Re: Destructive criticism - last post

Mike Hardie (
Tue, 02 Jun 1998 19:33:12 -0700

I admit, I am really barging in where my opinion is unwarranted here. But
I have been following this thread, and can't help but add my comments.

>>SJ>I said "regularly". I will ask you one more time:
>>>Do you go *regularly* to church? Do you read the Bible and pray
>>>Do you pray for your `enemies' like Morris, Gish, Ross and Johnson?
>>>It is no crime if you don't *regularly* go to church, or read the Bible
and pray
>>>*regularly*. But it is a bit naughty to keep evading the question. How
>>>a simple "yes" or "no" (Mt 5:37).
>GM>While frankly, it is absolutely none of your darned business what my
>>attendance is or what my Bible reading habits are, I will answer this and
>>then I am through with you.
>If you publicly destructively criticise leading Christian apologists like
Hugh Ross
>and Phil Johnson, while claiming to be a Christian, then I will make it my
>to enquire just what your Christian standing is.

You made it clear (indeed, rather repetitively clear) that you don't want
to talk about "ad hominem" anymore. However, what you have implied here
does actually verge on the real definition of the term. Mr. Morton's
ability to criticize the views of Hugh Ross or Phil Johnson is not
dependent on his status as a Christian, but on the logical and evidential
merit of his arguments. It is neither rationally or morally incumbent on
him, then, to justify his religious convictions to you.

>GM>I go to church every Sunday, unless I am out of town....Do I pray for
those who
>>differ from me? Often. Do I read the Bible--nearly every day (not all,
>I am glad to hear (finally!) that at least you go to church regularly. I
am less pleased
>that you do not seem to pray as regulalry for those Christian apologists
whom you
>destructively criticise.

In all the posts I have read for this thread, I have only seen Mr. Morton
say that he criticizes the *claims* of these apologists. The fact that he
argues against their claims has absolutely no bearing on what he feels
about them *as people*, and consequently his criticisms cannot be construed
as personal attacks.

>GM> I can't live up to your standards of perfection.)
>Yet you expect Christian apologists to live up to *your* "standards of
perfection"! Consider
>your perfectionistic attack on Phil Johnson for his statement that whales
and bats came
>from a "rodent", despite the fact that evolutionists like Steve Stanley
say it too. And what
>about all your pontifications about Christian apologists needing to adhere
to higher standards
>than non-Christians? You don't even live up to your *own* "standards of

You are conflating two vastly different issues in this personal attack on
Glenn Morton. At no point has he claimed that Ross or Johnson do not meet
a "standard of perfection" as people; he has claimed, instead, that the
views they have propounded have sometimes been false, and consequently must
be refuted and corrected. There is a difference between refuting someone's
position, and criticizing their personal character. If there weren't,
"argumentum ad hominem" wouldn't be a fallacy at all.

>GM>Now get your nose out of my personal business!
>If you publicly destructively attack Christian apologists, then your
Christian standing
>is no longer your "personal business" and I will continue to poke my
"nose" into it.

Mr. Morton's Christian standing *is* his personal business, because he has
not, to my knowledge, made the validity of his arguments contingent on his
Christianity. Differently put, his arguments against Ross and Johnson's
positions would be no more or less true even if he were the world's worst
Christian, so your inquiry into that matter is entirely irrelevant.

>GM>I find your repeated demands
>They were just *questions* Glenn. I made no "demands". You could have avoided
>those "repeated" questions by giving a straight answer the first time.
>GM>on this particular issue to be rude, annoying, unchristian, unloving,
>>judgmental, pridefully pharisaic, and holier than thou.
>Just because I asked you if you regularly went to church, read the Bible and
>prayed? Your overreaction here is *very* revealing.

I think he is justified in his reaction here, if for no other reason than
that your questions are irrelevant to the issue at hand. His personal
religion has no relevance to the strength of his arguments, and criticizing
it is consequently irrelevant (at best) or fallacious (at worst).

>GM>Are you going to look down your nose at me if I am not as good as you
>>think you, yourself are?
>You seem to forget, it is *you* who thinks that the world's leading Christian
>apologists are not as "good" as you are.

He said their positions were wrong, not they they themselves were "not as
good as he is".

>GM>You have NO right to judge me in this fashion. Who do you think you
>>are, God?
>Who is judging you? I simply asked three questions that any Christian should
>be prepared to answer.

You above judge him in this very letter: "You don't even live up to your
*own* standards of perfection!" (One example.)

>GM> I am a servant of God and am responsible to Him. I don't have to
>>answer to you for my relationship with my God. That is between Him and me.
>>With that, keep your nose to yourself!
>I said all along that you didn't have to answer my questions. But if you as a
>"servant of God" publicly and destructively criticise leading servants of
God like
>Phil Johnson and Hugh Ross, then the quality of your spiritual life becomes
>an issue.

Again, I think this is the point of confusion. He has said that he
criticizes their positions, not the "servants" themselves.

Now, you may resent my having poked my nose into this, but I really think
this issue is unbecoming of a list full of learned academics. Let's cease
the character attacks, both explicit and insinuated, and switch instead to
an emphasis on the issues in question. To use this as a case in point, if
you believe Glenn Morton's criticisms of Ross and Johnson's positions are
incorrect, then why not deal with that? Why not point out where his
arguments have failed? Surely, even with matters of logic set aside, that
is a more worthy topic than prying into the details of his private worship.


Mike Hardie