Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Steve Hays and His Band of Merry Mockers Join the "Anti-Catholic" / "Anti-Calvinist" Terminological Hypocrisy Bandwagon



"Vicious Circle I", Ján Švec, pencil, 1995

[ source ]

I've long documented how anti-Catholic Protestants will object to any use of the term anti-Catholic, yet will turn right around, without blinking an eye or missing a beat, and use terms like anti-Calvinist. I discovered yet another striking example of this rank hypocrisy today, over at Steve Hays' site, Triablogue. First, some necessary background:

On 25 September 2005, Hays wrote, in reply to something I wrote:
The historical etymology of “anti-Catholic” is irrelevant to this debate. All that’s relevant is Armstrong’s self-serving usage. . . .

To my knowledge, I’ve always been consistent in my use of synonyms, employing “Catholic,” “Romanist,” “papist,” “popery” and the like interchangeably for purposes of stylistic variety and euphony.

My usage isn’t normative for anyone else.

Armstrong is of the stated view that you should call folks whatever they want to be called. I disagree. We should call people what they are. I value truthful speech over PC speech.

. . . I’m not offended by this linguistic discrimination. But, by the same token, I have an equally principled reason for my own usage.
I asked what my "self-serving" usage was, and he replied: "Dave's functional definition of 'anti-Catholic' is any Evangelical he doesn't want to debate."

I replied:
I have a perfect right to not debate someone whom I think is an anti-Catholic: i.e., one who denies that the Catholic Church is Christian. How is that "self-serving"? I'm in the process now of confirming from Christian sociologists that my definition (one of a range of many) is entirely proper. You don't like that? Go debate and refute them.

Why am I required to debate people who holds positions that I consider intellectually suicidal and the height of absurdity?

We all make such choices. You may not like that, but so what? I don't like what you think of my Church. Join the crowd. Life is tough.

Why should I care what YOU think of my criteria for who I will spend time debating? I make my own decisions; I don't operate on the basis that "oh wow, Steve Hays may not LIKE my decision to avoid anti-Catholics like himself!"
Steve shot back:
Disposing of your straw man argument, no one is contesting your right to debate, or not, with anyone you please.

ii)If you don't care to debate me, that's fine. I win by default. Thanks for surrendering without a fight. Now I can move on to other targets.
Then his sidekick Gene M. Bridges chimed in:
If you think a position is intellectually suicidal but you won't debate them, it's not as much self-serving as rank cowardice. If your position is correct, then stand up and debate it in the open when challenged without melting down and calling people names. As it stands now, your major defense is the "Nana Nana Boo-Boo" aka "Anti-Catholic" defense. . . . Get a clue, Dave, the apologetic world does not revolve around you.
Of course, all of this idle speculation is a wonderful confirmation of anti-Catholic cowardice, since James White has systematically avoided almost all interaction with any of my many lengthy criticisms of his work. So I guess he, too, must be guilty of "rank cowardice." Bridges and Hays said it (i.e., in principle)! I (according to Hays) "win by default" when White flees for the hills. Moreover, all those anti-Catholics who turned down my offer to do a live chat debate (my last-ditch attempt to get these guys to engage and defend their ridiculous charges), are (remember, I'm following Hays' own "logic" here) also cowards, including Gene M. Bridges himself. The others are:

Bishop James White (twice)

John Q. Doe (right after White declined for the second time)

Matt Slick

"Saint and Sinner"

[in effect, S&S declined on 10-27-07 by saying "amen" to "Turretinfan's" decline and giving no indication otherwise after five previous related comments (one / two / three / four / five) ]

The Anonymous One (TAO)

[declined to debate as proposed on 10-27-07, after lengthy ruminations and maneuverings (Link One / Link Two); see additional related puerile inanities]

Six anti-Catholic cowards: as proven by the rhetoric of anti-Catholics Hays and Bridges. Thanks, guys!

As for Steve Hays himself and possible debate (back when I was willing to do that with anti-Catholics), I wrote on his blog, on 3-7-07:
If Steve wants to talk serious terms for a debate, he can write to me. I won't be visiting here much.
Almost needless to add, he never did. I had written in the same thread on 3-6-07:
[Anonymous] "Hey, I would love to see Steve Hays take on DA in written debate. What do you say Steve?"

[Steve Hays] Armstrong has avoided such a prospect at every opportunity.

Armstrong has also avoided every prospect of debating anti-Catholics for two years, for the reasons I have given. I thought it was a perfectly worthless exercise, and concluded that after no less than eight years of experience online, at the time I made that decision.

Since you are a member of that class, I also avoided debating you. You need not tickle your imagination with vain, illusory hopes that I'm scared to death of you.

I was, however, willing to debate the charge that I was scared or unable to debate you (during the time I restricted myself), and that was the one thing you refused to do. I had a good reason for my refusal (many good reasons). You did not. You simply called me a sophist and refused to do it.

I wouldn't rule out a future exchange at all, now that I am willing to debate anti-Catholics again in some circumstances.

But we would have to discuss what I mentioned in my comment, noted here, and I would have to be convinced that you could drop the smart-alecky, mocking routine long enough for us to actually do a constructive, remotely mutually-respectful discussion.

Most people, I dare say, who had been subjected to the bilge that you have written about me wouldn't give you the time of day, let alone debate you.

On the other hand, you have actually said some nice things about me, too, which I appreciated, both for the gesture, and the fact that it is so ultra-rare, coming from your school of thought. James White has never ever paid me the slightest compliment whatsoever, whereas I have paid him many through the years (I did several times right in his chat room the other day), have apologized many times for harshness, (he never has), defended him on more than one occasion, and have several links to his papers.

