believe that Jews have historically been persecuted for several reasons. The first is that from about the eleventh century forward, there has been great resentment from Christians towards Jews. Some of this hatred (such as we find in Luther’s essay) stemmed from Christian attitudes about the Crucifixion and about the seemingly stubborn refusal of the Jews to convert. Some also came from the fact that the Jewish community in any country was an alien presence in a Christian society. As you know, Catholics were not allowed to lend money at interest. Jews were disallowed from engaging in many types… Read more »

Christopher
Member
Christopher

“Psychologists have done studies showing that when a group is habitually persecuted or mistreated, the people doing the persecution grow in their hatred of the target. Apparently it is human nature to despise those whom we treat badly.”

Deut 25:3
“Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.”

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Wow!

denise njim
Guest
denise njim

Question #2 shows the true agenda behind this protest.

RFB
Guest
RFB

Correct; and more than likely, given the tenor of the Q’s, the verdict is also in words:

“this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

adad0
Member

Or……. Word grounded answers! Q:1. Does the College have a position on what can or cannot be said regarding the question: “Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?” A: Luke 6:44-4644 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord,… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

Word grounded answers are always wonderful, but some situations just call for a simple, “you’re being a complete moron, knock it off.”

Speaking of the word however, this whole thing reminds me of, “what is truth?”

insanitybytes22
Member

You seem to have forgotten the importance of utilizing up and down twinkles. Also, I’d applaud, but I’m reluctant to trigger anybody.

timothy
Guest
timothy

I up-twinkled you.

bethyada
Member

Amused, especially by answer number 1.

Although we are all still waiting for your post on the Anglican decision. If you are waiting inspiration here’s a title: Are Primates Vertebrates or Invertebrates?

bethyada
Member

Yet her recently expressed views, including that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, appear to be in conflict with the College’s Statement of Faith. I think that this question is actually quite complex. If I were to give a short answer to the question: Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? then that answer is: no. Yet when Muslims read an Arabic Bible the word for God is “Allah,” and the Koran talks about “Jesus.” Is the “Jesus” in the Koran Jesus? Yes and no. Is the “Jesus” of the Jesus seminar Jesus? Yes and no. Is “Allah”… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I was quite interested in Pastor Wilson’s real answer to #1, as this is certainly not an easy question at all, and was disappointed when he just went with the unedifying snarkiness instead.

Jane
Member

That was an answer, albeit a snarky one. Translation: it doesn’t make sense to ask a question for the purpose of nailing down a position based on the laws of verbal logic, if you’re already well down the road of waffling on those laws.

Gianni
Member
Gianni

Fantastic! Answer fools according to their folly, the wise man said, and Wilson goes for the jugular. Simply unanswerable.

Bike bubba
Guest

It is interesting that it was a unanimous vote. Nobody on the faculty council argued that it was important, regardless of the evidence, for Ms. Hawkins to participate in an evaluation of whether her views are orthodox or not? Nobody pointed out that she’s been pushing the envelope and boundaries of evangelical positions for a while, including apparent participation on gay pride rallies and other things that would test the boundaries of evangelical thought far more drastically than her statement on Islam? Interesting place in the suburbs of Chicago, to put it mildly. Would have been interesting to be a… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

Burn the colleges and universities.

God will know his own.

Rick Davis
Guest
Rick Davis

Maybe Wheaton should just require all its professors to sign on to the Athansian Creed, and not to publicly say anything contrary to it. Failure to do so resulting in termination.

“Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance.”

Dumb&Dumber
Guest
Dumb&Dumber

If you want to talk about slowww committees…you don’t need to look further than the farce cmte investigating Doug’s crazy sexual abuse disasters.

Where are we in that process Doug? Other than, you know, making jokes about the abused in church meetings.

adad0
Member

See Natalie’s web site for her publicly posted responses to the investigative committees questions. She posted them in 2015!

You know D&D, sometimes there is a lot in a name! ; – )

Michael Keith Blankenship
Guest
Michael Keith Blankenship

She wears the uniform of the murderers and oppressors of our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria, during Advent, at a Christian college. She is horribly evil.

Dumb&Dumber
Guest
Dumb&Dumber

You aren’t serious?

