The real reason why the Independent Fundamental Baptists don’t listen to their critics….
I recently saw a blog post from James Ach entitled “Why Fundamentalists Don’t Listen To Our Critics” – I wouldn’t recommend wasting your time reading it – he basically just drones on and on about how the victim is to blame as he twists, minimizes and trivializes what opposing points of view have to say. The hatred and disdain for anyone who even remotely challenges the fundamentalist dogma just oozes from his writings. Without provocation or hesitation he launches his attacks not caring in the least who is left smoldering in his wake.
But what prompted me to write this article was the featured image James Ach used:
It’s a fitting image and one that I find truly complimentary to the article, but for a different reason than what Ach intended for it.
When I saw this picture I couldn’t help but imagine a grade schooler calling a classmate a name then using the same pose as what’s displayed in the photo while loudly singing “la, la, la, la…” so that she doesn’t hear her classmates rebuttal/defense to her attacks. Kind of immature right?
Then the same thought entered my mind about this post and the Independent Fundamental Baptists… how immature! The biggest difference though is that the grade schooler is dealing with emotional immaturity while the IFBer is dealing with spiritual immaturity.
Another difference is that the laws of nature dictate that the grade schooler will eventually grow up and mature while the IFBer remains in a state of suspended/arrested spiritual development due to the abusive traditions/practices of the IFB. In a way it’s not the IFBer’s fault though, just a natural consequence of the way the IFB does Christianity.
Independent Fundamental Baptist leaders keep their victims in the same state of spiritual immaturity by dictating unquestioning submission to their authoritarian leadership. They then go on to teach their congregations to do exactly what this article proposes… to refuse (and I’m using the word “refuse” on purpose rather than “decline”) to listen to anything but what the Independent Fundamental Baptists teach. This keeps IFBers from experiencing any rational rebuttal and in their own little worlds their belief system goes unchallenged – or so they are deluded into thinking.
This is a good way to keep the congregation in a cyclical pattern of submission and reinforcement. They are told to submit to the Man of God and then feelings of dedication and commitment are reinforced by promoting the idea that they shouldn’t “listen to their critics”.
As I continued to read the article and subsequently other articles on the blog, I had a good chuckle at the irony as I read more and more of what James Ach had to say on the site and his attacks on other “critics of fundamentalists” (that he apparently knows so much about by somehow not listen to them). I can’t wrap my mind around the contradiction – even though he tried to explain.
I tried to engage him in a dialogue in the comments section, but he deleted the link to our website and just went on the defensive. I’m so repulsed by his criticism and vitriol that I honestly couldn’t stomach reading more. To me it’s nothing more than a perpetuation of the abuse that’s so much a part of the Independent Fundamental Baptists. Even though it should come as no surprise, I just can’t get past his hardened, unsympathetic and uncaring attitude towards those who have been so hurt by the “Fundamentalists”. He isn’t setting a very good example and his blog only serves to perpetuate the abuse that happens among the fundamentalists.
More irony emerged, by the way, in subsequent posts written about other critics to the fundamentalists, such as Jocelyn Zichterman, Jeri Massi and Tina Anderson – to which he, again by his own admission, doesn’t listen to yet knows so much about that he can somehow write critically about them. More contradictions??? or perhaps just plain ignorance??? Probably both.
From what I can tell, James Ach (notice I refuse to call him “Dr.” even though he refers to himself as Dr. James Ach – not out of disrespect) is your typical run-of-the-mill “fighting fundamentalist”. I don’t know much about him except to assume that he is trying to resurrect the “Do Right Christian” organization that apparently originated with Jack Hyles (or was it Bob Jones University?). He seems to be Independent Fundamental Baptist through and through and does nothing in the article to provide substance or rational explanation. He simply attacks his critics, blames the victim, minimizes and trivializes the abuse that happens in fundamentalists circles, regurgitates the Independent Fundamental Baptist dogma and trash talks everyone who doesn’t align with his beliefs in an effort to appear rational, even though he has no idea what they are saying since he – by his own admission – doesn’t “listen” to them.
