Friday, February 08, 2013

Am I a Psychotic Madman? Diagnoses from Reformed Protestant Anti-Catholic Polemicist James Swan



By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong

Lately, anti-Catholic luminary James Swan has been complaining, drone-like, about condemnations of Catholics over an outrageous remark made by his buddy Alan Maricle (aka "Rhology"):
. . . Leaving aside the question of whether the Rosary has any effect on abortion (other than making demons laugh uproariously), . . .

An entire discussion developed regarding that, on Swan's blog (Boors All), where it originally occurred, and on my Facebook page (cross-posted also to my blog).  Swan (in his usual boorish, utterly biased manner) started mocking and making the same fallacy- and hypocrisy-laden complaints over and over and over (as if repeating a fallacy makes it more true or less hypocritical than it was from the outset):
Rome's Love below for Rho. Would Mary approve? [examples provided] (2-7-13)
Maybe instead of attacking Rho, these wonderful loving Romanists could work out a prayer to Mary for Rho... or maybe Mary is appearing to them and approving their comments before they post them? (2-7-13)

More love from Rome: "Rhology seems to be unusually privy to the doings of the demons . . . ." [Dave: yes, because he said demons were laughing at Rosary-praying Catholics at abortion clinics] Keep it coming guys. You are your own worst enemies. (2-7-13)

More love from Rome: "Maniacal Maricle is now getting hyper-ridiculous, as he always does" [my own] These nasty comments must make Mary very sad. (2-8-13)

Why do your buddies get a free pass mocking and calling Rho names? Explain to me why Mary would approve of this sort of behavior. (2-8-13)
Mr Hoffer, Thank you for at least answering one of my questions. I particularly appreciate that you at least admitted the comments of your friends were "snarky." I'd go a step a further and say they were downright nasty. . . . Or, perhaps your priests are telling you folks to be snarky and nasty. Who knows? [examples given of our remarks] (2-8-13)
I simply don't understand why Rho can make a post pointing out something that many of us see as totally wrong (Rho calls it blasphemy, I call it idolatry), and then he's got to have insults hurled at him. (2-9-13)

Once again, I'd like to ask: for a religion that takes Mary so seriously, would Mary approve of these comments? Lest this sort of question / reasoning appear cryptic to Roman Catholic visitors, I'm simply asking you to be consistent in your Mariology. It's the same reasoning used above all the times I've mentioned Mary appearing to you, telling you things, etc. Why do [you] insist on be[ing] insulting? I'm asking you where in your Mariology this sort of behavior is taught or approved. (2-9-13)
Mary, as far I understand modern-day Roman Catholic Mariology, would not at all pleased with many of the comments made about Rho. I've focused mostly on the comments made about Rho in order to make the "what would Mary think of your comments" argument. (2-9-13)

Knowing Mr. Swan's past history of issuing several avalanches of insults towards myself (and unless he is an amnesiac, he certainly couldn't have repressed all of this past history of his own), I issued a jeremiad in the Facebook thread (shortened somewhat here, for brevity's sake):
James Swan . . . is indulging in extreme double standard hypocrisy of Pharisaical proportions. His big complaint is about how we over here are being so supposedly mean to the saintly Alan Maricle, in an unethical way, because we used strong language to condemn his trashing of the Rosary and mocking it, saying that demons laugh uproariously over Catholic pro-lifers praying to God (which is what the Rosary is) to save the lives of babies about to be ripped to pieces.

He's going on and on, repeatedly, about such outrageous epithets that we have used, such as (prepare yourself!): "twit" and "nobodies" and "cowards" etc. He cites my harmless play-on-words, "maniacal Maricle." All of these examples were in his latest post. Never mind that I have already cited Maricle's past description of me (this is all fine and dandy):

In reality, you're a special case. You're a false teacher, and a borderline obsessive-compulsive, incorrigible, tenacious one at that. Biblically, a Christian is not to treat you like he treats the majority of lost people. Rather, you are a wolf in sheep's clothing, cooing "come back to the true church" to unwitting people, some of whom follow the sweet voice and are devoured by the enemy. You are to be opposed, and that means exposing your foolish reasoning and false Gospel and "answering a fool according to his folly". May God have mercy on you.

