Last month I did a quick Facebook live video on the topic of, “An Introduction to the New Testament“. I recently came across a video trying to respond to me, it’s roughly 45 minutes long and includes insults and lewd images of the Prophet (peace be upon him). I am always absolutely willing to engage with people on this topic, but I do not engage with people who use vitriol against religious figures to “score points”. We’re not teenagers, we don’t need to insult people to convey our points, and I feel as if it was very immature and childish for such behaviour to occur in the first place. With that said, of the 45 minute video response, there is not very much that can be responded to that is worth responding to. I tried to allow Keith Thompson to engage me on my Facebook page in a mature manner, but when he posted that comment about the Prophet (peace be upon him) being demonic on YouTube in response to me, I just did not care to continue speaking with him. If he can’t be mature, I can’t care enough to engage with someone on a serious level.
Here are some flaws with Keith’s video:
- He tried to argue that I didn’t word myself properly, so he invented a point I didn’t make and spent some time responding to the claim that Paul was an “anonymous author”, a point I hadn’t made myself. In some weird way of defending himself, he argued that’s how he interpreted my statement, in other words he argued against a point I didn’t make because he misinterpreted what I said, that’s what we call a strawman argument. Really odd defense on that one by him.
- He argued that Papias used exaggeration as a language device and did not expect people to believe his exaggerations of historical information. I’m not sure what point that defends, since he agrees that Papias misused and misrepresented historical information, that supports my claim. He did ask me on Facebook where Papias got authorship claims wrong, and well this article will be helpful for him.
- He argues that Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho references Mark using Peter as a source, that is post-mid second century, which affirms the point I was trying to make, so I don’t see how that aids any rebuttal. A development like that in the 2nd century without any primary witnesses is the argument I was making in the first place.
- He argues that I made a mistake regarding the Title of Matthew in early manuscripts. Here’s where he fudged the facts quite a bit. In my video I reference p1 as the first extant chapter of Matthew 1. For some reason he chose to ignore that point, graphics and all, in the very video he used as his basis for a response to me. That either means he intentionally chose to lie, or that he intentionally chose to force an issue that wasn’t there to begin with. He then argues I misled the audience on what Simon Gathercole said regarding papyrus 4 (p4), when I said “it was added to the top”. He misinterpreted what I said to mean that the scribe added the title to the top of p4, something I didn’t say. I referenced Simon’s paper for the very purpose of discussing that papyri, as it was added to be used as a backing or fluff material for Philo’s codex, hence my statement, “added to the top”. Here’s the problem with most of his disagreement with me in his response video, if he had messaged me asking what I meant instead of trying to read my mind for me, he would’ve gotten the answers he wanted instead he chose to be adversarial and this is the outcome. He argues against a point I didn’t make in the first place.
- He appealed to p75 being 2nd century, I could’ve pointed him to Brent Nongbri’s paper dating it into the 3rd and 4th century CE. The point being, p75 isn’t 1st century, so it aids my point as a later development for the Title for the Gospel of Matthew. He did ask me on Facebook if there was anyone who disagreed with Simon Gathercole’s dating of p4, it is strange because I assumed he had atleast read up on the topic, instead he came to me after the fact to help him support his claims in his video. Odd behaviour.
- He spends almost half the video asking why I didn’t mention X, Y or Z scholar that disagrees with the scholars I quoted. The funny thing here is that he seemed to spend a very long time creating a 45 minute video and doesn’t list in that video, the scholars that disagree with his positions. So I’m not sure what he was expecting to be honest, he’s upset at me for something he himself didn’t do, that he expected me to have done. Very strange logic to be honest, quite odd!
- He indicated I was wrong about Eusebius saying lying was okay for the sake of the Gospel, his argument was that Eusebius only meant lying in the case of anthropomorphic language, in other words his argument was that lying in one case for the sake of the Gospel is okay, but that’s not a bad thing! Wrong, it is a bad thing and I suggest he read my article on the topic, which oddly enough was in the video he was responding to, so he can’t pretend as if he didn’t know I wrote about it previously.
All in all, he didn’t raise any new points I wasn’t aware of. Most of his response seems to be based on reading my mind for things I didn’t say, or for things he assume I meant, which frankly I don’t have to respond to as I didn’t say most of those things, he’s essentially arguing with and against himself. Very odd to be honest.
There is one point of correction I am willing to take, he did contact Prof. Bockmuehl and the professor does not wish to be identified as a “conservative” scholar. That’s really the only valid point of correction in his diatribe.
At the end of the video, he goes off on a tirade about Islam and has a picture, a lewd and offensive picture of the Prophet (peace be upon him). I tried to engage him nicely on his video, but I was met with insults about my height, insults about my looks, about my person, I was met with insults about the Prophet (peace be upon him). In other words, he was not looking to engage with me civilly and I would have, had those insults not be made. I get responses made towards me all the time, the way I judge whether or not I should consider those responses worthy of my time, is in the way the person responding to me behaves. Are they civil? Are they calm? Are they okay to be disagreed with? Do they have to use insults? In this case, I rather not waste my time with folks who choose to be intolerant and cannot be mature. I saved our Facebook discussion after blocking him due to his YouTube comments, it can be read here.
Though, should anyone have solid rebuttals to my video be willing to engage civilly, they have my full and complete support!
and God knows best.