David Barton - historical scholar or fraud?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by fromtheright, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. fromtheright

    fromtheright
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    The suggestion was raised in another thread to start this.

    IMO, he is an unreliable source. He proved himself so with his own website which used to include a page of "Unconfirmed Quotations"--quotations that he had used in The Myth of Separation that turned out to have no reliable source. I happen to agree with him on "church/state separation" and the First Amendment's establishment clause but will never refer to him as an authority again.
     
  2. tragic_pizza

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  3. hillclimber1

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    Your link illustrates the vacuousness that is the American leftist. Unbelievable
     
    #3 hillclimber1, Jan 17, 2007
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  4. johnk48

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    You are using Rob Boston in your attempt to discredit David Barton? That's like using Stalin to discredit Billy Graham. As a Christian I trust those who share the same Spirit rather than the worldview of the lost.

    Read what Boston is all about --
    http://www.secular.org/adv_board/rboston.html
    His organization is no friend to the Gospel.

    We live in a world filled with all varities of supposed truth. I am biased toward listening and trusting that which born again individuals bring to the table, but I still check it out for myself. When someone who hates our Gospel brings his crumbs to the table I expect what he brings to be offensive to God's truth and his people. Rob Boston is just another lost man doing all he can to discredit that which is Truth and someone Christians ought not to give a second glance, imho. ;)
     
  5. El_Guero

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    FTR

    I will trust your definition of the man. I know nothing about him.

    Thanks

    Wayne


     
  6. hillclimber1

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    excellent post, and welcome!
     
  7. go2church

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    Barton is a right wing agenda driven fella. His history is slanted at best and he isn't taken very seriously in the history circles of serious scholars.

    And I find it refreshing that someone who agrees with his point of view, find him to be less then credible. Now to work on the whole point of view thing...then we've got something!:smilewinkgrin:
     
  8. johnk48

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    In the "Myth of Separation" I found an abundance of origianl quotes from the Founders, enough that I was thoroughly convinced that secularists have it completely twisted today. I find nothing in Barton's work that would discredit him and I am very picky according to all who know me. No mans work is perfect but in historical accuracy, I find Barton's work the best I have found.

    I have found that in most things like this Christians trust those who hold like doctrines and opinions and objectivity takes a back seat to subjectivity. I believe that those of you who are Christians that don't trust Barton do so because he is teaching something you don't like or agree with. I don't believe you can honestly believe he is revising history because there is too much truth to the contrary, but you seek to discredit him because his teachings discredit something you believe.
    I've been on several boards and the more communication I encounter the more I am convinced that people, Christian or not, are far more concerned with their own subjective truth than they are with objective truth and will support their brand no matter what the facts may be. It's unfortunate but true and I am just as likely to be as guilty as the rest. I know you will try and convince me you are completely objective, but forgive me if I tell you up front, I'm probably not going to buy it. One day, when we lose this body of sin, we will be more concerned with the truth than we are our subjective "feelings." :godisgood: and the rest of us are are a mess! :)
     
  9. rbell

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    How can you assign motives as to why someone believes the way he/she does? Maybe they read a book by an expert that disagrees with Barton. Maybe they did first-generation document research. Maybe their history teacher in college said otherwise. Maybe Barton cut them off in traffic one day. Fact is, you don't know someone's motive for believing something, and it's unwise IMO to assume you do...it's an unfair debate tactic.

    I think the pendulum is somewhere in the middle...secular revisionists IMO have "written out" the contributions by Christians, and our nation's association with Judeo-Christian principles. I have a problem with that. However, Barton, IMO, swings the pendulum too far--assigning "conservative evangelical" monikers to folks who don't fit the label (such as Jefferson).

    Once again, IMO. But my motive has nothing to do with Barton teaching something I'm opposed to...it's that I think Barton's facts are not all correct (nor are his uber-secularist counterparts).
     