(8-21-09 on the Boors All website)

None of us have implied to the slightest degree, that Maricle is not a Christian. It's fine in Swan's thinking to say that someone is damned and a wolf in sheep's clothing, simply because he is a Catholic apologist. But to describe someone as a "twit" or a "coward"!!! Well, we mustn't ever say that about anyone, no matter how outlandish their lies and slanders of Catholicism may be.

This is hypocritical enough, but then when someone knows about the history between myself and Mr. Swan, and all the ridiculous hogwash, rotgut and sewer scum, ultra-mocking comments he has made about me in public for literally over ten years now, the hypocrisy is even more glaring and unbelievable.

For starters, Swan seriously argued (in several venues and many times) that I suffered from psychosis and needed serious psychological help. He has maintained for many years (over and over and over, as a mantra, with accompanying visual illustrations) that I have a severely "narcissistic" personality: an actual neurosis. He has also maintained that I am burdened with the utmost arrogance.

. . . I have voluntarily removed all responses to his garbage and defenses of my character against his onslaughts from my blog, not once, but twice. Currently, there is nothing that I am aware of, about him, on my blog of nearly 2,500 papers (if there is, I missed it). . . . Swan has removed some of his insults . . . and most mentions of my name (e.g., quite ridiculously: five reviews of my book on Calvin without mentioning either the name of the book or its author), but plenty remains.

In the past I documented his unbelievable insults (because they had to be seen to be believed). So if Swan wants to play this game now of "comparative insults" I'd be happy to locate my old papers on Internet Archive, and show the world once again how this man "argues": how no insult is out of bounds for him when it comes to Catholics. Anything goes, including charges of literal mental illness and the most sweeping character judgments: prying into others' hearts and motivations and seeing nothing of worth there, whatever; sitting by approvingly, while his buddy Steve Hays maintained that I was an "evil man" and a "schizophrenic."

. . . I'm referring to documented mindless, relentlessly hostile insults that have occurred over ten years, and the extreme, almost unfathomable hypocrisy of a person condemning mild epithets like "twit", knowing of his own outrageous history of directing almost every conceivable lie towards a theological opponent.

I've now located an old paper on Internet Archive (long since deleted from my blog), that documented Swan's insistence that I was mentally ill. Here are his own words (in blue), with some of my replies at the time. Links have been updated, where they still remain. Swan hasn't been able to hide all of the recriminating evidence. Anyone who wants to see some trademark "Armstrong sarcasm": along the lines of socratic irony and Muggeridgean satirical wit, will enjoy how I deal with these charges of mental illness. I have a field day with 'em (and it was a lot of fun at the time, as I recall).

* * * * *
. . . [Swan] opined that I suffered from some sort of psychosis. The charge of lunacy was too outrageous to delete, so that was the only thing I decided to retain. . . . Recently, I have been involved in an intense discussion thread underneath yet another attack-post of his (now I am a seeker of filthy lucre and ill-gotten gains by unsavory and unscrupulous methods: par for the course from him). During the course of this I brought up these charges (as a crystal-clear example of his lying about me, and smear tactics) and repeatedly gave Swan a chance to renounce and retract them. This could all have been resolved and avoided henceforth, last night. It could have actually been a significant step of progress; a rare breath of fresh air in the acidic atmosphere of anti-Catholicism.

He partially did so, and softened and qualified a bit, for which I was thankful (and said so) but on the other hand (like a skillful politician), he refused to utterly renounce it and openly still speculates that I may very well suffer from a psychosis, even though he can't prove or confirm it from a distance. I offered to remove my documentation if he would utterly renounce these charges.

