Monday, July 30, 2012

The shallow route

One Tyler Dalton McNabb, a street evangelist, formerly affiliated with the good folks at Way of the Master/Living Waters, has decided to swim the Tiber.

It's often instructive to read these types of conversion stories with a careful eye toward the reasons they give for forsaking the Gospel of grace. It's like there's a dozen or so common cheap "arguments" that proved persuasive to the feckless new convert, and they slide glibly by seemingly without any awareness of the standing rebuttals that were available to them and have been for years and years without effective reply from the other side of the Tiber. No, rather, it's as if Catholic Answers is the final word on the matter. Don't listen to men like the Triablogue, Eric Svendsen, or James White, because as we all know, they're just too mean and nasty to be taken seriously.

I left a comment on his post. We'll see if it makes it through moderation. Here it is:


Hello,

I am quite saddened to hear of what amounts to apostasy and I have some reactions to what you've written here.

Now coming back to how my graduate studies in philosophy helped pave the way, it was by reading the medieval Catholic philosophers like Anselm, Aquinas, and Molina, as well as reading contemporary Catholic philosophers like Feser, van Inwagen, Stump, and Flint. Reading philosophers like these allowed me to see that Catholics were not the enemies.

How funny. Reading the Scripture allowed me to see that Roman dogma (not "Catholics", however) is an (not the) enemy.
Unsurprising that someone who shows little indication of being grounded firmly in Scripture would fall into such error.
What is a little surprising is that someone who is attempting to sound like he's really thought this all the way through would say something like "Catholics were not the enemies". I mean, are you reacting against backwoods fundies or some other class of ignoramus Protestant, or are you supposed to be appealing to people who have a halfway-decent idea of what they're talking about and what the true issues at hand are?



There was even one night last Mother’s Day where I had a dream that a man was calling me to become a Catholic. What is even more strange is that the same night, my wife had a spiritual dream. The conclusion of her dream was that we were not to go to Israel but we were to help defend the faith here. Why were these dreams so strange? These dreams were strange for us because the few weeks beforehand, we were praying on the topics of going to Israel and if Rome’s doctrines were true. Needless to say, we attended Mass that day.

The other day I had a disgusting borderline-pornographic dream, I'm sorry to say.
I doubt you'd think, however, that I'd be justified in now engaging in pƦdophilia.


as I figured presuppositionally, if Peter is reining still, then Rome is true

Well, he's not. He died.
*Jesus* is reigning still.
It's pretty common for Romanists to say stuff like that, about Peter, other Popes, or Mary. It's amazing to me that they don't see how it clearly denigrates Jesus.


It was overwhelming to see that the early fathers believed in the real presence/sacrifice in regards to the Eucharist (some even quoting Mal. for justification), baptismal regeneration, bishops, and confession (Cyprian, Origen, Chrysostom, Augustine etc.). Have I mentioned how nice it is to now have a Church history?

You must have missed how Rome claims the support of the unanimous consent of the "Fathers" for several of her dogmas, and that there is no such consent.
You must have missed that numerous "Fathers" teach "Protestant" doctrine, such as sola fide, iconoclasm, and Sola Scriptura.
You clearly missed the implication that you're relying on men like Origen - the universalism-espousing father of allegorical interpretation uber alles - as one of your guidiing lights. How do you justify the picking and choosing in which you have to engage?
Oh wait, let me guess - the modern Magisterium told you which writings of which men we are to acknowledge as prooftexts, and others are to be ignored/rejected/suppressed.
"Fathers" are not our authority. God is. Correct me if I missed it but I don't see much indication at all in this post that the Scriptures were your authority even as you began this journey, that you were looking for how best to follow what God said, as opposed to finding a system that you could overlay on top and prooftext with at least some degree of credibility. Sad.

Peace,
Rhology



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Obscuring the light


  • Renee Deinonychus McClelland I thought so Bringer we won. Looks like facts were too much to handle!

  • Bringers of the Light Yeah, I think our work here is done. But I'm still gonna go for a bit of overkill on them.

    I noticed in your beloved and all knowing (lol) AHA FAQ there was a comment about how it's the person's right to vote for a theocratic system if they wish and we shouldn't stand in the way of that (although the actual wording was a lot more naive). This is correct. You have every right to vote for a theocratic system in which laws are based on biblical morality. But if you really value your right to vote then let me issue this warning: you can vote FOR a theocracy but not UNDER one. The very nature of a theocracy rejects the concept of change to the political system (due to the fact it is based on religion and not contemporary moral trends) which means there is no need for the people to have their say. If you truly value your right to have your say about how your country is run, then a theocracy is NOT for you.


