Monday, 3 December 2007

An Award Winning Cultic Blog

This was going to wait until after Part VII, but noses are already out of joint, so I've opted to move it forward a bit.

The blog Sydney Anglican Heretics has apparently given this blog an award, 'the Baddeley Award', and has even named it after me (one presumes - I mean it could be after my cousin, who is a lot more famous, but that's probably unlikely). The award is for putting some effort into my posts where I indicate my problems with Creation Science (although it is looking like "Creationism" might be a term that that blog at least finds less problematic).

I'm a bit bemused to be the recipient of the inaugural award. I can't quite imagine Calvin giving Servetus an award for putting some effort into his heresy. Athanasius giving Arius an 'Arius' award for being the 'most improved' heretic also doesn't quite sit right.

Nonetheless, it looks like they're hoping to undertake some kind of response to what I've posted. I'm a firm believer that, by and large, one needs to hear two sides of an argument to draw even provisional conclusions, so, given that the name of the blog has already appeared in the comments (and that SAH even became aware of this blog, which I didn't think would happen), I was going to link the blog at the end of Part VII so people could have a read of the critiques as they are produced. It was with some misgiving, as I don't think this group is likely to do a particularly good job of it, which people might take as evidence that the arguments I've put forward are stronger than they might actually be. Nonetheless, some critique is better than none. So the name is now in the blog proper, not just the comments.

I would wait a while before going over to read it at this stage. At the moment the only response has been a post by "Neil Moore" trying to accuse me of being cultic. The reasons are:
  • I control who can post on the blog (I won't allow SAH to post inflammatory comments here under a cloak of anonymity).

  • I selectively use Scripture, 'to the exclusion of that which undermines his point'.

  • I'm motivated by an overweening desire to defend the Diocese and Peter Jensen.

The only argument offered to support these accusations is a story about one Mark Kay's ability to reduce a woman university student to tears by his manner in criticising the current Archbishop of Sydney. It's classic ad hominem, and probably deserves an award of its own, as there's probably a difficulty rating in not just playing the man rather than the ball, but in trying to play the man by playing a completely disconnected woman.

It certainly is the case that I hold the Diocese and its leaders in esteem, including both the Jensens senior, and also others who are sometimes seen as their opposition within the Diocese. I'm not ashamed of that and, given the Bible's injunctions to hold leaders in honour, it's a bit disappointing that this is being seen as a defect. It's probably a sad reflection on church life generally, that such a feature would be considered cultic. Some of us find we can respect people and institutions deeply and yet feel free to dissent at points. It's sad to think that kind of freedom might not be open to others.

I would also suggest that writing some exploratory posts on an obscure and brand new blog is a strange way to try and defend the Diocese from the attacks of SAH. I don't think the Diocese needs defending anyway. SAH is, as I've said before, a bad reflection on creationism, and anonymous accusations don't warrant a defence. The posts are what I've said they are - a series of reflections that crystalised after an unfortunate experience on SAH. They aren't even particularly about SAH.

Hopefully there'll be something about the arguments I put forward in the future. But for the moment it seems I have graduated from heretic to award winning cultist. Bet the rest of you mere heretics out there are jealous. If SAH produces something significant I might take the time to interact with it here. But I think I'm only obligated to engage with their first post. It's just a shame that they began this way.

Edited: After much further reflection and prayer, and a number of communications from people who had visited the blog in question I have removed the link to the blog that was here originally. I originally ended my conversation with them (as I informed them) because I judged them to be the kind of people Paul describes (or people who would tolerate such people in the interests of having a coalition against us):
Titus 3:9-11 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.

Of the comments I've received publicly and privately, every one, (even, in one case, someone who is a creationist) has made the same judgement of the people on that blog and their actions. It is not their ideas, but the rampant ungodliness of their actions that has caused complaint. In such a case, it is not simply a matter of openly comparing ideas. So I've removed the link, it's easy enough to find the blog if you really need to read them. It's a symbolic action to indicate my rejection of their claims to be serving Christ in their manner of operating. I'll again discharge my responsibility by saying: I recommend against visiting the blog, if all that's motivating you is idle curioristy. And do not comment on the blog, it just tempts them to more ungodliness.


