List of Blogs on Which I No Longer Comment

I like to engage with others about the gospel of Christ.  However, not all bloggers are receptive to challenge.  This includes their followers as well.

No matter how respectful I have been, my presence has caused consternation on a number of blogs.  What follows is a list of blogs on which I no longer comment.  In some cases, it’s because I have literally been banned.  That is, in a few cases the bloggers have set their blogs to reject any comment that comes from me.  In other cases, I have left by mutual agreement with the blogger.  And in most other cases, I have decided to leave on my own before thing got too heated and because no good was being accomplished by my continued participation.  The Lord doesn’t like strife or quarreling.

This is an incomplete list, to which I will add over time.  They are in chronological order (i.e., most recent disengagement last).

Debunking Christianity (John Loftus)  –  John is a former Christian who became an atheist.  He was the first blogger to delete my comments, which was a good lesson for me not to invest too much time in writing on the blogs of others.  I wrote an open letter to John around that time.

Pyromaniacs (Phil Johnson, Dan Phillips, and Frank Turk)  – I don’t recall the specific issue here.

Zwinglius Redivivus (Jim West)  –  Jim moderates his comments, ones he doesn’t like never see the light of day.

Unsettled Christianity (Joel Watts)  –  The issue here was the authority of the Bible – that is, whether or not it is circular reasoning to say that the Bible is the word of God.

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (Nick Norelli)  –  The issue here was Christ versus the Trinity.

Near Emmaus (Brian LePort)  – I don’t recall the issue in dispute here.

Challies.com  (Tim Challies)  –  This is one of blogs that won’t allow me to comment.  No explanation or warning was given.  One day the comment system starting saying I wasn’t approved to comment.  I think the issue here was my belief that everyone is going to heaven.

Slacktivist (Fred Clark)  –  The issue here was homosexuality and marriage.  Fred never participated in the comments but those who did were vehemently supportive of homosexuality and homosexual marriage.  They were quite upset with my point of view.

Jesus Creed (Scot McKnight)  – The comment mechanism will no longer accept comments from me.  The issue here was my questions about evolution.

Formerly Fundie (Benjamin Corey)  –  Like Exploring Our Matrix below and Slacktivist above, this is a progressive Christian blog.  I think issues here were two: evolution and “gay marriage.”

Rethinking Biblical Christianity (Peter Enns)  –  I think Peter still identifies as an Evangelical Christian.  I sought to understand his biblical support for believing in evolution, but he did not want to talk about it.  As with James McGrath’s blog, commenters seemed to be uniformly sold on evolution and suspicious or hostile to anyone who isn’t.

Exploring Our Matrix (James McGrath)  –  [left Jan 2014] James self-identifies as a Progressive Christian.  I tried to engage James and others on the subject of evolution.  It was very hard to get fruitful interaction.  Other commenters generally regarded anyone who did not accept evolution as willfully obtuse.

God of Evolution and TylerJFrancke.com (Tyler Francke) – [left Feb 2014] Tyler is a Christian who writes in favor of evolution.  Like James McGrath, he seemed to spend most of his time mocking Ken Ham and YEC’s.  I asked him for biblical and logical arguments to support his position…but didn’t get very far.

37 Replies to “List of Blogs on Which I No Longer Comment”

  1. Oh, my goodness, Mike! What a long list…………….. 🙄
    There is only one blog of these you mentioned above on which I commented as well.

    In fact, “not all bloggers are receptive to challenge. This includes their followers as well.”
    This is my very experience too. Nonetheless, I understand them and I have faith and hope for those who banned me. God’s love doesn’t stop if someone is not yet ready to hear His voice clearly.

    Sometimes bloggers have had a hard life which left them so devastated that they cannot believe in God’s kindness and mercy toward them anymore. In such cases Satan has an easy job to make them believe that God’s plan for their life will be horrible. Alas, if they go on believing those evil spirits, they will lose both God’s peace and comfort. Instead, anxiety, arrogance (which springs from insecurity), aggressivity (coming from their own often unconscious doubts), confusion, and finally clinical depression come to light. Actually, it is God’s love again which withdraws His blessings from them until they realize that they have listened to the wrong voices.

    Other bloggers only welcome appreciation which I do understand. As long as commenters say “Yes and amen” to everything they write, they feel secure and loved. However, when suddenly a commenter challenges their views, they begin to feel rejected as a person (maybe, an experience they often had in their childhood which they don’t want to go through once more).

    As long as bloggers have not completely been set free from their past by Jesus who alone is able to heal the deepest (wounded) parts of their hearts, they cannot help but reject us. Indeed, they need our prayer and understanding.

  2. “Not all bloggers are receptive to challenge.” Among the quite diverse group of bloggers you’ve listed, few have actually censored you. Most of these bloggers haven’t blocked your comments at all. And though it certainly isn’t required that bloggers be answerable to every commenter on their site, most freely engage with you.

    The bloggers range from atheists to evangelicals. In most cases, you are the one who has left the conversation. You may not like their style of engagement. You might think they avoid your questions, but from what I’ve seen, you are the one who often avoids their challenges. To intimate that most of these bloggers are not “receptive to challenge” is a gross mischaracterization.

    The only common denominator here is you.

  3. “…few have actually censored you. Most of these bloggers haven’t blocked your comments at all.”