  • Abolish Human Abortion ‎\\the bible frequently says things to the effect of the phrase 'women are to be seen and not heard'\\

    Where? Quote it.

    \\1 Tim 2:11\\

    What is the context of that verse?

    \\ But if you really value your right to vote then let me issue this warning: you can vote FOR a theocracy but not UNDER one.\\

    And what's your argument that voting is a good in and of itself?

    \\there is no need for the people to have their say.\\

    What if the people are usually getting it wrong? Wouldn't it be better if they didn't contribute "their say"?

    \\If you truly value your right to have your say about how your country is run, then a theocracy is NOT for you.\\

    It's also not for you if you're a shallow thinker like you seem to be.


  • LisWhat if the people are usually getting it wrong? Wouldn't it be better if they didn't contribute "their say"? - could say the same thing about to to be honest.

  • Bringers of the Light ‎"What is the context of that verse?"

    Who knows? It was written millennia ago and no original texts exist. It has been translated and retranslated so many times that nobody can say for sure what the context is.

    "And what's your argument that voting is a good in and of itself?"

    I believe in the freedom of the people to have their say in how their country is run and by whom. If you don't believe in voting then don't vote. It's no skin off my nose, but you seem to value your right to vote.

    "What if the people are usually getting it wrong? Wouldn't it be better if they didn't contribute "their say"?"

    Then you support authoritarianism? Add Hitler and Fascist comparisons to the list of comparisons you can no longer use in this argument.

    "It's also not for you if you're a shallow thinker like you seem to be."

    I think you misspelt free.

    If you believe in a theocracy that's fine, but instead of inflicting it on people who DON'T believe in theocracy, why don't you just move to one. Iran's got a pretty good one going. They're nice and authoritarian over there from what I hear.

    Now, have you made your decision about whether you're arguing from a scientific or religious standpoint yet?


  • Abolish Human Abortion ‎\\Who knows? \\

    So you weren't being truthful about knowing that the Bible says what you said it says. RIght?

    \\ It was written millennia ago and no original texts exist. \\


  • Rhology ‎\\Who knows? \\

    So you weren't being truthful about knowing that the Bible says what you said it says. RIght?

    \\ It was written millennia ago and no original texts exist. \\

    So? Thousands of copies exist. Are you familiar with how textual criticism works? I am. I want to see if you are.

    \\ It has been translated and retranslated \\

    This is my first clue you're ignorant of textual criticism. It has been translated from the original language to the target language many times b/c there are many translations. But it's NOT as if it went from Greek > Latin > Old French > Old German > Swahili > Dutch and finally > English.
    No, the NT has gone
    Greek > Latin
    Greek > French
    Greek > Swahili
    Greek > English
    Etc.

    \\I believe in the freedom of the people to have their say in how their country is run and by whom.\\

    I know that's your *opinion*, but I asked for an *argument*.

    \\If you don't believe in voting then don't vote.\\

    Maybe I vote b/c it's the best thing available to me at the moment. You've presented a silly system for making choices, and thus given bad advice.

    \\you seem to value your right to vote.\\

    Excuse me, but you don't know anything about me. Please ASK when you don't know things.

    \\Then you support authoritarianism? \\

    As a matter of fact, yes - the only perfect and thus the best system of government is a theocracy with Jesus at its head. This will be in place someday, but it's not quite yet.

    \\Add Hitler and Fascist comparisons to the list of comparisons you can no longer use in this argument.\\

    Why? Jesus is not an evil ruler who has no regard for truth or good.

    \\ instead of inflicting it on people who DON'T believe in theocracy, why don't you just move to one. Iran's got a pretty good one going.\\

    This is just blathering b/c you have no idea where I'm coming from. No bringer of light at all, you. You're extremely lost in extreme darkness but you don't care that you're ignorant; you like to just bang around saying whatever.

    \\ have you made your decision about whether you're arguing from a scientific or religious standpoint yet?\\

    I'll need an argument that this choice is necessary.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Neo-Nazi? No. Anti-choice? Wait, what?

Apparently we have arrived.
At Daily Kos, a fairly well-known clearinghouse for the Left, a blogger named OllieGarkey has taken note of our efforts and "operations", and found us of sufficient interest that they decided to raise the question today whether our distinctive symbol evokes the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel

(Source of image: OllieGarkey at Daily Kos. Originally found here.)
(Source of image: OllieGarkey at Daily Kos. Originally found here.)

