AACC and Ad Hominem
While we were working on the recent American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) articles, I was collecting information for a different article and e-mailed the head of a national Christian organization to ask for information about a report they had done for a mission agency. I was requesting information that was, according to them, supposed to be on their web site. In the midst of the e-mail exchanges, he (the organization head) e-mailed a woman with my e-mail request. When she responded she inadvertently e-mailed me her answer to the man who requested a reply. The woman is a psychologist, is in key leadership with the AACC, would be known by almost all 50,000 members of AACC, speaks at AACC conferences, and is otherwise well-known. Because she e-mailed the head of the Christian organization about me, I decided to use her response as an example of what we have had to deal with over the years: in a word—GOSSIP! However, I have decided not to use her name even though I could because of her bad mouthing me to this Christian organization to such an extent that the head of the organization will no longer answer my e-mails.
The dictionary definition ofad hominem is "appealing to one’s prejudices, emotions or special interests rather than one’s intellect or reason." A logic book refers to ad hominem as a logical fallacy and lists "three common types of ad hominem arguments." The type that best fits this woman’s remark about me is called "ad hominem abusive" and is described as follows: "To identify the ad hominem abusive fallacy, look for an attack on the person’s character rather than the person’s statements."1
Here is what she said: "Yikes—this guy is a rabid anti-psychology guru—they (with his wife I think) have written nasty and slanderous things about many in the field—run."I am first referred to as being rabid. A rabid person is "irrationally extreme in opinion" and an irrational person is "without the faculty of reason."
As our readers are aware, we come out of an academic background with six university degrees, including a doctorate, between the two of us. We prolifically use quotes from numerous experts, nearly all of whose credentials far surpass those of this woman. In addition, many well-known evangelical leaders have given us written endorsements for our work and would also be critics of the AACC and its belief in theinsufficiency of Scripture for the issues of life normally taken to a professional counselor.
She refers to me as being "anti-psychology." If she had read us at all she would know that we are not anti-psychology. Psychology is a broad field; we do not condemn the entire field and actually have university professors of psychology who support our writings. However, we are anti-psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a practice from the field of clinical psychology. We are particularly critical of those Christians who are licensed therapists and of those Christians who use their services. We take this stand both for academic and biblical reasons.2 It is obvious from Scripture alone that those Christians who love psychotherapydo not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture for the issues of life that are therapized by licensed professionals. After all, none of this psychobabble was around in the evangelical church 50 years ago.
This woman says "they (with his wife I think)" which shows total ignorance of our work. We havecoauthored twenty books and coauthored numerous articles for more than 30 years! The current article by me is a rare exception. We have done books for Bethany House Publishers, Moody Press, and Harvest House before starting our own publishing company. One would think that this PhD woman would know that we are coauthors if she had seen even one of our twenty books or numerous articles. She claims that we "have written nasty and slanderous things about many in the field." No matter what definition one uses for the word "nasty," it amounts to excessively bad. Considering that this woman probably never read anything we have written, her comment sounds excessively bad, i.e., nasty, to us.
One amusing thing here is where she refers to what we havewritten as slanderous. "Slander" is oral; it is "libel" that is written. She is smart enough to know better, but too rabidly anti-us to think clearly. Also, we use quotes and footnotes when needed in all of our writing, which is just the opposite of many of our critics, who function mostly on GOSSIP, libel, slander, and, yes, even anger at times, just as this woman did.
2 Martin and Deidre Bobgan.
The End of "Christian
Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 1997.
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