Tuesday, August 09, 2005

"NeoCaths" and Old Liberal Nonsense: Challenges to Fr. Joseph O'Leary's Trashing of Catholic Apologetics

By Dave Armstrong (8-9-05)

Once again we have witnessed the spectacle of a liberal Catholic (this time, sadly, a priest: Fr. Joseph O'Leary) trashing the apologetics movement ("The Rise of the Neocaths"), complete with the obligatory use of the term fundamentalist ("They argue by proof texts, in complete contempt of biblical scholarship and hermeneutics. Their ingenuity in defending their fundamentalist stances is extreme"), mocking of established Catholic sexual morality ("They insist that masturbation is mortally sinful, and have an especial enthusiasm for the teaching that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered and that homosexual acts can never be countenanced"), and use of a semi-novel pejorative descriptive: Neocaths.

The term Neo-Catholic is (somewhat ironically) normally used by "traditionalists" (equally improperly, as I have written about). This disdain for orthodox Catholicism and the sort of condescending, patronizing attitude shown, is a disturbingly frequent occurrence. One paper of mine along these lines was "Apologia for Apologists and Apologetics." It was my meager addition to the response of several Catholic writers and apologists, including Mark Shea, Patrick Madrid, and Amy Welborn, to the article, "Do We Need a New(er) Apologetics?," by Richard A. Gaillardetz, Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Toledo, Ohio. Note his similar charge of "fundamentalism":

The apologetical refutations of fundamentalist assaults on Catholicism often mirror the very methodology they condemn in their opponents. Many of the new apologists enter too willingly into “Bible wars,” in which Protestant biblical proof-texts are simply parried with a Catholic proof-text in support of a particular Catholic teaching or practice.
But this overlooks crucial, fundamental distinctions (pun intended) between the Protestant methodology of sola Scriptura, and the Catholic apologetic and/or exegetical use of Scripture within the overall framework of Sacred Tradition and the Church's teaching. I explained how engaging a Protestant's proof texts and offering counter-textual evidence, is not merely or necessarily a descent into that which we oppose (sola Scriptura and Protestant hyper-proof-texting), in my paper: Dialogue on Whether Extensive Use of Biblical Arguments Reduces to a Quasi-Sola Scriptura Position?

In 1997, Karl Keating firmly dealt with similar criticisms from Fr. Thomas P. Rausch, S.J. (see his book, Reconciling Faith and Reason: Apologists, Evangelists, and Theologians in a Divided Church, and also his 2002 article, "Another Generation Gap") in his "No Apology From the New Apologists" (see also his related paper, "No Apology Necessary: Vatican II and the New Apologetics"). Fr. Rausch, to his credit, had softened a bit through the years:

I have come to be more sympathetic to some of the new apologists’ concerns. There is no question that they are addressing some real needs for a considerable number of contemporary Catholics, for example evangelization and religious illiteracy. I too have become increasingly interested in evangelization, partly as a result of my involvement over the last 15 years with Evangelical Protestants and partly because I have long had a sense that Catholics are not very evangelical as a church—in spite of the great efforts of Pope John Paul II since the beginning of his pontificate to call the church to a greater sense of its evangelical mission. And after almost 30 years of teaching in a Catholic university, I have become increasingly concerned about the enormous religious and theological illiteracy of so many young Catholics today, something many of us experience even in our own families . . . The great popularity of the new apologists among conservative Catholics is evidence that they are addressing some very real needs. Many people have come back to the church through their influence.


Related to this general outlook is the fashionable false antithesis between scholars and apologists, which I dealt with in my paper: "A Defense of Amateur Apologetics a la C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton." So this mentality is alive and well, and shows up every now and then. It needs to be vigorously opposed.

My friend Pedro Vega has done that in his six-part series, in response to Fr. O'Leary: A Neocatholic Strikes Back (Parts two / three / four / five / six). Kudos, Pedro!

My friend Christopher Blosser also has provided a penetrating critique: "The Perplexing Sayings of Fr. O'Leary."

His father, Dr. Phillip Blosser (what a powerhouse father and son Internet team, huh?), has written several papers documenting and opposing Fr. O'Leary's theological liberalism and heterodoxy:

Fr. O'Leary's unorthodox "hot tub" Christology (Part I)
O'Leary in the dock ...

Fr. O'Leary on the Resurrection

Friday, August 05, 2005

Possible References to the Deuterocanon (aka "Apocrypha"): Hebrews and James (RSV)

By Dave Armstrong (8-5-05)

Derived from pp. 800-804 of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition (Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine), published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; see the web page from Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, which reproduced the list. NT passages listed in Nestle-Aland will be in blue, and Deuterocanonical passages in red. Alleged references listed by verse only at the end were deemed (by myself) dissimilar and questionable or non-convincing enough to not reproduce.

[Bible passages were retrieved from the RSV Bible, with Apocrypha, from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center]

* * * * * 


1a) Hebrews 1:3

He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

1b) Wisdom 7:26

For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness.

2a) Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

2b) Wisdom 18:16 (see also Wisdom 7:22-30)

carrying the sharp sword of thy authentic command, and stood and filled all things with death, and touched heaven while standing on the earth.

3a) Hebrews 5:6

as he says also in another place, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchiz'edek."

3b) 1 Maccabees 14:41

"And the Jews and their priests decided that Simon should be their leader and high priest for ever, until a trustworthy prophet should arise,

4a) Hebrews 7:22
This makes Jesus the surety of a better covenant.

4b) Sirach 29:14-19

A good man will be surety for his neighbor, but a man who has lost his sense of shame will fail him. 15: Do not forget all the kindness of your surety, for he has given his life for you. 16: A sinner will overthrow the prosperity of his surety, 17: and one who does not feel grateful will abandon his rescuer. 18: Being surety has ruined many men who were prosperous, and has shaken them like a wave of the sea; it has driven men of power into exile, and they have wandered among foreign nations. 19: The sinner who has fallen into suretyship and pursues gain will fall into lawsuits.

5a) Hebrews 11:5
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God.

5b) Sirach 44:16

Enoch pleased the Lord, and was taken up; he was an example of repentance to all generations.

5c) Wisdom 4:10

There was one who pleased God and was loved by him, and while living among sinners he was taken up.

6a) Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

6b) Wisdom 10:17

She gave holy men the reward of their labors; she guided them along a marvelous way, and became a shelter to them by day, and a starry flame through the night.

7a) Hebrews 11:10
For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

7b) Wisdom 13:1

For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists, nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works;

8a) Hebrews 11:17

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son,

8b) 1 Maccabees 2:52

Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness?

8c) Sirach 44:20

he kept the law of the Most High, and was taken into covenant with him; he established the covenant in his flesh, and when he was tested he was found faithful.

9a) Hebrews 11:28
By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the first-born might not touch them.

9b) Wisdom 18:25

To these the destroyer yielded, these he feared; for merely to test the wrath was enough.

10a) Hebrews 11:35

Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life.

10b) 2 Maccabees 7:20-29 ( see entire passage: 6:18-7:42)

The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Though she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. 21: She encouraged each of them in the language of their fathers. Filled with a noble spirit, she fired her woman's reasoning with a man's courage, and said to them, 22: "I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. 23: Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws." 24: Antiochus felt that he was being treated with contempt, and he was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, Antiochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his fathers, and that he would take him for his friend and entrust him with public affairs. 25: Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the youth to save himself. 26: After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. 27: But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native tongue as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant: "My son, have pity on me. I carried you nine months in my womb, and nursed you for three years, and have reared you and brought you up to this point in your life, and have taken care of you. 28: I beseech you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being. 29: Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God's mercy I may get you back again with your brothers."

11a) Hebrews 12:9
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

11b) 2 Maccabees 3:24

But when he arrived at the treasury with his bodyguard, then and there the Sovereign of spirits and of all authority caused so great a manifestation that all who had been so bold as to accompany him were astounded by the power of God, and became faint with terror.

12a) Hebrews 12:12
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,

12b) Sirach 25:23

A dejected mind, a gloomy face, and a wounded heart are caused by an evil wife. Drooping hands and weak knees are caused by the wife who does not make her husband happy.

13a) Hebrews 13:7
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith.

13b) Wisdom 2:17

Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;



1a) James 1:1

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greeting.

1b) 2 Maccabees 1:27

Gather together our scattered people, set free those who are slaves among the Gentiles, look upon those who are rejected and despised, and let the Gentiles know that thou art our God.

2a) James 1:2
Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials,

2b) Sirach 2:1

My son, if you come forward to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for temptation.

2c) Wisdom 3:5

Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself;

3a) James 1:13
Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one;

3b) Sirach 15:11-20

Do not say, "Because of the Lord I left the right way"; for he will not do what he hates. 12: Do not say, "It was he who led me astray"; for he had no need of a sinful man. 13: The Lord hates all abominations, and they are not loved by those who fear him. 14: It was he who created man in the beginning, and he left him in the power of his own inclination. 15: If you will, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice. 16: He has placed before you fire and water: stretch out your hand for whichever you wish. 17: Before a man are life and death, and whichever he chooses will be given to him. 18: For great is the wisdom of the Lord; he is mighty in power and sees everything; 19: his eyes are on those who fear him, and he knows every deed of man. 20: He has not commanded any one to be ungodly, and he has not given any one permission to sin.

4a) James 1:19
Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,

4b) Sirach 5:11

Be quick to hear, and be deliberate in answering.

5a) James 1:21
Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

5b) Sirach 3:17

My son, perform your tasks in meekness; then you will be loved by those whom God accepts.

6a) James 2:13
For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment.

6b) Tobit 4:10

For charity delivers from death and keeps you from entering the darkness;

7a) James 2:23
and the scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"; and he was called the friend of God.

7b) Wisdom 7:27

Though she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets;

8a) James 3:2

For we all make many mistakes, and if any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also.

8b) Sirach 14:1

Blessed is the man who does not blunder with his lips and need not suffer grief for sin.

9a) James 3:6
And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell.

9b) Sirach 5:13

Glory and dishonor come from speaking, and a man's tongue is his downfall.

10a) James 3:10
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so.

10b) Sirach 5:13

Glory and dishonor come from speaking, and a man's tongue is his downfall.

10c) Sirach 28:12

If you blow on a spark, it will glow; if you spit on it, it will be put out; and both come out of your mouth.

11a) James 3:13
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

11b) Sirach 3:17

My son, perform your tasks in meekness; then you will be loved by those whom God accepts

12a) James 4:11
Do not speak evil against one another, brethren. He that speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

12b) Wisdom 1:11

Beware then of useless murmuring, and keep your tongue from slander; because no secret word is without result, and a lying mouth destroys the soul.

