The Divine Glory, Welterweight Division

“This is not a [book] to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” Attributed to Dorothy Parker

I believe I mentioned in passing that I recently picked up Greg Boyd’s God at War. I was pursuing more information on the divine council, having read Michael Heiser’s fine books on that topic, and thought that I might be able to pick up something additional from Boyd. But now, having read his first chapter, I am returning it to the shelf, from which position it may grin idiotically at any intelligent visitors to my office. Like I said, I am putting it back. But not without fisking it first.crazy

The thing that makes this book insufferable is that Boyd pretends that he is facing the problem of evil with a hard, unflinching gaze when he actually is doing a version of the perp walk, coat over his head, refusing to face even the most elementary questions. There is one place where he faintly alludes to the existence of an elementary question, but all that does is reveal that he knows he is being coy and intellectually dishonest. More about that allusion in a moment.

Boyd is like that pre-Wright brothers guy standing on top of the barn with homemade batman wings, having invited local newspaper reporters to come watch him soar. After he jumps off the barn, with wings made in the barn, we find him lying at the base of the barn, groaning. The reporters run up and ask for a comment. Boyd, in this chapter, repeatedly says something like ta da!

Greg Boyd’s take “is predicated on the assumption the divine goodness does not completely control or in any sense will evil; rather, good and evil are at war with one another” (God at War, p. 20, emphasis mine).

To summarize, Boyd says that God’s sovereignty does not mean that He controls everything. There is a fierce war on, and gratuitous evil happens in the course of such wars. Evil does not need to be explained because there is no explanation. Evil actors do evil things. God is against them, fighting them valiantly. God does not in any sense will that evil continue to occur. He is at war with it. God is on the other side, so He doesn’t have to answer for what the bad guys are doing in the course of the war. Ta da!

“If the world is indeed caught up in the middle of a real war between good and evil forces, evil is to be expected – including evil that serves no higher end. For in any state of war, gratuitous evil is normative” (p. 20)

Taken by itself this is obviously mere hand-waving. It makes sense if we limit the discussion to creaturely good guys fighting creaturely bad guys. The good guys don’t have provide an accounting for why the bad guys are being bad. But there is a problem! We have someone on our side who is keeping the battlefield in existence. He is the one who gives the next heartbeat to everyone out there on the battlefield, both sides. And who made the sun shine on the tyrant’s fields, so that he would have food to give to his armies in order to fuel their campaign of invasive mayhem?

I mentioned that Boyd gives a brief and sullen nod to the fact that he has solved absolutely no problems whatever. Here it is.

“Now, on the biblical assumption that God is the sole Creator of all that is, there is still the ultimately metaphysical question of why God would create a world in which cosmic war could break out. In this sense the problem of theodicy remains, even within a warfare worldview” (p. 21).

He is in the neighborhood of a reasonable question, one that would—were he to actually look at it with a hard and unflinching gaze—blow up his entire project. But notice how he puts it. Why would God create a world in which cosmic war could break out? Stars and garters, is that how you frame a question like that? The question is rather why God continues to sustain and provide for a world in which cosmic war has in fact broken out, and has been going on for thousands of years, and with billions of casualties.

I quoted Boyd as saying earlier that God in no sense wills evil. So answer me this, gazer of hard and unflinching gazes. As I write these words, it is December 7, 2016. Tomorrow is December 8, a date on which numerous atrocities and outrages will occur—the kind of events that Boyd pretends to take a hard and unflinching look at. Whose will is it that December 8, 2016 will occur and go into the history books? Who will have done that? Who will be the only one to have done that?

But here is Boyd, pretending to be brave.

“If we do not flinch from the concrete horror, there comes a point when the notions that God has a purpose for everything, that things always go his way, and that nothing can genuinely oppose him get stretched to the breaking point” (p. 43).

In other words, we have moved from a God who ordains evil for His sovereign good purposes, which will be revealed in due time, and which all will acknowledge as glorious at that time, which is vile Calvinism, to a God who allows evil to continue merrily on right under his nose, and he does this for no reason at all. And this is a theodicy? Boyd moves, in other words, from a worldview that promises that every wrong will be put right, every bone will be set, every tear will be dried, to a worldview where countless millions will have gotten caught in the machinery. For no reason. And why? Because God wanted to have a war with lots of pointless casualties. This is not facing up to the horrors—it is complicity in them.