    As the saying goes, “you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” In the vast majority of these cases, it has been the blogger or his followers either blocking my comments or telling me directly, “do not post here anymore.” In the few that weren’t, I recognized where things were headed and left just before things reached that heated stage. I do not want to invest time writing comments when there’s an increasing chance they’ll be deleted. Nor do I want to continue upsetting people once they’ve made it clear that they’ve heard me and don’t want to hear anymore. Jesus always left when His hearers asked to leave.

    All of the bloggers listed above self-identify as Christians except for one (John Loftus, and he identifies as a former Christian). My ministry primarily consists in calling Christians to repent; not calling unbelievers to repent.

    I’ve gone back and added where it was missing, to the degree that I remembered (as these incidents have occurred over a 3-4 year period), the specific point in contention with each blog.

    My biggest disappointment in the truncation of these conversations is the inability to continue learning about the other side’s views on some of these subjects. I subscribe to the notion that when you put forward your ideas, you should go up against the best – not the weakest – arguments of your opponents. I wanted to deal with the best arguments viewed in the best possible light that these folks had. Thus it was disappointing to me that they just didn’t want to do that.

    Take, for example, the one with which I think you would be the most familiar: James McGrath at Exploring Our Matrix. James regularly attacks Ken Ham and YEC but won’t put forth his own biblical argument for theistic evolution. In James’ defense, he doesn’t ascribe much authority to the Bible so that wouldn’t be as natural for him to do this as, say, Peter Enns at Rethinking Biblical Christianity. In both cases, I want to understand the very best arguments for theistic evolution in light of its tension points with the Bible. I’m finding it practically impossible to locate someone who’s willing to make that case. James just keeps attacking instead of defending his own position, and Peter simply won’t engage. Both of them accept evolution as true because of the scientific consensus (neither holds science credentials), and simply don’t worry about its tensions with the Bible.

    As I recall, you are not a believer in Christ (though perhaps you were at one point), so I don’t expect you to make the argument for biblical theistic evolution; otherwise, I’d ask you to do it. Of course, that’s just been one of the issues in contention, but I use it as an example because, as I say, I think you’ve been witness to some of those conversations.

  4. So let me get this straight.

    When you say “you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts”, are you saying that my statement:

    “… few have actually censored you. Most of these bloggers haven’t blocked your comments at all.”

    … is false? Untrue?

    You list 13 bloggers. From what I can see two have blocked you (Jesus Creed & Challies.com) and two have censored one or more of your comments (Debunking Christianity & Zwinglius Revividus).

    That’s four out of thirteen. Have I missed one? What part of my statement is untrue?

  5. I did not include every detail of every experience above. There was more censoring and blocking than I explicitly mentioned. (I didn’t see the point of getting that specific about each and every experience when I wrote the post, nor do I now.) Moreover, you have assumed that if my comments were not actually blocked by software or deleted, then I was welcome to continue but chose of my own volition to “leave the conversation” and “avoid the challenges.” That’s an invalid assumption…and it’s false as well. Lastly, if I’m asked to stop commenting on a site then I should continue anyway until I am physically blocked? I don’t see Jesus beating down the doors of people who made it clear to Him that they didn’t want Him around..

    On top of all this, my blogs are open for anyone to challenge me here. All of the people named above are welcome to take advantage of that opportunity. If they do, they can count on 1) not being blocked, 2) not being censored, 3) not being asked to “move on,” and 4) not being called a “troll.” Examine my sites and see that I have been challenged in far more severe ways than you have ever seen me challenge someone else.

    I wrote the original post above not to justify myself, nor to make a point to any of the bloggers mentioned, but rather to encourage others who take stands for Jesus Christ. “Woe to you when all men speak well of you,” He said. You and those above have spoken ill of me. May it not be held against any of you.

    The Lord is the judge in all these things. If He thinks I have done wrong, let Him have His way with me. I won’t complain about His chastening.

  6. Whether or not you felt “welcome to continue”, my explicit statement was that “most of these bloggers haven’t blocked your comments at all”. To this statement you have said “you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

    To insinuate that I am being untruthful in this simple statement of fact is just the sort of deceptive rhetoric I have come to expect of you. You say now that there was “more censoring and blocking than I explicitly mentioned.” Are you saying that the other 9 bloggers censored or blocked you? Which ones? A majority?

    You have said that my statement, “most of these bloggers haven’t blocked your comments at all” is not a fact. Do you stand by this?

  7. This is what I wrote and I stand by it:

    “In some cases, it’s because I have literally been banned. That is, in a few cases the bloggers have set their blogs to reject any comment that comes from me. In other cases, I have left by mutual agreement with the blogger. And in most other cases, I have decided to leave on my own before thing got too heated and because no good was being accomplished by my continued participation.”

    This is what you said:

    “…few have actually censored you. Most of these bloggers haven’t blocked your comments at all.”

    You are thus equivocating on the meaning of these words. You want to define them narrowly now so you can say they are true, but you wanted to define them broadly when arguing that I actually left these blogs because I didn’t want to defend my own positions. If you want your words to be defined narrowly, then acknowledge that they are beside the point I was trying to make in the post.

    I don’t think you’re being intentionally untruthful. I just think you’re being more emotional than logical.

  8. I’m equivocating on the word “censored” and “blocked”!? Are you kidding me? A sixth grader can tell you the meaning of these words!