Michael Keith Blankenship
Guest
Michael Keith Blankenship

I am serious. At first i thought she was merely misguided, now I recoil at her actions. In Syria and Iraq our brothers and sisters are being enslaved, gang-raped and are the subject of attempted genocide. it this professor really cared about oppression, she would be standing with the Christians, Yezidis and Kurds.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

The Kurds are Muslims themselves, and both they and the Yezidis have women among themselves who wear the headscarf. In fact, the vast majority of ISIS’s victims are Muslims. She almost certainly already is standing with the victims – I don’t know why you assumed that headscarf = oppressor.

Jane
Member

Because she was talking about standing with the Muslims, NOT with the Yezidis or the headcovering Christians.

She didn’t just put on a hijab and let us import meaning into it; she explained why she was doing it.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

You seem to have missed, “The Kurds are Muslims” and “the vast majority of ISIS’s victims are Muslims.”

In Iraq/Syria specifically, the number of Muslims who are ISIS targets or ISIS enemies FAR outweighs the number of who are ISIS emphasizers. Both Yezidis and Christians are a tiny % of their overall victims. I still don’t get how you can assume that “Muslim” automatically means the oppressors in the war and not the victims.

ashv
Guest
ashv

Are you denying that this woman wears the garb of the oppressors of our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I’m saying that it’s the garb of our fellow victims in Iraq and Syria, like many of the very Kurds that Michael Keith said she should be standing with, not to mention the Shia (who they speak of with much more hatred than Christians and whom they’ve killed far more of than any other group), not to mention the many many Sunnis they’ve killed. Not to mention the 95% of Muslims who want nothing to do with them. Pointing out that the ISIS women wear hijabs isn’t much more meaningful than pointing out that Nazi women wore skirts. I don’t… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

You sympathize more with Muslims than with Christians. You are sick.

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

If Wheaton does wind up firing Professor Hawkins, I hope they replace her with Donald Trump.

Estes Kefauver
Guest
Estes Kefauver

But I’m pretty sure they won’t fire her.

bethyada
Member

Christianity Today has a useful piece on this

“In my 30-plus years of interacting with Muslims, I have yet to meet a Muslim who believes that Allah is a different God from the Yahweh of the Bible,” he wrote. “Most former Muslims would also say that they had been attempting to worship the same God, but they later realized that the teaching and system of worshipping God in Islam were to some extent incorrect, false, and misleading.”

Matt
Guest
Matt

“If Allah, the one who has no Son, is the same as the Father of Jesus Christ, then it would appear that hiring and firing are also the same.”

This reasoning would seem to imply that any two people with the slightest theological difference are worshiping different gods. By this logic, it is doubtful whether any two individuals have ever worshiped the same god. I suspect that this implication would be rejected, but how then can you tell when two people making contradictory statements about God are nonetheless worshiping the same God?

ArwenB
Guest
ArwenB

That is not a “slight theological difference”

Matt
Guest
Matt

Right. But the reasoning does not depend on the significance of the disagreement, but simply on the fact that the two groups make contradictory statements about God. If it is valid in this case, why is it not also valid for any minor disagreement? Actually, it seems to imply that there can never be a disagreement about the attributes of anyone or anything, but that when two people seem to disagree about such matters, they are actually talking about different things. One person believes that N.D. Wilson is Douglas’s son; another does not. By this logic, this apparent disagreement is… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

??? Of course the significance of the disagreement (if I understand what you mean by that phrase) between two groups makes a difference. Not all points are equally significant. Not all disagreement has to do with ontological questions. Not all disagreement has to do with things fundamental – which is the tricky part, definition of fundamental I mean. Nonetheless, some disagreements involve divergence from a common starting point, e.g., there is a deity, earlier than others. A fairly early divergence on foundational matters is much more significant than later divergence on the details.

jesuguru
Guest
jesuguru

A. This is the best route to Matt’s house.
B. No, that is the best route to Matt’s house.
vs
A. This is Matt’s house.
B. That’s not Matt’s house, it’s over there.

The significance of the disagreement makes an absolute difference.

