TSoA: Chapter 14: Strawman Intellectual
I think I’ve figured out why The Secret on Ararat is so much worse than Babylon Rising.
Aside from the ridiculousness of a real Noah’s ark and apart from the abysmal dialogue, I mean.
Babylon Rising, whatever its faults (and there were plenty) was trying to tell a story. It was a story with a repellant theology and a Gary Stu hero, but it was a story nonetheless.
The Secret on Ararat is a manual. Every chapter presents a situation that Tim LaHaye imagines a Real True Christian might encounter, and Michael Murphy shows the reader how to respond to that situation. Have a friend with a rebellious teenager? Just read Murphy’s response to Agent Baines. Has some evil atheist or liberal “Christian” scoffed at the idea of a literal ark? Please refer to the list of Really Fer Real ark stories in Murphy’s lectures.
And now Murphy has a run-in with Dean Archer Fallworth, Strawman and object lesson in how to answer those annoying libruls with their librul notions of tolerance and teaching what you said you were going to teach.
We are quickly reminded of how inferior a man the academic, liberal Fallworth is, with his “wispy blonde hair” and “whitewashed face.” Surely he is no match for Michael Murphy, Man’s Man and expert in “Karate-do.”
…Michael could feel a hand grabbing his shoulder and gripping hard.
It was a foolish and possibly dangerous thing to grab someone like Murphy from behind like that. Hundreds of hours of martial-arts practice had honed his reactions to a razor’s edge, and the whole point of the exercise was that your body would counter a threat instinctively, before your conscious mind even knew the threat was there.
I imagine it would also be a “foolish and possibly dangerous thing” to roundhouse kick the dean of your department in the head. But sadly, Murphy decides not to completely ruin his own life…
“You can be a hard man to track down, you know. And I have better things to do than chase around the campus after one of my professors because he can’t stick to a timetable.” [said Fallworth]
Murphy smiled. “Then why don’t you go do them?”
“Oh, and Fallworth, I’m rubber and you’re glue, so everything you say bounces off me and sticks on you, so NYAH!” added Murphy.
Fallworth’s pallor paled even further. “Watch what you say, Murphy. I think I’ve had just about enough of your disrespect.”
“But you just keep coming back for more, don’t you?” Murphy teased, almost beginning to enjoy himself.
Then Murphy grabbed Fallworth and gave him a wet willy and an Indian burn. ‘Cause Fallworth was being a big dumb doodyhead.
Fallworth realized he was losing control of the situation.
FALLWORTH was losing control??? Yeah, because Fallworth is being so immature and unprofessional!
Our own awesome Dean Fallworth (he of the button article, which I still want to read) points out an agreement that he and Murphy apparently have, which is that Murphy will teach actual, yanno, history in his class, and present his beliefs only as beliefs.
Murphy makes the ridiculous claim that “many reputable scientists believe Noah’s Ark is on Mount Ararat.” But even more intriguingly, he says that since Fallworth was not in class, he can have no idea of what went on.
Which just so happens to be true. Which in turn tells me that some of Murphy’s students may not be so happy with this easy-A course as Murphy might think. Remember, Murphy cancelled a lecture on how to map out a dig site so that he could wax on about the ark. Then he lectured about the ark for a second class period, presumably displacing another topic that was actually on the syllabus. Frankly, I’m not too surprised that a few students went to the dean.
Fallworth says nothing about this, presumably because he’s a professional and chooses to act like one. Instead, he inexplicably brings up the separation of church and state, which has little to do with the subject at hand, but it’s what Tim LaHaye wants to teach his readers about today.
Murphy points out (correctly) that the phrase “separation of church and state” does not actually appear in the Constitution. Fallworth points out (correctly) that Thomas Jefferson said it.
Murphy then points out (again, correctly) that Jefferson wrote it in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. Being a good little RTC, Murphy naturally interprets the wall of separation as only working one way: it should only keep government out of religion, not religion out of government.
“Most of our founding fathers were deeply religious men.”
Well, Murphy, some of them were. But Thomas Jefferson certainly wasn’t one of them. We are talking about a man who denied the divinity of Jesus. Jefferson took a pen to his Bible and struck out all miraculous acts supposedly performed by Jesus, leaving only his words and teachings.
I’m pretty sure that by Murphy’s religious lights, anyone who denies the divinity of Jesus is not truly saved and cannot go to Heaven. Hear that, Murph? Your beloved founding father is currently roasting in Hell!
Oh, and here’s another founding father who’s keeping Jefferson company down there.
Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle’s lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.
Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography
Anyway, it all comes to nothing (as might be expected). We are told that Fallworth is “Beaten back by Murphy’s command of detail,” but it’s really not Fallworth’s fault that he’s being puppeted around by Tim LaHaye, who’s much more interested in instructing his flock than in creating interesting and believable characters. And Fallworth doesn’t actually call a meeting or do anything formal to make Murphy teach the subject he is supposed to be teaching, because…Murphy’s the hero and Fallworth is just a pale ole academic who probably doesn’t know Karate-do.
Dumb ole atheist loser.