“The world is caught up in a cosmic battle and thus is saturated with horrifying suffering and diabolical evil. That is the final explanation for evil” (p. 56).

Finally, making us face facts, comes a theologian with a steely gaze.

The explanation for evil is that there is no explanation. The world is still one screwed up place, and God is still the one who put it here. God is still the one who lets it be here tomorrow. He either has a reason for this or he doesn’t. Boyd’s reply is that He doesn’t, other than the very general one, which is that He thought a cosmic war would be nice.

“Hence too, one need not agonize over what ultimately good, transcendent divine purpose might be served by any particular evil event” (p. 20).

The Calvinist has to take follow-up questions. Boyd doesn’t take follow-up questions. He would rather play the Hitler card against the “classical-philosophical” types.

“For example, we must wonder why God created Adolf Hitler when he supposedly knew with absolute certainty – and eternally – exactly what monstrosities Hitler would carry out” (p. 50).

The Calvinist says that God foreordained all that comes to pass, including Hitler. This is why Boyd thinks he gets to ask us this Tough Question. But if the problem is Hitler, then every Christian has to answer the question. The Arminian has to explain why God foreknew the Hitler business and created the world anyway. The open theist, men like Boyd, have to be asked something like “what did God know, and when did He know it.” America came into the war against Hitler after Pearl Harbor. When did God come into the war? And after God came into the war, whenever that was, why didn’t He fight harder than He did? Why did it take years?

“The core problem seems to lie in the classical-philosophical equation of power with control, and thus omnipotence with omnicontrol, an equation that forces the problem of evil to be seen as a problem of God sovereignty” (p. 44).

But for the love of Mike, the problem of evil does not arise because we postulate God’s control of all things, including evil. The problem arises because all of us—including Boyd—postulate God’s ability to control all things, including evil. The Calvinist is asked—and it is a fair question—why God did it this way. The open theist is asked (if he sticks around for the Q&A, which is rarely) why God didn’t intervene when He could have.

For Boyd, the only two possible answers about God’s lack of intervention are “He couldn’t” or “He wouldn’t.” If the answer is that God would have intervened if He could have, but He didn’t have the power, then one wonders why, out of all the Olympian gods, our planet had to get the runt of the litter. But that can’t be the answer, because if God is the creator, as Boyd admits, He has to have a kill switch somewhere. End this planet already. It was a bad idea. If the answer is that He chose not to, for wise purposes that will be revealed later, then structurally the open theist has the same answer that the Calvinist does—only the Calvinist admits it.

Why would Boyd say things are such a mess?

“The cosmos is, by divine choice, more of a democracy than it is a monarchy” (p. 58, emphasis mine).

By divine choice, this planet has gone off the rails and continues to bounce along, railway cars going end over end, by divine choice. So it is not the case that God in no sense wills evil to exist.

I said a moment ago that Boyd’s answer is structurally the same as the Calvinist’s. That is true, but the content of the “good reason” God has for this Atrocity of a World is quite different. The Calvinist says that God does all things in accordance with His good pleasure and will, and at the culmination of all things, every mouth will be stopped, every accusation laid low, and every sophomoric trifle taken off and executed. The purpose is His glory, and it will in fact glorify Him that the history of the universe followed the course that it did. Boyd rejects this explanation as not good enough.

Boyd builds his first chapter around a little girl named Zosia, a girl who was tortured and then executed by the Nazis—as though this were a problem for every Christian position but his. If someone asks me if God foreordained that horrific episode and, if so, whether He did it for the sake of His glory, my reply will be yes. And I will add further that every aspect of that grotesque evil will be put right. Why? I am a believer.

It would be the work of a moment for Boyd to caricature this as a view of sovereignty that sacrifices little girls on the altar of divine control. And the work of another moment to say “I could never worship a God like that.” But hold on a moment. The horror of Zosia’s torment actually occurred in a universe that Boyd believes is run by his version of God. When this thing was happening to Zosia, was the boyd-god even there? If not, why not? If so, then why didn’t He stop it?

If God is a sadistic criminal for ordaining this thing, why isn’t Boyd’s God a cowardly sneak for staying out of it? If we have the authority to indict the Calvinist God for first degree murder, why couldn’t we indict the open theist God for being drunk and disorderly?

