Comments: Book Review: More Perfect Union

This book by Bishop Wilson has sprung from a personal encounter with prejudice - that of a fellow churchman being denied advancement in his calling due to his sexuality. That was God speaking to Wilson just as surely as Scripture counts as God's Word. As people read this book, and other books which follow, change will occur. Hearts will be moved.

Posted by Pam at Monday, 6 October 2014 at 12:00am BST

I'm not convinced. He only manages to make a case by ignoring all contrary views.

Posted by Ian Paul at Wednesday, 8 October 2014 at 1:43pm BST

The contrary views espoused by Ian Paul have been discredited as harmful, unscientific and absurd.

Posted by FrDavidH at Wednesday, 8 October 2014 at 4:22pm BST

But Ian, isn't that how most of us construct an argument to contribute to a controversial debate? Most of the "contrary views" that you mention have ignored the view that Bishop Alan is arguing. I don't see why he should have to construct his argument in relation to differing viewpoints.

It's a bit like challenging someone who is arguing for higher welfare benefits, or for more money to be spent on hospitals, with the argument: "Yes, but where will the government get the money to build submarines?" It's an unfair expectation to lay on someone who is arguing a minority viewpoint, as Wilson is in the context of Christian debate on equal marriage.

Posted by Dr Edward Prebble at Wednesday, 8 October 2014 at 10:44pm BST

While Psephizo of course, attends respectfully to all views ?

and is not 'a parallell universe' !

Why is the thread 'above' this present one not taking comments after the one already there ?

ED: sorry, glitch on comments now fixed. Thanks for pointing it out.

Posted by Laurie Roberts at Wednesday, 8 October 2014 at 11:38pm BST

Edward My response is yes and no. In his most recent, characteristically wise and pastoral, statement the Bishop of Oxford asks 'what does a good disagreement look like'. Part of the answer to that must be the sense that my opponent has heard and engaged with the best for my arguments - even if they turn out to be fatally flawed. I substantially agree with what +Alan is articulating but I find the tone too often feels impatient and dismissive in this respect. I can understand my conservative colleagues and friends feeling their convictions have just been ignored or pushed aside.

Posted by David Runcorn at Friday, 10 October 2014 at 9:04am BST

He doesn't ignore the contrary views, but simply points out that their very basis is unsound.

That is what his detractors ignore, because it means that they have to deal with the fact that there is no good reason to take their arguments seriously.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Friday, 10 October 2014 at 9:11am BST

Mark - as I say I support what +Alan is arguing for. I am a critical friend here. But 'simply points out' I think understates the tone at times. Likewise your 'his detractors ignore' is very sweeping - in fact illustrates the same tendency that concerns me in the book at times. I try not to assume that someone who disagrees with me is necessarily ignoring the arguments or refusing to take them seriously.

Posted by David Runcorn at Friday, 10 October 2014 at 10:43am BST

David, my experience in the course of discussions on this issue is that there is a good deal of "ignoring" -- in that rather than a systematic conversational response, one finds a shifting pattern, marked by changing the subject or addressing issues of form rather than content. I have experienced this with well-educated and otherwise careful "conservative" critics, so I would not call them "ignorant." But it is a pattern that makes conversation difficult. One of the major tasks for any "facilitator" in upcoming conversations will be that of trying to hold interlocutors to the thread of the discussion.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Monday, 13 October 2014 at 2:45pm BST

Ian Paul's review is far more detailed than this one. Yet people seem immediately to want to denigrate it. Vested interests?

Posted by Rich at Tuesday, 21 October 2014 at 12:42pm BST
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