    When I said, “few have actually censored you. Most of these bloggers haven’t blocked your comments at all” …

    You responded “you are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

    You insinuated that I was being untruthful. No. You were untruthful.

    There is a lot more I could say about the small-mindedness of this post, but I choose to focus on this one statement, because you can’t even seem to admit it, when you state an obvious untruth.

  9. … and frankly I have no idea what you mean by defining “censor” and “blocked” narrowly and broadly. When I said that few of the bloggers had censored you and most haven’t blocked you, I meant exactly that. Most of these bloggers neither deleted your comments nor blocked you from further commenting.

    I went on to say that you were the one who left most of the conversations. This doesn’t require a “narrow” or “broad” definition of being censored or blocked – I have no idea what convoluted reasoning brings you to that conclusion.

    So when I made that simple factual statement, your insinuation that I wasn’t stating a fact was false. Unless you’d like to argue that the other nine bloggers censored you or blocked you.

    Perhaps you are arguing that bloggers have censored or blocked you in some metaphorical sense. But that has nothing to do with the factual truth of my statement that you choose to twist.

    As for your smarmy suggestion I’m being “more emotional than logical”; you have no idea the state of my feelings, but the sorry state of your logic is as clear as day.

    And as for the point you were trying to make in the post, you say that is to “encourage others who takes stands for Jesus Christ” because I “and those above have spoken ill of” you. “May it not be held against us.”

    You really have no idea how childish that sounds, do you? Your method of encouraging your brothers is to speak ill of 13 bloggers who you claim speak ill of you.

  10. Is your point that I should have kept on commenting, even when the blogger asked me to stop, until he flipped the swith in his software that kept my comments from getting through?

    1. Actually, my point is much simpler. You said that my statement that most of these bloggers never censored or blocked you was a case of not being entitled to “my own facts.”

      So there is that simple falsehood, since my statement was completely true.

      As for your intimations about being unable to continue blogging, well, I’ve followed at least some of the bloggers above that I know never told you to stop. So tell us – of the nine bloggers you listed who never censored or blocked you, who actually told you to stop posting?

    2. You also intimated above that “there was more censoring and blocking than I explicitly mentioned”; do you mean that some of the 9 other bloggers deleted your comments or blocked you from commenting on their sites? Which ones?

  11. “Actually, my point is much simpler. You said that my statement that most of these bloggers never censored or blocked you was a case of not being entitled to “my own facts.”

    How could that have been your original point since it didn’t come up until after you made your first comment?

    1. You will go to any lengths to avoid answering simple questions, won’t you. I didn’t say it was my “original” point. It is the point I am making now, the point I have been making for several replies now. The point you keep avoiding.

      You quoted me:

      “…few have actually censored you. Most of these bloggers haven’t blocked your comments at all.”

      Then you said:

      As the saying goes, “you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

      So how is my quote not a “fact”?

      There are other questions you are avoiding too. How many of the remaining 9 bloggers actually censored your or blocked you? You intimated that there are more.

      How many of the remaining 9 bloggers actually told you to “stop posting”?

      Which ones? A majority?

  12. The answer to what you’re asking can be found in the second paragraph of the original post:

    “In some cases, it’s because I have literally been banned. That is, in a few cases the bloggers have set their blogs to reject any comment that comes from me. In other cases, I have left by mutual agreement with the blogger. And in most other cases, I have decided to leave on my own before thing got too heated and because no good was being accomplished by my continued participation.”

    Now, what was your original point?

  13. No, Mike, the answer to what I’m asking cannot be found in the second paragraph of the original post, as anyone can see. This another avoidance tactic of yours.

    In addition to this paragraph, you have said that you didn’t list all the censoring and blogging instances and that some bloggers told you to stop posting. I ask again, which of the remaining 9 bloggers have censored or blocked you? Which told you to stop posting?

    As for your question about my original point, do you want me to quote the original comment again? The point seems obvious to me. You intimate in your first paragraph that “not all bloggers are receptive to challenge”, presumably the 13 bloggers that you list. I’ve followed your interaction on some of these blogs, and it’s clear to me that, at the very least, McGrath, Francke, and Enns are quite open to challenge, while you on the other hand have ignored and avoided the challenges that they present to you.

    To this you can disagree. Fine.

    But then I made the simple factual statement, “… few have actually censored you. Most of these bloggers haven’t blocked your comments at all.”

    Which you quoted and dishonestly replied, “you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

    This is the sort of behavior I’ve witnessed from you frequently. You ignore questions of others and then accuse them of not answering your challenges. You make false statements or errors, then go to great irrelevant lengths rather than admit it.

    Out of curiosity, I took a look at your comment record and found that you recently had this effect even on a conservative Christian blog. You managed to offend all the other commenters and the author of the Euangelion blog, Michael Bird, by claiming that it was unlikely that the author had even read a book he was refuting in an upcoming publication. You were wrong, and your error was pointed out to you, but you went for several posts with all sorts of irrelevant detail, never once admitting your original insulting error, though it was pointed out over and over again.

    I’m sure you have convinced yourself that denigrating these bloggers somehow advances the cause of Christ. It always amazes me how prideful, dishonest people can convince themselves that they are being holy.

  14. And just so that you don’t avoid my simple questions again, I will repeat:

    You said, “In the vast majority of these cases, it has been the blogger or his followers either blocking my comments or telling me directly, “do not post here anymore.”

    You also said, “I did not include every detail of every experience above. There was more censoring and blocking than I explicitly mentioned.”

