Wednesday, April 04, 2007

James White's Reply to My Recent Critique / The "Vow Breaker" Bum Rap

I refuted James White's paper on the Council of Nicaea, after he practically dared and begged any Catholic apologist to do that. And now White has made a substantive, meaningful reply.

The centerpiece is a posting of mine from 14 March 2001 (that's six years ago, folks), that wasn't even on my site, as I recall, but on Steve Ray's discussion board, as a result of a dare (probably calculated, judging by the way the anti-Catholics have tried to throw it in my face ever since). I wrote about it recently on another blog:

Svendsen cited a statement I made in 2001 after being fed up with anti-Catholics and their idiocies and evasions. I said I would never talk to them again, and no one else should, either. This was obviously too extreme of a statement, and impossible for an apologist like myself to abide by (since I have to deal with error of that sort, by profession).

So it was wrong and stupid for me to make such a resolution. Indeed I broke it. But I don't see this as even a sin. We all break resolutions all the time (diets, not smoking or drinking anymore, to control our tempers, better use of time, etc.).

I can admit that. I have no problem with it (I already have done so in public, long ago). I spoke with too much extremity and set myself up for later mockery by these anti-Catholic clowns. If mine was a sin at all (I'm not so sure, but possibly) it is certainly venial, and long since confessed.

But Svendsen takes it to a whole other level: that of pretending that this resolution was a vow or an oath. Svendsen has repeated this charge many times (to try to discredit me as a lying fool), but it is a bald-faced lie, and I soundly refuted it. Vows and oaths are an extremely serious matter and of a far higher importance than resolutions.

Anyone can do a word search of the Svendsen article citing my older words and see for themselves that the words "vow" or "oath" never appear. Nor does the word "swear" appear; let alone "swear by God" or "under God" or some such. This is an elementary distinction, so for anyone to not understand this, shows a fundamental deficiency in understanding of this ethical point of Christian / biblical / Catholic theology.

A quick glance at the online Catholic Encyclopedia ("Vows") could have brought [Svendsen and now White] to speed in 20 seconds maximum:
A vow is defined as a promise made to God. The promise is binding, and so differs from a simple resolution which is a present purpose to do or omit certain things in the future.
But even a vow allows for some "loopholes":
Dispensation from a vow is ordinarily justified by great difficulty in its fulfilment or by the fact that it was taken without due deliberation, or by the probability of some greater good either to the person taking it or to others, . . .
My mere resolution was obviously too difficult to reasonably abide by (esp. as an apologist) due to its extremity, and it was made on the spur of the moment without due deliberation (in fact, as I recall, I was goaded into it by another anti-Catholic).

The article on "Oaths" is similar:
An oath is an invocation to God to witness the truth of a statement. It may be express and direct, as when one swears by God Himself; or implicit and tacit, as when we swear by creatures, since they bear a special relation to the Creator and manifest His majesty and the supreme Truth in a special way: for instance, if one swears by heaven, the throne of God (Matthew 5:34), by the Holy Cross, or by the Gospels.
Traditionally, Svendsen (post of 1-13-05) and other anti-Catholics have used this statement of mine to "prove" that I am supposedly a "liar" or an "oath-/vow-breaker". White has now offered an interesting new twist on the perpetual smear campaign (the Big Lie and talking points about me seem to change roughly every 6-8 months). Rather than accusing me of lying, he opts for psychological or mental illness, "stalker", untrustworthiness, and my allegedly being not "stable".

Very clever (very unethical too). It's amazing how many excuses intellectual cowards will come up with. Along with this latest evasive tactic, anti-Catholics like Frank Turk have also been making out that I am begging for attention because no leading anti-Catholics supposedly think I am "relevant" or "important" in apologetics anymore, and simply laugh me off as a washed-up has-been.

Right; funny, then, that my paperback books are bestsellers in the field: three are now consistently in the Top 100 for the Catholic Theology category on amazon, and often two are in the top 20, a new book is coming out in May, plus my blog hits are 900 a day average (more than Turk and Hays), and I get letters all the time informing me of conversions to Catholicism partially or largely because of my work. By any objective criterion of "success" in what I do, I'm more effective as a vessel of Catholic apologetics than ever. All glory to God.

Of course this very statement will be thrown in my face as "bragging" (even though James White talks about results he gets in his ministry in similar fashion all the time, often with considerable paranoia, as seen in his new "stalking" charge). But the anti-Catholics have to come up with something: to rationalize their unwillingness to answer critiques or to do necessary, fundamental debates, some hogwash so that they don't have to ever seriously consider anything I write, so this fits the bill. Whether it is true or not is utterly irrelevant to them.

Smear and propagandistic tactics are never concerned with the truth, but rather, with their goal to find something that works for the purpose of putting someone down and trashing their person and integrity, despite, in the teeth of, the actual facts of the matter. But if they want to ignore me, that's fine. It only helps my work succeed all the more, because they have effectively removed any opposition to it. So I have a free reign to influence Protestants to seriously consider the fullness of Catholicism. Thanks, guys!

White, in this latest post, uses the description "vow[ing" twice, with regard to my past resolutions about desired non-interaction with anti-Catholics. As anyone can see in a word search of the ancient post of mine that he has reproduced in its entirety, as I noted above:
The words "vow" or "oath" never appear. Nor does the word "swear" appear; let alone "swear by God" or "under God" or some such.
Nor did I use this language of "vow" or "oath" in 2005. Not at all. That can easily be proven as well. So White is lying again and misrepresenting what I have done. I left his discussion of my book The Catholic Verses because he couldn't stay on the subject and had to make it yet another mudfest (including charges that I am knowingly deceptive about the falsity of various Protestant beliefs). It was an insult to anyone's intelligence to continue that discussion. So I left. It had nothing to do with fear or inability, as White vainly loves to pretend. A few months later I refuted his position on Moses' Seat and he never replied to that, as usual:

Refutation of James White: Moses' Seat, the Bible, and Tradition (Introduction) (+ Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Parts VII & VIII)

All of this pompous flatulence from Bishop White is a transparent cover for his inability to defend the positions he takes. He challenged: I took it up, and rather than make a rational reply, White opts for ridicule: his tactic where I am concerned for now 12 years. Some highlights of this classic of Bishop White condescension:
He collapsed into a puddle of goo, ran for the hills, vowing to never again have anything to do with "anti-Catholics."

He's become downright nasty and demeaning, but again, this is nothing new for DA.

He truly strikes me as a kind of stalker.

Anyway, I explained to him that arranging a debate with him would be problematic for the obvious reason that he can't be trusted. He is not stable. He swings from pillar to post, and if we did, in fact, arrange a formal debate today, how could anyone trust that next week he won't have yet another change of heart, make another vow to avoid anti-Catholics, and bag out?

It is just one of many such examples of the instability of Dave Armstrong.
Pray for this man. My family has started making a habit of doing so every night when we say grace for dinner. Now all we need to do is pray Rosaries on his behalf, or ask the Blessed Virgin Mary and other saints to ask God to heal this man from his resentments, slanders, extreme blindness to his own faults and hypocrisies, and severe irresponsibility in matters of truth and falsehood (not to mention intellectual cowardice, which is a strange trait indeed for an apologist to suffer from).

No comments: