Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

Follwing up on yesterday's blog and one one I posted a week or so ago, I would want to make the case that the problem with so many postmodern approaches to the world is that they fail to grasp the tragic nature of the human situation.  By dissolving the tragedies of life through moral and epistemological relativism, they really fail to be prophetic.  Only as these tragic dimensions are grasped do truly great theology and reflections on life emerge, why Augustine, Owen and Pascal are giants, and why Euripides and Shakespeare are still worth reading (incidentally, this is why satire is vastly superior to other forms of comedy, why Seinfeld is worth watching and Friends worth avoiding -- though my fear is that too many trendy theologians tend to Friends and Starbucks as the barometers of reality rather than Monty Python, British Instant Coffee and American attempts to make tea -- now there's a taste of the tragedy of life for you)

Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

I hate to break up the hilarity in which my good friends Messrs Trotter and Plectrum-Smith seem to be indulging, but I just spent a few moments looking at the webpage of a leading Emergent figure.

Posted on Thursday, January 11, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

I found myself in the invidious position of having to issue a clarification and apology for a theological analysis of an American "sport" (sic):

Posted on Thursday, January 04, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

There's a fascinating interview with N T Wright in the latest Christianity Today.  Worth reading as a whole but  I was particularly struck by the following comment:

Posted on Tuesday, January 02, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

In addition to Del's suggestions, I recommend Richard J Evans, Lying about Hitler (Basic Books).   Evans, Chair of Modern History at the University of Cambridge, was the expert witness at the Irving-Lipstadt trial in London, where British writer David Irving sued American professor, Deborah Lipstadt, over claims in her book, Denying the Holocaust (Penguin) that he was a Holocaust Denier.  Hmmmm, sounds familiar.  Seriously, Evans' book is a page turner -- partly a courtroom thriller, partly a first-hand account of how a great historian does his work.  What can I say?  A must-read, especially for theonomists.  Put down those stones and take up and read.....

Posted on Sunday, December 31, 2006 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

Forgot to point out one other obvious matter (implicit in my earlier blog but, on the basis of recent correspondence, I take nothing for granted as being obvious): RJR's point in citing other atrocities in World War Two relates directly to the other side of Holocaust Denial -- the relativisation of the whole thing.  Yes, the British bombed Hamburg; yes, the Allies betrayed the Poles; yes, the Russians had gulags -- but none of these involved the kind of systematic technology of intentional genocide which we find in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and which was so central to the post-Wannsee Final Solution.  The death toll was appalling (in the gulags it far exceeded the Nazi death camps -- but no gulag was designed specifically as a factory of death; they were slave labour camps) and the atrocities should not be excused; but to equate these with the Holocaust is to indulge in that other aspect of Holocaust Denial -- the downplaying of the role of anti-Semitic, racist  intention combined with the technological delivery of death, factory-production-line style; and, of course, it is basic to advocates of the kind of figures paraded by Rassinier, Irving and co that the gas chambers did not exist; indeed, the point is frequently explicit.

I will write no more on this.

Posted on Sunday, December 31, 2006 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

The reaction to my statement that RJR was a Holocaust Denier (and thus either historically incompetent, racist or mentally unhinged) has elicited quite a bit of response, from very polite statements that I have misread him to veritable tirades accusing me of serious historical incompetence and demanding full apologies to his followers. The accusation of incompetence against me hinges on the fact that I have cited no evidence. Well, that was simply due to the fact that (a) while I have read RJR on this, I do not own his works and thus was not able to get immediate access to them and (b) I had not anticipated that so many would question what I had assumed was a well-known fact. So, here goes – those who asked for the reference can now have it.

Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2006 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

At the  end of 2006, as I look back on the year, I repent of my previous view of blogging as a trivial medium.  Here's what I learned from my various correspondents over the year:

Posted on Friday, December 22, 2006 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

Oh, my.  I seem to be being struck off all manner of Xmas card lists which, thankfully, I was probably never on in the first place. Two clarifications (at the risk of repeating myself) and a further comment:

1. I did not say Rushdoony and Holocaust Deniers are necessarily racists.  I said they were necessarily either incompetent historians or racists or mentally ill or some combination of the three.  Never having met the man, I would not presume to say which of these four options motivated him to write as he did.

2. Some correspondents seem not to understand the nature of Holocaust Denial and the literary culture which has grown up around it. The lowering of numbers in HD literature is not simply a matter of statistics.  It is, in the world of Rassinier and co, inextricably linked with arguments over the very nature of the Holocaust as an intentional act of genocide.  The difference between 6 million and 1 million is not the difference between overestimating and underestimating the dead; it is the difference believing that Auschwitz existed as a death camp with gas chambers and believing it was just a prison camp with communal shower units where people happened to die of cold and disaease. In other words, scaling the numbers down dramtically is, technically, Holocaust denial. If Rushdoony was not sharp enough to see the connection, if he really did think the difference between Rassinier and the mainstream was one of exaggeration, he was seriously historically incompetent; if he did see it and chose to ignore it, he was -- well, either a racist or a loon.  I see no other option.

3. I can't tell you what it means to me to know that Holocaust deniers find advocates among good Christian folk.  Now it seems that voting Democrat is the only unforgivable sin.

Enough of this!   The church of Christ should give no quarter to such evil tripe. 

Posted on Thursday, December 21, 2006 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

My comments on the late RJR have stimulated some feedback.