    You name of 4 of 13 bloggers that censored or blocked you. So, of the remaining 9, who has censored or blocked you? Who has said, “do not post here anymore”?

    You said it was the “vast majority”. Can you name them?

  15. No, Mike, the answer to what I’m asking cannot be found in the second paragraph of the original post, as anyone can see. This another avoidance tactic of yours.

    I disagree.  I’ll leave it for readers to decide for themselves whether or not they think your characterization of me is fair.

    In addition to this paragraph, you have said that you didn’t list all the censoring and blogging instances and that some bloggers told you to stop posting. I ask again, which of the remaining 9 bloggers have censored or blocked you?

    Pyromaniacs also blocked and deleted comments.  And Peter Enns began moderating my comments.  I did not go back and check whether any were deleted.

    Which told you to stop posting?

    Tyler Francke and one of his followers asked me to “move on.”  Numerous followers of Fred Clark asked me to stop commenting.

    Brian LePort and Nick Norelli, both normally peaceful fellows, became quite agitated.  Whether or not they explicitly asked me to stop commenting, I don’t recall (it was several years back), but it was clear that they would appreciate it if I would stop.

    The Joel Watts experience was also several years ago, so details are hard to remember.  Unlike Brian and Nick, Joel is not one to dislike argument.  (I wrote about some of it here.)  However, the tone of the engagement became so bitter and unproductive that I saw no benefit to anyone in prolonging the interaction.

    My departures from Benjamin Corey’s and James McGrath’s blogs is more recent.  With Corey, my limited exchanges with him went fairly well, but it was with his followers that the conversation became very unproductive.  James McGrath was a little different from all the others in that he ostensibly invited discussion but actually resisted it in the way he engaged.  For example, he does not like to defend his own views and so frequently switches the onus to the questioner to defend his own position.  No one should mind defending his own position, but if that’s just a way to change the subject, it’s not pleasant.  There was also objection to my comments from some of James’ followers.

    What all these experiences have in common is an environment that rejects, resists, and stigmatizes challenge.  In each and every case, the dialogue reached a stage of unproductivity, if not dysfunction.  In some cases, that was brought on by the blog administrator blocking me or deleting comments, but in other cases I was able to recognize the “tissue rejection” before those steps were taken.  For you to suggest that I left of my own accord or did not want to defend my own position is not merely wrong; it completely misunderstands my thinking and fails to appreciate my disappointment at not being able to generate or derive benefit from these interactions.

    I’ve now filled in details so that you have more information on all 13 sites mention.  Let me now take these details and summarize them.  (Some sites fell into more than one of these categories, but, for simplicity’s sake, I just put each into one.)

    Sites on which my comments were literally blocked by the software:  Scott McKnight, Tim Challies, and Pyromaniacs.

    Sites on which some or all of my comments were deleted:  John Loftus, Jim West

    Sites on which the blogger asked me to stop commenting:  Tyler Francke, Peter Enns (asked me to take on more work before writing again)

    Sites where followers of the blog asked me to stop commenting: Tyler Francke, Benjamin Corey, Fred Clark

    Sites where I detected the sentiment of blogger and/or followers and voluntarily left: James McGrath, Brian LePort, Nick Norelli

    Let me now go back an insert these numbers into what I wrote in the original post so you can see how they fit together:

     In some cases, it’s because I have literally been banned.  That is, in a few cases the bloggers have set their blogs to reject any comment that comes from me (3).  In other cases, I have left by mutual agreement with the blogger (2).  And in most other cases (7), I have decided to leave on my own before thing got too heated and because no good was being accomplished by my continued participation.

    I will now also show how these specifics fit the other statement I made to which you took exception:

     In the vast majority of these cases (10), it has been the blogger or his followers either blocking my comments or telling me directly, “do not post here anymore.” In the few that weren’t (3), I recognized where things were headed and left just before thing reached that heated stage.

    In every blog on which I comment, I try to add value.  And I try to sense whether or not the blogger and his followers are finding that value.  I will never continue commenting on a site if I sense that all my comments are doing is upsetting people.  

    As for your question about my original point, do you want me to quote the original comment again? The point seems obvious to me. You intimate in your first paragraph that “not all bloggers are receptive to challenge”, presumably the 13 bloggers that you list. I’ve followed your interaction on some of these blogs, and it’s clear to me that, at the very least, McGrath, Francke, and Enns are quite open to challenge, while you on the other hand have ignored and avoided the challenges that they present to you.

    To this you can disagree. Fine.

    Let me deal with these in reverse order:  Peter was the least open of the three.  I asked questions of him directly on a number of his blog posts and typical response was no response.  That is, he didn’t respond at all.  When he did respond, he said something to the effect that my comments were out of line but that “he had allowed them for a time.”  Thus, when he did finally engage with me it was to correct me for my comments, not answer them.  Some of his followers responded to me, but their responses were almost uniformly negative.  I can’t imagine why you would characterize that environment as “open to challenge.”  They weren’t even open to reasonable questions, much less challenge.  I left the blog only with the greatest of disappointment but in that case I was trying to get questions answered as opposed to making a point.