Jane
Member

It is not that they are talking about different Doug Wilsons, it’s that they can’t both claim to be best buddies with Doug Wilson, and both be right. At least one of them is not a friend of Doug Wilson’s at all, because the real Doug Wilson thinks it’s important that his friends acknowledge his family members. The claim is not that they both have some intellectual content about the same God. It’s that they *worship* the same God. Worship is a positive act of love that has a real object. Either in at least one case the object is… Read more »

Matt
Guest
Matt

Fair enough, but the caption under the picture and Doug’s answer to question 1 seem to be making a logical rather than a relational point. I am only pointing out the fallacy of the logical claim that two parties making contradictory statements about the same being are necessarily talking about different beings. Your relational point is granted. Suppose that someone identified Douglas Wilson as a “conservative Reformed and evangelical theologian, [who is] pastor at Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, faculty member at New Saint Andrews College, and prolific author and speaker, etc.” (Wikipedia) Can we agree that if such a… Read more »

Jane
Member

It would not mean he was talking about a different person, but it would mean he was NOT talking about the same person. There need not actually be two people in order for one of the two radically disagreeing parties not to be talking about one of them, but about something different that cannot reasonably be identified with the other one, regardless of whether there is such a person as is being described.

“Not knowing” and “denying” cannot possibly be equivocated after 1400 years of common history.

Matt
Guest
Matt

So someone who said they were talking about Doug Wilson and described him with the summary above would not actually be talking about the real Doug Wilson? It seems more natural to me to say that they are talking about the same person, but are mistaken about this or that detail. I suppose the disagreement is a matter of semantics at this point, but this seems like a bizarre way of using language with endless counterintuitive implications. For example, anytime anyone learns something new about an individual, they are actually finding out that the person they previously imagined was either… Read more »

Jane
Member

It’s not a simple matter of omitting or being unaware of a detail.

It’s a matter of saying, “Doug Wilson cannot possibly have a son named Nate and if you say Doug Wilson has a son named Nate, Doug Wilson hates you.”

The only sane response to that is, “That’s not the Doug Wilson I know. You’re either talking about a different Doug Wilson, or an imaginary one, but I know for a fact that’s not the real one.”

Matt
Guest
Matt

If someone said that “Douglas Wilson, the conservative, Reformed and evangelical theologian, the pastor at Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, faculty member at New Saint Andrews College, and prolific author and speaker, defender of the Westminster Confession, leader of the Federal Vision, host of Blog and Mablog, who debated Christopher Hitchens; this Douglas Wilson cannot possibly have a son named Nate and if you say Doug Wilson has a son named Nate, Doug Wilson hates you.”–If someone said that, I would think they were clearly talking about the same person (what if Doug was in the room and they pointed… Read more »

Jane
Member

If they persisted in the insistence for 1400 years (or for the lifetimes of Doug and Nate, at least), you would still think it was a mistake about a real person, rather than a fixation on an imaginary one? The thing is that if Doug hated people who thought he had a son, he would be so different from the Doug that exists, that saying the one you’re talking about and the one the other guy is talking about might be semantically true on some level, but it’s become utterly meaningless as a way of comparing your beliefs about Doug… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Jane, are you taking into account the fact that the overwhelmingly central part of any Jew’s religious education is the monotheistic nature of God? I accept the Trinity on faith, not because I understand it, and it is difficult to describe this doctrine to a Jew in a way that does not suggest polytheism. This, I think, is where your analogy runs into a problem. Suppose the friend who can’t accept Arabella’s membership in your family feels this way because she has been taught, as fact, from earliest childhood that your family includes an impostor named Arabella. Suppose this friend… Read more »

Jane
Member

Jilly, I’m not sure how that matters.

I’m not mad at Arabella. I understand the reasons why she thinks what she does.

But someone who believes that God hates when people says He has a son, does not believe in the same kind of God as the God who actually has one. How is that controversial, and/or subject to being altered by how strongly or why Arabella believes what she believes?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I suppose only because I am irritated when people suggest that only obduracy and willful blindness prevent Jews from recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. You understand why Arabella believes as she does, but that is far from common. But I have trouble getting my mind around the rest of it. Throughout the Hebrew Bible we are given a consistent vision of God: His justice, love, mercy, and providence. In His childhood, Jesus would have been taught about such a God in the synagogue. I can see, as a Christian, that this view of God is incomplete, but how is it… Read more »