So, in Boyd’s world, why would God do it this way? The standard answer is that it was done this way to avoid populating the world with automata. It was done so that people like Boyd could have their version of their precious free will. But notice what this reduces to. Zosia was in fact tortured and murdered. The altar of divine glory is clearly insufficient—but we will accept the sacrifice if she died on the altar of man. And that means we are sick.

Boyd is obviously well-read in the literature, and he writes in complete sentences. His spelling is good. But when it comes to theological acumen, when it comes to correctly identifying the stasis, he compares poorly to a special needs cauliflower.

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Jeremy
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Jeremy

Oof. Open theism takes one to the kidney.

Billtownphysics
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Billtownphysics

Sounds like the same argument Rabbi Kushner makes in “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”.

Mark Hanson
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Mark Hanson

Yeah – “God is all-good, but, doggone it, he’s just not powerful enough to end evil.”

Jill Smith
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Jill Smith

We are none of us Good People. Harder to understand is when good things happen to bad people, when it is more reasonable to assume that chronically bad people will have chronically bad outcomes.

Dave
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Dave

Greg Boyd’s take “is predicated on the assumption the divine goodness does not completely control or in any sense will evil…”
Where in this pronouncement does the cross of Christ fit in?

mehbit
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mehbit

What amazes me more than Boyd’s obvious lack of intellectual prowess is how many people find him to be incredibly insightful and useful. He’s written multiple books on this subject, and yet he hasn’t come up with enough substance to fill even a single chapter. He argues that God isn’t truly omnipotent and can’t control things (as any good closed-minded open theist would). But then he says God CAN and DOES control things when he wants to — like the final defeat of evil. One wonders how God can be sovereign enough to finally defeat Satan if He can’t even… Read more »

D. D. Douglas
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D. D. Douglas

“What amazes me more than Boyd’s obvious lack of intellectual prowess is
how many people find him to be incredibly insightful and useful.”

People find him useful because….well, frankly, I was going to spool up a whole paragraph of his usefulness to unbelievers, but the phenomenon can be summed up as an unbeliever’s version of Lenin’s “useful idiot”.

Rob Steele
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Rob Steele

Is God good? That’s the only question that really matters. If he’s good then shut up and trust him. If not, then you’re screwed and there is no escape. This question is the one the serpent subtly invited Eve to contemplate, as if she or any creature could be competent to judge God. God created everything that is not himself from nothing, therefore there is no standard of goodness outside of himself by which to judge him. We have no place to stand, no point of reference outside him to compare him to. Either God is good or there is… Read more »

Mark Hanson
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Mark Hanson

As C. S. Lewis said, “The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary.”

Craig French
Guest

“but we will accept the sacrifice if she died on the altar of man. And that means we are sick.”

Boom!

Tim Bushong
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Tim Bushong

“The Arminian has to explain why God foreknew the Hitler business and created the world anyway.”

Bingo. That’s one of the reasons that James White has said (countless times) that the only fully consistent Arminian is the one who embraces open theism. They fulminate and bluster, but in my own experience I have yet to get an answer from an Arminian to that specific question.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I don’t know if Catholics are Arminians, but I will give it a shot. We don’t know for sure why God chose to create mankind. It certainly isn’t because He needed us or was lonely without us. I have been taught that I was created to receive and reflect God’s glory; in the words of the catechism, “To know, to love, and serve Him in this world and live forever with Him in the next.” We are told that God created us in His image, which means that, like God, we enjoy free will. From the first misuse of that… Read more »

Rob Steele
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Rob Steele

Let me suggest that God creates in order to manifest his glory, which he does most spectacularly in the cross. In it we see his hatred of evil and his love of mercy in magnificent purity. We will be learning what the cross means literally forever and never reach the end of it. The cross cannot happen in a purely good world. There must be evil or else there would be no one who needs wrath or mercy and there would be no one to kill Jesus. If we knew God perfectly but did not know his wrath and mercy… Read more »

Christopher
Member

“In a world where moral choice is possible, evil is inevitable.”

Given an infinite number of worlds it is conceivable that there would be one where moral choice is possible and there is no evil. Otherwise you end up insisting on the eternal duality of good and evil, which I recall you saying catholics reject.