    Tyler was open at first, but quickly seemed to resent my comments and suggestions.  As with Peter, my interest was in the evolution versus the Bible question.  Tyler’s blog said he was writing from a Christian point of view, in addition to asking questions, I pointed out to him how his approach was counterproductive to his stated purpose.  He took great exception to this.  And who am I to argue with him on this as he is the expert on his own purpose.  Again, I was very disappointed to leave that discussion as I had entered it with great hope for a better understanding of this evolution-Bible issue.

    James’ environment was toxic to challenge, but probably the least so of the 13.  And for this reason, I stuck with it longer than most, if not all, of the others.  Unlike most of the others, James did not so much object to challenge or ignore it.  Instead, he tried to change or flip the question back to the questioner.  So, although he may have appeared more open to challenge, he never seldom ever was responsive to it.  His manner is to stigmatize his opponents (most notably Ken Ham).  That is very different from offering rebuttals to Ham.  I was taught that you should respond to the best arguments of your opponent, interpreting them in the most charitable way.

    I seldom pay attention to the “like/dislike” results on Disqus, but occasionally they catch my eye.  On James’ blog, as well as some of the others, when the tone of the dialogue turned nasty, I would notice that anyone who attacked me would receive numbers likes or up votes, while my comments would be downvoted.  Now, I certainly don’t mind my comments being downvoted, but when you are looking for signs as to whether you ought to stay or go, such all such signs point to a near universal rejection of your message or your questions, what is the virtue in continuing?  Another such sign is when people start applying terms like “troll” to you.  I think I even recall James invoking this or a related term (maybe it was “troll-like”).  On the Internet, there’s no worse name you can be called than troll.  I love Jesus Christ.  I’m glad to stay on any blog, and take all kinds of personal attack.  But once I’ve been heard, and their seems to be virtually universal rejection of the message, how does it further the cause of Christ for me to continue speaking?

    Now, let me also address something else, repeating part of what you wrote above:

    …while you on the other hand have ignored and avoided the challenges that they present to you.

    I am unaware of this being the case.  Regardless, I welcome your presenting any and all of these to me now.  Even though I can’t comment on their blogs, I am quite willing to address any and all issues from which you feel I walked away.  If only someone at the blogs above had asked this, I might still be at some of them now.

    But then I made the simple factual statement, “… few have actually censored you. Most of these bloggers haven’t blocked your comments at all.”

    Which you quoted and dishonestly replied, “you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

    This is the sort of behavior I’ve witnessed from you frequently. You ignore questions of others and then accuse them of not answering your challenges. You make false statements or errors, then go to great irrelevant lengths rather than admit it.

    Either you meant “most of these bloggers haven’t blocked your comments at all” in a narrow technical sense or a broad general sense.  I didn’t take you in a narrow technical sense because I myself had written in the original post “in a few cases the bloggers have set their blogs to reject any comment that comes from me” [italics added].  So, I took you to be speaking broadly and generally, telling me, in effect, that I had not been rejected in the majority of cases at all.  I had simply walked away of my own volition, presumably for some reason that is not commendable.

    It is a fact that all 13 of the blogs listed above were unwelcoming, if not hostile, to my challenges and questions.  Technicalities about who did and didn’t use their software to actualize that resistance is beside the point.  If anything, you should have commended me for not being such a nuisance that I pushed the rest of these folks to such extremes.

    Out of curiosity, I took a look at your comment record and found that you recently had this effect even on a conservative Christian blog. You managed to offend all the other commenters and the author of the Euangelion blog, Michael Bird, by claiming that it was unlikely that the author had even read a book he was refuting in an upcoming publication. You were wrong, and your error was pointed out to you, but you went for several posts with all sorts of irrelevant detail, never once admitting your original insulting error, though it was pointed out over and over again.

    I wouldn’t put that blog in the list above.  That was indeed a strange situation.  I was unable to ever get my question understood there – at least by the folks that commented against me.  I trust that perhaps others reading did understand me and just didn’t want to get involved in the fray.  Though I don’t comment in order to receive approval, that does happen, even when I challenge a blogger’s view.

    Regarding this blog, notice what I did.  Once I felt that the conversation was only repeating itself with that one commenter who so strenuously disagreed with me, I ended it by letting him have the last word.  When a thread has become unproductive, you drop it.  Now, I may very well comment on that blog again, as I have in the past.  But if the next thread or two take that same negative course, then I will probably refrain from commenting there, too.  Thus, I don’t leave at the first sign of trouble, nor do I incessantly push myself on people who’ve made it clear in at least two or three different ways or occasions that they prefer me gone.  There’s a balance to be maintained.

    I’m sure you have convinced yourself that denigrating these bloggers somehow advances the cause of Christ. It always amazes me how prideful, dishonest people can convince themselves that they are being holy.

    The most I have expressed about these bloggers is disagreement, not denigration.  I wish they were more open to challenging points of view.  If you want to know what denigration is, go through Disqus and see the names I have been called.  I’m not complaining about that, just pointing out that my experience with denigration is primarily, if not exclusively, on the receiving end.

    I have had bloggers, and commenters on their behalf, make the following argument to me, using almost these exact words: “A blog is like my home.  When I invite you in, you conduct yourself as if you were in my home, and if you don’t, you’ll be asked to leave.”  I don’t understand that point of view.  If that’s the way you feel, make people register for your site and password protect it.  To me, a blog is the public square.  It’s where you take your ideas and go to engage others – whether it’s your blog or theirs.  Sure, there are rules of decorum (and one of those is that you leave when you know you’re not wanted instead of pushing yourself on people until they call the police), but this is not about hosting people as if it’s your living room so they can tell you what a great host you are and how great all your ideas are.