I finally decided to respond to his article in the comments section just to see how he would respond to me. Here’s part of our exchange:
It’s interesting to me that you don’t listen to your critics yet you seem to “know” so well what we have to say. Aren’t you contradicting yourself? Could it be that this article misses the point because of the very fact that you don’t listen? Hmmm…
Maybe – just maybe – you should pay more attention to your critics. It’s been said that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” (John Maxwell). Perhaps you’d have a greater impact for your cult, er I mean for Christ, if we knew that you cared.
Besides, I’m just a little frustrated that I wasn’t included in your list with Jeri Massi and Jocelyn Zichterman. I only have the biggest anti-IFB website on the internet. It would appear that you do your research about as good as you listen to people.
I don’t know why I’m even writing this since you won’t “listen” to it. Oh well, at least I get to feel that I’ve made my defense.
Haven’t you ever heard the difference between listening and hearing? Just because I have knowledge of what a critic says does not mean I am contradicting myself when I say I’m not listening. How often does a husband and wife argue, and the wife says “you’re not listening” even though he heard every word.
With as much as you patted yourself on the back, I’m surprised that I really have to explain that. But then you shift from assuming a contradiction into “you should PAY MORE ATTENTION” which proves that you understood what I meant in the first place. And that falls into the “Dishonesty of the Critics” section of the article.
Furthermore, your comment gave nothing of substance, just a pejorative jab at the article supported by silly assumptions (having the biggest anti-IFB website on the internet, and assuming that if I am not aware of your site, I must not have done my research).
You have a warped definition of caring as well. I can care about how a person is affected by criminal and sinful acts, without caring about what critics say when what they say falls into the categories discussed in the article. I don’t have to care about how you define “cult” to prove that I care about people that have truly been affected by abuse.
It is preordained for you to write that comment! Just gives me another good example of why I was right about what I wrote. And if you have “the biggest anti-IFB website” then didn’t you already make your “defense”? Perhaps you should THINK about your defenses instead of FEELING for them (Prov 28:26), but if that made you FEEL good, you get 5 golf claps.
“Haven’t you ever heard the difference between listening and hearing?”
Yes, that’s exactly my point. You may be hearing your critics, but you aren’t listening very well. And you’ve just confirmed that by not “listening” to me. How can you truly know what your critics are saying if you aren’t listening (and/or not willing to listen)? My question remains unanswered.
Making assumptions and attacking me is hardly a way to win someone over. My comment was respectful and curious in nature. No “pejorative jab” was intended and I’m not sure why you took it that way (oh, and the part about my website was more playful banter than anything, but I don’t really care what you think of me or my website).
I honestly didn’t think you’d respond given the content of the article. I thought that if you did respond that you’d at least provide a logical defense. But you took it personally and responded defensively and sarcastically which tells me that you are either (1) fearful that your argument is too weak to withstand scrutiny or (2) so devoted to your point of view that you couldn’t “listen” to your critics even if you wanted to. I find that ironic and so very much “fundamentalist” in nature that it would be laughable if it weren’t so sad.
By the way I find it interesting how you deleted the link to my website. If you were so interested in the “truth” then why would you not allow a simply link to an opposing point of view? Seems rather prideful to me and we all know what happens to the proud – Proverbs 16:18 (see I can pull verses out of context and twist them to fit my agenda just as well).
Anyway, I’m so excited to have a shining example of the irrational and illogical fundamentalist type to use on my site. Not many fundamentalist types are so outspoken in written format. I’ll have much more fuel now. Keep up your work here and I’ll be looking forward to making an example out of your website.
I haven’t been back to see if he replied. I don’t really feel like wasting more time on it. I’d rather spend the time on my own site speaking to my readers. I do plan to go back to the site later to find more of his dangerous dogma to refute. It will be fun. Although I’d prefer more of a challenge, I am excited to have found such a shining example of fundamentalist dogma to discuss.