Jonathan
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Jonathan

In quantum physics we have a way of using impossible in a world of probabilities…if a quantum event is so improbable that it would more likely than not have not even happened once in the entire history of the universe, we say that it is an “impossible” event, even if there is actually a 1 in 10 to the 10 to the quatrillionth possibility of it happening. So while among infinite worlds there may be that one conceivable one that evil was not chosen, and I think in the Open Theology world they would say that God could foresee that… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

This is going to sound like high school level sophistry, but I do not understand this view of God or how His glory is magnified by the actions of the wicked. If God’s glory requires there to be Nazis torturing little girls, who are we to try to stand between the SS officer and Zosia–which I think any Christian would see as a moral duty. On this reading, God must have ordained the killing of the unborn by the millions across this nation, yet we see it as our responsibility to put a stop to it. Was the God of… Read more »

Capndweeb
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Capndweeb

Jilly, God’s glory magnified by the wicked? Out of Hitler, indeed because of Hitler, Israel was reborn.. As with Joseph, God is able to use for good what we intend for evil. And I would argue that He has a plan, has had a plan, and always will have a plan whose end point is ultimately far better than we can think or imagine. Given over to our own devices, we will hate God, mock Him, even spit on Him and nail Him to a cross. But in the end, we will find that all of that was in His… Read more »

adad0
Member

2 Kings 19 25 “‘Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass, that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone. 26 Their people, drained of power, are dismayed and put to shame. They are like plants in the field, like tender green shoots, like grass sprouting on the roof, scorched before it grows up. 27 “‘But I know where you are and when you come and go and how you rage against me. 28 Because you rage against me and because your insolence… Read more »

Jonathan
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Jonathan

You have to make incredible stretches in theology to equate the modern nation named “Israel” with the Biblical nation of Israel. I mean, they both have the same name and are in approximately the same place, and besides that….?

Jane
Member

Have the same people living in them?

Jonathan
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Jonathan

No, I’m quite certain all the old ones are dead.

Evan
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Evan

“Is there not a third option? That God is letting the prince of darkness rule this world for a season, and that while He knows the evil we will do, He did not hardwire us in such a way that we have no choice but to do it? That while God foresaw that giving people free will would inevitably cause little children to be tortured, He still chose to create people who can make moral choices? That while He is grieved by Zosia’s death on a level unimaginable to us, He expected us to save her?” Unfortunately, I think that… Read more »

Rob Steele
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Rob Steele

Is Tolkien’s glory exemplified in Sauron? Yes. Tolkien simultaneously loves and hates his creation. He made him as evil as his art allowed and that is glorious.

The objection that Sauron isn’t real misses the point. Compared to God, neither are we. Creation is more made up than any story.

Eagle_Eyed
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Eagle_Eyed

You are right to say God’s glory is not contingent upon human acts of wickedness, but remember that it cannot be hindered by these acts either. Ultimately, both Calvinists and Armenians are asking the wrong questions and arguing about the wrong things. The question is one of epistemology, namely what do atrocities and disasters tell us about the state of the world? The whole Earth groans, because it too must be rescued by our Redeemer. If almost everything went to plan, would mankind know it needs a Savior?

Tim Bushong
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Tim Bushong

I missed this whole discussion, but let me just say that I do believe that we are both asking the right questions regarding theodicy. There are still only two choices, and the right one is explicitly taught in Scripture. Either God had a purpose for all things when He decreed to create the cosmos or He didn’t.

Jillybean–you wrote above “But you can’t argue simultaneously that I have free will…”

You don’t have “free” will, in the sense of the will being an independent and libertarian force; you have a creaturely will; one that is controlled by your nature.

Eagle_Eyed
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Eagle_Eyed

Regarding God’s sovereignty and divine plan, I hardly see there being any choice for the Christian. So-called open theism is a non-starter, and frankly to address it as a serious proposition gives it a legitimacy it doesn’t deserve. But the typical Calvinist response to the Armenian defense of free will, as exemplified in your response to Jill, is sort of what I was referring to when I said the right questions aren’t being asked. So what if you label man’s will as “creaturely” instead of “free”? The problem with the Armenian view of free will is not that it is… Read more »

Scott Stilson
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Scott Stilson

_God At War_ is not a theodicy, but its follow-up _Satan & the Problem of Evil_ is, and there Boyd answers most of your rhetorical questions. You’re giving his ideas short shrift.

