Wrap up on Wilson

I haven’t posted anything on the Doug Wilson rape/sex scandal in a while.  Most of his groupies will die for him and are beyond all reasonable means of persuasion.  Still, facts and analysis being what they are, this by far is the most penetrating set of critiques of the Moscow, ID theology.

Wrap on Wilson

I’ve added it to the side link page.

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Charlie Daniels and the CREC Scandal

Read this and weep.

If you still support Doug Wilson, then repent.  Something about Jesus saying if you cause these little ones to stumble, then go to hell.

Charlie Daniels had said that the lowest form of animal life on this planet is a child molester. The second lowest is church leaders who protect them.

“As far as I’m concerned there ain’t excuse
For the rapin and the killin and the child abuse
I got a way to put an end to all that fast.
Just take them rascals out in the swamp
Put em on their knees and tie em to a stump
And Let the rattlers and the bugs and the alligators do the rest.”

 

And this is also the most perfect example of Southern “swamp” music.

Repost: Against the Neo-Jovinians

Repost, but certain events brought it to mind.  I’ve come across passages in some Canon Press books.  We know that Doug Wilson’s people demean women.  That’s a self-evident truth.  But it’s always jarring to see new evidence to the effect. It’s especially worse when it is by a woman.  It is by someone with the last name “Wilson.”

says the wife’s identity is found (only) in the husband. The husband *is* her.  (p. 62).

she also says that a woman before she got married didn’t have the depth of character and she was so boring.

Those are more or less word-for-word quotes, but given the Canon Press method of citing sources, no need to get too picky.

Jovinian was an intellectual in the ancient Christian world who scandalized everyone by suggesting marital relations and celibate virginity were on the same level.  Jerome responded.  And what a powerful, if hilariously wrong, response it was.  

 

Now, I believe Jovinian had the better exegesis.  To quote Kelly, when Jerome has a useful card he overplays it, and when he doesn’t have any evidence, he engages in the wildest reasoning (Kelly 186).  Further, I reject a lot of the metaphysical and ethical assumptions behind Jerome’s defense of celibacy.  (Ironically, however, Jovinian’s view of baptismal regeneration was much closer to later Catholicism than Jerome’s view).  

 

Still, there is something Jerome can teach us.  Sex and feasting don’t exist for themselves.  Even if one doesn’t hold the view that sex is only for reproduction, that doesn’t mean sex is for sex’s sake.  It’s for the uniting and binding together of husband and wife.

 

We can add another point.  Sex isn’t a panacea for mental illnesses.  This brings us back to the CREC scandal.  The Wilsonistas are wrong to think that:

 

(1)   “marrying” him off will provide a safe outlet for one’s urges.

 

I think many critics of medieval celibacy used to think that.  Sadly, this is not the case.  If it were, one could save a lot of people heartache by simply introducing these people to their right hands.  Crude, yes, and some could argue that such an act is immoral, but at least no children are harmed.

 

Therefore, we have to add another line of reasoning:

 

(2)  The problem is not built-up sexual tension, but mental-spiritual.  

 

If it is true that pedophiles are “wired” differently, then it is hard to see how (1) will solve the problem.  

 

Is the “fallen” (defined as someone who committed a terrible sin but has repented) Christian guaranteed equal access to the marriage/family life?  

 

Many “Wilsonistas” say it yes.  They assert it but never argue it.  This doesn’t appear to be the Apostle Paul’s position.  The Wilsonistas say, “If you can, and why can’t you?, by all means get married.”  Paul said if you aren’t married now, then you might not need to get married (1 Cor. 7:7-8, 26-28).   We can now add another premise;

 

(3) There are many good reasons for staying single.
(3*) The Church is not obligated to provide you with a family.

 

The Wilsonistas will say that married sex provides a legitimate outlet for sexual passion.  That is true in normal cases.   But psychology and counseling have shown that men/women who are addicted to porn do not become unaddicted because they get married.  The problem is still there, even if there is an “outlet” for it.  And the outlet does not solve the problem.

 

This is also true if the spouse is a convicted pedophile.  Where is the wisdom in his “outlet” providing him with more victims?   Wilsonistas will respond, “Would you deny him the opportunity for a family?”

 

Yes.

 

There are alternatives.  None of them fun, but they are noble and workable.  He can join a monastery in the desert and spend the next 30 years denying himself.  Surround himself with a handful of elderly, cantankerous men who do not put up with nonsense.  And who knows, he might be able to find peace and stillness in a way that he wouldn’t in Moscow, ID.

 

Ensoulment, the CREC, and abortion

While it might look like I am attacking Botkin, that is certainly not the case.  I strongly applaud her precisioned take-down of Wilson’s theology and pray more posts come.

