Lying for Jesus

Someone make it stop! The embarrassments for Christianity surrounding our response to the Sax Appeal blasphemy just keep on coming. After the hash that Christians made of organising the debate with the AAS that led to them walking away from it, Christian Action released a statement beginning with these words:

Atheist Abandons Argument
Just two hours before the scheduled debate the Atheist Association lecturer, Jacques Rousseau, cancelled his involvement and withdrew from the debate. The organiser was then compelled to change the venue from Jameson Hall to a different venue nearby.

It was followed by a series of the same old non-arguments for the case against blasphemy that are unfortunate, but probably not blatantly dishonest as this is.

I can’t be sure whether Hammond is lying or being fed with lies, but as anyone who has read the correspondence leading up to this event knows, the AAS pulled out 24-hours beforehand and on the grounds that the organisation was a complete shambles:

Date: Tue, 28 Apr 2009 19:36:47 +0200
From: Gareth de Vaux
To: Michael Nlandu
Cc: Tauriq Moosa, Jacques Rousseau, Amanda Ngwenya
Subject: Re: My Reply

This’s ridiculous. We are pulling out. If you’d like to do this in future
when it’s better organised and respectful of our speakers’ time and
preparation then we are potentially interested.

This decision followed the discovery that this high-profile event still did not have a chairperson for the debate, and the venue had just been changed. So, it was because of the venue change the day before that the AAS pulled out, as well as because the organisers had repeatedly disrespected them by ignoring their opinions about the topic choices. It is a bald-faced lie on the part of either Hammond or organiser Michael Nlandu that the venue was changed 2 hours before because the AAS had pulled out.

So, thank you to Christian Action and everyone involved for adding further discredit and ridicule to the name of Christ on UCT campus by lying to save face. You make me embarrassed to be Christian.

If any of you are reading, I hope that you’ll demonstrate enough Spiritual maturity to apologise to the AAS for piling insult upon insult in the name of Christ, and that you’ll begin to take responsibility for your own disorganisation.

Please feel free to follow along with this disaster step-by-step on http://aas.uct.ac.za/files/blasphemy_debate.txt.

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8 thoughts on “Lying for Jesus

  1. Jacques says:

    Thanks, Jordan. As I said in a mail to some Brakpan church who had posted the CA statement on their website, while we can’t agree on the metaphysics, you’d at least hope we could agree on sticking to the facts, and the value of virtuous conduct.

  2. Mark says:

    Jordan, the time has come for Christians in Cape Town to establish an organisation or society that would provide a forum for Christians to engage with those outside the faith in a more productive manner. I’m fed up with the militancy and combative approach adopted by Hammond, ACC and their fellow-travellers who seem to have adopted an end-justifies-the-means modus operandi. As for the Christian media in this country, don’t even get me started…

    • Jordan Pickering says:

      Darn right, Mark. The atheists (at least those who were a part of this debate) put Hammond and the rest of the ‘Christian’ representation to shame. While Hammond has used insults, weak arguments and (perhaps unintentional) dishonesty to claim ‘victory’, and while he continues to treat atheist people as though they are enemies that need to be conquered, atheists like Jacques Rousseau have been polite and restrained in their language, they have demanded that arguments be logical, careful and to the point, and they have exceeded our current standards of honesty. They also are able to practice the necessary distinction between ideas that they oppose and the people who hold them. In short, they have been consistently more godly in their behaviour than the ones who claim to be following God. Hammond and co have badly marred Christian witness among these people, and for what? So they can report back to other fundamentalists that they ‘won’? Seems to be the primary motivation. I am literally sickened.

      • Jonathan says:

        I’m going to lose my lunch. I read through the email trail in the link and felt ill as I saw this debacle unfold. The communication from CA was appalling (spelling and grammar aside). Surely just picking up the phone and talking through the details in order to build a relationship with the AAS should have been a primary goal, the debate secondary?

        Being in London, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many organisations through church – we have to bring a level of excellence and a commitment to building relationships that is beyond reproach and blesses them.

        So many churches and para church organisations fail on this point – I wouldn’t dare deal with a client like this while representing my company. How much more when it’s the Creator of the Universe I’m “alleged” following?

        Has anyone ever explained to them that you never “win” a debate or argument? To be sure you can make your point but ultimately have you made any difference?

        Thanks for highlighting this, Jordan.

  3. Tauriq Moosa says:

    Thanks Jordan. It has no comparison to our debate from last year. Or was it the year before? Hopefully we can organise a proper event soon. I was actually looking forward to it – but in hindsight, am glad I did not go. We were after reason and discussion, not argument. When I was approached to participate, I was made to feel that it would be done for the acquisition of knowledge. What was there to win? Were their trophies, free bibles, a fatwa? I don’t get it. I had no idea there was anything to lose.

  4. Mary says:

    Hi Jordan. I agree that the manner in which things unfolded was, to put it mildly, not pleasant reading. It was a disaster. I do think, however, that you have missed one more possibility: it may well be that there was miscommunication between Nlandu and Hammond. It’s a very strong possibility – especially considering the fact that we have all seen that communication is not one of Pastor Nlandu’s strong points. I rather hope it was miscommunication rather than lying.

    • Jordan Pickering says:

      No, I acknowledged that:

      “I can’t be sure whether Hammond is lying or being fed with lies…”

      Given his shameful responses to the AAS, Nlandu obviously is the kind who is into saving face, so I’d be entirely unsurprised if it was he who spawned that story to not be embarrassed in front of his guests. In that case, ‘Lying for Jesus’ just applies to him. Nlandu certainly knows full well what happened behind the scenes, and no one else could have told Hammond. So someone’s lying. It really is quite galling.

  5. Mary says:

    I think I should clarify. What I’m saying that there may have been no intentional lying at all from either party. Nlandu is not good at communicating. In fact, he’s terrible at it. Hence the mess-up which led to the AAS cancellling.

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