13a) James 5:3
Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.

13b) Judith 16:17

Woe to the nations that rise up against my people! The Lord Almighty will take vengeance on them in the day of judgment; fire and worms he will give to their flesh; they shall weep in pain for ever.

13c) Sirach 29:10

Lose your silver for the sake of a brother or a friend, and do not let it rust under a stone and be lost.

14a) James 5:4
Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.

14b) Tobit 4:14

Do not hold over till the next day the wages of any man who works for you, but pay him at once; and if you serve God you will receive payment. "Watch yourself, my son, in everything you do, and be disciplined in all your conduct.

15a) James 5:6

You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.

15b) Wisdom 2:10

Let us oppress the righteous poor man; let us not spare the widow nor regard the gray hairs of the aged.

15c) Wisdom 2:12

"Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training.

15d) Wisdom 2:19

Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance.

See also:

Hebrews 2:5 and Sirach 17:17
Hebrews 11:10 and 2 Maccabees 4:1
Hebrews 11:27 and Sirach 2:2
Hebrews 12:4 and 2 Maccabees 13:14
Hebrews 12:17 and Wisdom 12:10
Hebrews 12:21 and 1 Maccabees 13:2
Hebrews 13:7 and Sirach 33:19

James 3:9 and Sirach 23:1, 4
James 4:2 and 1 Maccabees 8:16

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Possible References to the Deuterocanon (aka "Apocrypha"): Philippians Through Titus (RSV)

By Dave Armstrong (7-30-05)

Derived from pp. 800-804 of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition (Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine), published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; see the web page from Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, which reproduced the list. NT passages listed in Nestle-Aland will be in blue, and Deuterocanonical passages in red. Alleged references listed by verse only at the end were deemed (by myself) dissimilar and questionable or non-convincing enough to not reproduce.

[Bible passages were retrieved from the RSV Bible, with Apocrypha, from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center]

* * * * * 


1a) Philippians 4:13
I can do all things in him who strengthens me.

1b) Wisdom 7:23

beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent and pure and most subtle.

2a) Philippians 4:18
I have received full payment, and more; I am filled, having received from Epaphrodi'tus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God

2b) Sirach 35:6

The offering of a righteous man anoints the altar, and its pleasing odor rises before the Most High.


1a) Colossians 2:3
in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

1b) Sirach 1:25

In the treasuries of wisdom are wise sayings, but godliness is an abomination to a sinner.


1a) 1 Thessalonians 3:11

Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you;

1b) Judith 12:8

When she came up from the spring she prayed the Lord God of Israel to direct her way for the raising up of her people.

2a) 1 Thessalonians 4:13

But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

2b) Wisdom 3:18

If they die young, they will have no hope and no consolation in the day of decision.

3a) 1 Thessalonians 5:1

But as to the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need to have anything written to you.

3b) Wisdom 8:8

And if any one longs for wide experience, she knows the things of old, and infers the things to come; she understands turns of speech and the solutions of riddles; she has foreknowledge of signs and wonders and of the outcome of seasons and times.

4a) 1 Thessalonians 5:3
When people say, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as travail comes upon a woman with child, and there will be no escape.

4b) Wisdom 17:14-15

But throughout the night, which was really powerless, and which beset them from the recesses of powerless Hades, they all slept the same sleep, 15: and now were driven by monstrous specters, and now were paralyzed by their souls' surrender, for sudden and unexpected fear overwhelmed them.

5a) 1 Thessalonians 5:8
But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

5b) Wisdom 5:18

he will put on righteousness as a breastplate, and wear impartial justice as a helmet;



1a) 2 Thessalonians 2:1
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren,

1b) 2 Maccabees 2:7

When Jeremiah learned of it, he rebuked them and declared: "The place shall be unknown until God gathers his people together again and shows his mercy.


1a) 1 Timothy 1:17
To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

1b) Tobit 13:7, 11

I exalt my God; my soul exalts the King of heaven, and will rejoice in his majesty. . . . Many nations will come from afar to the name of the Lord God, bearing gifts in their hands, gifts for the King of heaven. Generations of generations will give you joyful praise.

2a) 1 Timothy 6:15
and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

2b) 2 Maccabees 12:15

But Judas and his men, calling upon the great Sovereign of the world, who without battering-rams or engines of war overthrew Jericho in the days of Joshua, rushed furiously upon the walls.

2c) 2 Maccabees 13:4

But the King of kings aroused the anger of Antiochus against the scoundrel; and when Lysias informed him that this man was to blame for all the trouble, he ordered them to take him to Beroea and to put him to death by the method which is the custom in that place.


1a) 2 Timothy 2:19
But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Let every one who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity."

1b) Sirach 17:26

Return to the Most High and turn away from iniquity, and hate abominations intensely.

2a) 2 Timothy 4:8
Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

2b) Wisdom 5:15-16

But the righteous live for ever, and their reward is with the Lord; the Most High takes care of them. 16: Therefore they will receive a glorious crown and a beautiful diadem from the hand of the Lord, because with his right hand he will cover them, and with his arm he will shield them.

3a) 2 Timothy 4:17

But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the message fully, that all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth.

3b) 1 Maccabees 2:60

Daniel because of his innocence was delivered from the mouth of the lions.

See also:

Philippians 4:5 and Wisdom 2:19

1 Thessalonians 4:6 and Sirach 5:3
1 Thessalonians 5:2 and Wisdom 18:14s

1 Timothy 2:2 and 2 Maccabees 3:11 / Baruch 1:12
1 Timothy 6:15 and Sirach 46:5

2 Timothy 2:19 and Sirach 23:10 / Sirach 35:3

Titus 2:11 and 2 Maccabees 3:30
Titus 3:4 and Wisdom 1:6

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Novel and Unbiblical Doctrine of Sola Scriptura (vs. Lutheran Steve Parks)

By Dave Armstrong (7-28-05)

Steve is a student at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, seeking a Master of Divinity degree, with plans to become a Lutheran pastor. He runs a blog called Sceleratissimus Lutheranus.

Steve (whose words will be in blue) is, of course, most welcome to come to this blog to defend his arguments, any time. I strongly urge everyone to welcome him and treat him with the utmost respect as a Christian brother and future clergyman, should he decide to do so. We've had very pleasant private correspondence.

* * * * * 

While the doctrine of justification has always been the primary issue over which confessional Lutheran and Roman opponents have spilled the majority of their ink, a gradual shift has occurred in contemporary debates, and a growing number of Roman Catholic apologists (many of whom are themselves converts from Protestantism) are increasingly targeting the Protestant principle of sola Scriptura . . .

This is true. The reason for that was alluded to above: sola Scriptura is central to the huge difference in the rule of faith of Protestants and Catholics. The 16th-century sea change to sola Scriptura was a far greater and potentially wide-ranging difference between the two broad Christian outlooks than justification has ever been (where the differences are actually far less than is usually imagined, because of widespread misunderstanding of Catholic soteriology). To be a Protestant, clearly one must fully comprehend and be able to defend sola Scriptura; and to be a Catholic, one must understand it equally well and be able to explain why it is rejected, on biblical, historical, logical, and practical grounds.

Catholics are not "against" the Bible; nor are most Protestants "against" tradition or historical precedent per se. That needs to be established up front (and I think Steve would join me in granting this "premise"). But there is plenty to critique in sola Scriptura, no matter how subtle and sophisticated its defense may be, from any given individual proponent of it. I've written more about this topic as a Catholic apologist for now 15 years, than any other, so I think I am in a good position to make a halfway decent response to Steve's critiques of Catholic apologetic method and defenses of sola Scriptura. I think both sides can greatly benefit from an exchange between two able defenders of the respective positions. If nothing else, at least both parties can better understand the other, and that is always a good thing and an important goal.

The doctrine of sola Scriptura, which is a Latin ablative for “through Scripture alone” (The ablative case in the Lutheran principle of sola Scriptura must not be overlooked. Scripture is not an autonomous authority crudely detached from Jesus, but is rather authoritative only because it is the living Word of Christ.

So far we agree.

However, since there are no prophets and apostles extant today, we may only know what Christ has said through His written Word. Thus, the ablative through retains its proper force. Christ is the only authority in the church, but He exercises His infallible authority through the Scriptures alone)

This begs the question. That's alright, since it is still early in the discussion, but all of this will have to be able to withstand scrutiny, as we continue on. Steve (at least at first glance) seems to simply assume that there is no infallible tradition or infallible Church. The Bible itself doesn't teach this, and it also never asserts the principle of sola Scriptura, which is quite strange and ironic, seeing that the doctrine under consideration has to do with the nature of biblical authority, and is made to be the centerpiece of Protestant authority and theology.


was elucidated by the sixteenth century Lutheran Reformers as follows: “We believe, teach, and confess that the only rule and guiding principle according to which all teachings and teachers are to be evaluated and judged are the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testament alone” (The Formula of Concord, I.I, as found in Robert Kolb and Timothy Wengert, eds., The Book of Concord [Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000], 486).

The way in which the authority of the Church and Tradition was demoted or discounted by the first Protestants is fascinating (not to mention tragic in result), and not at all invulnerable to massive criticism and skepticism.

A century later, the Reformed divines defined the doctrine in a similar fashion: “The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures” (The Westminster Confession of Faith, I.X, as found in Philip Schaff, ed., The Creeds of Christendom with a History and Critical Notes, vol. 3: The Evangelical Protestant Creeds, rev. David S. Schaff [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1931], reprint, 1993, 605-606).

How (in a very important practical sense) can a "Judge" be a book? As soon as two Protestants or two Protestant sects disagree on something, and each appeal to the Bible -- the "Supreme [Doctrinal] Judge" -- then the problem in this approach can be readily observed. Someone has to decide who is rightly interpreting the Bible and who is not. Because Protestantism ultimately has no principle by which to do this, it is helpless in the face of ever-proliferating denominations. It has no sufficient principle of unity and authority. Simply appealing to the infallible authority of "the Bible" (which Christians of all stripes agree with in the first place) in super-pious language just won't do. Human beings also have to decide things, and to have a true, binding authority in the Church, not merely ceremonial or symbolic, such as that of the Queen of England.

Surprisingly, many Protestant converts to Roman Catholicism cite the doctrine of sola Scriptura as the primary reason for their defection.