    Life is short.  I have many things to share and many things to learn.  Once a blog has made it clear that it doesn’t want to hear what I am sharing, or doesn’t want to answer the questions I’m asking, I owe it to them and to myself to move on.

    I trust that by now I have answered every question you had.  If, however, you want to know something else, feel free to ask.  And, most important, if you think I have been presented challenges that I have left unaddressed, please give me the opportunity to address them now.

  16. Yes, this clarifies quite a lot.

    Now I understand that when I said, “… few have actually censored you. Most of these bloggers haven’t blocked your comments at all.” and you replied, “you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” –

    You chose to believe that I didn’t mean what I said, but rather that I meant “censored” or “blocked” in some less obvious, amorphous, not technological sense.

    In other words, despite your stated interest in “interpreting them in the most charitable way”, you interpreted my words to mean that I was being untruthful – “not entitled to your own facts”.

    Now I understand that a minority 5 of the 13 sites in some way censored you or blocked you from commenting at least once.

    Now understand that when you say you were told “do not post here anymore”, you did not mean that literally – it is how you interpreted them (though not charitably). For example, I know that Tyler Francke did not say “do not post here anymore”. On the contrary you made a comment that you did not like his style of ridicule, and he defended his style and merely suggested that if you didn’t like his blog, you could select another or write your own. If you really thought he meant by this “do not post here anymore”, it certainly didn’t show in your behavior, because you continued in a long volley of comments afterward.

    I suppose you interpreted me to be the “follower” of Francke who also said “do not post here anymore”, even though I most certainly did not say that. I merely echoed Francke’s sentiments in the statement “if you don’t like the quisine, go to another restaurant” – and this was not in response to any question of yours. In part, it was in response to a bit of ridicule that you delivered: “All ridicule all the time … It’s like ketchup. a little here and there spices things up, but if you were given a big bowl of it for a meal you’d probably throw it up.” Given that you were criticizing Francke for using ridicule – I found it ironic that you responded with ridicule of your own. When I brought this up, you twisted (sorry, interpreted) my words to mean that I was saying the original post was not ridicule (and you derided me for this false restatement), when I was clearly comparing the ridicule of the post to your ridicule.

    Given that Francke never said “do not post here anymore” and never stopped answering every comment you made; given that Peter Enns suggested that you read a bit more on one particular topic before commenting on that topic (not a bad suggestion – you might begin with his book) and never told you “do not post here anymore”, I can only assume that when you say two bloggers and the followers of three blogs said “do not post here anymore”, you are at worst, telling a falsehood, and at best, interpreting them very un-charitably.

    Given that you see me as a “follower” of Francke and McGrath, when in fact, I disagree with many of their arguments and have a completely different perspective as a nonbeliever, I can only assume that by “follower” you simply mean “other commenters besides yourself.”

    I suppose you would like us to trust your opinion that these bloggers are not “more open to challenging points of view”, but since I have seen, on several of these blogs, far more diverse and challenging points of view expressed, argued, and fully vetted, than I have ever seen you entertain, I can only assume that yours is very biased and prideful opinion indeed.

    Many of these bloggers use more frank, direct, and colorful language than you do. Perhaps that has offended your sensibilities. But I much prefer that sort of honest conversation than your style of misquoting, mischaracterizing, and ignoring the words of your challengers. (If you need examples of how you do this – I’ve just given several for this conversation alone).

    As for the conservative blog Euangelion, it’s telling that you think the problem was that you were “unable to ever get my question understood there”. No, Mike, the problem was that when you said it was unlikely the author of the blog had read the text he was refuting you were WRONG. That’s all. Just WRONG. Proven wrong. And after insulting the author with this statement. You could not (apparently still cannot) bring yourself to admit that you were wrong.

    It’s just amusing to me that you don’t think you are denigrating these bloggers; apparently you are just listing them to show that you disagree with them, to state your opinion that they aren’t open to challenges, and “to encourage others who take stands for Jesus Christ.” Especially, when “you and those above have spoken ill of me. May it not be held against any of you.”

    1. I respect your opinons. You have a number of them, and you are certainly entitled to do so. I do not however, accept your notion that the only way I can know that someone wants me to stop posting is for them to block my comments with software or explicitly say “do not post here anymore.”

      The original post, and all my comments since, are not about assessing the work of these 13 bloggers. Rather, I am only speaking to this one issue of openness to challenge. That is something they all have in common. Aside from that, they are different in many ways. I am much more supportive of the work of say a Nick Norelli or Brian LePort than I am that of James McGrath or Peter Enns. I’m not going to go into that because that’s not the point of the original post and this comment thread I say it, however, to further limit what you or anyone else should infer from my comments.

      Another relevant point in this discussion is that Disqus threads can be hard to follow because of the way they organize comments, both on posts where they’re used and in the Disqus archives. This has affected your opinion on some things.

      As for Michael Bird, I don’t think there would be anything unethical about his writing his book without having read Ehrman’s. Nor do I think there’s anything particularly productive or effective being achieved just because he has read it before writing his own. What I was arguing for there was something much more productive and effective than what was being addressed.