Jeremy
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Jeremy
Capndweeb
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Capndweeb

All of this discussion about judging God (cringe) and the explanations given by all the greatest theologians of the ages makes me think of a Chihuahua explaining the inner workings of cell biology to a parakeet. The Chihuahua, although absolutely dependent on the proper workings of cell biology for its very life, hasn’t got the slightest inkling of how any of it works nor the ability to communicate it effectively (beyond incessant yapping) which the parakeet cannot for the life of it understand anymore than it can read the newspaper on the bottom of its cage where the seed hulls… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I agree with you. Except that God created us with the light of reason in our minds. We must have the humility to recognize that our ability to reason only takes us so far. But I don’t think God would have created us as intelligent, questioning beings with a ceaseless desire to search for truth if trying to understand the divine will was off limits. I don’t think God is like the nuns who used to order novices to plant cabbages upside down as a test of blind obedience. Blind obedience to God trumps understanding, but I think God values… Read more »

Capndweeb
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Capndweeb

Agreed Jilly. All I was saying is that at even at my very, very best the glory, the unspeakable awesome grandeur of God, and the scope of His wisdom humbles me beyond words. Humility is exactly where I was going with what I wrote and you picked up on that right away. Yes.
In the words of an excellent writer and very wise man, “He is God and I am not.”

Thursday1
Guest
Thursday1

Speaking of difficult topics, here are some recent writings by Thomist philosopher Edward Feser on hell. They seem to me the best arguments on behalf of the eternality of hell I’ve ever read:
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.ca/2016/10/how-to-go-to-hell_29.html
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.ca/2016/11/does-god-damn-you.html
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.ca/2016/12/why-not-annihilation.html

Here is another article referenced by Feser:
https://www.academia.edu/2311701/The_Justice_and_Goodness_of_Hell

bethyada
Member

I bought me a book by Feser; hoping it will be good.

This may be the best book review ever written: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2016/02/omnibus-of-fallacies

Edit, note to Jill: Please read review. You will like it and an added bonus, Feser is a Catholic.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Feser is The Man!

Benjamin Bowman
Guest

Larfleeze. Doug, are you trying to subtly tell us that you are a closet comic book fan?

Scott Jacobsen
Guest
Scott Jacobsen

Sort of like Arminianism gone to seed.

bethyada
Member

This post lacks coherence, but I am willing to attribute at least half of that to Boyd.

precious free will: We will allow the Calvinist to define his Compatibalist free will, ’tis after all, only fair, only then to show that such a definition is not free at all, and reduces their freedom to automata. Thus there is no love because without freedom love does not exist. The reason freedom being so precious is of course secondary to love being so precious, more precious than sovereignty.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Funny. You say it’s either automata with no love or automy (free will) with love. You really think free human love is worth all the evil? But that’s beside the point. You have not shown that there is any necessary conflict between such love as we are capable of and us being robots. What if you’re right and and compatabilist free will really means no free will? You have a problem with being a robot if that’s what God wants? Do you object to God being really and totally in control? Do you have a better idea than him how… Read more »

bethyada
Member

You really think free human love is worth all the evil? I believe God thought that love was worth the possibility of evil. Do you object to God being really and totally in control? Do you have a better idea than him how things ought to go? I think Calvinists have a small view of sovereignty. God micromanaging the universe so that no atom goes astray? Tozer said it best, God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When… Read more »

Rob Steele
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Rob Steele

I agree that “God micromanaging the universe so that no atom goes astray” is a blinkered view of God’s sovereignty. For one thing it presupposes that God inhabits time more or less as we do, only for longer, as if time were not God’s idea. History is made up like a story and there is nothing in it that its author did not put there.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Yes, I think freely given human love is worth all the evil. The purpose of the world is to create saints who, having responded freely to the grace given to all, will glorify God forever. If God has in fact created us to be robots, some to be redeemed and some to be destroyed at His pleasure and for no other reason, that shows divine sovereignty but how could such creatures meaningfully glorify Him? I don’t think that God intended to create robots. If I am wrong, I don’t have a right to complain about it. But I can’t reconcile… Read more »

Matt
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Matt

“You really think free human love is worth all the evil?”

Aren’t we talking about God here? What would our particular moral calculus matter?

Or in other words, if God thought it was worth it, how would one go about objecting to his calculation?

