And no one was surprised…


That dogmatic suppositionalist, Sye Ten Bruggencate, seems to have done a naughty. The only question is whether it was something so horrible even an atheist would be horrified, or something only a weirdly repressed believer would find objectionable. Hey, maybe he just put on mixed fabrics, or had shrimp for dinner. That’s the optimistic perspective.

Comments

  1. ajbjasus says

    His whole apologetics routine was bombastic and bullying, so no surprises if that applied to other aspects of his life. His downfall is sweet natural justice, I just hope he didn’t hurt anyone on the way down.

  2. PaulBC says

    Perhaps he was caught admiring a collection of bobbleheads. Graven images ya know.

  3. azalin34 says

    I remember arguing with him over at Ray Comfort’s blog around 15 years ago or so. He was my introduction to presuppositional apologetics. I don’t recall a lot about our conversations, other than it taught me what it would probably feel like to debate about physics with my dog.
    One positive that came out of it is that I learned that arguments with creationsists are basically a waste of time.

  4. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    How very odd that they so rarely resign for moral reasons that are peculiar to their peculiar morality. It’s almost like the idea that we need a spirit to point to for morality is nonsense.

  5. jrkrideau says

    @ 7 coreyschlueter
    Faith Presbyterian Church in Tillsonburg, Ontario
    And randy Hillier probably drives down for services once a week. There is a nice little detention centre in London where the pastor and that other idiot (Aylmer?) could get together for joint services.

  6. Marissa van Eck says

    So does this mean that since he failed to Persist (the P in TULIP), he’s actually Reprobate? Does this mean his God foreordained from before the beginning of time that he would spend alllllllllll eternity howling and shrieking and writhing in the fires of Hell as his skin chars and his flesh roasts and his bones crack and his marrow seethes and his eyeballs boil and burst in their sockets, over and over again, world without end, amen, all for the glory of his God that His wrath may be shown in all its perfection?

    …ick, I need another shower now. Can’t say this surprises me though. I’ve dealt with him before and he’s a worthless malicious asshole; “discussing physics with my dog” is giving him much too much credit.

  7. ANB says

    I have to say, I (a 60-year-old white male whose college degree is in “Bible and Religion”) learned long ago in my youth that it’s fruitless to argue with people about “the truth” or religion. (I’m an atheist at this point, but not an ardent one; just one who has a scientific view.)

    I’m sort of surprised that people still engage with religionists (of those who are on this blog; at least the dishonest ones–I have a great admiration for many religious people, having been raised with–and read–the best of Xian thinking. There is great Xian thinking (even if there is no god). And there are good Xians.

    I’m not “arguing” for anything here except for separating the sheep from the goats. It’s not always obvious. People use labels (“liberals” and “conservatives” and “atheists” and (fill in the blank for whatever) to define others. Take your own definition, but be honest about your words.

  8. John Morales says

    ANB:

    I’m sort of surprised that people still engage with religionists

    Really? I think it’s kinda fun. Very mockable, goddists are.

    I have a great admiration for many religious people, having been raised with–and read–the best of Xian thinking.

    Well, I’m sure that, apart from their goddism, they are admirable people.

    There is great Xian thinking (even if there is no god).

    Heh. If there is no god, there is no Christ, so the very basis of Christianity is a falsehood.

    So, what you mean, is that though their major premise is false, their thinking is great. Riiiiiight.

    I’m not “arguing” for anything here except for separating the sheep from the goats.

    Why? I’m sure there are great sheep, and that there are great goats.

    People use labels (“liberals” and “conservatives” and “atheists” and (fill in the blank for whatever) to define others.

    The blank might be sheep, or it might be goats. Your own labels.

  9. ANB says

    (Apologies for a poorly written post. It’s late; I’m tired; I’ve been drinking (and donating blood). As an English teacher and one who has edited books, newspapers and other media, I just have to say that I have two standards for media: ephemeral (most of what we say–even though the internet is forever) and “published” views. (I know I’ll get excoriated on this, and I recognize the logical faults, but I ain’t making a big argument. You know what I’m saying. Writing a response to WAPO (or this blog) is “ephemeral” (though we all know the internet is not). Nuff said.

  10. John Morales says

    ANB, actually, your post was well-written; it’s the sentiments you expressed with which I take issue.

    (To me, “great Xian thinking” is oxymoronic)

  11. ANB says

    Mr. John Morales, I have been busy doing my teaching job and living my life, so I didn’t pay adequate attention to your remarks.

    I’m not going to waste your or my time talking about Christianity. You may well be smarter than me in arguing about things. Kudos!

    I’m only interested in values (which are demonstrated through actions). So I could give a flying fuck what you (a generic you) think about any belief system.

