Why does a founder have to be the “first”?
When I was in college, I “founded” a little running club for students. I wasn’t the first person to ever run—and my club wasn’t the first running club. I didn’t invent the marathon, running shoes or pedometers.
I wasn’t the fastest person in the club–and I didn’t have the most endurance. There were others who were more talented than I–and they took the lead in our events. I modeled the club after groups that I had been in previously (my high school cross-country team and a few others), taking a bit from here and a bit from there.
BUT–I absolutely was the founder. I made the effort and found people with similar interests–and I gathered them together. I got permission from the school authorities to have on-campus meetings. I scheduled events. The club was built on MY vision of what I wanted MY club to be like. And I had to kick a few people out (college rowdiness being what it is). Without me that club would not have existed. Sure–other people started clubs on campus–but my unique brand was on the one that I started.
Several years after I left college, I visited and found that a woman (W.D.) was now in charge of the club. The younger students who didn’t remember me–weren’t even aware that I had started the club. I felt sad that the history of the club was being lost–but just because everyone didn’t KNOW the true history–that didn’t mean that an alternate history was true.
For example–if an incoming freshman had of believed that W.D. started the club–they might have honestly believed that in ignorance–but believing something false doesn’t make it true. They might even have told that story to others coming in–and eventually, the true history (which wasn’t written down) might even be lost.
As far as 2×2 apologists—now that the history has been uncovered, parsing words and pretending not to understand is not going to be a big help for you.
Your best course is to follow the example of the LDS. Admit to the founder’s flaws and all—and say that God spoke to him and worked through him. That leaves the critic with nowhere to go. If they believe in God–then they have to acknowledge that God could have worked through William Irvine. IF they don’t believe in God–they likely aren’t going to be very interested in your group anyway.
Trying to deny the history in the face of all the evidence just makes these wanna-be-apologists look stupid or dishonest–depending on how charitable one wants to be.
April 10, 2012
By Chris Kirkham