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Very true. I should rephrase it as “You really think God thinks human love is worth all the evil?”

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

You really think free human love is worth all the evil?

Yes. Apparently so did God.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

I think God has a low opinion of our love. Love is the law and we are all law breakers. None of us is capable in himself of rendering that one thing God demands. It’s true that he’s fixing us but even in our glorified state it will only be God’s own love in us that has value.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
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40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

Speaking of evil, a preacher from the Jewish branch of Judeochristianity told a huge, evil lie last night. Thankfully, there was someone there who wasn’t afraid to expose his monstrous lie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V054eqVFaXs

https://twitter.com/theeagle/status/806231941167063044

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I watched the videos. I wouldn’t call it a huge, evil lie but a totally dumb remark that even most Jews would have demolished in a moment. The guy is deluded about his religion, as many people are. I could say “The Catholic church has above all respected the conscience rights of the individual believer” and let you all remind me about the Inquisition. But it’s only a lie if I said it while believing it to be untrue. And, again, do we have any idea about his views about Israel and its exclusionary policies? He may deplore them as… Read more »

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
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40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

It’s a huge, monstrous lie. The rabbi isn’t “deluded”, let alone deluded about his religion. People who are delusional about Judaism aren’t rabbis, let alone the Hillel rabbi at one of America’s largest universities. He was lying. Yeah, I think we do have an idea of his views on Israel. Did he say he deplores Israel’s wall, ethnocentrism, and outright racist policies? No, he did not. What he said was, “I’m not answering.” Which is beside the point. He didn’t say that he practices radical inclusion. He said that Jews practice radical inclusion. Israel is an officially Jewish state, with… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

No can dispute that it was an objectively untrue statement. If it was an intentional lie, it was a dumb one because you don’t need Spencer there to point that out. Anyone, including every other Jew on the planet, could have done the same. Which leads me back to the idea that he was deluded or meant by “radical inclusion” something so far from any normal definition that he was simply being dumb. Now it is true that every branch of Judaism, even the very strict ones, accept converts. Perhaps that is what he meant. Or maybe he was just… Read more »

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
Guest
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

Well, here’s the pre-eminent Jewish publication in America, The Forward, writing about him.

Nowhere do they call him an idiot or delusional, or even take issue with his claim.

http://forward.com/news/national/356363/speechless-rabbi-admits-losing-argument-over-racism-and-israel-to-white-sup/

And he’s the Hillel rabbi at one of the largest universities in America. You just make yourself look silly when you claim he’s “deluded” about Judaism.

And notice that he said that it’s borderline anti-semitic to ask someone about Israel’s racist policies after they talk about how radically inclusive Judaism is.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

But, yeah, there are indeed Jewish rabbis who are deluded about their faith. Judaism has been wracked by the same modern influences that have derailed a lot of Christianity. There are women rabbis worshiping Gaia and suggesting rewrites of the ten commandments. There are rabbis who reject the whole of Torah because they think public recitations of Federico Lorca’s poetry are more inclusive and aesthetically pleasing. There are rabbis who marry gays as long as both are Jewish, and there are those who marry Jews to Catholics without a qualm because what really matters is loving one another. I am… Read more »

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
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40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

But just as I would not assume that much of modern Christian preaching bears any relationship to the faith once delivered to the saints, I wouldn’t be too quick to assume a rabbi represents orthodox Jewish thought. Again, you’re just being silly. Hillel is one of the most mainstream Jewish organizations in existence. They hired him to be their rabbi at A&M. He’s been there for three years and they haven’t fired him It’s not jumping to any conclusion to say that this guy understands what Judaism is all about, and is well within the mainstream of Judaism, and isn’t… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

You will note that I didn’t say he was on the lunatic fringe. I thought you would be interested to learn that even rabbis are no longer necessarily accurate spokespeople for the religion. I was personally startled to discover this.

Plenty of white gentiles accuse other white gentiles of being evil, racist bigots. Some do so mendaciously; others do it hypocritically, ignoring the evil bigotry lurking within their own hearts. Why is it particularly offensive when a Jew does it?

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
Guest
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

Plenty of white gentiles accuse other white gentiles of being evil, racist bigots. Some do so mendaciously; others do it hypocritically, ignoring the evil bigotry lurking within their own hearts. Why is it particularly offensive when a Jew does it?

