Monday, October 08, 2007

Chat Room Debate Challenge to "Turretinfan", "Saint and Sinner", and Gene M. "Troll" Bridges: "Is Catholicism Christian?"

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Wouldn't a real debate be nice for a change?

1) Whereas I have tried for 12 years to engage an anti-Catholic Christian (either Protestant or Orthodox) in a sustained discussion on the crucial presuppositional topic of "Is Catholicism Christian?" / "What is Christianity?" (ever since my snail mail debate with James White in 1995, that he prematurely departed from),

2) And whereas recently, the four persons named above (especially "Turretinfan") have objected to my use of the term anti-Catholic, and have refused to interact with my perfectly reasonable stated rationale (from almost exclusively Protestant scholars) in a paper I always direct people to, who object to my usage,

3) And whereas this issue is fundamental to all Catholic-Protestant discussion, insofar as it is crucial to start with correct and commonly held definitions in order to get anywhere in a meaningful discussion,

4) And whereas James White, John Q. "Lightweight" Doe, and CARM president Matt Slick have all declined to discuss this topic in a chat room debate,

5) And whereas "Saint and Sinner" has (oddly enough) decided to embark on a series of critiques of my book, The Catholic Verses, despite writing on 3-7-07:
Why should Dr. White waste his time in fruitless written debates? Everyone knows that he rarely does this and that he only does public moderated debates so that there can be cross-ex. In written debates, Armstrong could simply dodge the question by rambling on about something else. Also, why should White waste his time with Armstrong when it is clear from "The Catholic Verses" that Armstrong doesn't have any exegetical ability at all? [Then again, does any conservative Catholic have any?]
6) And whereas "Saint and Sinner" has refused (despite his zeal in critique) to properly interact with my critiques of his critiques, or to defend his positions with even rudimentary intellectual confidence, preferring to compose short replies that ignore much of my argumentation:
Here’s Dave’s attempted rebuttal [link to my long reply]. I would encourage everyone (who has the time!) to read my post [link], write down the specific points/arguments/counter-arguments that I made, read Dave’s post, and see if he actually responded meaningfully with anything I said. Good luck! Voluminous writing tends to obscure the real issues, divert the topic elsewhere, and make one’s opponents look like they said something they didn’t.

7) And whereas all of these men have preferred to engage in personal insult rather than serious comprehensive discussion, where I am concerned, and have especially endlessly regurgitated the charge that I write too much meaningless "fluff" and at absurd length (a charge I refuted with much documentation, i.e., proving that many known online anti-Catholics are far more voluminous than I am):

[H]e's ["Saint and Sinner"] already received his first love letter from Uncle Dave here. It's worth noting that, as usual, it is utterly irrelevant to anything Saint and Sinner actually wrote.

(Gene M. Bridges, 10-2-07)

One cannot help but think that your desire S&S to take time to reply to a 27 page response from you is both (a) a diversionary tactic to keep him from pressing forward . . .

(Gene M. Bridges, 10-3-07)

Here’s Dave’s attempted rebuttal. I would encourage everyone (who has the time!) to read my post, write down the specific points/arguments/counter-arguments that I made, read Dave’s post, and see if he actually responded meaningfully with anything I said. Good luck!

("Saint and Sinner", 10-5-07)

[H]e rants and raves ad nauseam and ends up drifting away from the issue.

("Saint and Sinner", 10-6-07)

But press on S&S - continue to demonstrate the fallacies in "Catholic Verses," and go ahead with your short reply to the few on-topic remarks in Dave's 27 page document. After all, the rebuttal of his book serves a valuable public function that is independent of the prejudice and hostility of the writer of the book.

("Turretinfan", 10-6-07)

[O]f course, most of what appears on the web site is not even pretext at Biblical apologetics, just inflammatory material . . .

("Turretinfan", 10-18-07)
8) And whereas others watching this latest farce of viciously circular monologue critiques (with no intention whatsoever of answering hard questions from my end) from the peanut gallery have expressed the same silly, groundless sentiments:
I’ll admit, I don’t think I have ever read through an entire DA post because they get so long, but I hope S&S can get through a few posts without being barraged by DA and others with what mostly amounts to off-topic rants.

("Carrie" -- 10-2-07)

I see Armstrong is continuing his defining of "anti-Catholic" as "whoever disagrees with Dave Armstrong." Welcome to the club, Saint & Sinner, from your fellow "anti-Catholic" :-)

(Peter Pike, 10-2-07)
9) And whereas James White: the anti-Catholic champion that all these men look up to as a role model as the Mighty Vanquisher of Catholicism, has extolled the glories of the cross-examination -- echoed by "Saint and Sinner" in his remark cited in #5 above -- (my emphases):
. . . a pack of lies so inane, so silly, no person could possibly make a meaningful case for them in the face of cross-examination and rebuttal. Which is why, of course, he refuses to put himself in a position of being cross-examined by the very people who would expose his falsehoods without hesitation.

