Warren Throckmorton, who has done some great work exposing the torrent of lies told by David Barton, wonders in a recent post why Barton continues to be booked to speak and revered by so many Christian groups. He also wonders why those groups ignore the criticisms of so many Christian academics who have proven those lies. I fear he is being a bit naive in his analysis of the situation.
Here is what I don’t understand. In the face of evidence that you are may be responsible for disseminating error, shouldn’t you check into it? This almost never happens. There is clear evidence that a problem exists and the person in charge does nothing but defend the decision.
Shouldn’t Dr. Yeats have a conversation with Hankins and Frazer?
I can supply him and his board with names of over 50 Christian academics who can provide relevant evidence regarding the matter at hand.
I wrote and asked the MBC why Christian academic historians don’t matter. No answer.
Southern Baptists send their children to Christian colleges to get an education from academics who have dedicated their lives to getting things right. Of course, we don’t always get it right but the values of the academy push us to correct where we are wrong and own up to it. However, when it comes to church work, respect for Christian colleges often goes out the window, at least in the area of historical scholarship. Wallbuilders has the right slogan so it doesn’t matter what the organization’s founder teaches or how many key facts he gets wrong…
Shouldn’t the people responsible for these meetings check into these things?
I realize that the MBC may be at odds with the parent convention over religion and politics. Recently, the SBC pulled an invitation for Ben Carson to speak at an event due to concerns about those entanglements. Perhaps the MBC leadership disagrees with that approach and wants a more political approach to religion. However, if so, that is no reason to mislead the people you are responsible for.
Think about that for a minute. The SBC pulled Ben Carson’s invitation but the MBC is rock solid on sponsoring David Barton.
Well yes, of course the people responsible for continuing to book David Barton to lie to people should check into things. But the reason why they don’t seems quite obvious to me and I’m frankly surprised that Throckmorton, who is a psychologist, doesn’t recognize what is going on here. It’s the same tribalism, confirmation bias and motivated reasoning that we all suffer from (some far less than others, of course).
Why don’t they believe that Barton tells all the lies that he does? Confirmation bias and motivated reasoning. What he says fits perfectly with what they believe and hope is true and they simply filter out all contrary information, even if it comes from their fellow Christians. The Christian academics he mentions simply have a greater intellectual integrity than these leaders he is criticizing.
And don’t forget tribalism. These people believe that they are locked in an eternal struggle between good and evil and Barton gives them ammunition against the evil other tribe. That’s why they don’t really care whether he’s lying or not, because it’s all about that battle. He may be lying, but he’s lying for Jesus. He’s part of their tribe, so they will defend him to the death. They don’t care about truth when they’re fighting for the Truth.
I don’t think this is particularly difficult to recognize or understand. It’s a feature of pretty much any sizable group, if on a lesser scale.