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Friday, August 28, 2015

Someone Else's Job

I cannot tell you how many times in my years doing this blog I've been accused of "slander", "gossip", and "bearing false witness" (lying, if you prefer). The double standard has been amazing. On multiple blog entries in multiple places I've been trotted out and castigated for slander and gossip and false witness. And then they blithely misrepresent what I've said. They, of course, are not doing the same evils that I am because, they say, "I'm just talking about ideas, here, not people." Of course, I'd be hard pressed to find an article of mine where I've mentioned anyone by name (unlike the ones I've seen about me) and I rarely discuss people, but nearly always have ideas in mind, but theirs is not slander, gossip, or false witness and mine is. Why is that?

Now, you know, already some who have done this are leaping to their keyboards to pound out a stunning rebuke because I have slandered or lied about them ... again. You will note that no one has been mentioned, singled out, or referenced here. I've specifically mentioned "multiple places". But they'll be upset anyway and wish to tell me how stupid, ignorant, evil, or even insane I am. Now, wait! Aren't those slanderous? Odd.

But, look, pointing out that they carry around a healthy case of double standards doesn't absolve me of the accusation. So in what way am I slandering, gossiping, or bearing false witness? This is what amuses me the most, actually. Very often I will hear something, see something, read something and it will get me to thinking about the topic. I will recall things I've been told, things people have said to me, things I've read on the topic and I'll write about it. Note that at this point it's all very ... vague. That is, it is constructed loosely on various inputs and sources that swirl around to make a coherent idea, but it is not about a particular person. It is about that coherent idea.

The other day I wrote just such an entry and one commenter (see, at this point I'm lapsing into a personal reference) said "I think at least part of this post is directed at me." This appears to be the common idea. I didn't actually have this commenter in mind when I wrote it. I was thinking over a wide range of people, a far-flung history of discussions, a whole series of articles and ideas I had encountered. But the commenter was pretty sure I was talking about him. Have you heard of the "someone is wrong on the Internet" syndrome? There are just some people that seem to make it their mission in life to hunt down those darned people they know are out there that are wrong and correct them. They would much rather spend 12 hours correcting the "falsehood" than 5 minutes commending the right. Funny people. There are a few who seem to be stuck in some sort of "Stan is wrong on the Internet" syndrome and will hang on every word to point out how wrong I am. Or they perceive me to be. Even if it's "You spelled that wrong. See? What a loon!"

So, is it slander if I say, "These ideas that I've encountered are opposed to what I see in Scripture"? Is it gossip to say "I've talked to people who say ..." or "I've heard that ..."? If I hear an idea, read some articles, and then I actually represent what I've heard or read, is it false witness? There are a lot of reasons I'm wrong. I don't agree with the "latest scholars". I don't subscribe to "everyone knows". I don't concur with "the general population". I haven't aligned with "modern thinking". Or, the big one, I actually believe what I read. Serious error there. But I can't see how what I write is slander, gossip, or lying when I don't slander anybody in particular, don't talk about anybody in particular, and don't attempt to deceive anybody.

Well, it doesn't really matter in the end, does it? I'm not knocking on your door to tell you that you are wrong and I'm right and you need to change. I'm broadcasting generally, "This is what I see in the Bible." If that offends, it offends. I mean no offense. Nor is anyone paying much attention. (Recent statistics, perhaps incomplete but giving a general picture, indicate that in the 9+ years I've been doing this I've had perhaps 400,000 page views. In the grand scheme of things, that's not much. I mean, I don't anticipate ever showing up in a Huffington Post article, eh?) If "This is what I see in the Bible" offends, I don't know what else to do. Certainly the "You're wrong for telling people they're wrong" crowd can see how crazy that is, can't they? Maybe not. Maybe they're blinded. You know. If I say, "This idea has been the standard Christian position on this subject" and others claim, "Yeah? Well, we know better now!", I'll wait until they can explain to me why they figured it out when no one else had before. (No one has yet to offer a response to that.) So maybe I'll just keep writing down what I see in Scripture and let it hang like that. And they can continue to slander me, gossip about me, and bear false witness against me. You know, "turn the other cheek." That's okay with me. It's not like I have the ability to wake them up or stop them, right? No, that's Someone Else's job. So I'll just keep doing it, correcting my errors when I see them and praying for those who don't see their own. That kind of thing.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

the last thing you need right now is discouragement. it is for this reason that you are receiving slanderous commentary, you are presenting the truth. you are one of the few standing out there alone calling attention to the truth of the Gospel. i am sure that there are times when you wonder if it is all worth it. well the answer is a resounding YES!!! keep doing what your doing. think about it, the fact that some attack your character demonstrates that not only are you feeding the sheep, but you are indirectly convicting the pridefully ignorant.
no good deed goes unpunished in this world. Stan; the lord has given you and gift and a commission. be encouraged and boldly present the Gospel. maybe it's time for other brothers and sisters to take a moment to let you know that you are making a difference. your work is insightful and stimulates our thinking. so keep up the good work. "may we rise above the muck and mire of our mediocrity, and crack the glaze of our Glib existence. LOL....
Stan you are God's man for this JOb...

Josh said...

Stan,

I do post questions and comments on your blog. I do not believe any of them have been slanderous, or mean spirited. I try to follow your guidelines of friendly discussion of issues, and I don't have the notion that your posts are always directed at me (even though this one is :). If you feel I have crossed this line at any time, I pray your forgiveness, as it wasn't my intent. To be honest, I enjoy reading your blog, and I have commented in affirmation many times. Theologically you are consistent and represent the Bible well. Personally I find spiritual growth when the way I see things is challenged, and your blog has done me a great service in this way. As the comment states above, Keep it up!

Stan said...

Josh, you are not one of the people I think of who accuse me of being slanderous or mean-spirited or deceitful. You were in view in the sense that you were the one who thought I was talking about you in a post (that was indeed your comment I referenced), but you aren't one to be falsely accusing me of slander, gossip, or false witness. Disagreeing with me is not the same thing, and I've had no problem with our interactions.

(Note: Most of the "problem interactions" are private, behind the scenes, via email or other means of communication. Most of the people I interact with in the comments sections, agree with me or not, are civil people discussing ideas and not making personal attacks.)

Marshall Art said...

"So I'll just keep doing it, correcting my errors when I see them and praying for those who don't see their own."

That's about all anyone can do. I think you do it about as well as anyone I've seen. Keep up the good work. I love your insights.