Distortion: The Name of the Game

The number of misrepresentations that have occurred in this campaign (on both sides) is truly distressing.  We live in a society that favors soundbites rather than substance.  Politicians master the art of spin, and we are all worse off as a result, because there can be no true battle of ideas if those ideas are not accurately presented to the public.  If more Americans started visiting Factcheck.org regularly, politicians might have to start representing the facts more accurately. 

Last semester I took a seminar taught by Dr. Bruce Ware on the doctrine of providence.  We studied the whole spectrum of views of God’s relationship to the world: process theism, open theism, classical Arminianism, Molinism, Calvinism, and modified forms of Calvinism.  Dr. Ware is a modified Calvinist, and he has written in opposition to other views, specifically subjecting open theism to a thorough critique.  But I was impressed throughout the course of this seminar at how hard he worked to ensure that we accurately understood the claims made by all sides.  If we were discussing the weaknesses of another position in class, and we made unguarded statements that misrepresented open theism (or Arminianism, etc.), then Dr. Ware would call us on it.  He would ask us if the proponents of that view would be happy with the way we had represented them.  It is only when you can answer that question affirmatively that you are then in a position to offer a credible response. 

Critiquing a view that nobody holds not only is unhelpful, it is also unethical.  No matter how much we disagree with someone else, we always owe that person the respect of letting his or her voice be heard on its own terms.  If we filter everything through our own spin machine, we suppress otherness, disrespect a person made in God’s image, and fail to make any true progress for our own positions.  I only wish the game of politics didn’t work in precisely this way.  It will only happen as long as we, the public, allow it to happen.


8 Responses to “Distortion: The Name of the Game”

  1. mwmusicvt Says:

    Greetings from Vermont.

    I have just started blogging and found your post through the tag surfing tool. I’ve skimmed over a number of posts (many are virulently anti-McCain) and I found yours to be reasonable, honest, and thoughtful without compromising or bending to the “spin machines” (especially the left-leaning machines with the aid of major media outlets).

    I find myself too often responding to the tone of the argument and not the substance of the argument itself. At that point, I’ve lost the “debate” because I’m too emotionally wrapped up in my response.

    I’ve begun blogging to help me articulate my opinions first on page and then hopefully face-to-face with my (many) left-leaning friends and colleagues. I appreciated this post and I plan to check back.

    Marc Whitman

  2. fenderpooh Says:

    Thanks, Marc. Welcome to the blogosphere. Do you mind sharing your blog address?

  3. mwmusicvt Says:


    (I think that’s the site link)

  4. Luke A. Says:


    Good post and I agree with you on the poltical side.

    However, reading Ware’s “God’s Lesser Glory” I found it so riddled with strawmen that I was actually, well, disappointed with the work!

  5. fenderpooh Says:



  6. Luke A. Says:

    Oh buddy, I’d have to go dig up my notes…it’s been a couple of years. But they’re there (or Ware had a gross misunderstanding of what Sanders was saying…or I misunderstood them both).

  7. fenderpooh Says:

    I have read the book in question twice. I have read other books by Ware. I have read multiple works by John Sanders, Clark Pinnock, William Hasker, and others in the open theist camp. I know Bruce Ware personally and have sat with him in a class on this subject. And “riddled with strawmen” is the last accusation I would ever make against him or anything he has written. Your claim is simply unconvincing to me until I can see the evidence.

  8. Luke A. Says:

    Well alright then!! LOL. I’ve got no real opinion of Ware, postive or negative. I’m just recalling being rather disappointed by one particular work and that disappointment was that he wasn’t presenting any convincing arguements…not because of the merits of what he was saying, but rather because of how he presented the points which he was arguing against.

    Not trying to convince you of anything. Just stating my particular experience.

    (BTW, I’ve read the book twice and have read from Sanders and Pinnock as well…not Hasker though)

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