  10. johnk48

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    Just revealing a little of what I personally have come to believe by participating in discussion forums, and from what I know about human nature. You don't have to agree with me. I don't rememeber anyone changing their mind in any Christian discussion forum ( I only visit Christian ones ) no matter what the facts bring. Sometimes,I think the only thing these dicsussions bring in way of being porductive is to sharpen our own minds and our typing skills. But, I hope there are some reading that don't have their minds made up that may have their opinions swayed and some of the moral confusion cleared a bit by reading what we discuss.
     
  11. rbell

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    There are subjects that each of us have that causes us to sing the "Baptist National Anthem:"

    I Shall Not Be Moved

    But I've changed my mind on issues discussed on BB. For me (your mileage may vary) it tends to happen when there is a logical presentation of facts and analysis. I'm not usually swayed by blowhards. Entertained, but not swayed...

    Please don't think I'm attacking you on this. I just think that many of us would resist looking at an issue honestly if we believe that our motives have already been pre-judged by another.

    Have a good 'un.
     
  12. fromtheright

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    johnk48,

    There are also several that are "quoted" secondhand. As I said, even on his own website, he had a list of quotations that either he found or were shown to be invalid.

    Then you're not reading very much. A couple I would suggest are Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation Between Church and State by Daniel Dreisbach, Separation of Church and State by Philip Hamburger, and Separation of Church and State: Historical Fact and Current Fiction by Robert Cord. These books are well documented. They basically support Barton's position but they do it with much higher standards of scholarship.

    I can't speak for the basis of others' opinions about Barton, but for myself, you don't know what you're talking about. I'm strongly opposed to strict separation of church and state and believe the Establishment Clause is grossly misinterpreted by the Supreme Court, as anyone whom I've debated here or at Internet Infidels can tell you.

    Edited: I would add that from my own experience he doesn't seem very comfortable debating the question either. I heard him speak several years ago at my church and I approached him with a question about a point made by Robert Cord, who disagreed with Barton on a particular, and Barton refused to even discuss it.
     
    #12 fromtheright, Jan 17, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2007
  13. Martin

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    I don't use David Barton though I do own two of his dvds. Even though I don't think Barton is a bad guy who is trying to mislead people, and I don't believe he is part of the so-called "evil" "religious right", I would never use anything he writes as a source. I have simply found too many times where Barton over looks details that would hurt some of his assertions. I think he looks at some of the founders through a certain bias (as does most of his opposition).

    Barton has his views and he defends his views and, to many of his critics shame, he creams them in tv debates. I once saw him debate a woman from some group, I believe it was Americans United for the Seperation of Church & State though I could be wrong, and he made her look rather stupid. He could pull out original source after original source while she made claims and rolled her eyes. Why does this happen? Two reasons. One, he knows history better than many of those who oppose him. Two, many of those who oppose him are simply anti-Christian. And I think that is what we need to take note of. Many of Barton's critics are simply anti-Christian and they are not going to like any historian who is also a Christian.

    For me I think there are much better historians out there to look at than David Barton.
     
  14. Martin

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    ==Well if we want to go there, many of his harshest critics are left wing agenda driven folks. So we can call people right wing and left wing all day and all night.

    ==I am not aware of even one scholar who takes Barton seriously. There are some very good historians out there who write very good books (Mark Noll, Edwin Gaustad, Edmund Morgan, Harry Stout, Joseph Ellis, and even David McCullough to name a few). These are good historians. Do I always agree with them, or others I read? No. However I generally respect their work. It is the same in the field of New Testament study. Why read books by people who have very little background on the topic when men like Darrell Bock, Ben Witherington, and Craig Blomberg are out there?
     
  15. fromtheright

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    BTW, johnk48, welcome to BB. It's great to have someone else with whom I agree on these Establishment clause issues, though we may disagree about Barton.

    Martin, I haven't seen him in debate, so my one personal anecdote probably doesn't mean much. I own several of his audiotapes and a couple of his books and I too relied greatly on him until I looked a little closer.