(1-17-06 on his blog)

What is not being said is that the very first thing torn out was the cross-examination that we had specifically asked for in the agreement arrived at. I have said it repeatedly in the past, and I'll say it again: in theological debate the truth is normally determined by cross-examination. I know that is not the case in scholastic speed-talking, but it is in this context, a context that is unfamiliar territory for all involved on the other side. So, cross-ex was being diminished to the point of being irrelevant.


During the cross-examination, as is so often the case, the wheels fell off my opponent's wagon. I was pressing him on his utterly untenable reading of Romans 1 and finally, he had to give in.

10) And whereas this format will force these prattling critics of myself and my reasoning and dialogical methods to confront the issue (indeed, any issue that they have with Catholics) head on for a change rather than running from them and substituting juvenile insults for intelligent, constructive discourse,

11) And whereas I have always thought that an assertion that Catholicism is not Christian, coming from the position of Protestantism, is a viciously self-refuting position of intellectual suicide,

12) I do hereby challenge any and all of these men (one at a time) to a live debate in James White's chat room (or similar venue), in a "double cross-ex format" (exactly the same one that I challenged White, Doe, and Slick to undertake).

* * * * *

My suggested terms and parameters and format for the debate are as follows (exactly as I suggested in the three earlier challenges):

I am allowed to question (or "cross-examine") my opponent for 60 minutes on this topic, whereas he can question me for 90 minutes. The entire debate would consist entirely of this "cross-examining", since Bishop White has repeatedly stressed that this is such a "crucial" element of Catholic-Protestant encounters. I actually largely agree with him in this instance, in the sense that all positions need to be closely examined, and people taking positions ought to defend their positions against such close scrutiny.

My opponent can choose to question first, or second (I have no preference). As in my terms in 2001 (first challenge to Bishop White, that he refused), it is a "non-negotiable" that the entire, unedited exchange shall be posted on my blog. If that is not agreed-to beforehand, there will be no debate, because the whole point is to broadcast it (by exposure online) as far and wide as possible.

My opponent(s) can post it on his (their) blog(s), too. It will certainly be posted on my blog in its entirety. White's characteristic chiding of debate opponents when they are reluctant to distribute debates (as tacit "admissions" that they "lost") is no factor here. It never has been.

I provide my opponents with 90 minutes of cross-examination (30 minutes more than I get with them): truly a golden opportunity (even a handicap) to prove to the world that I am as profoundly ignorant and clueless as they repeatedly claim. What do any of them have to lose?

I also suggest that it take place late enough for those on the west coast to be able to observe it live (9 or 10 PM EST); preferably on a Friday or Saturday night, so that those in the eastern part of the country can stay up later without having to work the next day. There will be no rules, no moderation, no format other than previously agreed-to time limits, and absolute inadmissibility of personal attack.

Participants can, however, or refuse to spend a perceived inordinate amount of time on what they consider a "side" issue.

Should any of my opponents be willing (and that is always the hurdle), we could continue on with similarly formatted live chat debates on other mutually-agreed-upon topics.

* * * * *

Lack of any response will be regarded as a "no" answer: declining the challenge or invitation, and this will be duly noted and documented hereafter on my blog, for the record (along with the probable slew of renewed insults, just as occurred with Slick, White, and Doe).

Notice of this challenge will be posted on the blogs of all four of these men (Triablogue for Gene M. Bridges) immediately after this is posted.

Here are the URLs of all three comboxes ("Turretinfan's" blog requires his approval for all comments). This ought to be great fun to watch (judging by past experience):


Saint and Sinner

Gene M. Bridges (at Triablogue)

* * * * *

Gene M. Bridges (I knew someone was gonna go nuts with this) has launched into the stratosphere with a hyper-ridiculous piece, comparing me (I kid you not) to the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il and (as a special bonus) the Iranian crackpot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As the proverb goes: "just when I thought I had seen [or, been called] everything . . . "All because of a debate challenge!!! ROFL! I went downstairs and told my second son and wife about it and we all laughed our heads off.

Here it is in its entirety, except for his citation of his extreme insults posted at Turretinfan's blog. I have posted them with my replies in the combox. This ranks up with the very best and funniest of the insults from our anti-Catholic brethren in Christ: up in the sublime territory of Eric Svendsen claiming that I hobnob with Holocaust deniers and that I had closed down my blog and had left the Internet entirely after James White supposedly shut me up for good with his personal attacks (um, that was a remark he made in January 2005). I hope you enjoy the utter absurdity of it as much as my family has.

A day later I was compared to Fidel Castro. That is posted below, too.