This is true (but I don't find it "surprising" at all, seeing that sola Scriptura -- after a thorough examination -- is such an utterly incoherent and inconsistent theory). For the record, however, this was not at all a major cause in my own conversion. My main reasons were:

1) Moral theology: particularly contraception.
2) An increasing recognition, after historical study, of the revolutionary, rather than reformatory nature of many (not all) aspects of the Protestant revolt.
3) A much better understanding of development of doctrine (with the help of Cardinal Newman).

It is true, though, that all three factors had to do with the authority of the Christian Church, whatever that may be. Insofar as that authority runs counter to the principle of sola Scriptura, rejection of the latter influenced my conversion. In any event, I thought it was uncontroversial during my conversion process, that there was such a thing as a "Church" and that this "Church" had authority and continuity, even if not infallible (at first I fiercely resisted infallibility; more than any other Catholic doctrine). I had always been "historically-minded" as a Protestant (more than most of my Protestant friends seemed to be), so that factor played a key role (another huge discussion in and of itself).

Reportedly, after careful consideration, many died-in-the-wool Protestants have come to the conclusion that sola Scriptura is unbiblical, unhistorical, and just plain unworkable.

I hope to demonstrate that all of this is true, in due course. Protestants, proceed at your own peril! If you don't like having one of your most fundamental premises scrutinized, critiqued, and rejected, then stop reading now. Rest assured that you'll be quite miserable if you don't stop. But if something is true (or untrue), then it is, and we must conform ourselves to it if we claim to be seeking truth and following God. And we must do that no matter how painful and unpleasant the journey to certain unexpected conclusions may be.

As a result, many have jumped ship and hazarded the perilous waters of the Tiber (See for example Patrick Madrid, Surprised by Truth : 11 Converts Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming Catholic [San Diego, CA: Basilica Press, 1994]).

My story is the second-to-last in that book. My longtime friend, fellow Michigander, and (for a time) pastor Al Kresta wrote the last conversion story. I didn't find the Tiber's waters perilous at all, and I have found the "country" on the other side of it quite fulfilling in every way. I'm delighted to be where I am, and I would urge my Protestant friends to consider making the same move if you feel the Spirit leading you in this direction. Let everything I write here (and anywhere else) be tested by the Bible, Church history, and your own Christian reason and conscience. Then if it all seems true to you, have the courage to make the jump into the "Tiber." You won't regret it. But enough of my "preaching" . . .

I can't resist pursuing the metaphor of "jumping ship" a bit. What, pray tell, is the Protestant "ship" in the first place? There is no such ship, because the doctrine of the Church has been changed. There is no authoritative, binding Church; therefore, it is inappropriate to talk of jumping one "ship" for another. Rather, Protestantism is more like thousands of individual one-man rafts or even logs, floating around in the ocean, each with one person in or hanging onto it. Everyone is ultimately on their own. The "ship" is the Catholic Church, which has been sailing through the seas of Church history intact (whatever one may think of her). The convert from Protestantism decides that he has had enough of being his own sailor, and gets aboard the ship where there is real authority, and a real captain, and a solid, established way of doing things. The mutineers against such authority left 500 years ago, and established their new rule of sola Scriptura, but the Catholic ship sails on and can more than hold her own in rough seas.

For example, Scott Hahn, a former Presbyterian pastor dubbed “Luther in reverse” (Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism [San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1993], 48), notes that in his own conversion to Catholicism, the issue of sola Scriptura “was larger than all others, and nobody had an answer” (Hahn, 54).

Although this was not my own reason to convert, certainly in the many dozens of dialogues on this topic that I have engaged in for almost 15 years, I, too, have found that "nobody had an answer." In my universal experience (no exceptions), the Protestant argument with regard to sola Scriptura always broke down, if analyzed closely enough, and Protestant defenders (even -- in my dialogical history -- authors of books or master's theses on the subject or related ones) eventually (usually pretty soon) ceased defending what can no longer be defended. If one keeps asking the necessary, hard questions, it seems that the Protestant champion of sola Scriptura eventually recognizes (whether he openly admits it or not) that there is nowhere else to go but to exit the discussion. That's how weak the case is. The Catholic simply needs to know where the considerable vulnerabilities of the position lie, and vigorously go after them. The "pail" of sola Scriptura cannot hold water. No pail with 20 holes in it can.

David Currie, another convert from Protestantism, contends that “The Protestant problem with scriptural authority showed me why I could never remain a Protestant, Evangelical or no” (David Currie, Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic [San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1996], 51). Tim Staples, a former Assemblies of God pastor, likewise cites sola Scriptura as his primary reason for abandoning Protestantism: “I think the key was the idea of the authority of the Church and sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura was a given for me…The authority of the Church I would say was the biggest, but after that I would say that justification was an issue” (Tim Staples, “The White Horse Inn,” 24 November 1996. Christians United for Reformation). All of the above men, and many others not mentioned here, all cite a lack of biblical, historical, and logical evidence for the doctrine of sola Scriptura, leading them to conclude that “Protestant theologians…take the Protestant view concerning Scripture by faith” (Currie, 56).

There is a reason for all these people rejecting sola Scriptura. It becomes more clear the more one deeply examines the position. As an admirer of defenders of lost causes, however, I must say that Steve has made a valiant attempt to defend the indefensible. It's too bad that he doesn't have a better case to argue. Someone's gotta do it, though, since sola Scriptura has been taking such a tremendous beating as of late.

Are such criticisms valid?


Can sola Scriptura stand up to rigorous biblical, historical, and rational scrutiny?


The Reformers certainly believed it could.

They were wrong, and they provided even worse rationales for accepting this false doctrine than its defenders today do. Basically, most of these revolutionaries merely assumed its truth, because it was the only practical alternative to the Catholic Church, which they so despised. This was particularly true of Martin Luther, who was more or less forced to adopt the position under the pressure of being debated into an inescapable corner. But "anything but the dreaded x" is, of course, no legitimate reason for being "anything but the dreaded x." There has to be something beyond reactionary, desperate measures for avoiding another position; some positive argument or defense for one's own position.

These questions and related issues will be considered in this series of posts.

I eagerly look forward to it. I hope open-minded, inquisitive, thoughtful readers will, too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Possible References to the Deuterocanon (aka "Apocrypha") in 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians (RSV)

By Dave Armstrong (7-27-05)

Derived from pp. 800-804 of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition (Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine), published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; see the web page from Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, which reproduced the list. NT passages listed in Nestle-Aland will be in blue, and Deuterocanonical passages in red. Alleged references listed by verse only at the end were deemed (by myself) dissimilar and questionable or non-convincing enough to not reproduce.

[Bible passages were retrieved from the RSV Bible, with Apocrypha, from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center]



1a) 1 Corinthians 1:24
but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1b) Wisdom 7:24-25

For wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. 25: For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her.

2a) 1 Corinthians 2:16

"For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

2b) Wisdom 9:13

For what man can learn the counsel of God? Or who can discern what the Lord wills?

3a) 1 Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23

"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything.

"All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up.

3b) Sirach 37:28

For not everything is good for every one, and not every person enjoys everything.

4a) 1 Corinthians 10:20
No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons.

4b) Baruch 4:7

For you provoked him who made you, by sacrificing to demons and not to God.

5a) 1 Corinthians 15:29
Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

5b) 2 Maccabees 12:44-45

For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45: But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.

6a) 1 Corinthians 15:32
What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."

6b) Wisdom 2:5-6

For our allotted time is the passing of a shadow, and there is no return from our death, because it is sealed up and no one turns back. 6: "Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist, and make use of the creation to the full as in youth.



1a) 2 Corinthians 5:1, 4

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens . . . For while we are still in this tent, we sigh with anxiety; not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

1b) Wisdom 9:15

for a perishable body weighs down the soul, and this earthy tent burdens the thoughtful mind.

2a) 2 Corinthians 12:12
The signs of a true apostle were performed among you in all patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works.

2b) Wisdom 10:16

She entered the soul of a servant of the Lord, and withstood dread kings with wonders and signs.


1a) Galatians 2:6
And from those who were reputed to be something (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) -- those, I say, who were of repute added nothing to me;

1b) Sirach 35:13

He will not show partiality in the case of a poor man; and he will listen to the prayer of one who is wronged.


1a) Ephesians 1:16-17

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,

1b) Wisdom 7:7

Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me; I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.

2a) Ephesians 4:14
so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.

2b) Sirach 5:9

Do not winnow with every wind, nor follow every path: the double-tongued sinner does that.

3a) Ephesians 6:14
Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

3b) Wisdom 5:18

he will put on righteousness as a breastplate, and wear impartial justice as a helmet;

See also:

1 Corinthians 2:9 and Sirach 1:10
1 Corinthians 4:13 and Tobit 5:19
1 Corinthians 4:14 and Wisdom 11:10
1 Corinthians 6:2 and Wisdom 3:8
1 Corinthians 6:13 and Sirach 36:18
1 Corinthians 6:18 and Sirach 23:17
1 Corinthians 7:19 and Sirach 32:23
1 Corinthians 9:19 and Sirach 6:19
1 Corinthians 9:25 and Wisdom 4:2
1 Corinthians 10:1 and Wisdom 19:7
1 Corinthians 11:7 Sirach 17:3 and Wisdom 2:23
1 Corinthians 11:24 and Wisdom 16:6
1 Corinthians 15:34 and Wisdom 13:1

Galatians 4:4 and Tobit 14:5
Galatians 6:1 and Wisdom 17:17

Ephesians 1:6 and Sirach 45:1 and 46:13
Ephesians 4:24 and Wisdom 9:3
Ephesians 6:12 and Wisdom 5:17
Ephesians 6:16 and Wisdom 5:19, 21

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Sam Cooke: The Greatest Singer of All Time: Chronological Discography

By Dave Armstrong (7-23-05)

* = Written by Sam Cooke

Dates = recording dates
Major singles (A-sides) [titles] are in red
Top Ten singles (pop) [chart position] are in blue
Top Ten singles (R&B) are in green
Top Twenty singles (pop) are in purple

Album Guide

The Rhythm And The Blues RCA 1995
Greatest Hits RCA 1998
The Man Who Invented Soul (4 CD box set) RCA 2000
[includes the complete albums Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963 and Night Beat]Keep Movin' On ABKCO 2001
Night Beat RCA 2001
Sam Cooke With The Soul Stirrers, The Complete Specialty Recordings Specialty 2002
Sam Cooke's SAR Records Story ABKCO 2003
Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 ABKCO 2003


