An Arrogant Atheist To The Rescue

Yesterday, an almost unimaginable disaster befell Jim West’s Zwinglius Redivivus blog. One of his posts was lost. But, now it’s found. In accordance with Holy Scripture (John 10:28) and assisted by almighty Google cache, I am happy to be able to repost it below.

Why What Duane Thinks of the Biblical Studies Carnival Reborn Doesn’t Matter to Me

If I’ve understood him aright, when you boil his wordiness all down to its essence, he simply doesn’t like the theological direction the Carnival has seemed to have taken.  He wishes it to remain ‘academic’ biblical studies oriented.  To which I respond-
1- the bible is a theological text, not an ancient artifact that can be studied like a dead rat.
2- what atheists want concerning the field of biblical studies matters less to me than an ant matters to an eagle. Atheists stand outside the hermeneutical circle and are utterly bereft of any ability whatsoever to understand either the meaning of the biblical text or the meaning of the text’s theology.

You’re welcome.

11 thoughts on “An Arrogant Atheist To The Rescue”

  1. Wow, classic West.
    For the record, I’m with you on the degradation of the carnival, Duane.
    And also for the record–“Atheists stand outside the hermeneutical circle and are utterly bereft of any ability whatsoever to understand either the meaning of the biblical text or the meaning of the text’s theology”–what the heck!? That’s crazy.

  2. Wow! Arrogant, ignorant, illogical, and stupid; all in the space of a couple of sentences. As for point 1: yes, the bible IS an ancient artifact; it’s an artifact; it’s ancient. If I choose to study it rather than worship it, that’s for me to decide, not him, no matter how much that upsets him. As for point 2: it’s basically primitive tribalism; he hates my tribe to a degree that’s so pathological it’s apparently deprived him of sense or reason. He seems to be just plain insane.

  3. Charles,
    Yeah, “Classic West.” Thanks.
    Whether or not your characterization of this now found post is fair, Jim is anything but stupid and over a large range of topics, he is anything but ignorant. Some of the smartest and best informed people I know are persons of faith. In my view, they devote too much of their intellect and knowledge to defending their faith and not enough to trying to understand why it is that people believe the things they do. In the course of that defense, the smartest of them come up with some truly wonderful things. Think of William of Ockham and John Duns Scotus and their place in the history of the modal logic or one of my personal heroes, the Rev. Thomas Bayes, the first to suggest what is now known as Bayesian probability.

  4. Duane,
    I’m certain West is both smart and informed on many things. And I, too, know many people of faith who are smart as a whip. I was speaking of the post, not the person.

  5. Duane, I have not really kept up with recent developments in the “Biblioblogosphere” due to a desire to be productive in my actual paying job. However, you’ve brought me out of hibernation long enough to register my opinion that biblical interpretation is in fact and must always be open to any interested party regardless of his or her religious commitments or utter lack of the same. As you know, I am personally a Christian believer; however, I do not think this puts me in an epistemically privileged position for doing exegesis or, for that matter, descriptive, historical theology. Being a believer might put someone on the “inside track” in doing constructive theology—but then again, one need not believe a religion’s claims in order to map out their logical consequences, as I often remind my students.

  6. I don’t really read Jim West’s blog, and I don’t share his feelings as a rule. But this post smells like a dead rat.
    Surely the first principle of morality is not to do to others what you would not like them to do to you?
    If I understand your post correctly, Jim wrote something which he afterwards thought was intemperate and so he deleted it, because he did not wish to give offence. We all get angry, but not always wisely. So he did the right thing.
    But you, however, decided — very rudely — not to accept this. Instead you went out to find the deleted post and reposted it. Not that you dared say why. That is, you did something you would not care to have done to you, and did it in a manner that is less than honest or open, with a view to character assassination.
    Too many atheists complain that being an atheist does not mean you have no morals; but then they demonstrate their lack of morals. Likewise too many atheists get treated with contempt by the rest of us, not because of prejudice against atheism, but because those atheists behave contemptibly. That was what Jim was saying. It looks to me as if you have just behaved in the way that he was criticising.

  7. Roger,
    I told my wife that I might come regret this post. And in some ways, I do. But as my grandmother used to say when someone didn’t like the way they played their own cards and wanted to take something back, “Board of play.” In my view that goes for all players. I will add that Jim’s post was up long enough to drive traffic to my site. Otherwise, I likely wouldn’t have known about it.
    I do worry that there is a double standard here. An offense against an atheist by a theist is somehow less offensive than an offense against a theist by an atheist. Perhaps its just an issue of eagles and ants.

  8. Some bitter people, dissatisfied with life, would rather manipulate people’s patience and exploit the internet with these aimless attacks rather than demonstrate their competence in a subject.
    The act of taking time to write his absolutist anger, then deliberately pushing the PUBLISH button betrays his own faith which necessarily involves compassion, self-restraint and respect for others. Simply ignoring the consequential act of web-publishing attacks, as Roger Pearse trollishly recommends above, doesn’t erase it from Google searches and only emphasizes a moral bankruptcy and closeted atheism of his own. Could it be? Is Mr West losing his religion?

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