While I have a bit of sympathy for someone's spotting a seeming similarity between our chosen visual aid and the Wolfsangel, or even a swastika, I am glad to take this opportunity to state in no uncertain terms that we officially and unofficially, categorically detest all the distinctives of Nazism, including but not limited to racism, anti-Semitism, inclination toward mass murder, and megalomaniacal lust for power.
We are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ and are comprised of people of all ethnicities, languages, and skin color. Many of us have adopted children of a different ethnicity and skin color and children of "mixed" ethnicity, and we love them all.
We have a bustling Facebook community with numerous admins and, while it is impossible to police every single comment thread, we have often taken the initiative to block unruly professing Christians when their tone has become too harsh, their invective too vitriolic, and their argumentation too personal and too lacking in real substance. The (thankfully few) times posters have posted racist or just plain awful rhetoric, we have swiftly banned them. The reason for this is simple: It is easy for many pro-choice people to see a post on our page from someone who claims to be pro-life and jump to the unwarranted but common conclusion that we endorse what they said and how they said it. Such is not necessarily the case, and we do our best to clean up after the messes less thoughtful pro-lifers and anti-abortion people make.

To his credit, OllieGarkey, the author of this Kos post, took at least some time to peruse our website to find out whether we do host any neo-Nazi sympathies. He of course found no evidence of such. He even links to a discussion of what our symbol means and its purpose and inspiration. I also credit him with not jumping to a bad conclusion in his article. He says:
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that it's not intentional, but as a history buff I nearly sprayed tea all over my screen this morning when I saw an anti-abortion poster which contained a German Wolfsangel. It's a symbol in wide use by neo-nazis today (emphasis mine, not original).
He is correct - it is not at all intentional. It is intentionally striking and unique, however, as noted in our article. I don't know about "fawning over ourselves", but no reasonable person ever accused Daily Kos bloggers of immaculate objectivity.
A few more notes about his article:
I doubt, I very seriously doubt, that there is more to this than the fact that conservatives really suck at history.
Interestingly, the majority of our approach and motivation is derived from history, both 1st-century Middle Eastern and southeastern European history and also 18th- and 19th-century British and American history. Here is just one example. The director of the Society and the designer of the AHA symbol has forgotten more about the history of abolition than OllieGarkey knows. His contempt is a joke.

That's a kind of cryptofascist lie you might find if you went to read white nationalist literature from American Renaissance or Stormfront: The conspiracy theory is that abortion and homosexuality were invented as a way to decrease white births, and thus help destroy "the Caucasian race."
In no way would we ever make such a statement. It is difficult to deny, however, that the flipside of this view is very plausible, with a great deal of historical support.

So no, we don't particularly fear an impending destruction of the "Caucasian race". Far nearer is the abortion-driven destruction of African-Americans, with a solid assist from Planned Parenthood, one of the Daily Kos' favorite NGOs. 

Let's pause to consider how twisted up this whole scenario is. Two babies are murdered every minute in this country, and this Daily Kos blogger wants to ramble about how our symbol kind of, a little bit, sorta looks like some obscure pagan symbol that has been co-opted by a group that has a big name but virtually never does anything? Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is targeting minorities for extermination. No big deal.
What's that? You think pro-choice arguments have some merit? Sorry, we haven't yet found one that does.
Even if we did have neo-Nazi sympathies, what would that matter? The fundamental issue at hand is that babies are being murdered, the future of our country is being eroded, and our country is spitting in God's face every minute that we allow this gross violation of human rights and the image of God in humanity. Where is the Daily Kos' independent thought now? OllieGarkey is merely one in a long line of drones who have bought the leftist lies and embraced the apathy. Hey, they're not his kin; why should he care about their future and their voice?

Just look at the way he ignores, sidesteps the original poster's argument, in favor of calling attention to the symbol. You know, we make the posters for several reasons, and one of them is to show that abortion is evil and must be considered such by reasonable people. He could have spilled his ink interacting with our argumentation in a rational manner...but no. Instead, it's neo-Nazi Wolfsangel and foolish mockery, using words (like "crypto-fascist") he probably doesn't understand and which most certainly have no application to us.
OllieGarkey continues:
I don't see anything overtly racist in what they're writing other than the idea that women having access to birth control is just as bad as slavery (emphasis original).
Now wait just a minute.
Does OllieGarkey really mean to contend that abortion is morally equivalent to birth control? Is he familiar with the difference between contragestion and contraception?
Where has he engaged the extensive argumentation in favor of the abolitionist position that human life begins at conception? Is he unfamiliar with the explicit abolitionist position that God is the One Who has the prerogative to give and take life, and that only under very particular circumstances has He delegated that to humans? And that dismembering tiny babies or attacking them with chemical and pharmaceutical weaponry isn't one of those circumstances? 
As a matter of fact, we have made the argument very clearly that, while women having access to birth control is certainly not equivalent to slavery, society allowing the powerful to oppress and kill the weakest and most voiceless through abortion is very similar to society's having allowed the powerful to oppress and abuse the weakest and most voiceless through slavery. 
The distinction may not be clear to someone seeking fodder for a hatchet job, but we believe it is available for the reasonable reader.

