Monday, 9 December 2013

Fallacious Birthday Bashing

One of the tipping points for me leaving the IWWB cult some years ago, was the absolute insistence from Vinson (and his trained chimps elders) that a birthday was strictly off the cards and further, cause for dismissal from the fellowship completely.

The only real biblical ammunition Vinson could bring to bear on this argument was of course, Galatians 4:10. Vinson insists this verse of scripture must be interpreted within whatever culture the believer finds themselves in, even though Paul was obviously using it in the context of a believer attempting to justify themselves through observance of Judaism and Mosaic law-keeping. But apparently, according to Vinson, birthdays and literally every other commemorative day is out the door for those living in western societies, who truly want to follow Jesus.

However, Vinson can't only settle for Galatians 4:10. Having set himself up as a spiritual leader of the only group preaching truth in the world today, he must of course convince his doting acolytes that this doctrine of birthday embargo is scattered throughout the word of God. He's done this in the past, by using vague references within the Old Testament but it appears that he saves such tit-bits for email communication only.

One of the things I took Vinson to task on before I left the group was that when he was presenting his assertion that birthdays were off the table, he frequently resorted to multiple fallacies within the context of his arguments. Primarily, he used what was not in the bible as the basis for supporting his argument. Vinson also liked to ask inane rhetorical questions in bible-studies, again, about matters that are not addressed in the biblical text, and which he has no verifiable way of knowing. However, don't imagine that these factors will stop the likes of Mike Vinson! One of his go-to lines was this: "Do you think we'll be celebrating Christmas in the millennium? I don't think so, not if the elect are in charge, I don't think so!"

Note what Vinson did here? He asks a question that he can have no way of knowing, or providing evidence for, and then conveniently, provides the answer to this question. Without a doubt, this is an outright fallacy in that Vinson is loading the question to serve his religious agenda.

A fallacy, by its very definition, is an argument that uses poor reasoning. By using what is not in the bible as a supporting argument, Vinson is employing the "argument from silence" fallacy, sometimes also called "negative proof." While I have exposed Mitch Kuhn's poor reasoning skills before, I've not really picked apart Vinson's in any great detail. Partly because he makes so many stupid statements that its hardly worth taking the time, but also because Vinson almost always undoes himself with his actions after-the-fact. 

However, when I heard Vinson's latest attempt to proof text his birthday doctrine, I felt it was a chance to give him some air time. 

Firstly, here is the most recent audio of Mike hawking his anti-birthday agenda:

Vinson says the following:
"The 3 times that birthdays are mentioned... In every case, someone died. That's significant. It's significant that someone died every time a birthday is mentioned in scripture... To me it speaks volumes that Christ does not let us know when he was born. He doesn't let us know when ANY BODY in the bible was born - not a single person!"
Firstly, Vinson does his utmost to associate a birthday with evil, or death, and this is obviously an attempt to muddy the waters and convince his disciples that birthdays are the work of Satan. 

However, the fact is that the bible itself is full of death, and dying. Even a cursory read of the biblical text reveals this simple fact. Those who obediently obeyed God (that's if you chose to believe the text!) faced death, dying and all manner of evils. Using Vinson's logic, we ought to conclude that a person is best off not following the bible, or obeying God's instructions because "it's significant that someone died" when they did so. 

Paul received lashings, beatings and bites from snakes. Poster boy for obedience, Jesus Christ, was crucified and beaten severely before the fact for his efforts. Peter was allegedly crucified upside down and the first martyr, Stephen, was stoned to death. Therefore, applying Mike Vinson's logic, you needn't bother obeying the bible because "it's significant" that these things took place. 

The truth is, Mike Vinson only uses this argument because it has been lifted straight out of the WWCoG / Herbert W. Armstrong school of mind-control, and as mentioned in other blog postings, Vinson cannot help but cling feverishly to these teachings like the proverbial shit to a blanket. 

David C. Pack, a HWA mini-me who calls himself "Pastor General" (and, who desperately wants to establish his movement as the pre-eminent WCCG splinter group!) has written on his website about the evils of taking part in a birthday

Surprise, surprise, what is Pastor General Pack's opening statement about birthdays? 
Here it is:
Birthday celebrations are mentioned in the Bible on three separate occasions and, in each case, something terrible occurred.
So you see, good ol' boy Mike Vinson isn't really promoting anything new here. He's just plagiarized a WWCoG doctrine, and had the arrogance to declare this, "the truth."  
His "teaching" has been lifted out of the WWCoG school of hermeneutics and Vinson's lazy and fallacious arguments are just copied verbatim from his WWCoG splinter-group contemporaries.  

What else has Vinson got? Well, the argument from silence/negative proof as previously mentioned. Vinson states: "To me it speaks volumes that Christ does not let us know when he was born..." 

Before I take on Vinson's fallacious argument, let's just check with General Pack again. Does he say something similar?
We have now established that the Bible records negative examples of birthday celebrations, while it is silent on celebrating, or even identifying, the birthdays of all of God’s faithful servants—including Christ.
Well shit. Does this not appear to be the exact same thing Vinson said? I guess it's just an amazing coincidence? No, Vinson again has revealed himself as merely replicating and appropriating the doctrines of his former church. 

Another Herbert Armstrong clone, Dr Bob Thiel (known as COGwriter, and who now runs the Continuing Church of God) writes about the evils of birthdays on his website, which apparently, is mostly a copy and paste from the LCG (wouldn't you know it, ANOTHER World-Wide splinter group) minister Rod McNair. 
Here is the quote:
What can we learn from Scripture about observing birthdays? Jesus Christ did not mark the anniversary of His birth, nor did He make reference to it in any such fashion. Nor did any of the Apostles so much as even mention Christ’s birth date or their own...
Again, you see that these WWCoG splinter groups all employ the same tactics and arguments and more importantly, take note that Mike Vinson differs not one iota from the likes of Rod McNair, Bob Thiel or Pastor General David C. Pack. 

Re the argument itself, if we employ this kind of logic, (basing our lives on what Jesus did not do, or make known) we would have to conclude that because Jesus never drank coffee, then clearly, that must be off the table too. And Jesus is never said to have smiled. I guess that's evil as well? Has to be, right? And Jesus isn't specifically said to have wiped his ass after taking a shit so, save yourself some money and do the same! 

Clearly, Vinson's fallacious and deceptive logic (as well as General Pack's, and the other fruit-cake splinter groups) doesn't stand up to scrutiny and only reveals him to be a professional cherry picker engaging in overt confirmation bias, who wants to twist the biblical message into his own self-made image. 

Lastly, Vinson fails epically when he says that nobody's date of birth in the bible was actually known. Really, I can't quite believe he came out with that! 

But think about it - If that were true, then how on earth could the dates for the ages of various characters throughout the text be known? For example, the pre-flood patriarch's are said to have lived for many hundreds of years. Adam is said to have lived for 930 years. How could this be known if his birthday and the counting of ones years was not undertaken? Isaac was apparently 180. Again, how can this be, if according to Vinson, Jesus never told us when anybody in the bible was born? 

This right here, is the fly in the ointment of Vinson's bogus and contrived arguments. 

The simple truth is that Mike Vinson is unable to critique his own beliefs because he is up to his ears in his own half-truths, lies and spiritual poppy-cock. He is a man living in a fantasy. He demonstrates no sound reasoning skills because he has abandoned these in favour of believing his own version of reality.

It is obvious that Mike Vinson is living in the shadow of the WWCoG. When you look closely at what he says, it is clear that the basis for his beliefs and his general arguments are simply verbatim / regurgitated World-Wide doctrines that are employed again and again by the splinter groups! 

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