Monday, May 5, 2014

Sympathy for a quasi-progressive: why Crude loses his cool at progressive hate speech

I like Lothar Lorraine. Truly I do - he's a pleasant guy to talk to even if I disagree with him. He's welcome here, he's welcomed me at his blog, and until relatively recently most of my interactions with him have been civil, even when we disagree.

Except lately, if you've been following the conversations - previously linked - I've been spending most of my time yelling angrily, at least as much as you can do typing into a computer and still maintaining decent-enough grammar. I've been pissed off, not so much at Lothar as at his links of choice, and really, the "progressive" response to them.

Honest to God? I don't like yelling in Lothar's general vicinity. He's nice. I can talk with him. At the same time, all the niceness in the world isn't going to make me give an inch to dishonest hate speech directed anywhere, but particularly in my direction.

I'm talking real hate speech, by the by. Not, 'You noticed that group X is responsible for more crimes than group Y by every available measure, that's horrible of you' styled bull, but full blown 'This group of people is responsible for heinous acts and you should hate them all and fight them because this is WAR' hate speech. "Whip up an angry mob to attack some people based on next to no evidence" hate speech.

So why has it kept happening lately? I have a hunch. Little more than that right now, but it's worth airing.

I think there is a somewhat common breed of Christian who, while intellectually rather orthodox and conservative, is nevertheless on the more soft-spoken and diplomatic side. They are not fire and brimstone. They pride themselves on being open-minded, on 'agreeing to disagree', on setting themselves apart from the more fervent culture-war social conservatives who at times seem as if they are locked in a neverending battle against Islam, New Atheism, Liberals, the Gay Agenda, and more.And one way they send up the signal that they're different from THOSE Christians is by conceding the intelligence and morality of their opponents, and openly, even eagerly, admitting to flaws.

Even flaws that aren't really flaws, that are blown out of proportion, or that largely exist in the minds of people who hate them.

So if someone angrily demands that they apologize for, say... 'Christianity's legacy of anti-science and bigotry and racism and homophobia and misogyny', they're going to typically, without reflection, say "Oh, yes, some Christians - nay, many - have been guilty of that. But many nowadays have come to regret that past and..." And on and on it goes. They get to show how open-minded and humble they are, their opponents get a concession to a million and one imaginary evils at the hands of Christians, and everyone is happy.

I am not one of these Christians. I do not grant the wickedness of Christians, even Christian groups I am not a part of, purely to score humility points. If I've investigated the issue and come to the conclusion that the accusations are fundamentally wrong or warped, I will say as much. And when I see what comes across as a calculated bit of hate speech to try and demonize Christians, I'm going to start yelling, loudly, about the flaws I see, demand evidence, and point out when it either fails to be forthcoming, or is weak beyond excuse.

I suspect that may be the problem here. I can't read Lothar's mind, but I think he may have heard 'Conservative Christians HATE gays and want to kill them' so many times - and other Christians may have granted this without argument so many times - that he brings this up, and (while admitting that not every conservative Christian is like this) expresses an interest in having my agree that this sort of thing is bad, so we can continue the conversation civilly. And then I explode and I'm off yelling and challenging people to, you know, provide some goddamn evidence of these claims and pointing it out for the hate speech that it is, and he's wondering what he did wrong.

Well, HE didn't do anything wrong, most likely. He simply was played - he bought a line offered up by a nasty little culture, perpetuated by weak-willed Christians more interested in being humble than being honest, and he's run into a guy who's not going to let it slide so easily, and who actually gets pretty pissed off when the accusation comes up. I'll cop to real evils, real mistakes, and I'll point out the context and the situation those mistakes took place in. I will not cop to progressive monster-fantasies that they conjure up in large part to let themselves sleep easier at night when they hear about the latest abuses their more fascist leadership is diving into.

Perhaps that will set the record straight. Or perhaps not. But there is my attempt for the moment.


darrenl said...

I've said this before, and it's worth repeating: "progressive" Christianity is not Christianity. It is a political or social construct. When faced with the threat of the Cross, they will pick Caesar over the Cross. It is Christ without the Cross and His Church. A product of 20th century American day dreaming of what they want Christ to be on their terms.