*I'll Come Running Back To You / August 21, 1956 / #1 R&B, #18 pop / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
*I Need You Now / August 21, 1956 / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers
Forever / December 12, 1956 / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers
*Lovable / December 12, 1956 / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
*That's All I Need To Know / December 12, 1956 / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers
*I Don't Want To Cry / December 12, 1956 / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers
That's Heaven To Me / April 19, 1957 / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers

Mean Old World / April 19, 1957 / Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers

*You Send Me / June 1, 1957 / #1 pop, #1 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*You Were Made For Me / June 1, 1957 / #7 R&B, #39 Pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
Summertime / June 1, 1957 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
Win Your Love For Me / June 6, 1957 / #4 R&B, #33 pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*Just For You / 1957 / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
For Sentimental Reasons / 1957 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
Lonely Island / February 1958 / The Man Who Invented Soul

*Love You Most Of All / June 1958 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Greatest Hits
*If I Had You / 1958 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Desire Me / 1958 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Danny Boy / 1958 / The Man Who Invented Soul

Let's Go Steady Again / December 1958 (?) / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Only Sixteen / December 1958 (?) / #28, #13 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*When A Boy Falls In Love / Early 1959 / Keep Movin' On / The Man Who Invented Soul

*Try A Little Love / Early 1959 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Keep Movin' On
Ain't Nobody's Bizzness If I Do / February 1959 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*No One (Can Ever Take Your Place) / February 1959 / The Man Who Invented Soul
I've Got A Right To Sing A Blues / February 1959 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Everybody Loves To Cha Cha Cha / before March 1959 / #31 pop and #2 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
Little Things You Do / 1959 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Chain Gang / January 25, 1960 / #2 pop and #2 R&B / Greatest Hits / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
The Great Pretender / January 25, 1960 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Teenage Sonata / January 25, 1960 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Wonderful World / Early 1960 / #12 pop, #2 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*Sad Mood / April 1960 / #29 pop, #23 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*Love Me / April 13, 1960 / The Man Who Invented Soul

*You Belong To Me / September 9, 1960 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Tenderness / October 1, 1960 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*One More Time / December 1960 (?) / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
Hold On / January 30, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul
That's It - I Quit - I'm Moving On / January 30, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Greatest Hits
*Cupid / April 14, 1961 / #20 R&B, #17 pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
Baby Won't You Please Come Home / May 19, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
Don't Get Around Much Anymore / May 19, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
Trouble In Mind / May 19, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues

Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out / May 19, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
You're Always On My Mind / May 20, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Little Girl Blue / May 20, 1961 / The Rhythm and the Blues
I'm Just A Lucky So And So / May 20, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Exactly Like You / May 20, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul
But Not For Me / May 20, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
Out In The Cold Again / May 20, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
Since I Met You Baby / May 20th, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
*Somewhere There's A Girl / June 28, 1961 / The SAR Records Story

*Feel It / August 9, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*It's All Right / August 9, 1961 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Frankie And Johnny / August 9, 1961 / #4 R&B, #14 Pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / Greatest Hits
*Twistin' The Night Away / December 18, 1961 / #9 pop, #1 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
Somebody's Gonna Miss Me / December 19, 1961 / #3 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul

*Somebody Have Mercy / February 15, 1962 / #3 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Greatest Hits
*Talkin' Trash / February 16, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Movin' And A Groovin' / February 19, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul

A Whole Lotta Woman / February 19, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul

*Soothe Me / February 19, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul

*Bring It On Home To Me / April 26, 1962 / #11 pop and #2 R&B / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*Having A Party / April 26, 1962 / #4 R&B, #17 pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*Nothing Can Change This Love / August 23, 1962 / #2 R&B, #12 pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
*Baby, Baby, Baby / November 29, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Send Me Some Lovin' / November 29, 1962 / # 2 R&B, #13 pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / Greatest Hits
Chains of Love / December 14, 1962 / The Rhythm and the Blues
Smoke Rings / December 14, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues

Driftin' Blues / December 16, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues
Cry Me A River / December 16, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm and the Blues
These Foolish Things / December 16, 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Little Girl / 1962 / The Man Who Invented Soul
I Lost Everything / February 22nd, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm and the Blues / Night Beat
Trouble Blues / February 22, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues / Night Beat
*Laughin' And A Clownin' / February 23, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Night Beat

Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen / February 23, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Night Beat
Mean Old World / February 23, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Night Beat
Little Red Rooster / February 23, 1963 / #7 R&B and #11 pop / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm and the Blues / Night Beat / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits

Shake, Rattle And Roll / February 23, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Night Beat
*You Gotta Move / February 25, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Night Beat

Lost And Lookin' / February 25, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Night Beat

Fool's Paradise / February 25, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues / Night Beat
Please Don't Drive Me Away / February 25, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues / Night Beat
Get Yourself Another Fool / February 26, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / The Rhythm And The Blues / Night Beat
*Another Saturday Night / February 28, 1963 / #1 R&B and #10 pop / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
*Love Will Find A Way / February 28, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Cool Train / June 15, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul
I Wish You Love / 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul
Willow Weep For Me / 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul
*Sugar Dumpling / September 11, 1963 / The Man Who Invented Soul / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 / Greatest Hits
I'm Just A Country Boy / September 11, 1963 / Keep Movin' On
*Ain't That Good News / December 20, 1963 / #11 pop / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
*Keep Movin' On / December 21, 1963 / Keep Movin' On
There'll Be No Second Time / December 21, 1963 / Keep Movin' On

Basin Street Blues / December 21, 1963 / Keep Movin' On
The Riddle Song / December 21, 1963 / Keep Movin' On

*Meet Me At Mary's Place / January 28, 1964 / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
Rome Wasn't Built In A Day / January 28, 1964 / Keep Movin' On
Tennessee Waltz / January 28, 1964 / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
Falling In Love / January 30, 1964 / Keep Movin' On / The Man Who Invented Soul
*A Change Is Gonna Come / January 30, 1964 / #9 R&B and #31 Pop / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
*Good Times / February 2, 1964 / #11 pop / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
*Yeah Man / March 25, 1964 / Keep Movin' On
*(Somebody) Ease My Troubled Mind / April 9, 1964 / Keep Movin' On / The Man Who Invented Soul
You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You / April 9, 1964 / Keep Movin' On
Cousin of Mine / August 12, 1964 / Keep Movin' On
*That's Where It's At / August 20, 1964 / Keep Movin' On / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
*It's Got the Whole World Shaking / November 16, 1964 / Keep Movin' On
*Shake / November 16, 1964 / #7 pop, #2 R&B / Keep Movin' On / The Man Who Invented Soul / Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964

*I'm Gonna Forget About You / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul
I Ain't Gonna Cheat On You No More / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul
With You / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul
Ain't Misbehavin' / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul
All The Way / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul
Crazy She Calls Me / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul
Don't Cry (On My Shoulder) / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul
I Belong To Your Heart / ? / The Man Who Invented Soul

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Harry Potter Series: Literary Magic or Magical Mystery Sewer?

By Dave Armstrong (7-19-05)

What is my own opinion on the matter of Harry Potter? I think there are good points on both sides of the argument, and able, thoughtful, committed, respectable Christian proponents of both the pro and con positions. My wife and I both enjoyed the three movies a lot (qua movies and qua fantasy), but I don't read fiction, so I can't comment on the books themselves. I don't see a huge amount of difference between Harry Potter and Lewis and Tolkien, in terms of use of fantasy, though undeniably the latter two write from a far more explicitly Christian perspective (Anglican and Catholic, respectively).

That doesn't, however, necessarily mean that Harry Potter is a completely evil thing, though. Neither a mountain nor a sunset are "explicitly Christian" in terms of "ideological content," so to speak, but does that make them "bad"? Of course not. For what it's worth, J. K. Rowling is a member of the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland. Presumably, her Christianity, then, would have some kind of presuppositional influence even in her constructed fantasy-world.

I would say that ultimately it comes down to individual choice and discernment. One should guide one's children in this matter in much the same way as they would be guided with regard to the time to start dating, or whether to home-school or perhaps allow them into public school, despite the potential dangers to faith there. It's simply too individual of an issue to make an ironclad rule.

If a child is prone to being led off in a million directions, irregardless of their ostensibly Christian belief-system, then chances are that danger might lurk in reading these books or watching the films (as in much other "non-Christian" material). If, on the other hand, the child is strong and persistently able to withstand any competing ideas, contrary to Christianity, then likely no particular danger would be present.

Watching the films didn't harm my Christian faith in the slightest. On the other hand, at an earlier point in my life, when my faith was not yet strong or fully-formed (to put it mildly), the movies quite possibly could have helped lead me astray, since I did, in fact, get involved to a considerable degree in occultic pursuits. The supernatural held a strong fascination for me (thankfully channeled later on into Christian supernaturalism). C.S. Lewis himself was also seriously involved in the occult in the period just before his encounter with the music and romanticism of Richard Wagner and a mythological sort of contemplation which he described as "Northernness":

Now, for the first time, there burst upon me the idea that there might be real marvels all about us, that the visible world might only be a curtain to conceal huge realms uncharted by my very simple theology. And that started in me something with which, on and off, I have had plenty of trouble since -- the desire for the preternatural, simply as such, the passion for the Occult. Not everyone has this disease; those who have will know what I mean [I do, very well] . . . It is a spiritual lust; and like the lust of the body it has the fatal power of making everything else in the world seem uninteresting while it lasts.

(Surprised by Joy, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1955, 60)

At times as I watched these movies, I must admit that for fleeting moments I felt precisely this "desire" that Lewis refers to. It's very difficult to describe without getting very heavy and mystical and philosophical, but it is a definite kind of coercion. I'm able to push it down because of strong Christian faith, but short of that, I can easily imagine (given my own background) someone with a similar bent being drawn into things which are harmful to their souls: true sorcery, witchcraft, Wicca, etc.: things which are definitely wrong and condemned in the Bible.

And that gets back to our main issue. Witchcraft or sorcery (everyone agrees) is portrayed in these books and movies. The side of "good" is chosen and ultimately triumphant, so there is little question of an advocacy of evil things. But on the other hand, overt hints of Christianity or God are missing (as far as I can see; perhaps the books are different). If parents allow their children to take part in this craze, then it must be with caution and discussion about the relationship of these stories to Christian doctrine and the ontology of the real, spiritual world that we live in. Fantasy is just that, but we know that the devil can use all things to lead people astray: especially if they are not vigilant.