    As I said earlier, in debating some at Internet Infidels, there was one guy in particular ("Buffman" was his ID) who was very fair and honest-minded who was on the opposite side of the issue. He was a tremendous researcher and could be counted on to provide a long list of sources, most available on the Internet, in any debate. I admired him, too, because he did not hesitate to chide those on his side of this debate who made inaccurate statements or relied on discredited sources. Many of those on the other side of this issue are very well read, though they may be wrong in their conclusions.
     
  16. Martin

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    ==I think most Christians who don't like Barton carry many of the same objections against him as they do folks like "Dr Dino" (Kent Hovin). I am not saying that "Dr Dino" and Barton are on the same plane, they are not. I think Barton is a honest man. However many who disagree with Barton believe, like I do, that Barton sometimes overlooks facts that would hurt his case. I did not generally enjoy reading the article linked (above) but I do agree with its assertion that sometimes Barton over-simplifies things. Btw...I had read that article before.

    Btw, what other historians do you read?

    ==Actually I am interested in objective truth. That is why I get concerned with "some" of Barton's claims/assertions. I think it is overly bold, and generally wrong, of you to claim that historians dislike Barton simply because they don't like objective truth.


    ==I hate to tell you this but, in that day, I doubt United States history will matter that much. This is not Bible doctrine we are talking about. Nobody goes to hell because they were wrong about the faith of George Washington.
     
  17. Martin

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    ==Like you I purchased Barton's dvds back before I got interested in American History. My first love has always been Biblical backgrounds (New Testament History), first century Rome mainly the so-called Julio-Claudian Dynasty. However once I started getting into American history I started finding problems with some of the assertions Barton was making. My first disagreement with Barton came on the issue of the faith of the founders. I am not of the belief that many of them were Christians in their theology. For example Jefferson claimed he was a "true Christian" (Jan 9, 1816) yet he denied almost every major Christian doctrine and accused the Apostle Paul of being "the first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus" (April 13, 1820). Thomas Jefferson was not a Christian. Most likely neither was Benjamin Franklin (who doubted the Deity of Jesus Christ), or John Adams (who denied the Incarnation). No, Thomas Jefferson was not a Christian, he was a heretic. Ever since then I have spent alot of time looking into that issue and the life of Roger Williams (who, btw, was a Christian who believed in seperation of church & state).


    ==O, I agree. Having sort of spoke out against Barton let me say that I do agree with some of his concerns. I agree that seperation of church and state has been taken too far and is now being used to try to silence Christians in the public square. I agree with him that many times our nation's Christian history has been ignored, watered down, or denied. However having stated that I share his concerns that does not mean I agree with some of his conclusions.
     
  18. LadyEagle

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  19. Marcia

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    I could be wrong, but isn't it true that WallBuilders and David Barton espouse a view that the US (and the world, I guess) must become "Christianized" before Jesus can return?

    Does WallBuilders advocate a theocracy?
     
  20. johnk48

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    No, he and his organization doesn't believe in Dominion Theology. You would have to look very hard to find a difference in his theology and Conservative Baptist theology. He first went to Oral Roberts U. , and then an honoray doctorate from Penscola Christian College. He has never espoused a charismatic view since I have been following him nor have I come across any wrong doctrine being taught by him --- yet. Like most of us, his private studies have carried him much further than his college studies.
    I have checked out other Christian historians, but for me, Barton is the best, but I may find another just as good or better someday. I will check out those mentioned by some of you.

    Barton does agree that not all Founders were born again. Jefferson did lean toward Diesm, although Diesm meant something different then than now, but he did help spread the Gospel to American Indians and seemed to encourage people to follow Christ, and facilitated the use of government buildings for worship. Who really knows a mans heart but God. It seems to me that Franklin was very sympathetic towards Christianity also and may have actually been a believer. Again, only God knows.
     

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