It’s not Personal

It’s not Personal May 11, 2014

Stephen Smoot made an insightful comment here:

[Quoting Hamblin:] “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.”

This reminds me of the reaction some had to my article “The Imperative for a Historical Book of Mormon” (online here: http://www.mormoninterpreter.c…. I was accused by many of wanting to exclude members of the Church who disbelieve in the Book of Mormon’s historicity, or who have different views of the nature of scripture, or who don’t read scriptural stories “literally,” etc. I was cast into some sort of Grand Inquisitor who is on the hunt for unorthodox members who need to be excluded from fellowship.

This, of course, is nonsense. I never intimated any such attitude in my article, which merely addressed and critiqued the logical and theological reasoning behind the so-called Inspired Fiction Theory for the Book of Mormon. I never said that one should leave the Church if one ascribes to this theory, only that one should very carefully reconsider the implications this theory had for the substance of Mormon belief in the Restoration.

It seems to be common among many these days to immediately assume a personal attack was intended when one’s views or ideas are critiqued or scrutinized. That’s too bad, as this attitude can very quickly end meaningful discourse and discussion.

I fully support Stephen’s views.

David’s supporters have been claiming that I am making personal attacks against David.  I am not.  I am critiquing his ideas.  That’s it.

I like David, and I’m sorry he’s mad at me.  David is a very nice fellow.  He’s also bright and knowledgable. However, I disagree with his views on the Documentary Hypothesis, and on the significance of historicity of scripture.  That’s it.

David has made his views on these matters public.  I have publicly critiqued his views.  That’s it.

Everything else is merely the rhetorical fallacy of distraction.

Furthermore, if members of the Church who reject historicity of scripture want to stay members and come to church, and socialize with the Saints, that’s fine with me.  Everyone’s welcome as far as I’m concerned.  That does not mean I have to accept or legitimize their views.  That does not mean I cannot critique their views, just as they are free to critique mine.

Anyway, this nonsense has gone on long enough.  Too long.  Any further comments about who’s being mean to whom, how much of a jerk I am, or speculations about whether David really believes what he writes or not will not be posted.  Further comments on the subtance of the arugments will be gladly accepted.


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