    How do you live in this world? How do you (and me) respect others, including animals? And lots of similar questions. You, sir, seem to have the right values (though it’s not for me to judge), but I’m looking for fellows (that’s a non-sexist term these days I hope) who are looking for making the world better.

    I know I can learn “tons” from others, like you.

  12. ANB says

    Mr. Morales, I hear you regarding “great Christian thinking.”

    I’m not saying it’s all “right.” I’m saying that there are great thinkers in Christianity (even if they are wrong). And there are great thinkers in all traditions (religious and not religious) who can inform us. (Even if their ideas are proven wrong).

    I added “proven” because we all have so many biases. I’m glad to be presented with mine and my factual and logical errors (If ever I made any!) Thank you for your engagement. Yes, I’m kidding about my possible errors; I’m not wedded to my beliefs/thoughts.

  13. John Morales says

    ANB, sorry, sometimes I get into a fractious mood.

    I’m not going to waste your or my time talking about Christianity.

    You mean you’re not going to waste even more time talking about Christianity, having already talked about their great thinking.

    I’m only interested in values (which are demonstrated through actions). So I could give a flying fuck what you (a generic you) think about any belief system.

    Fair enough, but not Christian. Yes, I know you wrote you’re now atheistic, but still, you do remember enough to know Christianity is basically an evangelical religion, and adherents are supposed to evangelise. Which means they are supposed to care about other belief systems, to the degree they are supposed to want to replace those with their own. Saving souls is very important!

    How do you live in this world? How do you (and me) respect others, including animals?

    Best as I can, and I most certainly don’t imagine I have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

    … I’m looking for fellows (that’s a non-sexist term these days I hope) who are looking for making the world better.

    You know Samuel Johnson’s adage about the road to Hell, no? ;)

    I know I can learn “tons” from others, like you.

    That’s a pretty good attitude in a teacher.

    Anyway, this is quite the digression from the topic at hand: the hypocrisy of a professed Christian (which is par for the course), and the mystery of Sye’s moral infraction.

    (Surely he is not among those you consider to be great Xian thinkers!)

  14. John Morales says

    [Rob, um. OK, sometimes I don’t keep enough control to hold it back.

    Thing is, I think ANB seems quite the admirable person, based on those posts. :|
    )

  15. Rob Grigjanis says

    I think ANB seems quite the admirable person, based on those posts

    As do I, John.

  16. Tethys says

    Unfit to minister sounds serious. I’m guessing it’s something creepy and sex based, though not illegal. If he has been stealing funds or caught as a pedo one might expect an announcement about criminal charges by the appropriate law enforcement agency.

  17. PaulBC says

    I have nothing to add except that every time I see “Xian” I want to make a pun about the Terracotta Army along the lines of Onward Xian Soldiers, though I have never come up with any except to state it.

    That is all.

  18. says

    @#24, Tethys:

    If he has been stealing funds or caught as a pedo one might expect an announcement about criminal charges by the appropriate law enforcement agency.

    Or not. I had a couple of friends who had attended a Concordia College (for those not in the US: a group of identically-named colleges run by Lutherans) where somebody in the administration had embezzled millions, which was eventually discovered when a major piece of construction had to be abandoned because the school could not pay for it despite having spent years planning and fundraising. He announced that “god has forgiven me” and was permitted to leave without being prosecuted or making restitution. (My friends believed that he must have had some powerful blackmail material on a majority of the school’s trustees, but since IIRC the Concordia… franchise — for lack of a better word — is owned and operated by the branch of American Lutheranism which is closest to being right-wing fundamentalist loony evangelical in general behavior, that may simply have hit the sweet spot of rotten behavior and pious fakery which appeals to such people.)

  19. PaulBC says

    OK, I lied. I did want to reply just to this JM@15

    Really? I think it’s kinda fun. Very mockable, goddists are.

    Chacun ses goûts, but some of us gain a certain degree of satisfaction just getting along with other people. When it’s clear to me that I’m broaching a sensitive topic, I move away from it unless there’s some really good ethical reason not to (and sometimes there is, and I hope I don’t wimp out when there is). Part of this comes from a long youthful experience of getting on people’s nerves entirely unintentionally. At my current age, I enjoy not getting on people’s nerves, and it also frees up time for other things. I’m kind of amazed, since you are several years my senior, that you would derive enjoyment out of poking people who will never be persuaded.

    As for Christianity being an evangelical religion, sure. But plenty of people call themselves plenty of things and don’t always adhere to the dictionary definition. I think we had that argument already.