But since it remains ambiguous and ultimately unresolved, now I have no choice (given the seriousness and outrageousness of the charges) but to record these exchanges and related utterances. This could have been put behind both of us last night, but unfortunately, it continues now and the lies are still forthcoming, including from fellow anti-Catholic Steve Hays, who is even upping the ante and is now on record saying that I am a "schizophrenic guy" (along with many other equally ridiculous and insulting tidbits).

First I will document what Swan first stated about me on his blog in August 2009 (that he has now removed, but unfortunately for him has not utterly retracted and renounced).

Then follows further discussion of this absurd speculation in February and March 2010 on Edward Reiss' blog, Upstate Lutheran, in another intense combox under his post, "Taking Luther out of Context": an exercise of the sort of goofball, wrongheaded "critiques" of my Luther research that Swan has done for eight years now.
[Dave (2-8-13): this thread remains online to this day, but anyone can see how Swan systematically removed his comments in the thread. Fortunately, for the record, I preserved them. It was also a stroke of good fortune that the exchange took place on a site other than Swan's. He would have certainly removed my replies as well, if he had been able to do so (since he bans me from his site). It was Ed Reiss and myself that gave the public both sides of this "discussion". Swan removed his insult from Reiss' site, and I removed the entire documentation from mine, for reasons mentioned. But now it's back for all to see how a prominent anti-Catholic online "argues" and how an ignoramus Catholic like me responds to the inveterate slandering]

Swan's words will be in blue, with the following exceptions:

Removed portions of Swan's former remarks will be in red.

Removed and retracted portions (one sentence) from Swan will be in orange.

All bolding is my own, presently. Italics are in the originals.

* * * * *

I think it's quite possible you have serious psychological issues. . . . your cyber-behavior strikes me (and probably others) as very bizarre. If you get yourself checked out, and my suspicions prove accurate, and you get the help you need, be it medication or therapy, and we see a change in your cyber behavior, I'll seriously consider never mentioning you, and begin trying to strike your name from this blog. Perhaps then we could actually have a civil dialogue. If indeed this happens, I don't want to be known as a guy who picked on a person struggling with deep psychological issues. . . .

(formerly posted on 8-24-09 on Swan's Boors All blog; removed on 4-18-10 with a partial apology but no total retraction)
That being said, to all of you who share my concern, perhaps it is time we back of from Dave Armstrong a bit. I know you probably think I'm being sarcastic, but actually, I'm not. / . . . There's just something not right with Mr. Armstrong. I think he needs some help.

(formerly posted on 8-26-09 on the Boors All blog; I believe in the same thread as the above
; removed on 4-18-10 with a partial apology but no total retraction. Both of these were later cited on the Upstate Lutheran blog: on 2-26-10)

* * *

Dave, I'm sure you would very much appreciate it if I didn't look up the quotes you mishandle and put them back in their proper context. Indeed, I don't take you seriously as a "professional" apologist, and yes, your behavior is a bit bizarre at times. Your "work" though, finds an audience, so unless I stop coming across Romanists linking me back to you, I'll keep looking up your "research." You've put forth enough bogus "research" to keep me busy for a long time, if I so choose. You tend to be the recent Romanist with the most Luther stuff, so your "work" get's scrutinized the most. (2-26-10)
Those who care about truth will benefit from contexts and will find your "work" substandard. (2-26-10)

So our friend offers me this choice:

"If you go to the shrink and get therapy and meds, I'll stop lying about you, won't mention you and will consider removing the massive evidence of my obsession with your non-serious work from my blog, and we can (as a special bonus) even engage in civil dialogue! All you have to do is admit that you are nuts!

"But if you don't admit that you have serious psychological trouble, I'll continue lying about you and being obsessed, as I have for six or seven years now."