Ben said...

Mark. You really are the man.

My favourite bits are:

It was with some misgiving, as I don't think this group is likely to do a particularly good job of it, which people might take as evidence that the arguments I've put forward are stronger than they might actually be.


...there's probably a difficulty rating in not just playing the man rather than the ball, but in trying to play the man by playing a completely disconnected woman.

It is a weird attack on your thoughts, to introduce a whole lot of completely irrelevant anecdotes, but I guess they're preparing their more engaged responses.

Looks like it's all come out, despite your initial intentions. Ah well, hopefully there'll be some deo gloria.

michael jensen said...

Mark I am sorry you have linked them. I think they don't deserve to be taken so seriously. They need to be answered NOT according to their folly...this just fuels the fire.

Baddelim said...

I mostly agree with you Michael. But not linking their blog is pointless when the name is already mentioned, and not mentioning their blog will be just as provocative. I think almost anything fuels them at the moment, so it doesn't matter what we do. And given my opinion about them, I don't really care. I'm not going to act with them in mind, as that's a mug's game. If that was the concern I would never posted these posts - that's far more fuel than a link.

I'm more interested in the readers here than them. And linking might give sufficiently interested readers something to get perspective on what I've written.

michael jensen said...

Sigh... my fear is that this is exactly what they wish for most of all... Not linking their blog ISN'T at all pointless. You just end up sending more traffic their way and perpetuating the whole disgraceful scenario - of which I myself have been sadly guilty.

The whole SAH blog is one huge attention seeking device. It fails to have a raison d'etre if no-one gives it attention. And that mob have, in my opinion, lost the right to any civil attention by being so jolly vile.

Baddelim said...

I have those suspicions myself. The whole award silliness certainly suggested that they were inordinately pleased because they thought they were being given some attention.

But to not link because they're like that seems to me to give them as much power as taking them as worthy of refutation. They're still calling the shots on that approach, just in the negative.

I've noted their presence for people, and have indicated I'm not going to pursue some strategy of interacting with them. Some people might go have a look. My hunch is that, unless SAH lift their game a lot, all but the most partisan creationist will quickly leave and be even more unimpressed with creationism, given their style of arguing and the fairly churlish tone. And that's all to the good - either they improve, or they reap the fruit of the seed they've sown.

The fact that they might be pleased with whatever minimal extra traffic comes from me is irrelevant to me. I don't care whether they get what they want or not, because I think they don't matter.

I hear your point, and you may be right in this instance. Maybe this time might have been better to not link - it was a bit of a lineball for me. But a general policy of "don't feed the attention seeking critic" can be misunderstood in today's context as having something to hide, or of being arrogant. Even the Apostle Paul engaged his opponents from time to time, and many of them seem to have been as disreputable as SAH.

Gordon Cheng said...

They rave.

You've done well to stick your hand down the asp's hole and take a few bites, and you'll also be doing well by not interacting any further on their blog, or by further providing links here.

Appa said...

I agree with Gordon, Mark. I went and had a read until I couldn't handle it anymore. I kept reading thinking 'It MUST be a joke' but it's left me feeling like I've just snorted a bottle of liquid paper.

I feel like Paul's words to Timothy in his second letter, "Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels" (2:23) have been realised, though you have "patiently endured evil; correcting...opponents with gentleness". (2:24-25)

That'll do interacting with them. More of your fabulously thoughtful insights!!!

cynergy said...

I really don't know that many will jump from here to there? I have certainly not had the remotest interest in doing so - but have been searching here every day for numbers VI and VII!!! ...

qraal said...

Best thing for asps in a hole is a sharp stick. Not sure what the Biblical equivalent would be. Ideas?