Sunday, June 14, 2015

Cage stage anti-abolitionists

The claim is also absurd on its face as it runs counter to all the (overwhelming!) evidence that AHA evinces a very strong "in-group / out-group" mentality in both speech and in writing.

AHA's proponents' rhetoric drips with contempt for its ideological foes both within the pro-abortion and pro-life spheres.

One wonders to what "overwhelming" evidence this CR individual refers. I've seen worse, personally, in Reformed circles like the Reformed Pub Facebook group, where in some ways if you don't homebrew your own beer you're not part of the cool kids crowd. But status as alcohol connoisseur aside, the term "cage stage Calvinist" exists for a reason, and quite a few people have gone years in that stage. Same with covenant theology, or one's preferred eschatological position, or cessationism, or pretty much anything. Does CR decry the same among the Reformed? Does that mean Reformed theology or covenant theology or amillennialism is an organisation?

Of course not. Those are ideologies. Like AHA is an ideology. There are people who adhere to amillennialism. There are people who adhere to Reformed theology. There are people who adhere to Abolish Human Abortion ideology. They're called "abolitionists (of human abortion)". This is only complex to the intentionally obtuse.

At any rate, if someone wants to show a very strong "in-group / out-group" mentality, it would be wonderful if they could
  • prove it
  • demonstrate it is relatively stronger than other comparable examples
  • show how it is inordinately strong and not just a more or less average outflow of the natural human tendency to cohere among like-minded people
I bet CR would claim his own church has an in-group/out-group mentality. He would probably say it is justifiable. I would probably agree with him. So why does he object to the same among abolitionists?

As for "dripping with contempt", I simply say: May the Lord protect us from harboring contempt for other people. That would probably be sinful, though not always; Scriptural examples could certainly be forwarded of godly people and even the Lord Jesus treating especially false professors and false religionists with contempt. I mean, God straight up laughs at the wicked in the second Psalm.
But of course, each instance needs to be judged on its own merits. If CR loves abolitionists, he ought to call us on our sin. I pray he will do that, so that if we have indeed sinned, we may repent of it and be holy as our Father in heaven is holy.
(Side note: What are the chances he'll actually do that? Yep; I agree that they're probably pretty low. Snide swipes from afar as a barely-pseudonymous [mostly anonymous] commenter are much easier than actually laboring with brothers in love, as I tried to do with Steve via email.)

If, however, CR is referring to our contempt for the sinful ideology to which the pro-life movement adheres, well, I make no apologies for that. Seems to me it's a pretty good thing to hold demonic false ideologies in contempt.

There's a cultic quality about this obsession with "AHA is not a group!" It's so irrational.

I don't know why they're so defensive about people calling them an "organization" or even a "group." They act as if that's a pejorative characterization, yet it's vanilla gray terminology. "Group" and "organization" have no pejorative connotations. These are morally neutral descriptors.

i) The best explanation I can think of is plausible deniability. By disclaiming that AHA is an "organization" or "group" which people can join or belong to, perhaps they hope that if an abolitionist gets caught doing something illegal, they can say that doesn't reflect on AHA inasmuch one can't belong to AHA in the first place. It's not a group or organization. It's just an "ideology."

ii) However, this may also reflect the mindset of sects and cults which have eccentric beliefs and practices to demarcate their adherents from other groups. Even if, or especially if, the beliefs and practices are ridiculous, that unmistakably differentiates the in-group from the out-groups. They defend these eccentric beliefs and practices with fanatical devotion, because their identity is wedded to these boundary markers. 
 i) "Cultic". Yeah, no.

ii) Steve's spiritual forebears used to call abolitionists' spiritual forebears a cult, a sect, holier-than-thou, and all that. 

iii) Matthew 5:10-12. So, you know, thanks for that, Steve. 

iv) I don't understand what's so hard to understand about not wanting to be called what we're not; specifically, an organisation. Does Steve like to be called a fatalist? If not, if he were to, say, write a blogpost explaining why the moniker "fatalist" is mistaken, would a third party be justified in calling him "obsessed" and "irrational" for wanting the truth to be spoken consistently by all concerned? What's so obsessive or irrational about wanting proper premises to be in place?

v) In some ways we do think the appellation "organisation" is pejorative, for it moves AHA from the realm of what it is - a movement of the Spirit of God among many different people all over the place - to what it isn't - a top-down organisation with officers, usually salaried and often occupied in gladhanding and fundraising, etc. 
But whether we think it's pejorative or not, if someone kept calling Calvinism a pancake, one might want to go ahead and try to correct that mistaken notion. Systems of theology are not pancakes, any more than they are organisations.

vi) Note again Steve's obsession with "doing something illegal". But of course, may God help and preserve us from that sort of thing.
On the other hand, though, there's worse than doing illegal things, and of course, not all illegal activities are created equal. Some are actually sinful; others are simply against the modern zeitgeist but are actually just actions taken in violation of unjust laws.

vii) Steve, though, is nice and comfortable behind his keyboard and would never dream of challenging the status quo in any substantive way. But it sure is fun to talk bad about those who do.

viii) "Fanatical devotion" = writing blogposts that disagree? Writing emails? What is Steve even talking about?

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