Kate Botkin’s most recent post, while most of it was an excellent critique of Wilson’s deranged practices, offered a troubling piece of argumentation.  Note, she isn’t endorsing abortion (at least not in this post) but she is advancing the argument that a man who’s molested dozens of children isn’t a better human being than a woman who gets an abortion at 8 weeks.  I think some kind of rebuttal like this was inevitable, given that Wilson immediately deflects to abortion whenever he gets in trouble.

I won’t enter that line of debate.  What did intrigue me was her following suggestion:

You don’t have to agree that abortion is Ok to understand that some women do not view early abortion as evil, based on biology and the belief that the soul enters a child along with consciousness, or at a certain stage of development.

So, does a unborn baby gain a soul at consciousness or at conception?  Most pro-life Christians want to say at conception, but since they lack a coherent doctrine of the soul they really struggle with this point.  Part of the difficulty is that consciousness is a faculty of the soul and so Botkin’s suggestion isn’t entirely in left field.  I think she is wrong but for different reasons.

Maybe this isn’t even Botkin’s position.  I’ll grant that.  I know what she is doing.  Every time Wilson begins to feel the heat, he deflects the issue back to abortion:  “Gee golly, I know shielding pedophiles is bad, but it’s not as bad as abortion.”  Well, you’re just saying that because you can’t answer the question.  Botkin then takes you up on your point and since you guys have an anemic doctrine of the soul, you can’t answer her.

I think I can.  Let’s rephrase her argument:

(And I am using “soul” and “person” as more or less synonymous.  There are some nuances but most Christians think along these lines).

P1: An unborn baby gains a soul/becomes a person at the gaining of consciousness

P1*:  Consciousness is what makes a soul/person.

P1’: Body and soul aren’t the same thing.

I think that is a fair summary.  Here is why I think it is wrong.    With J. P. Moreland I would say

P2: “the soul is an individuated essence that makes the body a human body” (Moreland 202).  

Botkin would agree so fair. P1’ and P2 make the same point.   I add another premise:

P3: The soul has capacities.  Capacities come in hierarchies.

P3 is important in the euthanasia debate.  I can have a capacity for something yet not be exercising it.  At the moment I have the capacity for speaking Russian.  This is called a 2nd-order capacity.  Sadly, I cannot speak Russian right now, thus I do not have a 1st-order capacity.

Souls also have faculties.  

P4:  a faculty is a compartment of the soul that contains a natural family of related capacities (204).  Mind, will, and spirit.  And consciousness.  

The problem with the ensoulment argument (P1) is that it identifies the soul/person with actualized capacities.   Therefore, when the person is no longer exercising an actualized capacity like consciousness, then he is no longer a person.  Like when you are under anesthesia.  

There is another, albeit more technical, problem with ensoulment.  If consciousness is the sine qua non of what it means to be a person/soul, but if I’ve established that consciousness is rather a capacity of the soul’s faculties, then the following reductio obtains:

P5:  An unborn gains a soul at the gaining of a soul (1, 1*).

True, but not very helpful.    The difficulty is that advocates of ensoulment are defining a soul by what the soul could do.  Defining by function is always dangerous.  A person under general anesthesia cannot function.  Does he cease to be a person?  Why not?  As Rae notes, “To appeal to some higher-order capacities as determinate of personhood” cannot be done without acknowledging that personhood is not dependent on lower-order capacities (Moreland and Rae 251).  These higher-order capacities are latent, just as they are with the unborn.

Mafia Show Trials

I didn’t put a lot of thought into this rebuttal.  I didn’t need to.  To quote Gary North, this is a “quickie.”

Wilson realizes the heat he is taking with having Randy Booth (CREC, Covenant Media Foundation) run the investigation.  It’s like when the Mafia gets involved in football games.  The game might be fun to watch, but no one doubts the outcome.  Wilson writes,

The purpose of a judicial process is not, in the first place, to side with the victim. The point of judicial process is to determine, carefully and without jumping to conclusions, who the victim is.

That is very true.  But that’s not the whole case.  We are not saying you can’t have a trial to prove your innocence (tall order though it be).  We are saying you can’t have your lieutenant run the thing.  

As is the case with many of Wilson’s deflections, he tells a story that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the issue.  Unless you look closer, then he is actually shaming anyone who criticizes him.  Let’s take a look.  

If one of your kids runs in from the backyard with a tale of woe, saying that her brother hit her on the head with a stick, this is certainly grounds for an indictment. Mom really should inquire. But in the course of the trial, what if she discovers that he did so because she had been poking him with that same stick for the previous half an hour?

This isn’t that hard to decipher.  Is he really saying he is justified in what he did because Natalie G. described some of the sex acts Wilson’s student made her perform?  I don’t see any other line of reasoning possible.