* * * * *

Thursday, October 25, 2007

For The Record

Kim Jong Armstrong has declared that I have turned down a debate with him. The reason I am writing this is to make the historical record as clear as possible, just in case the Roman Polit Bureau decides to craft a few whoppers by omitting certain facts from the record.

I learned this today when I ran into this little comment over on Turretin Fan's blog:

I have offered my opponents 90 minutes of time to examine me, to my 60 for asking them questions. White and Doe turned that down. S&S and Bridges appear to have also. TF is still pondering.
So, let's get this straight, shall we, Dave assumed, without any interaction whatsoever from me one way or the other that I had turned down a debate with him.

Where was this challenge posted?

1. On Dave's blog.
2. In this thread.

I don't read, Kim Jong Armstrong's blog. Unlike him, I'm not so self-obsessed that I troll about the internet looking for references to my name so that I can find targets to test fire missiles. In fact, I rarely interact with Kim Jong Armstrong up in the great North, since my interests are more about Southern Baptists, at present in particular.

Note that the thread in which this was posted was a thread about...rain - not Catholicism - rain. Was there something about this thread that attracted nullifidians and Kim Jong Armstrong? Yeah, I know, that's just weird. Also, I don't read every comment stream of everything I write here; sometimes I follow it part way then move on and forget about it. Yeah, I know, weird. You see, I believe in the priesthood of all believers, since I am, after all Baptist, and that means I believe in letting others participate in a discussion on their own. Oh, and, for the record, no, we writers here do not receive messages that somebody has commented on something we've written. We have to fend for ourselves in that regard.

So, I learned about this "challenge" from Kim Jong Armstrong that I had "turned down" in a comment box on another blog; so I had to google for a debate challenge to me, which I then found to be on Kim Jong Armstrong's blog, and then come back here to find where, exactly, he had posted it. Apparently, Kim Jong Armstrong works with all the stealth of the North Korean nuclear program.

Reading the post, the debate is, itself, more about his feeling left out, mocked, etc. than it is about the truth of Scripture, theology, etc. No, the list of resolutions are, for the most part, all about Dave's ego.

By the way, you'd think that Saint and Sinner has enough on his hands too, since he's posting exegetical responses to Dave's book. As I said before, this seems like a diversionary tactic on Dave's part. Let S&S finish his work before that, or is Kim Jong Armstrong upset that the United Reformed Apologetics Security Council won't give him the attention he so desperately craves?

By the way, as you can see the central members are all in the center - clearly the balding guy is James White. (Yeah, Brother James, you know that's you, don't deny it!) Hays is at the head of the table ( I see the Cary Grant resemblance, don't you?) , Doe, Slick, Turk, and Svendsen are the others. I'm in the second circle all the way on the right. As you can see, my hand is not raised. That's me turning down the vote to recognize Kim Jong Armstrong's debate challenges, obviously.

Frankly, I think me debating Dave would be as profitable a use of my time as a US official debating Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His challenge, in my estimation, bears a striking resemblance to that very challenge.

So, just in case the Armstrong Polit Bureau decides to start with the triumphal cry that I have refused to debate Dave for self-serving reasons - for example that I fear to cross the demilitarized zone because I can't defend my position, here is the exact reply I left for him on TF's blog:

[omitted portion; see it in my combox with my replies]

Oh, and one more thing, the reason that the comments here are turned off is quite simple:

1. I'm sure Mahmoud Armstrong, like his counterpart overseas, will have his own little rant on his own blog.

2. I derive a certain pleasure from that sort of thing, rather like Andy Taylor watching Barney Fife implode - you know to see that little vein on his neck pop out, mussed up hair and all.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Ever Changing Story

Generalissimo (In)Fidel Armstrong's Polit Bureau writes today:

the only one of the four challenged even considering it, far as I can tell; Gene Bridges is comparing me to the dictators of North Korea and Iran LOL

1. Notice the subtle change? Yesterday it was (emphasis mine):
I have offered my opponents 90 minutes of time to examine me, to my 60 for asking them questions. White and Doe turned that down. S&S and Bridges appear to have also. TF is still pondering.
Yesterday I was informed by His Majesty that I and two others had turned it down, and that before I actually refused. Now, we have some sort self-flagellatory compromise between having refused and consideration. Dave is in no position to know anything about whether or not anybody is considering his offer. Rather, he begins from the posture that if we don't respond immediately we have turned it down, and let's not forget where he left his challenge here - in a thread requesting prayer for rain. Here's a challenge for Dave: Stop with the self-flagellation and self-absorption and maybe you'll be taken more seriously.

2. Yes, I agree, comparisons to the dictators of Korea and Iran may have been a bit much - they are far too relevant in current affairs, so I've chosen another one for you that's a bit more appropriate in that regard. Better?

3. And Barney Fife, Dave, and Barney Fife.

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