1. I don’t have much opinion on Harris as a person or anything, but it kind of sickens me that people sit there and only blame others without taking much accountability for what they’ve chosen to believe.

    Yeah, it’s frustrating when people give bad advice, and people should take SOME accountability for the advice they give, but often enough, people give that advice with some level of good intentions. Not always, obviously, because some people are horribly dishonest. But…I dunno. Isn’t it obvious that everyone is going to give (extremely) bad advice sometimes, regardless of their intentions?

    Like, to a very large degree, it’s OUR responsibility to evaluate the advice we receive and apply it accordingly. And, more importantly, to think carefully about important decisions before moving forward.

    Maybe people following the courtship advice were just as in the wrong and naive as the people writing that advice. Live and learn from the experience, instead of obsessively casting blame. Some accountability needs to be expected of bad advice givers, but people also need to question why they’re so careless in following other people’s advice in the first place.

  2. […] It’s Legalistic to Punish Joshua Harris for the Sins of ‘The Purity Culture’ | E. Stephen Burnett, Jul 29 […]

  3. notleia says:

    Josh Harris wouldn’t have become so popular if this junk hadn’t already been floating around the culture. He just codified an extreme version that seemed more earnest because it was so extreme. Yeah, a lot of angry talk about purity culture revolves around Josh Harris because he is a convenient touchstone about it. But while Josh is a victim, he’s also an oppressor at the same time.

    He benefited monetarily and socially from all this noise. And while he might have made sounds about pulling his books from print, did he actually do anything concrete until very, very recently? He might have had his doubts, but that thing was still circulating in print for nearly two decades. From what I hear, Boy Meets Girl is NOT actually that much better. Both now and then, he doesn’t seem to have done much besides make mouth-noises about helping victims of the attitudes pushed by his rhetoric. Who has he helped with direct actions? (I am genuinely interested to know.) He tried making a documentary about his change of mind, but it didn’t center the victim’s experiences and feelings, it centered HIS. Even his new secular business is making him into a supposed authority based on his experience that stems from IKDG.

    Honestly, I’m waiting for him to just f**k off into relative obscurity, and a lot of my further opinion will depend on if he remains f**ked off.

    • This here’s just a rant that has already been challenged by the original article. Perhaps we’re experiencing a time-space anomaly: I write the article, as a consequence of reading your rant, and directly rebutting these kinds of rants, but in fact you wrote the rant after I shared the article. To sum up, nothing in your rant actually engages with the article, and happens to provide an exact example of the kinds of nasty legalistic attitudes that I’m hoping to challenge.

      • notleia says:

        So my attitude is legalistic, but yours, where he has to jump through a different number and kind of hoops to be socially acceptable again, is not. Mmmkay. Maybe the only hoop you care about him jumping through is to think that gay people are icky again, but that’s not legalistic somehow, right.

      • Travis Perry says:

        “Legalism” is a well-established pattern of behavior that occurs within Christianity (and other belief systems as well in fact) in which rigid rules are laid down for people to obey that one must follow to obtain favor with God. Sometimes the rigid rules are linked to the very means to obtain salvation, but other times are applied to people to tell them how to live on a daily basis. I tend to restrict my own use of “legalism” for the type that makes rule-keeping a requirement for eternal salvation and prefer “legalistic” for teachings that don’t say following rules gets you to heaven, but still drop a bunch of rules on people.

        Legalism tends to make people feel they have earned their status with God. And legalism also makes it super easy to identify “sinners” (do X and you are one, always, circumstances don’t matter) because it leaves no room at all for “what may be a sin for me may not be a sin for you”–even though the individuality of sin (within limits) is a New Testament concept. So legalists are often harsh and judgmental.

        However, being harsh and judgmental is not the definition of legalism or even being legalistic. One could propose rules and be strict about them and NOT harshly judge others who don’t follow those rules. Sure, such an attitude is relatively uncommon, especially in Evangelical circles, but it represents how I think most monks live. Or most Amish people (to give a couple of examples).

        Purity culture, which I took at the time non-legalistically as simply a good idea that people try to avoid sex before marriage, others took as rules to keep, period, because. Some applied Harris’s book as a kind of guideline to harsh rules they’d establish. You are right, that was their own fault, not Harris’s per se.

        But you are wrong to say Notliea embraces “nasty legalistic attitudes.” Notliea, who has commented on Speculative Faith for long enough for both you and I to know her to a fair degree, might be accused of a form of social justice legalism, but certainly does not espouse any kind of Christian legalism. She does NOT propose rule-keeping for the purpose of obtaining favor with God.

        Her attitude is simply judgmental and angry. Proof that legalism itself is not the only cause of people being mean-spirited. Nasty, but not legalistic.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Notleia, I’m going to confront you here on your willingness to condemn Harris for making money off selling a book that restricted sexuality but your absolute silence about the billions being made on sexually-exploitative pornography. Perhaps you do rail about porn too, elsewhere, but I’ve never heard you do so.

      Purity culture made relative pennies compared to truckloads of cash that porn drags in. Some porn is the product of literal human slavery.

      Maybe some of your ire ought to be turned on people who are no-kidding oppressing women instead of tilting at windmills of supposed sins of Evangelicals…

      • notleia says:

        Okay, obligatory anti-porn statement: Porn bad because exploitation and continuation of misogyny and etc.

        But just because I’m not forced to wear a burqa or whatever doesn’t mean I have no place to criticize the bullcrap I do have to put up with. If you can’t criticize something because someone else has it worse, then all white dudes should shut up forever, but I do not expect that of other people.

        • Travis Perry says:

          Do you even go to a church at all? You did once upon a time, but I’m not really sure that you personally are putting up with a lot of the “bullcrap” you complain about. If any.

          Re anyone complaining about anything, yeah I agree having privilege should cause people to complain less but doesn’t oblige people to never complain about anything, ever.

          Also on the same topic “all white dudes” would in theory include those sold as sex slaves (some sex slaves are male, though it’s a minority and many modern slaves are white), those born with congenital conditions like having no arms and no legs, and those who have been through various forms of personal hell, like literal torture. Perhaps you should re-think that “all.”

          • notleia says:

            Oh, I didn’t check on this thread for awhile.
            I work pretty much every Sunday lately, so no, I don’t even make it to the Lutheran church a few blocks away. It’s kinda weird to live in Lutheran country rather than Baptist country, but honestly I’m tired of (Southern) Baptists.
            But yes, I definitely put up with less sexist bullcrap than I used to, mostly because I made an effort to get away from it. Like not hanging out with Church of Christers anymore. Or Southern Baptists.
            Why would it be a bad thing to avoid putting up with bullcrap? But there’s still some weird, semi-creepy stuff I have to put up with anyway, like when Patrick at my local Arby’s tried to be…charming, I guess, and called me lovely and asked for a smile. I gave him something more like the awkward seal meme.

  4. […] David French is a notable exception. I don’t always agree with David French, especially when he seems to paste his own pro-ministry experience atop more-nuanced issues. French, however, does represent the kind of broad qualifications and experiences that the better […]

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