    Besides which, I wonder, is a cloistered monk or a hermit not Christian? (Serious question if you have a thought.) They’re sure not out there getting in people’s faces (though perhaps some imagine there is a persuasive value to their show of faith. Who knows?). It seems a little too restrictive to say that you cannot be Christian while simultaneously saying that that rest of the world is free to practice its own faith.

  20. John Morales says

    Paul,

    Chacun ses goûts, but some of us gain a certain degree of satisfaction just getting along with other people.

    Whence your “but”? Satisfaction, getting along, and mockery aren’t mutually exclusive.

    When it’s clear to me that I’m broaching a sensitive topic, I move away from it unless there’s some really good ethical reason not to (and sometimes there is, and I hope I don’t wimp out when there is).

    But that’s not applicable here, is it?

    I didn’t “broach” anything; I directly responded to particular claims and to a particular theme.

    At my current age, I enjoy not getting on people’s nerves, and it also frees up time for other things.

    Hey, I enjoy that, too.

    Difference is, I’m not into being mealy-mouthed because of that.

    (And I’m reliably honest, as in I don’t knowingly tell lies, and that is even more satisfying. Especially when I’m accused of lying.)

    I’m kind of amazed, since you are several years my senior, that you would derive enjoyment out of poking people who will never be persuaded.

    Huh. This is the gentler, kinder, cautious me.

    Back in the day, when this place was wilder, I was in my pomp.
    Now? Reduced to this, I am.

    (One ekes out what joys are to be had are in life, no?)

    Besides which, I wonder, is a cloistered monk or a hermit not Christian? (Serious question if you have a thought.)

    Depends.

    Why not ask them?
    https://forum.evangelicaluniversalist.com/t/is-the-hermit-lifestyle-scriptural/3432

    It seems a little too restrictive to say that you cannot be Christian while simultaneously saying that that rest of the world is free to practice its own faith.

    Well, yes. But, since I did not say that, why do you bring it up?

    (If you quote the relevant claim and explain your reasoning, I will be enlightened)

  21. PaulBC says

    John Morales@28 Specifically this statement @20

    you do remember enough to know Christianity is basically an evangelical religion, and adherents are supposed to evangelise. Which means they are supposed to care about other belief systems, to the degree they are supposed to want to replace those with their own. Saving souls is very important!

    It is unclear to me how a cloistered monk is acting as an evangelist.

    They clearly care about their belief system and presumably hope that it will replace others. They may even have a rationalization that their actions serve to further this cause.

    So, eh, maybe. But I don’t really buy it. I think it is entirely possible to be Christian according to every tradition and concern yourself entirely with your own salvation, nobody else’s.

    Let’s focus on “adherents are supposed to evangelise.” In the contemplative life, you contemplate. It’s a stretch to call it evangelism. Therefore, there exist adherents who do not evangelize (American spelling, which I eagerly evangelize when possible).

  22. John Morales says

    Paul,

    It is unclear to me how a cloistered monk is acting as an evangelist.

    Indeed. But the point is that you very noticeably don’t dispute the specific claim you quoted, instead you wanted to know whether I personally, a known atheist, considered eremitism to be validly Christian. Well, you know, history can be informative as to how it was perceived within the faith.

    Look: those are not my principles, those are not my rules, those are not my beliefs. I merely point out discrepancies between their professed beliefs and their actions. If they say they believe in X and act as if they don’t believe in X, should we pay more attention to how they act or to what they say when the two aren’t congruent?

    They clearly care about their belief system and presumably hope that it will replace others.

    Maybe so, maybe not. At least as plausible is that they thrive within that system, and so believe it’s in their interests to advance and to perpetuate it.

    They may even have a rationalization that their actions serve to further this cause.

    Maybe so, maybe not. At least as plausible is that they’re just LARPing, as I was when I was an altar-boy.

    Especially those who make their living out of it.
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” — Upton Sinclair

    So, eh, maybe. But I don’t really buy it. I think it is entirely possible to be Christian according to every tradition and concern yourself entirely with your own salvation, nobody else’s.

    Surely that’s exactly what Jesus would say. :)

    (Oh, wait… there were no Christians in his day, nor Muslims — only Jews.
    He, being a Jew, was of course circumcised)

    Let’s focus on “adherents are supposed to evangelise.” In the contemplative life, you contemplate. It’s a stretch to call it evangelism. Therefore, there exist adherents who do not evangelize (American spelling, which I eagerly evangelize when possible).

    Exactly.

  23. Tethys says

    I can’t imagine any circumstance that involve presupposition and street ministry which would convince me to come to Jesus.
    In fact, I would be repelled by any attempt at ministry.

    AFAICT his loud public schtick seems to be self-serving theatrics, rather than an honest attempt to convert unbelievers.

