Is this even worth it at this point? Discussions with David Thiessen of Theology Archaeology have descended into something of a cesspit of accusations, misrepresentations and general malarkey. I have not found David willing to even consider acknowledging flaws in his arguments and positions, and this has been the reality for many years. His latest post concerning myself (and my friend Bruce Gerencser) only serves his obsession, gets some basics about me wrong (despite David having been told many times), and is filled with the sophistry I have come to expect. David’s text is purple for clarity.
Here is a comment from MM’s website and it was placed in his Modesty 3 article:
It remains to be seen how David will respond
How are we to respond when the answer is going to be the same as the one MM and BG and all other atheists and unbelievers reject? In reality, all a Christian can do is say the same things over and over as the truth does not change.
As I have explained before, I am not an atheist, but David continues to refer to me as one. He is either not reading what I am writing or he is lying. I’ll leave it to the readers to decide…
David’s fall-back position of ‘truth’ is merely his way of side-stepping the facts. I am also surprised he even responded, given (as I mentioned in my Modesty P3 post) his quiet withdrawal from other discussions (such as the facts around gun crime and the facts around the Establishment Clause).
The key for the believer is not to change their position but stand with God and his instructions. In MM’s article, there are a couple points that should be addressed.
#1. If he cannot handle the sight of a woman’s body where she has dressed for comfort, that’s entirely on him.
The first sentence is a strawman argument that both Bg and MM built. We never said that we could not handle the site of a woman’s body. We laid out God’s instructions to everyone, making sure men and women realized and knew that the rules applied to them.
It was a general statement and not an accusation, to make the point that David (and indeed any man) is entirely responsible for how they react to a woman’s appearance. It is not the responsibility of the woman. A woman’s appearance is not an excuse or justification for what happens to her.
But leave it to the two of them to attack an argument that was totally of their own making. We did get a laugh out of the 2nd sentence though. Since when do most women ‘dress for comfort’?
Almost every married man has heard this question at least once during their marriage- ‘does this make me look fat?’ Every wise husband knows to not answer that question truthfully.
Everyone has seen women trying to fit into slim pants that are far too small for them or they try to squeeze a size 6 foot into a size 4 shoe. Don’t forget all the ads trying to convince women to dress sexy and NOT for comfort.
There may be many women who dress for comfort but as we pointed out, that can be done without being immodest. Unbelievers would prefer to ogle naked women rather than protect women from those men who cannot handle ill-clad women.
Our content was not only trying to get both men and women to obey God but to also help women protect themselves from bad reputations, sin, and more. No husband should want his wife or daughters to sin against God.
Half of this is pure waffle. A woman can dress for comfort in more than one way. Comfort is not just about how the clothes fit but about how they make a person feel. A woman may want to wear short skirts or a low-cut blouse because she is happy with her body and wants to show herself off a little. A woman going to the beach may prefer a two-piece swimsuit to a one-piece because she gets too hot in a one-piece. In either case, the onus should be on the man to control himself and take responsibility for his behaviour and actions. It is not a question of protecting women – it is a case of getting men to take responsibility and not using how women dress as an excuse to justify assault (which happens in court cases all the time).
#2. I blame the Bible but I also hold the overall institution of organised religion responsible for an attitude that unduly penalises women whenever they are assaulted or attacked.
MM has to point out those scriptures that tell God’s followers to penalize women for being raped or sexually attacked. We have never found any and all Bible verses on justice apply to both men and women equally.
So why is he blaming the Bible? It is not giving bad instructions. If he is going to blame anyone, he should be blaming evil for evil influences people to do those things to women.
God wants these situations handled correctly according to his definition of justice. Evil wants women to be traumatized, treated unfairly and unjustly so that he can destroy their faith or reject the gospel message.
David omitted part of my paragraph to take it out of context: I blame the Bible but I also hold the overall institution of organised religion responsible for an attitude that unduly penalises women whenever they are assaulted or attacked. It’s all well and good for David to parrot the line that the Bible has commands for men but the Bible constantly reinforces the message that women are weaker and are to be submissive, and the practice of organised religion has long placed greater responsibility on women for the misconduct of men, something that has seeped into virtually every crack of society.
I will continue to lay the blame on the doorstep of organised religion, which in practice has long-sought to tell women they are inferior.
