Sunday, April 10, 2005
Response from an "unarmed man"
Christian Apologist Anton Willem Hein has now deemed me an "unarmed man" in a "battle of wits" and a person whose comments "take on shades of cyberstalking," as noted below:
From Anton Hein's Web site entry about yours truly: "Sites... Mark Kellner's weblog. Kellner says the blog is where his 'shares his views of the current state of Christian apologetics, religious liberty and related issues'. However, the weblog appears to have been set up because Mr. Kellner was denied a forum elsewhere, and thus far (August 2003 through Jan, 2005) has been used almost exclusively to 'answer' people he cannot and/or will not answer elsewhere. The blog does serve to demonstate why Mr. Kellner is not considered to be an apologist. It also illustrates Mr. Kellner's usual approach:I'm glad Mr. Hein is interested in what I have to say -- even if he won't accept my e-mails to him, or allow me to post to his "ApoloTalk" forum or has campaigned to block me from posting to the AR-Talk and AR-Forum lists (I have a copy of his e-mail). He even (sob) cut me off from his self-promoting ministry e-mails. (By the way, can anyone tell me which of these tactics, or equivalent ones, were undertaken by Jesus or the apostles?)
As noted before, for reasons known only to him, Mr. Kellner appears to have taken a special interest in agitating against messages posted by the co-publisher of Apologetics Index. He simply doesn't get the message: as the saying goes, I'm not interested in a battle of wits with an unarmed person - particularly not when it appears that his pompous ponderings now take on the shades of cyberstalking."
- * fail to properly address the issues,
- * don't pay attention to what people say, and
- * instead change the subject (preferably by using straw men)
Of course, this is the same Anton Willem Hein who has yet to fulfill his promise -- made more than a year ago -- to respond to my Liberty magazine article about the controvesial book "Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions," which is the subject of a $136 million libel suit in the state of Texas. Mr. Hein thought that article to have all sorts of errors and false statements; so far, he hasn't demonstrated any. Since Mr. Hein is fond of quoting American aphorisms, let me use one to describe his unfulfilled claim: Anton Hein is, in this instance at least, "all hat and no cattle," as the noted thinker Trace Adkins would say.
In short, Mr. Hein is interested in promoting his views and defending them in sites and forums he controls, without the bother of opposing questions and, yes, honest criticism. This is far different from most fields of endeavor, particularly in the scholarly realm, where positions are examined, often strenuously, but the participants can remain civil at the end of the day.
Mr. Hein now accuses me of being "unarmed" in a "battle of wits," and of showing "shades of cyberstalking."
Like Mr. Hein, I respond to e-mails that I receive. (Unlike Mr. Hein, I don't block people from e-mailing me, or threaten harassment charges against people who do e-mail me.) Like Mr. Hein, I'll page through Web sites (e.g., John Gorenfeld's) and/or use Google and other resources to document my claims and -- yes -- opinions. (Please note that, contrary to Mr. Hein's assertions, "Apologetics Answers" is an opinion/analysis blog, and nothing more -- so far, at least.)
If that behavior -- research, analysis and commentary -- is showing "shades of cyberstalking," then there are several million people in the United States alone who do something similar, on their blogs, every day. Some of them brought out errors committed by major media figures, politicians, and so forth. It's called free speech, Mr. Hein -- something you claim the Netherlands supports more than the United States does.
Mr. Hein has made two other statements worthy of comment: He claims that I linked to his Web page about the "ad hominem" charges against him solely from my posting abou John Gorenfeld's e-mail to me (see below). Mr. Hein is wrong: scan the "Apologetics Answers" page and you'll see that I linked there from my comments about his non-delivery of a "promised response" to the Liberty article referenced earlier.
Anton Hein believes that my linking to the page about his background (which conveniently includes one disclaimer in ultra-small type that a reader must enlarge -- so much for candor and transparency!) says more about me than it does about him. Maybe. But if Mr. Hein is going to malign people who defend their religious freedom (Art. 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, perhaps sadly for Mr. Hein, contains no distinction between the religions one approves and those one disapproves), I can only hope there will be many people willing to challenge those assertions, and to do so online.
It's very sad that Anton Hein takes after me and after those whose opinions differ from him, with his own brand of "ad-hominem" (if using the phrase "a battle of wits with an unarmed man" in reference to me is isn't ad hominem, would someone tell me what is?) instead of engaging the issues.
(By way of comparison, an apologetics site that attracts more viewers than Mr. Hein's "Apologetics Index" -- without engaging in personal attacks on critics -- is the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, as can be seen here [as of April 11, 2005]. Please note, however, that this comparison is for illustration only; I do not, sad to say, agree with everything at the CARM Web site.)
I look forward to the day when Anton and I can sit down and have a friendly chat, respecting each other's differences and talking on the basis of facts. But Mr. Hein prefers to slam me for not strenuously agreeing with his positions. All hat and no cattle, indeed!