Nor do you kick people out at the drop of a hat. I respect that too. For once, someone has the courage of their convictions and doesn't have to conduct himself like a tinpot dictator.

* * * * *

Earlier, on 11 April 2005, Hays made similar observations on the "anti-Catholic" terminology issue:
But to judge by this reply, whenever Armstrong gets into a dogfight he can't win, he pushes the little red button on his ejector seat labeled “anti-Catholic,” and parachutes out of his flaming, nose-diving plane.

This is exactly the same tactic that is used by liberals to smear conservatives and duck out of an honest debate over the issues. They resort to slur words like “homophobic,” “sexist,” “racist,” and the like.

Anyone can play this game. A Mormon would say that I'm anti-Mormon. A psychic would say that I'm anti-astrology. That's a great bullet-dodging device. . . .

He's says that I'm anti-Catholic. Well, what is Trent if not anti-Protestant?

Am I anti-Catholic? Depends on what you mean. I'm not hostile to Catholics. This isn't personal.

I am opposed to the Catholic belief-system, just as Armstrong is opposed to the Reformed belief-system.

Do I believe that the RCC is a fully Christian institution? Obviously not, otherwise I'd be Roman Catholic.

For the record, I believe the RCC to be an apostate church. The Council of Trent marks the irreformable repudiation of the gospel of grace, while Vatican II marks the official triumph of modernism.
And again on 14 April 2005:
And who is an “anti-Catholic”? Anyone he doesn't want to debate with, that's who!
Hays and Bridges later provided entertainment (on 21 August 2005) by mocking the term "anti-Catholic":
Dave Armstrong has an “Anti-Catholic” webpage (http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ450.HTM [current URL] ), and I’m gratified to see that I’ve finally made the cut.

Since Catholicism is literally a meritocracy, I assume that one must also merit a place on Armstrong’s Anti-Catholic page. Is this a form of condign or congruent merit? Perhaps it is a parallel category, such as condign demerit or antimerit. . . .

In Armstrong’s soteriology, is a premier “Anti-Catholic” like White the alter-ego of the Blessed Virgin? Is he the Anti-Mary? Can we pray to him to dispense so many ergs of anti-merit when our own fund of anti-merit runs low?
* * *
Let's anti-welcome our anti-brother, Anti-Steve to this Anti-verse of Anti-matter. Anti-Steve, we in this anti-verse of anti-Catholics and anti-matter and anti-merit are all just an unhappy group of unpeople who undo unthings untogether, but, unknown to us there are no Anti-Protestants in this anti-verse, because, as we all know, that would be anti-intellectual.

There is some unhope of unescape, however. Perhaps if you head over to www.absolution-online.com, you can unbegin to unpay for your uncrime against un-Christians.

Unsigned,

The Anti-Welcome UnCommittee
Thus we observe the usual irrational antipathy to use of the term anti-Catholic to describe their positions. Further documentation is unnecessary. This is about as predictable in their circles as the sun coming up (BIG YAWN).

All the above is preliminary documentation for my main point, which is that the same group of people; the same blog, now (hypocritically) has a category of posts, called "Anti-Calvinism". Huh? I thought we weren't supposed to define folks (partially) in terms of what they oppose? What happened? Are these guys this unaware of their past rhetoric?

I clicked on the category at the bottom of the latest post, and a bunch of posts classified in this way came up:
God 'Gut' Said It, That Settles It (Paul Manata: 5-18-08)

But Bill Hasker Said So (Paul Manata: 5-7-08)

"I Don't Get God" (Paul Manata: 5-3-08)

No, God, You Couldn't Possibly Have a Reason for That (Paul Manata: 5-1-08)

More From Reppert (Paul Manata: 4-28-08)

The Arminian Counter Argument (Paul Manata: 4-27-08)

Answer to Reppert's "Question for Calvinists" (Paul Manata: 4-26-08)

Reppert's Ruminations on Reformed Roughage (Paul Manata: 4-24-08)

Stop Yer Blubbering (Paul Manata: 4-21-08)

Reppert's Latest Try at Undermining Calvinism (Paul Manata: 4-19-08)

Victor Reppert on Anti-Calvinism (Paul Manata: 4-17-08)

Why Reppert Can't Unsolve Calvinist Solutions to Problems of Evil (Paul Manata: 4-12-08)

Reply to the Anti-Calvinists (Paul Manata: 4-11-08)

Answering Back To Reppert, Or Is It God? (Paul Manata: 4-3-08)

Was Calvin A Voluntarist? (Paul Manata: 4-3-08)

There Are Twelve Triablogue Models (Gene M. Bridges: 3-22-08)

Everyone Who Hears and Learns From the Father Comes to Me (Gene M. Bridges: 3-9-08)

Dumpster Diving (Paul Manata: 3-9-08)

LFW Gone Wild (Gene M. Bridges: 3-8-08)

J.C. Thibodaux's Chasez's Boy Band Theology (Paul Manata: 3-6-08)
Wow; that's 20 posts in about 2 1/2 months (or one in about every 3.8 days since 6 March 2008 till now) , about "anti-Calvinism." And they say I am obsessed with anti-Catholics? I don't even attempt to interact with them anymore; I only do brief "expose" posts like this one; showing how these folks aren't worth bothering with much at all, because the "arguments" are so intellectually bankrupt and self-defeating.

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