Ultimately, then, I am not "against" Harry Potter, yet (similar to even many proponents) I would strongly urge a sharp watchful eye for potential spiritual danger, due to the nature of the subject matter, in proportion to the extent that one is prone to following non-Christian modes of thought and behavior, contra proper Christian boundaries and mature spiritual discernment. My view is very close to that expressed by the British Evangelical Alliance.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Possible References to the Deuterocanon (aka "Apocrypha") in John and Acts (RSV)

By Dave Armstrong (7-13-05)

Derived from pp. 800-804 of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition (Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine), published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; see the web page from Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, which reproduced the list. NT passages listed in Nestle-Aland will be in blue, and Deuterocanonical passages in red. Alleged references listed by verse only at the end were deemed (by myself) dissimilar and questionable or non-convincing enough to not reproduce.

[Bible passages were retrieved from the RSV Bible, with Apocrypha, from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center]

Recently, a Reformed Protestant wondered aloud what the purpose of collecting these possible references would be (if not apologetic in nature, as some sort of "proof" of the canonicity of the Deuterocanonical or so-called "Apocryphal" books). I agree with Jimmy Akin's comments in the above-cited web page:

I get a lot of requests for a list of the references the New Testament makes to the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament. Unfortunately, giving a list is not such a simple affair since it is not always obvious whether something is a genuine reference.

Hebrews 11:35 is an indisputable reference to 2 Maccabees 7, but many are not so clear as there may be only a single phrase that echoes one in a deuterocanonical book (and this may not be obvious in the translation, but only the original languages).

This is the same with New Testament references to the protocanonical books of the Old Testament. How many New Testament references there are to the Old Testament depends in large measure on what you are going to count as a reference.

As a result, many scholarly works simply give an enormous catalogue of all proposed references and leave it to the individual interpreter to decide whether a given reference is actual or not.

I will follow the same procedure . . .
So will I. This project is not, strictly-speaking, an exercise in apologetics, but rather, an aid in Bible study or a Bible "reference" tool, as I explained in my reply to this "critic" (Part One / Part Two / Part Three).



1a) John 1:3

all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

1b) Wisdom 9:1

"O God of my fathers and Lord of mercy, who hast made all things by thy word,

2a) John 3:8

The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit."

2b) Sirach 16:21

Like a tempest which no man can see, so most of his works are concealed.

3a) John 3:13

No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.

3b) Baruch 3:29

Who has gone up into heaven, and taken her, and brought her down from the clouds?

4a) John 5:18

This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but also called God his Father, making himself equal with God.

4b) Wisdom 2:16

We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father.

5a) John 7:38

He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, `Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'"

5b) Sirach 24:30

I went forth like a canal from a river and like a water channel into a garden.

6a) John 8:53

Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you claim to be?"

6b) Sirach 44:19

Abraham was the great father of a multitude of nations, and no one has been found like him in glory;

7a) John 10:20

Many of them said, "He has a demon, and he is mad; why listen to him?"

7b) Wisdom 5:4

"This is the man whom we once held in derision and made a byword of reproach -- we fools! We thought that his life was madness and that his end was without honor.

8a) John 14:15

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

8b) Wisdom 6:18

and love of her is the keeping of her laws, and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality,

9a) John 15:9s

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.

9b) Wisdom 3:9

Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his elect, and he watches over his holy ones.

10a) John 17:3

And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

10b) Wisdom 15:3

For to know thee is complete righteousness, and to know thy power is the root of immortality.

11a) John 20:22

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

11b) Wisdom 15:11

because he failed to know the one who formed him and inspired him with an active soul and breathed into him a living spirit.

See also (from Nestle-Aland list):
John 3:8 and Wisdom 18:15s
John 3:28 and 1 Maccabees 9:39
John 3:32 and Tobit 4:6
John 4:9 and Sirach 50:25s
John 4:48 and Wisdom 8:8
John 6:35 and Sirach 24:21
John 8:44 and Wisdom 2:24
John 10:22 and 1 Maccabees 4:59



1a) Acts 2:4
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
1b) Sirach 48:12
It was Elijah who was covered by the whirlwind, and Elisha was filled with his spirit; in all his days he did not tremble before any ruler, and no one brought him into subjection.
2a) Acts 4:24
And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, "Sovereign Lord, who didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,
2b) Judith 9:12
Hear, O hear me, God of my father, God of the inheritance of Israel, Lord of heaven and earth, Creator of the waters, King of all thy creation, hear my prayer!
3a) Acts 5:39
but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!"
3b) 2 Maccabees 7:19
But do not think that you will go unpunished for having tried to fight against God!"
4a) Acts 10:26
But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am a man."
4b) Wisdom 7:1
I also am mortal, like all men, a descendant of the first-formed child of earth; and in the womb of a mother I was molded into flesh,
5a) Acts 10:34
And Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality,
5b) Sirach 35:12s
Do not offer him a bribe, for he will not accept it; and do not trust to an unrighteous sacrifice; for the Lord is the judge, and with him is no partiality.
6a) Acts 10:36
You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all),
6b) Wisdom 6:7
For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of any one, nor show deference to greatness; because he himself made both small and great, and he takes thought for all alike.
6c) Wisdom 8:3 etc.
She glorifies her noble birth by living with God, and the Lord of all loves her.
7a) Acts 17:26
And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation,
7b) Wisdom 7:18
the beginning and end and middle of times, the alternations of the solstices and the changes of the seasons,
8a) Acts 17:27
that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us,
8b) Wisdom 13:6
Yet these men are little to be blamed, for perhaps they go astray while seeking God and desiring to find him.
9a) Acts 17:29
Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man.
9b) Wisdom 13:10
But miserable, with their hopes set on dead things, are the men who give the name "gods" to the works of men's hands, gold and silver fashioned with skill, and likenesses of animals, or a useless stone, the work of an ancient hand.

See also (from Nestle-Aland list):

Acts 1:10 and 2 Maccabees 3:26
Acts 1:18 and Wisdom 4:19
Acts 2:11 and Sirach 36:7 (?)
Acts 2:29 and Sirach 24:32
Acts 5:2 and 2 Maccabees 4:32
Acts 5:12 and 1 Maccabees 12:6
Acts 5:21 and 2 Maccabees 1:10
Acts 9:1-29 and 2 Maccabees 3:24-40
Acts 9:2 and 1 Maccabees 15:21
Acts 9:7 and Wisdom 18:1

Acts 10:2 and Tobit 12:8
Acts 10:22 and 1 Maccabees 10:25, 11:30, 33 etc.
Acts 10:30 and 2 Maccabees 11:8
Acts 11:18 and Wisdom 12:19
Acts 12:5 and Judith 4:9
Acts 12:10 and Sirach 19:26 (?)
Acts 12:23 and Judith 16:17, Sirach 48:21, 1 Maccabees 7:41, and 2 Maccabees 9:9
Acts 13:10 and Sirach 1:30
Acts 13:17 and Wisdom 19:10
Acts 14:14 and Judith 14:16s
Acts 14:15 and Wisdom 7:3
Acts 15:4 and Judith 8:26
Acts 16:14 and 2 Maccabees 1:4
Acts 17:23 and Wisdom 14:20, 15:17
Acts 17:24, 25 and Tobit 7:17 (?), Wisdom 9:1,9
Acts 17:30 and Sirach 28:7
Acts 19:27 and Wisdom 3:17
Acts 19:28 and Daniel 14:18, 41
Acts 20:26 and Daniel 13:46
Acts 20:32 and Wisdom 5:5
Acts 20:35 and Sirach 4:31
Acts 21:26 and 1 Maccabees 3:49
Acts 22.9 and Wisdom 18.1
Acts 24:2 and 2 Maccabees 4:6
Acts 26:18 and Wisdom 5:5
Acts 26:25 and Judith 10:13 (?)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

On the Ethics of Replication of Music, Books, Movies, Software, Etc.

By Dave Armstrong (2003)

The following is based on an actual dialogue I had with an atheist friend, two years ago, over the ethics of replication. The original context was a discussion of software. It then branched out into a larger discussion. I've added a few clarifying additions here and there.

* * * * * 

Is it "stealing" to buy a used record or CD? I don't think so. Is it stealing to rent a video at Blockbuster rather than buy one or go to the theatre? No. Or to tape something off the TV rather than buying the video for $29.95? Or to buy a used book rather than a new one? No to all, in my opinion. I think the ethics depends (largely, but not solely) on whether someone was going to buy a product in the first place. People are taping things on VCR's and tape recorders and now on CD's from the Internet all the time (I use Napster -- which is perfectly legal and determined by courts to not be a violation of copyright law --, for $9.95 a month). If this is massively immoral and unethical, then why do VCR's and tape recorders and CD burners exist in the first place?

The ethics of software is confusing because most of these things are available for free at some point. Two years ago, I needed Word 97 in order to send in the manuscript of my first book. I couldn't afford to buy it new and I wouldn't have, anyway. So is borrowing it from someone else who wanted to enable me to be able to send in my manuscript "stealing"? I don't see that it is. Now, it's true that (like most people) I didn't read the license or whatever. I just knew that I wasn't able to buy the software, so that Microsoft wasn't being deprived of my contribution to their profits. I acknowledge that there is some room for discussion here but I'm not convinced that any of this is "stealing," given the fact that everyone is reproducing stuff all the time, whether audio, video, or software. I think it is a hard case to make, that no one can make a tape of a record or of a show on TV. What are we supposed to do with VCR's and DVD player / recorders, and tape recorders and (now) iPods?

The only sense I can make of this is whether a person would have, and was able to, buy something in the first place. I was not able to, so Microsoft was not deprived of anything by my in effect) borrowing the software from someone else. I don't believe I have "stolen" anything, per the above reasoning (and much more, below). I do think it's confusing and that the reasoning behind reproduction is tangled and confused. Maybe you'll convince me that I must go spend the money to buy Word 97. I would be very interested in your reply to this, as [a mutual friend] never adequately answered my counter-reply when we talked about this years ago. He said it was wrong to tape albums from someone else. I said that it wasn't wrong to tape an album from the [local] library. They rent them out to do just that (someone bought those records; they weren't stolen). And I argued that it wasn't wrong to tape a show off the TV or buy a used book or record. As far as I know, [our mutual friend] does all that stuff. He borrows videotapes from me. So I wasn't convinced by his reasoning at all. It may be that it is a different argument with software.

I would like to hear your reasoning. If you argue strictly from what the license says, that might seem clear-cut, but my argument hinges on the ethics of other people using or reproducing what someone else has bought, and how that works ethically, with software, as well as with music and video and written materials.

