Have I Misunderstood?

Have I Misunderstood? May 10, 2014

In response to my criticisms of his views (which I can’t directly access; indirectly here), David Bokovoy recently asked his friends to email the Patheos administration to complain.  I find this rather odd.

It is, of course, possible that I have misunderstood David.  If so, I apologize.  I have no reason whatsoever to intentionally misrepresent David’s views.  I’ve asked him numerous times for clarification, which he refuses to give.  Of course, he is under no obligation to answer my questions.  But it seems disingenuous to not answer my sincere and relevant questions and then complain that I have misunderstood him.

My understanding is that David doesn’t believe in the historicity of the Abraham narratives in Genesis.  He thinks they are later fictional stories.  I’ve seen nothing he’s written where he affirms the historicity of the Abraham narratives, and he explicitly rejects the historicity of the LDS Book of Abraham.  Of course, he’s free to believe whatever he wants.  And if I’ve misunderstood his position, I apologize, and hope David will clarify.

With that understanding in mind, when David was asked how someone who rejects historicity of the biblical narratives could still find meaning and significance in scripture, he responded with the answer I critiqued here.  Since, as far as I can tell, David rejects the historicity of Abraham, I took his answer to reflect his own views.  Again, perhaps I misunderstood.

If I have misunderstood, rather than asking his friends to complain to Patheos, a more fruitful path might be for David to clarify his position.  He has a blog; he could make clarifications there.  Furthermore, I’d be happy to post any of his clarifications on my blog as well.  As I noted, I’ve asked for clarifications before, and have never received any, so it is rather unfair to complain if I’ve misunderstood.

As for my comment about the Community of Christ (RLDS), I was simply noting that the Community of Christ is a denomination within broader Mormonism that has openly and explicitly rejected historicity of LDS scriptures.  They are the Mormon equivalent of a very liberal protestant denomination.  And that’s fine with me.  I am simply noting that rejection of the historicity of LDS scripture is the official position of the Community of Christ.

As far as I’m concerned, people can believe whatever they want.  If someone wants to stay in a church based on fictional writings about an imaginary theophany of Christ to Precolumbian Americans, they’re free to do so.  But what they cannot do is avoid the logical and inevitable implications of what they believe.  It is not bullying, insulting, nor demeaning to question and debate these matters.  It’s called scholarship.  The proper reaction to sincere and significant criticism is response and clarification, not asking that someone be censured.


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