      As I said, you are entitled to your opinions of me. You have stated them extensively. I’m happy to let them stand here and for readers to take them into consideration as they form their own opinions of me. And, of course, it’s possible that Christ Himself sides with you on these issues (for even when I’m following my conscience I am not always guaranteed to be right). If He does, then I will suffer the consequences, and I will not complain about it.

      Let Christ be honored and let every one of us acknowledge that He is right in all things.

      1. But Mike,

        I’m not the one who claimed that these bloggers said explicitly, “do not post here anymore.”

        That was your claim. You might have claimed that you were made to feel unwelcome by these bloggers, (debatable but a bit more supportable), but no – you said, “In the vast majority of these cases, it has been the blogger or his followers either blocking my comments or telling me directly, “do not post here anymore.”

        Not true. In the cases of James McGrath, Tyler Francke, and Peter Enns, not even metaphorically true (and my guess is that’s the case with others as well).

        And whether you accept it or not, falsely characterizing bloggers in such a way is worse than claiming that they are not open to challenge.

        And the claim that they are not open to challenge is demonstrably untrue – they are open to challenge from an extremely diverse set of readers and commenters. Far more diverse and argumentative than the commenters on your blog.

        As for the Euangelion site, what does it matter whether you think writing a refutation of Ehrman without reading him is ethical? That’s an obvious straw man, Mike.

        The issue is so much simpler than that. You were wrong. Factually wrong. You said that it was unlikely that Michael Bird had read the book he was refuting with a book of his own. He had announced his review of a prepublication copy two weeks earlier, but rather than look it up, you told an author on his own blog that it was unlikely he had read the book for which he was publishing a refutation. What is so childish about your behavior on that post, was that you couldn’t even admit error. Forget about ethics, you couldn’t even admit making a mistake. Still can’t do it. Such pride!

        And whether you thought it would have been “ethical” is completely beside the point. It was an insult – not because it would have been unethical, but because it would have been stupid – not the approach of an actual scholar.

        But forget about the insult. How about just going back to the post and admitting that you were wrong – even a simple little “oops” would be better than nothing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you admit error, Mike. I see you put words in other people’s mouths all the time. But admitting error? Doesn’t seem to be part of your character.

        1. “In the cases of James McGrath, Tyler Francke, and Peter Enns, not even metaphorically true…”

          Beau,

          Because of your extensive comments here, I am going to return to reading and commenting on these three blogs. When I make my first comment on each, I will explain that I am doing so because of your insistence that I had misread their wishes and that you believe that they welcome challenge and that they did not want me to stop commenting.

          We’ll see what happens.

          1. That is up to you. It doesn’t matter to me whether you comment on their sites or not. That has little to do with your mischaracterization of them on this post.

            1. The point of the exercise will be to determine whether it is I or you who have mischaracterized them.

              By the way, I will be happier to be proven wrong than I will be to be proven right.

              1. You can do as you please, but you’re already wrong. The “exercise” you’re suggesting, just sounds like self-centered attempt to make someone else’s blog post about you.

              2. For crying out loud, Mike, comment on any blog you like – but leave me out of it, please. It’s ridiculous to leave the obtuse comment, “Beau?” as a response to someone else on another blog, I may not be there to respond.

                1. Beau, I had planned to extend the exercise to all three of the blogs I mentioned, but the exchanges at Peter’s blog were sufficient to demonstrate the truth of what I have been saying in this post and comment thread. (Here’s my first and last point in yesterday-today’s thread. Search all the comments between, including your own, and count how many were either ad hominem attacks or rejection of my questions as invalid.)

                  I dare say this commenter was speaking for more than himself when he wrote,

                  “Not to be uncharitable, Pete, but could consider keeping Mr. Gantt from continuing to hijack this (and other threads)? I enjoy the dialogue here, but it is difficult given the current…obstreperousness.”

                  You even tried to intervene on my behalf, but I can’t imagine that you changed his mind. Face it: my contention is true. You can even say it’s all my fault if you want, but you can’t say I’m making it up.

                  The goal of the exercise having been achieved, I’ve no interest in perpetuating anyone’s discomfort by continuing to post where I’m not wanted. Case closed.

                  1. Whatever you “daresay”, the commenter who suggested you be censored, clearly did not speak for Pete Enns, and can no more be construed as a “follower” of Enns that can you or I. Quite the contrary, as any reader can see, Pete Enns answered every question you asked, and (far from censoring you) gave you the last word on the thread you started.

                    I offered a few challenges for YOU, however, from which you retreated … specific questions about the verses you seemed to be referencing.

                    All that was in evidence in that post on Enns site, is that you love to deliver high-handed accusations, but your “challenges” are vague and of little substance.

  17. Hi Mike,

    Just today I had a similar experience with The Gospel Coalition site, once again. As I told you on another blog posting (“How Many Christian Denominations Are There?”), I experienced it before that my comments there disappeared into nirvana. Either they were deleted after my posting or the bloggers decided to moderate them somehow randomly (sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t).

    Today I tried to post a comment on the TGC blog post “What Not to Say to Someone Who’s Suffering” (Matt Smethurst). Whoops! And off it went. As I tried to post it for the second time, a kind of warning appeared, asking me why I wanted to post my comment twice. Aha…? My comment should have been the fourth comment there, but it has not been displayed there until now. Instead, other comments followed those before. I’m just wondering why it’s always getting stranger than I thought…

    1. Susanne, let’s hope that what you’re describing was just a software glitch and not an intentional effort by someone at the blog to keep you from commenting. I myself have had experiences where it turned out that the problem was technical and temporary, and not related to any attempt to block me.