In fact, my own computer was put together by a friend of mine. It was his old computer. I assume it had some programs in it already, like Windows 98 and so forth. Does that mean I had to delete Windows 98, go buy it, and re-install it? It was already bought! It's like buying a used car. I can't afford a new car and I couldn't afford a new computer. I'm only a "starving writer." My friend was nice enough to donate his old one, and that was for the purpose of my website, which offers over 500 web pages free of charge to the public. I've written twelve books, and that is the only for-profit part of what I do. This is the problem I have with this reasoning. It becomes a reductio ad absurdum, because the logical chain seems to have no end, and winds up being absurd if applied consistently.

I think that a legitimate, non-relativistic ethical argument can be made on these matters: that it is not stealing. That's what I believe. It may be that you can convince me otherwise if you can offer a cogent reply to my questions above. I respect the fact that you are taking a position on this, and I'm sure you have thought it through, because I see that you are a conscientious thinker.

Your friend,



When this stealing happens (in particular instances) is what remains to be solved here, as well as what "make use of wrongfully" means. E.g., say that a US spy had "stolen" Nazi plans to construct a nuclear bomb. Would that truly be stealing or would it have been completely ethically justified? For that matter, would an individual knocking off Hitler be a murderer?

My friend then asked whether I disagreed with "the concept of intellectual property rights."

No (I'm an author and purveyor of ideas myself; I certainly accept this notion); rather, I am confused as to what constitutes "stealing" by any standard definition, given the massive reproductive resources available today: VCR's, tape recorders, downloads of music from the Internet, used records and books, used cars, etc. It's not so much that I am asserting a point of view definitely, as you are, but that I am confused about this and would like to see it clarified. Obviously, I am not convinced at all that what I did was stealing, or I wouldn't have done it. I would like to think that I am a principled person, especially in matters of ethics, and Christians have all sorts of guidelines as to what is moral and ethical and what is not. If I am convinced by your reasoning, I will go and buy the software as soon as I am able.

My argument was essentially one of analogy: since all these things occur, how does one determine when their uses constitute stealing, and where does one draw the line? I pretty much assume the things you assert. My problem arises from difficulty of application of what is assumed by most parties, in a world where sharing of all these things occurs regularly and routinely, and where loans and gift-giving are not regarded by most human beings as unethical or immoral activities. Actually it is both an analogical argument and an argumentum ad absurdum, simultaneously.

He replied that the creator of intellectual property has rights which include "control of replication." One can buy a book, but not obtain the copyright for that book, and a CD, but not music publishing rights, or a car, but not the rights to its design.

Given these premises, how, then, would you view the ethics of the following three situations (which get to the heart of my difficulty and confusion concerning your position)?:

1. Someone gives me a gift of a car (say, a Cadillac), that they bought.

2. I then use the car to do deliveries and make a profit (I did delivery for ten years, in fact, using my own vehicle, though I did buy used vehicles on an average of every two years).

3. Did I then "steal" a Cadillac because I didn't buy one at a car dealer? Is this car theft? Am, I furthermore, wrong in an additional sense because I am now using the gift that I didn't pay for, to receive further profit and an income?

[this is most analogous to my situation because I am writing books to make a living and utilizing Word 97 to do it]

I. Someone gives me a gift of the movie Gone With the Wind, that they bought.

II. Or (alternately) I taped it off of the TV.

III. Did I steal the movie? Did I deprive Blockbuster of their due recompense because I didn't rent the movie from them, or did I deprive or steal from whomever puts out the movie on video (MGM or whatever), or from some movie theatre that may show it again?
A) Someone buys my first book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, used (used copies are, in fact, available on amazon.com right now).

B) I don't get royalties for such a purchase, because it is a "secondary" transaction. I only get royalties from the purchase of the book when it is new.

C) The person who bought the used copy thus saves $5 or $10, and I get no return from his purchase. Furthermore, the person who re-sold it makes a few bucks, whereas I do not make anything.

D) Did, then, the person who bought a used copy of my book, "steal" what is my intellectual property (I have copyright, after all, and I produced these ideas in the particular fashion in which they were arranged in my book) by purchasing my book in this manner, seeing that I got not one red cent from his transaction, and because his buying it used thus enabled him to receive the information without buying it new, in which case I would have received recompense?

E) The same exact situation (with regard to the principle under consideration) occurs when someone buys a book, reads it, and then gives it to someone else, or when a library (including my book) is inherited or otherwise donated as a gift while the owner is still living, or sold to a used bookstore which then makes further profit on these books, or at sales at libraries, getting rid of unwanted books for a pittance, or at yard sales and Salvation Army stores which sell old books, etc.

I trust that the analogy to Microsoft Word 97 is obvious (if not, then I would have to be shown how some difference of principle that I have overlooked, obtains). It seems to me that there is also a "right" of the owner of a purchased product to dispose of it as he wishes, loan it, give it as a gift, or whatever, as long as he isn't making a profit on another man's labor. Whether it deprives the creator of the product (or whoever holds rights, patents to it, etc.) of his due might arguably depend (it seems to me) in part on whether the person who receives the gift or replication would have bought it otherwise.

But then that would mean that at least the people who bought my book used, who would have bought it new if that were the only way to obtain it (new rather than not at all) -- by your logic -- would be engaged in stealing and theft, as would anyone who buys a used book (at least one not in public domain), or reads a library book, or buys a used record or CD.

Thus (following this reasoning through to its logical conclusion), used bookstores and music stores which sell used CD's are engaged in one massive enterprise of wholesale theft. Blockbuster Video and all video rental places like it are one big racket, as they are depriving makers of movie videos from profits. Etc., etc.

This is where I see that your argument breaks down to absurdity; i.e., if your principle is followed through consistently, all of these other consequences would result, and they appear to me to be absurd, at least on their face, without further analysis of the ethics involved in all this (which is where I am hoping you can help me better understand your reasoning). I do think it is probably a relevant ethical factor, then, whether a person would have bought something new if he couldn't obtain it used or free as a gift. But even then, absurdity results if every time such a person purchases a used item, he is stealing. I don't buy it. Not until I see how these difficulties in consistent application of this principle are explained in a plausible, believable, coherent way . . .

I'm not denying owner's rights, but asking (the more I think about it) how "purchaser's rights" operate: what is right and wrong in their case. I'm not advocating going to COMP USA and stealing products off the shelf. But I am asking what is ethical and unethical for the owner of a product (i.e., one who has purchased it) to do with that product? I'm asking how your principle deals with VCRs, tape recorders and CD burners (instruments of replication and used purchases which do not further enrich creators of products). I think I have shown above (or at least offered some thoughts worthy of some small consideration) how this is relevant to the overall ethical question. By all means, please tell me what is "legitimate" and "illegitimate" use of these items, and by what criteria? The legitimacy of gun use [which my friend brought up as an analogy] is clear (for most people): self-defense or just war or police work or hunting are legitimate uses: murder is not. In the case of VCR's and used goods and so forth, the lines are not nearly so clear. And the fact that they are rather fuzzy is precisely why I am not convinced by your argument.

Does someone need permission to give Microsoft Word 97 as a gift? No . . . You say that "A car manufacturer sells you a car, not the design of the fuel injection system." Sure, of course. So a person can sell a used car or give one as a gift (e.g., they accept cars as gifts at various charitable operations). This is selling the product and not the design or "ideas" for the product. I'm not interested in auto engineering when I get a new (used) vehicle (or even in further profit as a result of potential knowledge of same), but in transportation: how to get from point A to point B. Likewise, Word 97 could be loaned or given as a gift as a product, not as the design or patent for the product. And if it cannot, I need to be informed of some difference of principle between Word 97 and a used car or a used book or CD. Are you gonna tell me that you have never bought anything used? Or that if you did, you now consider those purchases instances of theft and stealing? If not, what is the ethical difference of principle?

When I wrote, "I couldn't afford to buy it new and I wouldn't have, anyway," I was expressing the relevant ethical consideration, because in this instance I was not depriving Microsoft of anything they would have otherwise received: they would not receive a profit either way, just as I don't receive a profit (royalties) when someone buys my book used, and I don't receive one if they don't buy it at all. But if they bought it used where they would have otherwise bought it new, then arguably it is an ethically different situation because in that act they have "deprived" me of my royalty (whereas if they would only have bought it used and not new, they did not do that: the consequence for me remains the same in either case). So again, I think that if you wish to press this principle, then you need to apply it across the board and consider what it means for all used purchases.

My friend asserted that borrowing from libraries or friends does not entail "replication."

Even if I grant that, it still does not explain the ethics of used purchases and gifts. Also, this is simplistic in that it doesn't take into account the "replication" by the brain. For example, there are people who could memorize whole books. So would it then be unethical to loan them a book, knowing that they had the capacity to memorize it and make it (literally) part of their own brain? Would that not be "replication"?

He then argued that use of a product entails the creator's "right to compensation."

Ah! Precisely! That would apply to every used purchase as well, which would mean that a person who buys my book used owes me about $4.00. That would mean that every time I buy a used CD (I recently bought Pink Floyd and the Beatles) I would have to send a check to Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison (and/or Capitol Records, the music publishers and so forth), and the four guys in Pink Floyd (and/or the copyright owners -- however all that works). I've never bought, e.g., the album Let it Be new. I taped it on cassette from my sister's record in the 70s. A while back I bought a used record version of it. And last week I bought it as a used CD (for Fathers' Day) [since then I also purchased the remastered and rearranged Let it Be . . . Naked used]. So have I stolen it four times? My Fathers' Day gift was a bootleg that I stole (thus constituting two immoral acts)?

I was then charged with utilizing the ad populum fallacy (appeal to large numbers of people doing something).

It's not an instance of the ad populum fallacy because (in its proper context) I'm not appealing to what people do per se, as some sort of argument in and of itself. I agree that taking a head count is not the way to ascertain truth or principles. My argument hinges upon what constitutes legitimate replication, borrowing, and what the owner of a product is entitled to do with it: including gifts, libraries, willed estates, etc.

My argument is, rather, argumentum ad absurdum (which is not a fallacy, and a rather effective and powerful argument, generally speaking), showing that your principle, followed through consistently, would mean the abolition of libraries, used bookstores, used car dealers, used clothing shops, Moms-to-Moms sales of baby clothes and items, used CD stores, video rental places, VCR's, tape recorders, the Trading Times, yard and garage sales, eBay, MP3 downloads (which have consistently been legally warranted in the courts), many charitable efforts such as the Salvation Army of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, which rely on donated items then re-sold.