  24. birgerjohansson says

    Moar stuff: A congressman named Cawthorn * is in trouble after 150 former students at a place he attended have called him out for sexual harrassment and predatory behavior.

    *With a name like that, I assume he comes from one of those billionaire families. They rarely go by Smith or Jones.

  25. KG says

    Heh. If there is no god, there is no Christ, so the very basis of Christianity is a falsehood.

    So, what you mean, is that though their major premise is false, their thinking is great. Riiiiiight. – John Morales@15

    Heh. there is no absolute, empty space, so the very basis of Newtonian Physics is a falsehood.

    So you mean, although his major premise is false, Newton’s thinking was great. Riiiiiight.

  26. John Morales says

    KG, such a weak attempted analogy!

    there is no absolute, empty space, so the very basis of Newtonian Physics is a falsehood.

    So you imagine the basis of Newtonian physics to be “absolute, empty space”?

  27. KG says

    John Morales@34,

    Tosh. Quibble as you please (and indeed, this seems to be your main source of pleasure), you know as well as I do that Newton was wrong about the fundamental nature of space. I could have chosen Galileo – thought planetary orbits were circular, the numpty; or Darwin – got the nature of inheritance completely wrong, what a fool he was; or Marie Curie – didn’t even realise handling radium was dangerous – Duh!!! Obviously, there’s one exception to this general rule that even great thinkers get things wrong – the intellectual giant who deigns to interact with us plebs on this blog, the great John Morales.

  28. John Morales says

    KG:

    … the intellectual giant who deigns to interact with us plebs on this blog, the great John Morales

    I get that a lot, especially when people can’t dispute me convincingly.

    So, you really think Christ is to Christianity as absolute, empty space is to Newtonian physics?

  29. consciousness razor says

    For whatever it’s worth, you can give a formulation of Newtonian physics which doesn’t reference absolute space or time. (And from there, you can clearly say how it differs from other, newer physical theories.) You can get away with this, because it’s not actually essential to the theory, unlike f=ma and so forth. Newton himself didn’t know how to do it mathematically, but that’s neither here nor there.

  30. KG says

    consciousness razor@36,

    Interesting – but Newton was still wrong about the nature of space.

    John Morales@36,
    Newton certainly seems to have thought absolute space was fundamental to his physics. However you formulate it, Newtonian physics is wrong, so by your lights, Newton couldn’t possibly have done any great thinking. For that matter, he believed all sorts of really batty stuff such as Biblical numerology. And according to you@15, if someone is wrong about something they consider important (as Newton certainly did his numerological nonsense), they can’t have done any great thinking.

  31. KG says

    Furthermore, John Morales, practically everyone who contributed to the emergence of modern science between around 1200 CE and 1800 CE was a Christian (Newton, as it happens, was a marginal case, as he rejected the divinity of Jesus). So presumably, according to you, the emergence of modern science involved no great thinking at all.

  32. M'thew says

    John Morales@36:

    I get that a lot, especially when people can’t dispute me convincingly.

    You might have a point (or lots of points) when you pick someone to debate here. But maybe KG’s response is a consequence you will have to accept when you can’t control your SIWOP syndrome and your tendency to take over threads and derail them.

  33. quasar says

    I remember Sye. Time was I knew his entire script. Can’t remember most of it nowadays, though. Something about how Atheists can never know anything for certain, but Christians can, therefore god.

    Sye never gave a rats ass about ministry or persuading anyone to become Christian: for him it was all about “winning the debate”, about pwning the atheists so hard they got bored of running around in pointless circles and left the conversation so Sye could declare victory. It was a remarkably sociopathic approach to evangelism, which is supposed to be motivated to some extent by compassion. At least Ray Comfort supposedly wants to keep you from going to hell: Sye quite clearly couldn’t care less that his aggressive bullshit was off-putting and actively drove people away from his god.

    Just like PZ, it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest to learn he’s been up to some form of offline unpleasantries as well.

  34. John Morales says

    KG @39, “There is great Xian thinking (even if there is no god)” is not claiming that there are great thinkers who are Christian, but that their Christian thinking is great.

    Different things.

    M’thew @40, leaving aside that the it was not my debouchement, I can live with that.

  35. Owlmirror says

    Sye Ten B’s Rationalwiki page has been updated with his latest reversal, and links to an article at the Friendly Atheist as the source.

    Since I’m curious, I may check back there now and again to see if there are more updates on what might have happened.

    Sastra is in the comments:

    First Zacharias, then Sy Ten — o please, let William Lane Craig be caught in an interesting scandal involving fake stocks, house slaves, cocaine, and a Shetland pony in stockings and a top hat.

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