Oh; no reason. I’m just funny that way.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
Guest
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

There are women rabbis worshiping Gaia and suggesting rewrites of the ten commandments. There are rabbis who reject the whole of Torah because they think public recitations of Federico Lorca’s poetry are more inclusive and aesthetically pleasing. The rabbi at one interfaith wedding I attended seemed to have derived his ritual from the Hopi Bird People. At least that is what he said when I questioned him about it. And you know what? They’re all still regarded as Jews by other Jews. Because Jews don’t get hung up on minor details like religion. Because Jewishness isn’t really about religion. It’s… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

The degree of religiousness varies even within families, but you are generally right that there are many agnostic Jews. The Orthodox are more religious, and will see it as tragic when their children stop being observant of halacha and so on. A Jew who formally renounces his or her Judaism by Christian baptism or conversion to Islam is no longer regarded as Jewish. He can be a Buddhist while still a Jew because Buddhism is a spiritual practice that doesn’t impose a particular religious belief. A Jew may not become a Hindu because accepting polytheism would break the single most… Read more »

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
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40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

I wouldn’t call it a huge, evil lie but a totally dumb remark that even most Jews would have demolished in a moment.

This video has been all over Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.

Please point me to a few prominent Jews calling this guy an idiot or delusional for saying that Jews practice radical inclusion.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Well, will my friends do? I will ask them about it.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
Guest
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

No, your friends won’t do.

Show me some well known Jewish figures calling this guy an idiot or delusional.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Well, you and I could argue this forever without getting anywhere. But there are a couple of points. One of my nicer traits is that I don’t lightly call people liars unless I have evidence of conscious intent to deceive. This reluctance on my part applies equally to people whose views I find abhorrent. I would much prefer to think them mistaken or deluded. I would want to ask first what this rabbi meant by the term “radical inclusion” and how he sees it as applicable to Jewish tradition overall, not simply in regard to Israel. He said this sense… Read more »

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
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40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

Let’s say that a slight acquaintance of yours heard that your daughter is very promiscuous, and believed it to be true, and went around telling this to everyone he knew.

Would you really quibble with someone who accused him of running around lying about your daughter?

But, again, the rabbi doesn’t believe what he said for a minute.

He was lying. And he knew that what he said is a lie.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

My first problem would be with his telling everyone something that he did not know for a fact to be true. Theologically, I would categorize his sin as spreading unfounded gossip, not lying. Not that I wouldn’t be angry with him–I would. But I would not call him a liar until he was presented with evidence of her chastity yet continued to spread the story. But I have come to realize that my reactions to things are seldom the normal and expected ones!

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
Guest
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

One of my nicer traits is that I don’t lightly call people liars unless I have evidence of conscious intent to deceive.

One of my better traits is that I’m not stupid, and I’m aware that pretty much everything every rabbi says about white “racism” is said with a conscious intent to deceive.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Do you believe that there is no such thing as white racism? Do you believe that there is never an instance in which whites have behaved unjustly to non-whites based on a belief in white racial superiority? Do you believe that every white person, rabbis included, knows in his heart and conscience that every accusation of such a thing is false and is intended for malicious purposes? Only then could you conclude that when a rabbi denounces a specific example of racial injustice, he is consciously intending to deceive. Now, if the real issue is a belief that Jews are… Read more »

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
Guest
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

Your first pp makes no sense.

And your second one proposes something I didn’t say.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I know you did not say that. But there are people who think it, and if someone does think it, there is no basis for discussion. Sometimes it is worthwhile taking the time to make sure that isn’t the case. Let me try again on the first paragraph. A rabbi could only be consciously deceitful in denouncing white racism if there has never been such a thing as white racism. If we grant that there is, or has been, such a thing, how is a rabbi (as opposed to anyone else) deceitful in pointing it out? He may be hypocritical… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Comment to you here

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
Guest
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

I would want to ask first what this rabbi meant by the term “radical inclusion” and how he sees it as applicable to Jewish tradition overall, not simply in regard to Israel. We know exactly what he meant by “radical inclusion.” He began by saying Spencer is preaching “radical exclusion” with his idea that whites should have their own nation, and said his own tradition of Judaism is diametrically opposed to “radical exclusion” and instead practices “radical inclusion.” It’s quite clear what he meant. Again, you’re just making yourself look silly by pretending not to know what he meant. I… Read more »

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
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40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

One of my nicer traits is that I don’t lightly call people liars unless I have evidence of conscious intent to deceive.

