Thursday, June 26, 2008
Addressing the message, not killing the messenger...
In browsing the latest entries on some Protestant apologetics sites, it seems that the focus of late has been individual attacks versus addressing arguments. For example. Visit Dr. James Whites website at his Alpha and Omega blog. Lets take a look at some of his most recent posts. One of them may be by another poster other than James himself, but none the less it is his blog. So lets look closer. In the last month White has managed to attack not 1, not 2 not 3, but 5 different catholic apologists personally. The persons of Ben Douglas, Mark Shea, Steve Ray, Art Sippo, and Patrick Madrid all received some sort of blog-lashing. Dr. White arrogantly told Ben Douglas and the whole blogo-sphere if you will, that Ray could never stand in a debate with him. He mocked Patrick Madrid in a cartoon depicting him as an idolater.
I ask Dr. White that he start addressing arguments the instead of these people personally. I also would hope that my fellow Catholic apologists that have also resorted to this would stop as well. I have witnessed Dr. Sippo throw some pretty harrowing attacks in his posts on blogs and apologetics chat-rooms. I personally know how easy it is to get carried away in the heat of debate, since all of these people, including Dr. White are passionate about what they believe. I am as well, and have also on occasion crept over into the art of personal insult. I have tried of late to keep focused on the arguments, and tried to state clearly and without added pepper when I have considered someone to be quoting Catholic teaching incorrectly.
I have said in an earlier post that I do not wish to make an enemy of Mr. White, and this still stands. I have addressed him in a few of my posts. A couple concerning his Martin Luther videos, which I thought were way off base, and another on relics. Recently I addressed Dr. White on one of his videos on Transubstantiation and the history of the Liturgy. Now over 200 people have viewed the videos, yet Dr. White continues not to address it. In the 3 part video I demonstrated where his historical arguments against the Eucharist, Transubstantiation, the elevation of the host and the tabernacle were completely false. I have yet to see him address these. Yet he has plenty of time to go on his blog and attack Mark Shea, Ben Douglas, Steve Ray, Patrick Madrid and so on, yet we see nothing on a real argument presented to him, viewed by now hundreds of people. Whether we are right or wrong, we must be willing to address these issues. I have no problem admitting when I have made a mistake. It seems to me by Dr. White's attitude, that an apologist who makes a mistake can never ever again be taken seriously. If am wrong in stating this, and i am misreading him, then I will gladly be open for correction. In a post on Beggars All blog 4 or 5 weeks ago, I had to recant on a quote that I misused and that I posted in error. I of course was completely crucified for it, but that comes with territory I guess.
The spirit of apologetics will always have a heated side to it, for it involves the core of our beliefs in God, and our eternal existence. It involves how we live, and how we treat others in this world. I believe we are called to be Christians first, and how we conduct apologetics should always be within that Christian framework. Cartoons mocking people, writing diatribes about others is not in my opinion at the core of Christianity. I am not referring to just Dr. White here either. The internet is full of this, from both Protestants and Catholics, who of all people should know better. In the future I hope that we can all take a step back and focus on the issues and arguments at hand, with a true objective outlook for the truth. I know that just by engaging in these online debates and personal debates, I always manage to learn something new. If am not learning something about my opponent's beliefs, then I usually learn more about my own Catholic faith.
Yours in Christ, Matthew James Bellisario
Posted by Matthew Bellisario at 1:47 PM