Brandon E’s Objections: #7 – He Thinks I Oversimplify His Positions

For an explanation of this series, of which this post is a part, see Brandon E’s Objections:  #1.

Brandon, you have said that I oversimplify your positions.  Have you considered that you might be overcomplicating them?

You seem to use many words where few would do.

8 Replies to “Brandon E’s Objections: #7 – He Thinks I Oversimplify His Positions”

  1. Mike, I freely admit to using many words when a few (you would think) would do. But I find that I have to use more words and more qualifications to try to help you follow my points and respond to them substantively, or to not forget or misrepresent the context in which they were said.

    For example, earlier on your other blog I asked you to be open to even the possibility of being mistaken about your interpretations of Scripture, since you are the only one we are aware of who has arrived at your views. I also asked you what reason or ground you have to think that when you pray concerning whether your interpretations are right you can only be right, but when others pray and come to conclusions that you contradict they can only be wrong.

    You denied the possibility that you could be mistaken. And rather than answering my question about what reasonable basis you have for your stance, you oversimplified my point, saying that I am confidently asking you to be less confident, and that that’s “absurd.” So I had to explain why this is an oversimplified misrepresentation of my point, and gave an illustration to show how it prevents reasonable evaluation of two objectively different approaches of truth.

    Here is another example of you missing my point, and me having to clarify:

  2. Brandon, I have stipulated that I am a human being and in that sense am capable of being wrong about anything. But the same applies to you, so this makes for no difference in our positions. Conversely, if you and I, as human beings, didn’t think we were capable of being right, we wouldn’t even take positions on truth. We’d be like the agnostics.

    Moreover, if God has opened my eyes to something – that is, if I didn’t come to an understanding of it by dint of my own intelligence – then I’d be disgracing God to act like it was my idea. I’m just trying to give credit where credit is due.

    1. Mike, in your first paragraph you are comparing two different situations. You admit that you are a human being that can be mistaken…and yet you deny even possibility that you can be mistaken on the doctrinal particulars we’ve been discussing. And yes, we can know truth. But an agnostic and a person who believes through faith that Jesus is Lord and the Bible is the word of God are taking two different sources or frameworks for truth. And you have it that among all those who are working with the same framework as you, you are absolutely right with no possibility of being mistaken about your doctrinal particulars, and everyone who disagrees with you is wrong, even though you are the only person who shares this framework that we are aware of who has arrived at your set of doctrinal particulars. I said that if I was in your position I would at least be open to the possibility of being mistaken. My internal logic would allow for a way out of my narrow way of thinking. But if I accepted your extremely biased mentality that makes it impossible for you to be mistaken on these matters, and I were in fact mistaken, I would never discover it on my own terms. This does make for a difference between our two positions.

      As for your second paragraph, which of your ideas were you supposedly not intelligent enough to see or come up with? People come up with stuff they think they would never have thought of on their own all the time, whether that’s while reading the Bible, or a secular work of literature, or hitting notes on a piano.

  3. First paragraph: I’ve stated to you repeatedly that I have given great consideration to the possibility that i might be wrong. As a result, God has strengthened the conviction in my heart that these things He has shown me are true. That is why I proclaim them.

    Second paragraph: I could never have come up with the idea that everyone is going to heaven on my own. I would not even consider such an idea because it ran counter to traditional biblical teaching. I had no motivation to doubt it. Same for the Second Coming. Same for the kingdom versus the church. These were ideas I actively resisted. As Saul persecuted the church, so I fought all these ideas.

    1. Concerning the first paragraph, the same same be said of those who came to conclusions about that you contradict. At any rate, you presently conclude that it is not possible that your present conclusions could be mistaken because God has shown them to you. Did you think this way before, concerning your former positions? If so, then it is possible that your present convictions could be overturned by God later. If not, then your present conclusion that your conclusions about Scripture cannot possibly be mistaken (that is, not remaining open to the possibility of mistake), despite your “standing alone” in them and contradicting the views of others who have passed through the same process of prayerfully considering their views, is what I’m addressing.

      Concerning the second, I would suspect it possible that you had motives–whether consciously or unconsciously–that would have influenced your thinking concerning heaven and salvation once you started seriously studying the relevant words and concepts in Scripture. For instance, in your blogs and blog comments, you place a high emphasis on morality, and express moral indignation when “Christians” tout their ticket to heaven because they wear the “Christian” label while there atheists who care more for morality. Surely you are speaking from personal experience, that you felt it was not fair, and were liable to react against this. Maybe you would even think that God was leading you to think like this; I mean, you proclaim such things on your blogs. You also express moral outrage at the idea that not everyone would be saved in the end (for that would mean that God is not loving and merciful). You’re not the first to have these kinds of considerations.

      I would also say that your concept of God being triune/a Trinity probably was and still is tri-theistic, if your arguments against the position and your unfamiliarity with some of the reasons I used to distinguish the two conflicting concepts are any indication, I think it unlikely that you converted from a good understanding of what it means for God to be triune to your present claims about God (the Father and Son not existing at the same time but the Father “becoming” the Son and ceasing to be the Father, the Spirit being a separate being from God, etc.), but rather that you held a fairly tri-theistic concept of the Trinity throughout. I would say that I had a similar concept and wrestled with it before coming to my present convictions.

      Plus, the “not having a motive” can be said for those believers who arrived at convictions concerning the revelation of Scripture that you contradict. Speaking of my own case concerning just one example, I was very much an individual by disposition and as a believer, strongly inclined to read and study the Scripture at home rather than to go to a gathering on Sundays, and telling people so, tired of evangelical churchianity and not having attended a church gathering of my own initiative since a couple years prior while high school, prior to me being shown from Scripture my present convictions concerning the church as the communal Body of Christ as the testimony of Jesus in God’s economy.

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