I understand your anger, dude, but this is pearls before swine stuff. Say the truth, throw down the mic, then exit stage right. Let the hamsters spin the wheels as they come to grips with the progressive doctrine of Feel Bad.

rufusdog said...

Lothar conforms his faith to his politics, his politics trump his faith, you see this over and over again.

I’ve wondered (more than once), if he is even a Christian at all…you almost get a sense he may be a very sneaky Atheist who puts way more value in converting Christians to liberal politics than converting them to Atheism. He would have to be VERY politically motivated to be doing this, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

In truth, from what I’ve read from him, I don’t think anyone can really call him a Christian and maintain any reasonable definition of what a Christian is.

If he does have faith I would say it falls into Universalism of some variety.

But in the end God will Judge him, my perception of him may be wrong.

Crude said...


That, I disagree about. Yes, some people are completely beyond conversation - but that's not a 'progressive' thing. That's a 'people' thing. And plenty of people, even ones who I think are 'liberal' or 'progressive', can still be conversed with.


I’ve wondered (more than once), if he is even a Christian at all…you almost get a sense he may be a very sneaky Atheist

No. This, I doubt strongly. With Lothar, I see no reason to doubt his faith, and again, Lothar isn't the problem here. It's the people he's quoting. And you know what? If Lothar believes the people he's quoting unconditionally (and who knows if he does), then it starts to become easier to see why his sympathies may go one way or another.

My disagreement with Lothar is over his politics, and his perception of conservatives. His religious views - while I have some conflict with him there - actually aren't central on this point. If he believes in God, in Christ Resurrected, etc, then he's Christian enough, even if a heretical form of it.

More than that, his being or not being Christian isn't actually a central concern of me. Let Lothar be some other religion if you like - that still won't dictate whether dialogue is or isn't possible.

Crude said...

And by the by - I want to underline something in my OP.

While "progressives" are certainly guilty of offering these narratives up, Christians - even conservative ones - are often guilty of perpetuating them, in part by allowing them to pass without objection or qualification.

lotharlorraine said...

Hello Crude.
This is my response.

Rufus: here is my definition of Christianity.

Friendly greetings from the partially sunny North-England.

The Deuce said...

I agree with darrenl that Progressive "Christians" aren't Christians at all. Lothar himself appears to believe in the death and bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ to redeem us from the just penalty for our sins, which incidentally, I think, is why he's only a quasi-progressive, and why civil dialogue with him is possible.

But, I think that many or most of the progressive "Christians" he links to approvingly, like John Shore, do not believe that, and so are not Christians. They neither believe in Christ, nor worship him, nor actually think that he's the Christ, and what they call "Jesus" is merely a reflection of themselves that has nothing to do with the Gospel.

Now, Lothar seems to think that the tenuous nominal connection that a Progressive "Christian" like Shore keeps to Christianity offers some sort of common ground. I think the exact opposite is true, and I think this is very relevant for understanding where hate-consumed left-wing fanatic "Christians" like John Shore are really coming from, and why civil dialogue isn't possible.

A Hindu or a Buddhist is likely to be indifferent to Christianity, and perhaps mildly annoyed if you push the issue. However, Progressive "Christianity" is based on a deliberate *rejection* of the Gospel. Rather than being ignorant and indifferent towards the Truth, they have been given the Truth but are reacting *against* it, to be their own masters. Quite simply, they are apostates. Hence, Progressive "Christians," much like Julian the Apostate or the New Atheists, are actually the among the most furious and implacable enemies of Christ and all who follow Him.

That's why you get the dehumanizing hate-speech from the likes of John Shore and James McGrath. Their "Christianity" doesn't represent common ground, but just the opposite, because their "Christianity" boils down to the hatred of Christ and all He stands for.

Crude said...

Well, Shore will come right out and say that 'his' Christianity happens to be the one where actual belief in Christ doesn't matter, nor does so much as making a case for people to believe in Christ or God at all. But holy hell you better support gay marriage or there's going to be hell to pay!

Itinérante said...

This post reminds me a lot of the verse in Revelation 3, not being cold and not being hot.