The result is absurd (and, I think, extremely few people who aren't so rich that they needn't worry about buying cars, etc., live consistently in such a way). Therefore, one must question the errors in the premises of the point of view which would result in such an absurd scenario. And this I think I have done. Or at least I have shown by argumentum ad absurdum that the premises need to be questioned and are suspect, even if I haven't hit upon exactly what it is that is in error. I suspect that would come down to "purchasers' rights" (whatever such a concept might mean, after scrutiny and thought).

I respect people who take a stand on principle, whether I disagree with them or not. I don't expect to agree with everyone, but I expect (too often, unrealistically, I'm afraid) that people I am talking to are able to defend their points of view. You do that, so you have my respect, and none of this offends me at all. We simply differ on principle. You see it clearly one way and I see it clearly another way. I'm willing to be persuaded, as always, but (as in theology or philosophy or any arguments I engage in) one has to answer my questions which I think are relevant to the discussion, as explained. I can't be convinced if my deepest objections have not been overcome, as far as I am concerned.

My computer was itself a gift that included Windows 98, so that is an ethical issue again. It's not like I haven't bought anything. I purchased Netscape Communicator, which is what I use to create all my web pages. I pay for space every month for my website, to my ISP. I bought Compuserve software, which I still use to store letters. I bought scanner software which I use, even though the scanner itself quickly broke. I bought Fighter Plane and NASCAR games. I've bought dozens of computer games and educational stuff for the kids (I haven't downloaded a single game from the Internet -- on the other hand, people have also given us many kids' computer games, too). Internet Explorer (which I now use to browse) was a free download.

My friend stated: "With respect to your copy of Word 97, its validity would hinge upon the usage agreement. Based upon what I know of Microsoft licensing agreements, I believe you could rightly possess Word 97, without purchasing it, if the person who made it a gift gave you the installation media and your installation was the only installation."

You seem to think this is mostly a "legal"-type conversation (what might be called "contractual hyper-literalism" for lack of a better term), whereas I am approaching it more from a "larger ethical" or "spirit of the law" perspective (one might say that incorporates natural law at some point). My argument was that the viewpoint you are espousing leads to a reductio ad absurdum, thus calling into question a premise somewhere.

My copy of Word 97 came through [a friend]. It was a copy associated with a pro-life group that he works with. As I mentioned before, I got Windows 98 when this present computer was given to me by a friend, after he bought a new computer. This is the third time he has done this (he also gave my kids a computer). So it would fall under the overall category of purchase of a used item (except that it was a gift).

All you have to do is respond to my specific scenarios and tell me why you think such scenarios constitute theft. That's at least how I envision the discussion proceeding forward. I have no other arguments to give, and am quickly losing interest in this. What I presented were "ethical quandaries" which I think need to be addressed. If they are not, then I cannot be persuaded because my most specific objections were not specifically addressed. So if we both think the ball is in the other guy's court, I guess this discussion is exhausted and wound up a "stalemate" or simply unresolved. That's fine, if so. Discussions have to end somehow.

You have not explained, in my opinion, why my counter-examples do not succeed, in the proper depth for me to be persuaded of your position. Brevity, over-generalization, vagueness, or simple appeal to legal-type considerations are not sufficient (at least not for me). I still do not know exactly why you don't accept my counter-examples. Maybe I am dense or something, but whatever the reason, I remain unconvinced, and the goal of any good argument is to convince the one who initially disagrees with it.

You said that "use of the product" was reason for the producer to receive compensation. That is not the case whenever a used car is sold. Nor do I have the information of how to build a Cadillac. I simply have a car to get from point A to point B (which is what the car was designed to do, functionally-speaking). Likewise, if I get a copy of Microsoft Word I don't have the technology or information used to make the product, but the product itself. Say someone sold it to me used, then Microsoft would not receive their compensation. But to say that no one could give it to me as a gift or as a used purchase would be to rule out all used purchases (and gifts, which were bought by the person giving them, and in some cases, already used by them and then passed on, as with used cars), it seems to me.

And people could then use gifts or used purchases to make a further profit. The car takes me from place to place to make deliveries, so as to make a living. If that is "stealing" from GM, then we ought to shut down every used car lot in the country. Analogously, if I use the Word 97 to write my books to sell, I still produced the product. I did the work to make the profit. So I still say that you are not applying the principle consistently. The reductio ad absurdum applies, as far as I can see.

My friend stated, regarding my Blockbuster Video analogy: "Neither Blockbuster, the distributor, nor the movie theater company own the copyright. The copyright holder was compensated for a single copy by your benefactor. The fact that he passed ownership of the cassette on to you is irrelevant. If you taped a broadcast, then the broadcasting company compensated the copyright holder."

Okay; I'll do the analogy word-for-word to show you why I think that the same thing is taking place:

This situation is not theft nor is intellectual property at stake. Neither the pro-life group, nor my friend own the copyright (or rights, or whatever the proper term) for Microsoft Word 97. Microsoft was compensated for a single copy by my benefactor. The fact that he passed on the program to me is irrelevant. If he copied Microsoft Word 97 onto my computer, then the purchaser of the copy loaned to me compensated Microsoft, the producer.

What is it that isn't analogous?

I'll do the word-for-word comparison again, regarding people buying my book used:

This situation is not theft nor is intellectual property at stake. Neither the distributor (i.e., the individual who sold my book used), nor the used book company own the copyright (I own the copyright). The copyright holder (me) was compensated for a single copy by the person who bought my book new. The fact that he passed ownership of the book to a used bookstore, who then made a profit by re-selling it to someone else (while I received no compensation by the second owner getting my book and its information) is irrelevant. If someone bought a used copy of my book, then the original purchaser of the book (new) compensated me.
My friend thought it was "absurd" to think that my analogies constituted theft.

And it is also absurd to think that they are not analogous to gifts or loans of computer programs.

He then claimed: "if more instances of an actualized idea exist than the creator was compensated for, then somewhere a theft was committed."

That's exactly what happens in used purchases!!!!! You precisely prove my point. Thanks. My books are out there being bought used. I am not compensated for those purchases. But the person who bought the book is compensated, and so was the used bookstore. It is absurd. All you can do is to ban all used sales whatever to avoid the absurdity in application of the principle. Otherwise you are left with a scenario where (as I mentioned before) I stole Let it Be four times because I taped it, and I bought it as a used record and a used CD (twice). Thus, four times I obtained the final product without compensating its creator or publisher or record company, etc. Is that really what you want to argue?

He then appealed to an "ideal situation," in which the creator receives compensation every time his product is used by someone.

"Ideal" is a key word here, and is central to what I perceive as a profound ethical ambiguity or confusion. This creates several problems. If you want to argue that the actual should be the ideal, that is one thing. It obviously isn't (I think we agree). Or you could say the ideal is the equivalent of the legal. That is a position held by many (perhaps also by you): some sort of "legal positivism," but I also see that as self-evidently false. The most notable historical instance of the falsity of this is the Dred Scott decision concerning slavery in 1857. Pro-lifers like myself also cite Roe v. Wade as a gross distortion of the fundamental right to life of all human beings (before one even gets to the Christian objection: abortion was equally revolting to Hippocrates, the ancient Greek pagan father of medicine). Many other examples could be brought forth, from whatever perspective one comes from.

To use a recent example: homosexuals objected to the former Supreme Court ruling (in 1986) against sodomy. So for them that was an "unjust" or "unethical" law. Now the court has stated otherwise, and they are overjoyed. But obviously the court itself couldn't be the standard for what was right and wrong, because it contradicted itself and reversed itself. Sodomy can't be both right and wrong at the same time, and if it is right (or wrong), it always was that; it was not one or the other simply because nine (or five) people on a court said so. I trust that we can agree on this . . .

But anyway, I believe in ideals. The problem here is: who determines what these ideals are?; how are they concretized in law and legislation (and by what epistemological criteria)?; what is their relation to right and wrong?; are there ethical absolutes?, etc. As you noted early on, these are all large questions that we were trying to bypass in a broad agreement upfront. I don't wish to pursue any or all of these now (maybe sometime in the future). I am simply noting in passing that I see complexities abounding in just this one sentence of yours concerning the "ideal" (and it is only one of many such "magisterial" statements you have made throughout this discussion). In other words, I don't think it is nearly as simple of a discussion as you seem to think it is.

The moral fuzziness between the "ideal" and the "actual" (especially when one considers a great many particulars) is closely related to my objection and point of view (insofar as I have one concerning this issue). The complexities brought about by actualities and their conflict with your "ideal" bring into question your principle and make consistent application of it well-nigh impossible, in my opinion. And if it cannot be sensibly or consistently applied then we have grounds to question the principle itself, or at least some aspects of it. Therefore, I continue to hold that something is not theft if it is the ethical / logical equivalent to all my counter-examples (gifts, used purchases, etc.), which you yourself acknowledge as perfectly acceptable transactions and not "theft" or "stealing" (and which society and law have long since acknowledged as perfectly acceptable). My argument has been that there is no distinction whatsoever between such things. This is what I think (with all due respect) you have failed to overcome. I will again show you below in more detail why I think this is the case. Your moralistic "should" does not work in reality, given used purchases, libraries, VCR's, music downloads (themselves upheld by law), etc.

If it can be shown that may analogous examples are not theft (which you already agree with), because no disanalogy has been established, and there is no discernible ethical difference, then downloading Word 97 is not theft either, by analogy. I continue to maintain that if downloading Word 97 is theft, then so are these other instances. This is the inconsistency and (ultimately) the absurdity (or, to use a milder description: the "utter unworkability") in your position. You have not overcome it by simply asserting "ideal" principles in legalistic language and skirting over the very real issues in reality that bring the principle into question, in terms of application.

That's not to say that we should adopt ethical relativism. I am an ethical absolutist (I believe you are, too, if I understand your objectivist position correctly). I'm not denying your principle per se (right to ownership of ideas, etc.), but only the way in which you apply it to real life. The application of laws is as much a legal question and pursuit as the drafting of legislation or rulings from courts. Interpretation and application is everything, not simply words on a page.

Otherwise, the Constitution would have been self-evident, with no need for any further discussion. The courts apply its principles to real life situations. And it is an evolving (or developing) understanding to some extent. In this instance, the courts have ruled that downloading MP3s does not violate copyright law. It has to do, apparently, with the rights of people to share what they have purchased with others.

