“Snake oil” medicine bottles. From Wikipedia.
It’s been interesting watching the presidential election unfold in the U.S. It is truly revealing the hearts and intentions of those who claim to follow Christ.
For example, I’ve seen articles and videos from so-called prophets and church leaders insisting that Christians should vote for a certain orange-tinted candidate. And not just insist, but actually shame those who have declared they cannot vote for such a person. A few days ago, I read an article by one gentleman who says Christians who dare oppose said candidate for moral reasons are Pharisees…just like the people who crucified Jesus.
**Trigger warning for sex abuse survivors: discussion of pedophile apologia and tactics**
Recently, my post “Ministering to Pedophiles” was picked up by The Aquila Report, a conservative Christian news blog. Since then, the post has been circulated widely, and several people (some of them Reformed ministers) came to the blog to comment.
I was also approached on Twitter by a group of pedophile apologists.
I’m writing this follow-up piece to talk about what I learned from that conversation. Because the biggest complaint that I received, both from the pedophiles and the Reformed ministers, was about my statement that true repentance is rare for a pedophile. My position on that statement has not changed. If anything, since these conversations, it’s become stronger.
Yesterday, I published an analysis of Doug Wilson’s response to Karen Swallow Prior–a response that included a rant against Rachel Held Evans. Here’s why I did that. Wilson writes in a way that purposely confuses his readers. On the surface, he appeared to address the objections that had come his way. But once you drilled down to his main point, it was a different story.
This is called obfuscation.
I wanted to point it out because obfuscation is more common than you think. The Cry for Justice blog addresses it all the time. It is a common tactic of narcissists and abusers. It is an attempt to deflect criticism, instill doubt, redirect readers and gain allies. It involves using complex analogies, logical fallacies, alternate definitions for common words and, occasionally, outright lies. The advantage to writing this way is that when a reader arrives at unfavorable conclusions, you can accuse them of misunderstanding your words and spin the narrative to your benefit.
Because we’re trained to give people the benefit of the doubt, it takes practice to recognize obfuscation. But it’s an important skill to have if we, as Christians, are to rightly divide the word of truth. There are far too many abusers and false teachers in the world, and obfuscation helps keep them in power.
Today, I want to go back and revisit Wilson’s rant on Evans to show you what I mean. Because what Wilson says at the end is truly horrifying, evil, and anti-Christian.