I’ve been actively blogging for four years now. And during that time I’ve read countless criticisms from non-Christians (usually atheists) and Christians (usually Calvinists) that I consider ignorant and unfair (to put it mildly). Here are a few examples:
“I would leave this comment on Rauser’s site but you have to go through too much BS to post there.”
“Rauser simply copies many right-wing conservative christian types in applying one single element of truth in building a huge pack of lies….”
“Am I the only one that is confused to hear we actually have a profession such as this… ‘Randal Rauser is associate professor of historical theology'”
“Randal is telling silly stories on the intellectual level of an 8 year old.”
“Children have an instinctive understanding of penal substitution. Indeed, they grasp that better than Bible-haters like Randal Rauser….”
“Rauser is one of those guys who can write paragraphs and paragraphs full of fancy words and circular argument designed to confuse into submission the reader, rather than present any clear thesis.”
Comments like these are certainly frustrating, not least because there is no hope of getting in a reasoned discussion with the people who make them. And yet these people are not lying. They honestly believe the things they say. So you can expend great effort at expressing yourself with clarity and concision, you can strive to define your terms and articulate premises, you can bend over backwards to be nuanced and generous while engaging your interlocutors, and still you can find folks who claim that you simply use “fancy words and circular argument”.
It may be frustrating, but the dirt shovelled by internet critics provides the fertile soil for personal growth. It is a discipline to read these kinds of statements, shake your head, and then set them aside and get on with your day. And if I end up getting shot at from both (all?) sides, well I knew to expect that when I signed up for this job.