There is scarcely any distinction between borrowing and possessing, in many cases. For instance, most people read a book once, and then oftentimes they will pass it on to someone else, or a used book place or church rummage, and so forth. That being the case, if they borrow a book from a library and read it, then this is hardly different from purchasing it and reading it. If the same library lends out CDs, a person could take it out for two weeks and listen to it 15 times. Since many people (if they're like me, and I think I am a fairly typical music fan) don't listen to purchased CD's hundreds of times, but rather, usually maybe five to ten times total, then it is quite possible to enjoy the same experience by borrowing a CD from a library or a friend, rather than purchase it. If 150 people borrow the same CD from the library, then that is 150 less times that the publisher and/or artist receives royalties for it. As an author myself, I don't care for that scenario, but it is reality, and I fail to see how it can be overcome, short of forbidding lending libraries, used stores, and any lending between friends at all.

What breaks down in your logic (to cite just one of several instances) is use-of-a-product as compared to ownership of it, and that use in relation to compensation or remuneration of the original owner or creator. One could argue that use of it (by replication or borrowing) is the moral and ethical equivalent of ownership insofar as the borrower or "duplicator" has not compensated the owner/creator and indeed will not do so because he no longer has a need to in order to use the product (or else couldn't have afforded to do so in the first place, as often in my case). This applies to libraries:

1. A library buys a copy of A Biblical Defense of Catholicism (my first book).

2. Over 15 years, say, 2064 people take out the book and read it.

3. This is multiplied by the instances of libraries carrying my book.

4. Each instance of borrowing my book (up to thousands, and theoretically up to a conceivable near-infinity of borrowers) involves (in terms of the actual use of the reader and information gained therefrom) a violation of your principle of "one-to-one correspondence between particulars in existence and compensation received by the creator of the universal." It makes no difference that only one reader at a time had the book, or whether they even owned it or not. Each one read it without me (the author and creator) receiving one thin dime. Therefore it was "replicated," ethically-speaking, because in these acts of borrowing and reading it, people received benefit and information from my product that they could have only gotten otherwise by purchasing it themselves (thus giving me the benefit of a royalty). So the library has deprived me of royalties (arguably) most times someone borrows my book. They have "stolen" from me (in your logic).

In fact, it just occurred to me that libraries (and places like Kinkos) probably have computers which include Word 97 in them. I could go rent those computers, use the Word 97 to write a manuscript for a book, then sell the resulting book, and this would all be perfectly ethical and legal according to your reasoning, because the library bought the Word 97 program and a "one-to-one correspondence" was maintained, and the library or Kinkos was fully entitled (legally and ethically) to do what it did. But you neglect to see that it was the library which benefited from buying that and renting it out. Shouldn't Microsoft get a royalty for each instance of this, according to your ethical scenario? Instead, the library profits, rather than Microsoft, and I profit by using its computer, without having to purchase the program, but Microsoft gets nothing by way of further compensation.

And say (since you are fond of infinites) that every author in the world had the means to transport themselves to this library (maybe with Star Trek technology) and use the computer with Microsoft Word 97 to write their manuscripts (all perfectly legally), up to millions of people, or an infinite number of authors (God forbid!). The library (or Kinkos) profits every time; the authors save the cost of purchasing Word 97; Microsoft does not receive one additional penny beyond the original library purchase. What, then, becomes of your "one-to-one correspondence"? It would seem to me that both library and authors / computer users have violated that left and right. Yet you (to my knowledge) have not come out against libraries.

So either libraries or your principle-as-stated have to go. I opt for your principle-as-stated, as I rather like libraries (and I like Kinkos), and so do most thinkers and readers. The only difference between this and a pro-life group loaning me their copy of Word 97 is that the pro-life group didn't charge me a rental fee. Thus, the library (in your view) would be more an accessory to crime than friends who loaned me the copy, as the library made a further profit, and directly assisted in and benefited from a "theft," whereas the friend did not make anything.

What is the logical or ethical difference between the following two scenarios?:

1. It is the library's "right to do whatever it wishes with the tangible property (CD) and the single instance of Word97 it compensated Microsoft for." Part of this "right" is the right to loan it out for library users. They then use it to write books or papers without Microsoft being compensated.

2. It is an individual person's "right to do whatever it wishes with the tangible property (CD) and the single instance of Word97 it compensated Microsoft for." Part of this "right" is the right to loan it out to friends. They then use it to write books or papers without Microsoft being compensated.
What is the ethical difference? Do not both things violate the "one-to-one correspondence between particulars in existence and compensation received by the creator of the universal"? How is "justice satisfied"? There is indeed a difference between the library and the friend's loan inasmuch as when the friend loans it, it is then downloaded onto another computer. But I don't see this as an ethical difference, particularly within the framework that you have set up for yourself, because the key for you is compensation to the creator. And in both instances this is lacking in terms of the author or beneficiary of the loan / gift using it without further compensation to Microsoft. That was my point all along: there are many instances of products being distributed without the owner and creator receiving compensation for it. This is true regarding my own book whenever it is purchased used.

At the library or Kinkos people are still using Word 97 (or other computer programs) without paying for it except for a nominal user's fee which benefits the library or Kinkos and not Microsoft. What you neglect to see is that there is no ethical distinction between what might be called "serial replication" vs. "simultaneous replication." When a person has something does not affect the fact that they have it at some point. So you set up this scenario where Person A has to uninstall Word 97 in order for Person B to ethically use said program. This is irrelevant ethically if the primary consideration is whether Microsoft receives further compensation for use of Word 97. It does not. So what Person A does after he loans it out is irrelevant, except according to some arbitrary "ideal absolute" that exists "out there" but has little relation to ethical reality or right to compensation, as it does not affect it. For Person B could simply uninstall Word 97 and pass it on to another person, up to an infinite number of users.

Each one has the "right" to do with it as he wills, because you have informed us that the initial owner has the right to do what he wills with it, being the owner. Once owner x gives it to beneficiary y, y is now the owner and has the right to do whatever HE wills, and so on, to infinity. So ten million or more people could benefit from Microsoft Word 97 without paying for it, and receiving a loan which continues in a perpetual chain (much like a library, again). Thus, you have cut off the branch you are sitting on. The position reduces to absurdity any way you look at it. The only way to avoid it is to also consider gifts, loans, libraries, and used purchases as unethical and instances of "stealing." You say they are not, but cannot show me any significant difference of principle. Therefore, your position collapses, and it does because your principles are inherently self-contradictory, as shown.

I see no significant difference between shared downloads and use of the same technology at a library (except for the library making a profit from it). For the author, Word 97 is only a means to an end. It is important only insofar as it enables him to do what he wants to do: write a book and make it look nice and impressive. I can do that at a library without purchasing it (I can also do it by borrowing a friend's computer, perhaps with Word 97 on it, for that matter; is that "stealing" too?). And if the library has a "right" to do with it as it wills, and make a profit from it, then I can do what I wish with the loan of the Word 97 that the library legally gives to me. It has given me all that I needed from it: the technology to do the book. If not, then you have to show me how what the library does is ethical, while a friend loaning it out (and not making a profit) is not. The same logic applies to used purchases as well. You create a problem by setting up contradictory "rights" and "principles." Something has to be discarded to regain coherence and consistency in your view.

No one is saying that Microsoft should be subjected to having its goods stolen off the shelves. But I am trying to show that the application of your principles involve contradiction and absurdity because you won't admit that used purchases and libraries and other instances of replication (or deprivations of royalties and profits to creators) of one sort or another, are unethical. I can see why you would be reluctant to make such an admission. But it seems to me that you must either do that or make a serious modification of your original claims.

My position is that I don't see that these principles can possibly be consistently applied without eliminating also all the good things I have mentioned; therefore I question the premise and do not consider downloads theft until I am shown that there exists some difference of principle. You have not shown me one, as far as I am concerned. But your position is based on all these absolute principles (themselves not absolutely unquestionable) that have been shown to contradict one another. The tension is in your position, not mine, because you have come out and stated that downloads are theft, but have been unable to show why, without libraries and used bookstores and Kinkos and the Tradin' Times and used record and CD stores and car lots and second-hand clothing shops and yard sales and church rummages going down in flames as well.

If a friend gives me a computer with Word 97 and Windows 98 installed and then his friend gives him the same (which scenario involves no contradiction of your principle), and so on onto infinity with everyone giving computers with purchased programs to someone else (like the Three Stooges passing the dollar bill around, settling all loans), then this is perfectly acceptable; meanwhile Microsoft makes no further profit at all? It all follows from your stated view. In my case, Microsoft Word 97 was simply a medium to create a book. I was also enabled to do that when I was taught to read and write, and when I learned theology and apologetics and philosophy and English literature and grammar. Do I have to compensate all the people who taught me those things, too, because I use those skills when I write a book, just as I use Word 97?

Whether you can overcome my latest analogies and logical difficulties raised, will be most interesting to watch. I don't think you're the type to run when asked hard questions anymore than I am, which is why this is so intellectually stimulating and fun. You appear very confident to me, and I am too. Like you said earlier, most such discussions would have long-since degenerated into insecure name-calling, but we have allowed this one to get to some real substance and meat, where it is all the more challenging. I'm very impressed by that on your part.

[that was the end of our discussion]


I remember reading somewhere that musicians and music publishers have actually made a greater profit as a result of Napster and other downloading services. It's easy to understand how and why that is, with a bit of reflection. Many people might not hear a certain musician or band at all, but for these services (if they don't listen to a lot of radio, or keep up with the latest music, etc.). With this new development, they can be introduced to a great many new musicians.

Also, on Napster, many tracks have to be purchased individually (for 99 cents). The artist thus receives royalties in those cases. The exposure will then make it more likely that the person may buy a CD from this person or group in the future, whereas before he may never have done so. It becomes a form of advertising and exposure, which is, of course, the name of the game for any product. The market is a dynamic, not static entity, or a "zero sum game". The music stores have started doing a similar thing by allowing customers to listen to excerpts of albums in the store. Amazon.com does the same thing with their short music file excerpts of tracks.

The ambiguities and complexities of copyright law have been dealt with in the courts, which is the system we have for sorting out disputes of this sort. They have decided that Napster and services like it do not violate copyright law (whereas plagiarism of literary or musical material is). If the musicians and publishers don't like that, then tough. We wouldn't expect them to. Everyone is self-interested. I don't like the fact (at some level) that my own books can be bought used, thus depriving me in some cases of a royalty from a new book bought. But this is reality, and we are a society of laws. I say that if all of this replication is supposedly immoral and "theft," then the people claiming this ought to get consistent and make CD burning and DVD replication and libraries and all used venues illegal. Until they do, downloading is no more illegal or unethical than going to the library: a time-honored American tradition. The argument against these things is, in other words, a distinction without a difference, and thus must be discarded.