#3. I’ve seen this attitude from David himself, via his defence of Ravi Zacharias…. A masseuse doing her job should not have to be subjected to unwanted touching
Here MM is assuming Mr. Zacharias is guilty even though there is mounting evidence proving his innocence. Our defense has been motivated by God as Mr. Zacharias has not been treated in a just way and the investigations were carried out by non-christian people.
Those conclusions have led many believers to sin and that is not right either. Justice is not a one-way street and only towards the victim, If it was, we would never get offenders to repent of their sins honestly and cure the problem.
There is plenty of evidence that Mr Zacharias indulged in behaviour decidedly unbecoming of a Christian minister. There have been thorough investigations and whilst David may not like their conclusions, they should not be dismissed out of hand, just because David does not feel they represent justice. Whilst he is right that justice should be a two-way street, in cases of sexual assault and especially in cases involving powerful and influential men, the victims are often scared or threatened into silence, or persuaded that their voices mean nothing and it’s not worth them speaking up. There is no justice in such circumstances.
(on an off-topic moment, David should seriously reconsider his own version of justice. Did George Floyd receive the appropriate justice for the alleged crime of possessing a counterfeit banknote when Chauvin knelt on his neck and choked him?)
#4. All I have done is defend the right of women to wear what they want to wear and express themselves in the manner they wish, without coming under fire from religious zealots who would then blame the women for any inappropriate actions on the part of the man
In other words, MM does not care about women or their souls and will allow them to sin in order that they get to wear what they want regardless of what happens to the women or the observing public.
His hatred colors his point of view. Any red-blooded man would want women to dress in a way that is respectful to themselves and to others. This was something that we observed in Korea.
How does David arrive at his conclusions of hate and not caring? What do I hate David? This is a curious and spurious claim without context or reason. Apparently defending a woman’s right to not be treated as victims and to be free, and expecting men to take responsibility for their behaviour, means I don’t care about women. This has to be one of the most desperate and twisted manipulations of what I have said, even by David’s deceitful standards.
We were standing at the train station when employed by our first high school and when we looked one way down the platform, the Korean women were dressed to the nines. Everything matches and they looked good and respectful.
When we looked the other way we saw American servicemen’s wives and they dressed like they shopped at Whore’s R US. It was very disrespectful to themselves and the culture they were living in at the time.
No one had respect for those women that we talked to and it is unrealistic for women to expect to be treated with respect when they do not respect themselves.
Did David stop to ask passers-by what they thought of the two groups of women? Why is he labelling women as disrespectful and making this link to whores, based on what they’re wearing? This is exactly the sort of reasoning that leads women to come under assault – ‘they dressed like a whore, so they got treated like one’. I am very curious to know how David defines such outfits…
#5. What David constantly fails to realise is that people who do not believe in Christianity or other religions are not duty-bound to dress to Biblical standards.
What MM and BG do not realize is that we are writing to Christians first. Believers need to know the rules of God and why certain things of the world, like immodesty, are wrong. Second, what those two, and other unbelievers, do not realize is that God’s commands and instructions apply to them as well.
Yet David also devotes a lot of time to criticism of the secular world, and a lot of time writing to Bruce and I, and he obviously wants to preach to non-believers, but none of that actually addresses the point I raised – people who are not Christians are not duty-bound to dress to Biblical standards. To ask David directly – should non-Christians be bound by Christian rules?
What rules do they think they will be judged under when they meet God at the final judgment? it won’t be their, society’s, or cultures rules but God’s.
If there’s a God, I’d have questions. If there isn’t, David’s point is moot. In the meantime, it is selfish of David to expect everyone to bend to his version of Christianity.
In the end, MM’s, BG’s, and other unbelievers’ objections to what we have written stem from the fact that they want to be gods over their own lives. They do not want to humble themselves and submit to God’s way of doing things.
Here’s a notion for David – he lives his life however he wants, I and Bruce and others will live our lives the way we want.
So our response is always going to be the same. If they do not like it, we do not care. Women and men deserve better than what MM, BG, and the unbelieving world have to offer.
Obviously David cares, hence why he spends so much time critiquing what Bruce and I have to say. If he didn’t care, he wouldn’t spend so much energy writing responses. This whole modesty ‘discussion’ had nothing to do with him, yet he cared enough to write up a response to me.