      1. Hi Mike,

        Here we are, again, same procedure as every month (Oops, no rhyme here). 😉

        A few minutes ago I tried to post a comment for the third time since yesterday on Tullian Tchividjian’s blog http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/2014/03/26/march-madness-and-the-mathematics-of-grace/ . Whoa – all three attempts to post the 4th comment there failed and my words vanished into nirvana. Since I have had several different problems with TGC since last week, I really wonder whether it might be a technical problem this time, as you suggested above. Any further information from your side?

        1. Susanne,

          Different blogs use different software with different commenting systems. Commenting systems usually tell you either in advance (“Comments are moderated”) or once you’ve commented (“Your comment is being held for moderation”), but not always.

          Also, commenting systems will usually tell you if you have been blocked (banned) from commenting, but not always.

          I am not familiar with the software that operates TGC’s commenting system, so I don’t know how to interpret your experience. I have commented extensively on various TGC blogs, but I have never, to my knowledge, been banned there.

          In order to test the system, I just now went to the post to which you linked. I read the post, then made a comment. It disappeared without any acknowledgement. Therefore, I don’t know whether my comment was lost, is being held for moderation, or if I am banned. And, therefore, I can’t explain, or guess, what’s going on. I would recommended trying to reach out to Tully via his FaceBook, Twitter, or other social media address to see if he can explain what’s going on. I also think TGC has a “webmaster” or “blog editor” who oversees all their blogs; he would be a good person to ask if Tully doesn’t respond.

          Best wishes for you to get your thoughts through to them.

          1. @ Mike – who saved me from My Monday Morning Misery, 😉

            Thanks so much for lending professional assistance, i.e., your detailed response and your own (alas, unsuccessful) attempt to comment on Tully’s ( 🙂 ) blog.

            Much love,
            Susanne

            1. PS
              Rereading your response, Mike, I suddenly realized that I phrased my surprise over my problem with posting comments on TGC blog(s) in an ambiguous way. In fact, I didn’t think at all that anyone keeps me from commenting there. Actually, I do think that the problem IS technical!
              (I guess this will be one of these extremely “squeezed” WordPress comments 😉 )

  18. (This response is to this thread from above.)

    Beau,

    You had left me the following comment on Peter’s blog:

    Of course, Pete is open to challenge. You have simply failed to offer a challenge.

    … and if telling someone that they are wrong is “slander”, well then, we’re all “slanderers”, you included.

    Here is my response:

    I offered Peter the challenge of addressing the tension points between evolution and the Bible. He didn’t even ask me what I thought they were.

    By the way, someone elsewhere has said that William Lane Craig does address this “challenge” at this page on his web site.  I’ve been through 5 of the 21 segments, so I don’t know whether he will address all the tension points, but the effort he makes to biblically justify his belief in evolution seems substantial. I wasn’t saying that Peter had to be as substantive or accessible in his response as Craig, but there is an obvious and dramatic difference in the respect Peter and Craig are according those who disagree with them.

    I certainly don’t think Peter was slandering me to tell me I was wrong. I do, however, regard his response as not only as one of those “‘Shut up,’ he explained” kind of answers, but also a character assassination on someone asking sincere and important questions on the topic of the post.

    You have also seen that my re-entry into the conversation has quickly brought forth characterizations of “hijacking the thread,” “obstreperousness,” and “troll” – the last of these being the most significant. I say this not because I take offense at any of these things, but because they are indicators that I (or, more specifically, my views) are not welcome in the conversation, and, even more significantly, that my continued presence here is actually causing pain, to whatever degrees, to the blogger and the readers. (See http://bit.ly/1k2J5FH for the definition of troll that Andrew Dowling provided; it is telling.) If this is the perception of me, and the blogger himself will not defend me from it, then it makes no sense whatsoever for me to continue participating in the conversation.

    Therefore, this is my last post on this blog and you will not be able to convince me or goad me into returning this time. If this most recent exchange doesn’t prove my point to you, nothing will.

    In the end, it matters little what any of us think. What matters is what the Lord Jesus thinks of us. Since you are not a believer, I do not hold you to this standard, but Peter claims Jesus as Lord just as I do. Therefore, the Lord Himself will judge between Peter’s service for Him and mine.

    I wish no one any ill. Therefore, if I have proven unable to bless folks with my presence, then I will henceforth bless them with my absence.

    You may wonder why I am showing your comment and my response here instead of just leaving my response on Peter’s blog.  The reason is that when I hit the enter key to post the comment there, I received the following message from Disqus:

    We are unable to post your comment because you have been blocked by Peter Enns.

  19. “He didn’t even ask me what I thought they were.”

    What a pathetic complaint. Apparently you couldn’t be troubled to name them without prompting.

    How ironic, that you compare Enns with William Lane Craig – who doesn’t even host commenting on his site!

    That you could describe your leading, presumptive questions as “sincere and important” and his responses as “character assassination” tells us much more about your self-delusion than about Peter Enns.

    Yes, your comments were characterized as “hijacking the thread,” “obstreperousness,” and “troll”. For our purposes, I find this definition apt:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

    If Enns did, after your latest unwarranted accusations against him, finally block you, well then, congratulations Mike for your self-fulling your own prophecy. You complained about commenters calling you a troll, then proceeded to prove them right.

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