Yet, today you write that Donald Trump is lying any time his lips are moving.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Yes, and I have evidence. That was a bit hyperbolic, though, so I will change it to “many times.”

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
Guest
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

“Mainstream pro-Israel groups including J Street and AIPAC did not respond to request for comment about Spencer’s remarks.”

insanitybytes22
Member

Well, I do wish you wouldn’t pick on a special needs cauliflower. I’ve never known a cauliflower foolish enough to twist himself into theological knots.

Dave W
Guest
Dave W

Special Needs Cauliflower. And that’s why I read Pastor Wilson :)

Evan Wickham
Guest
Evan Wickham

Wait. All this after only reading chapter 1, Doug? Perhaps your concerns about Boyd’s preliminary statements will be assuaged/refined after you follow his argumentation through to the end of the book. That’s usually how it works. I, for one, would love to hear a proper Wilson-worthy treatment of OT. Boyd is not the slouch you make him out to be here.

gabe
Guest
gabe

I am sure all these questions will be answered when the movie “The Shack” comes out.

Matt
Guest
Matt

“If we have the authority to indict the Calvinist God for first degree murder, why couldn’t we indict the open theist God for being drunk and disorderly?” Well maybe you could, and maybe Christianity just has no good answer to the problem of evil. You have the evil Calvinist god vs the negligent open theist god. But then if I’m behind a veil of ignorance and I have to pick which god is to rule over me, one which may either kill me or shower me with riches apparently randomly, or one which just doesn’t take much action at all,… Read more »

Rob Steele
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Rob Steele

God can’t murder since there is no other like him. Him killing us is closer to an author killing his characters. Here’s a theodicy to chew on: It is good that there is evil.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

You still do have to admit though, “God decided that he wanted your 8-year-old daughter to be brutally raped and murdered by that child molester, he preordained her rape and ensured that it would happen for His glory,” is a pretty tough pill for any believer I know to swallow, much less unbeliever. Heartbreakingly, one of the most strongly Calvinistic families I know had parents whose faith took a serious, permanent hit after the death of their young son. And it wasn’t even a rape or a torturous death or anything of that sort, just the normal worldly death that… Read more »

Christopher
Member

“You still do have to admit though, “God decided that he wanted your 8-year-old daughter to be brutally raped and murdered by that child molester, he preordained her rape and ensured that it would happen for His glory,” is a pretty tough pill for any believer I know to swallow, much less unbeliever.”

Is Romans 8:28 hard to swallow then?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

No, not remotely. Why? Before we go too far down the rabbit-hole of chasing a single proof-text down a hole, I’ll just let James 1:13-16 sit here. No one, when tempted, should say, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my beloved. or similarly from Mark 7:20-23:… Read more »

Christopher
Member

“The point that I was making is that outside of the academic debates, people who experience real evil in their lives have a lot of trouble applying some of these precepts to those actual experiences.” Naturaly, an academic theology wont survive contact with reality. “What do you think of this statement of Calvin himself…” I think that Calvin knew better what he was talking about than his followers. “No, not remotely. Why?” Because it would be easy to go from denying that an evil act will work for Gods glory to denying that an evil act will work to your… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I see what you’re saying. I think we could be on the same page. And yes, I do believe that evil acts can work for our good. However, having spent a lot of time in worlds where the effects of evil acts are felt and seen on a fairly often and severe basis, I have to say that it is not an automatic process. I’ve understood Paul’s meaning to be, “If you have faith in God, he can bring redemption out of any circumstance, out of any situation, out of any human or satanic evil.” The world is falling to… Read more »

Christopher
Member

“But if God actually did those things to her, if he desired that she be sold into sex slavery, desired that she be raped, made it so that those men would want to rape and take advantage of a little girl…”

Along those lines, did God desire to crusify Jesus, or did he desire to kill jobs family and strike him with boils?

God not only can but will will use evil to work for good, but I agree that it isn’t automagicly done. Only one theif benefited from being crucified with Jesus for example.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

I know. Every time I defend God’s sovereignty and goodness I tremble thinking how I might have to prove that I really believe it. God is hard on his friends. I can’t think of a single case offhand of a blessed saint who did not have troubles galore.