Finally, he accuses us of being "anti-choice".
One wonders whether he would say the same thing to an abolitionist of human slavery, that he would not grant that there really exists a plantation owner's right to own Negroes to work his cotton fields?
It’s always self-defeating to impose your own morals on others by telling them not to impose their own morals on others. The thing is, the state “denies” our "choice" to do or not do all sorts of things, such as:
--not rape, even if someone really really wants to
--drive at or under the speed limit
--refrain from firebombing legal places of business
--pay taxes
etc.
Unless OllieGarkey is a consistent and total anarchist, he doesn't have a problem with being "anti-choice" in some cases. The question is not whether morality will be imposed, but which morality will be imposed. He would do well to argue for his views that his moral view is better, not merely dismiss them. 

I'm probably wrong. I hope I'm wrong (emphasis original).
He is not wrong where he thought. Sadly, he is wrong in most of the other important spots.

(Please leave any comments at Abolish Human Abortion.)

Atheist opinion


  • I have to say you people are pieces of work. you only look at what is potentially to be, and not the overall situations of these women. so since you all have so much time on your hands to focus on controlling other people's lives, since yours are all obviously perfect, how about taking that energy and go adopt a non aborted child or 2 that have been given up for adoption? OH, wait, that makes sense and solves at least part of your dilemma. how about you take 2 seconds and think "maybe this woman has a life threateing situation that requires this abortion" but that takes too much common sense, you would rather make her feel like shit. also overlooking that not everyone fits into your closed minded, ignorance laden views of what types of people have abortions, nor do you really look into the reasons why, all you do is protest and make situations worse..you are the ones who are truly sickening..
     · 

      • Rhology Hi David,
        Thanks for stopping by to register your opinion.
        I am indeed a piece of work. Jesus rescued me from atheism and the hopeless path I was on and has spent quite a lot of time and effort reworking me. I'm a lot different than I was when He found me, I'm glad to say.

        No doubt you're referring to my convictions and activities related to abolition of human abortion, but I must protest your mischaracterisation. We most certainly do not ONLY look at what is potentially to be. In fact, that's not even close to a very important concern for us. Rather, we are concerned with many things and we work toward bringing all of these things into accord with God's will:
        -the life of the preborn child
        -the life and future health of the mother
        -the future conscience and spiritual and emotional health of the mother
        -...and of the father and anyone else involved
        -the spiritual well-being of society (for a society that loves killing children for convenience has serious spiritual problems)

        Those are a few off the top of my head. The most paramount is the life of the victim - the child. The child is not POTENTIALLY alive. The child is not POTENTIALLY human. He is human, and alive. He's just really tiny. We defend his right to life.

        Thing is, though, have you read anything about our activities aimed at helping mothers who have crisis pregnancies? Why don't you go do that and then come back and let me know what problems you found?
        www.blog.abolishhumanabortion.com

        As for this:
        \\how about taking that energy and go adopt a non aborted child or 2 that have been given up for adoption?\\

        I have already answered it here:
        http://abolishhumanabortion.com/faq/#you-cant-speak-about-abortion-unless-you-are-going-to-adopt-children-of-your-own-or-take-care-of-all-the-extra-children

        In fact, I'd encourage you to read the whole FAQ. You'll find most all of your objections cited and decisively trashed there.

        \\ how about you take 2 seconds and think "maybe this woman has a life threateing situation that requires this abortion"\\

        http://abolishhumanabortion.com/faq/#life-of-the-mother-is-in-danger

        \\you would rather make her feel like shit\\

        I don't believe for one second you could produce any evidence that any abolitionist has done anything of the kind. I challenge you to do so. Rather, I think you're just speaking out of your bias.

        \\ ignorance laden\\

        Please identify what is ignorant about our view. Be specific, offer an argument.

        \\you are the ones who are truly sickening..\\

        May I suggest that when an atheist says sthg like that, it is literally meaningless? Am I supposed to care what you think? Why? Do you have access to some moral authority that I don't? Will anyone remember what we are or what we've done in 100 years? Even if we're really good or really bad, it'll all crumble into dust. Whether I stood for mass child murder or whether I was a dedicated philanthropist, we will all die and be forgotten, won't we?
        So, so what if your opinion of us is low? Seriously, what are you trying to say?