Makes eminent sense, doesn't it? Truly an intelligent, compassionate, Christian opinion there . . . who could argue with it? (2-26-10)

your cyber-behavior strikes me (and probably others) as very bizarre. [citing his own past words from 8-24-09, above]

I still stand by those words. Yes, like . . . your posting of a massive amount of blog comments, then deleting all those comments, posting on issues in those comments that are totally unrelated, protecting your ego via massive amounts of text in those blog comments, claiming to not get involved with anti-Catholics, and then getting involved with anti-Catholics, calling people names, and then playing the martyr when someone says something uncharitable towards you, and on and on and on. (2-26-10)

[replying to my comment of 2-26-10, two entries above] Great example of your psychosis. Rather then simply admit you didn't read Luther in context and subsequently put forth propaganda, you'd rather talk about your favorite subject: Dave Armstrong. (2-26-10; orange portion retracted on 4-18-10 with apology: ")

Perhaps your readers have enough wits about them to realize how ridiculous it is for you to take the view of me that you do, while you keep obsessing over my work and trying desperately to discredit me. Maybe even your readers are embarrassed by that, so they don't respond and hope you will write about something else for a change, and stick to your resolve to not continue tormenting a desperately pathetic, psychologically ill figure such as I. :-) (2-26-10)

Thanks very much for using the word "psychosis," so folks can know exactly what you are talking about. Excellent. (2-26-10)

Umm...Dave, the only one who cares what I think of you is... you. But well done with this diversion, now that we're talking about your favorite subject (you), you don't have to explain contexts that you never read. (2-26-10)

Once again, we see an evasion of context. DA still won't address his own "research" or lack thereof. . . . If anyone is presenting shoddy review of history, it's Armstrong and those like him. (2-26-10)

Would you be willing to go on Iron Sharpens Iron radio program this week on this topic? I'm sure I could set this up, maybe even for Friday. We could set it up with opening / closing statements, responses and Q & A. If my arguments and research is entirely bogus, you'll have the opportunity to directly confront me. Let me know. (2-27-10)

You know what my policy is. What is it you don't get about it? Do you have amnesia now? You had your chance in 2007 to do a live chat debate with me, but you (and six other of your buddies, including Bishop White, twice) refused. At that time I gave up debating anti-Catholics, since they were unwilling to even discuss the foundational issue of what Christianity is. That was the last straw, after 12 years. . . . You can't goad me into this, just because all of a sudden you have worked up the gumption and guts to actually do a real debate. I don't operate on that plane, but by principle. Since I'm not the egomaniac narcissist that you think I am, this ploy doesn't entice me in the slightest.

Why would I waste my time with a guy who thinks I am 1) psychotic, 2) not to be taken seriously, 3) unable to ever tell the truth about Luther, 4) not a Christian? That sounds like a real good discussion to you, eh? Talking things over with a lying, unregenerate nut whose work you are obsessed with? (2-27-10)

Why is it that you keep talking to me and writing about my opinions (now even challenging me to a debate), when you think I am a nut and not to be taken seriously? You have some 150 papers about me on your blog (when I still posted your garbage on my site I documented what you had up, in one paper). You say no one should take me seriously; I lie all the time about Luther; I am psychotic (you even said folks should stop pestering me because I am so seriously mentally disturbed), yet you keep doing it. That's obsession because it is certainly not rational (or consistent) behavior. And I do have some background in behavioral science (sociology with a minor in psychology), so that I can recognize an obsession when I see it (especially when I am the target of it). But I wouldn't deign to dogmatically diagnose someone as "psychotic," as you do. (2-27-10)

Yes indeed, I do find your shenanigans quite odd behavior. However, as I've stated repeatedly while I think you're wacky, other people take you seriously. (2-27-10)

Thanks again! This is a great day for the cause of documenting anti-Catholic inanities! We've got "psychosis" and "wacky" in one day! . . . If the best thing you can do is deal with one whom you regard as a wacky psychotic day after day, then perhaps you should examine your own priorities and stewardship of time. And if your anti-Catholic masses are so profoundly stupid that they can't even discern that the rantings of a Romanist madman and liar aren't worth their time, then go give them their meds and urge them to seek therapy (and education). . . . (2-27-10)

Dave, you've called me names for years, and put up all sorts of silly pictures and comments about me (and others), so stop being a martyr. I explained earlier your eratic [sic] behavior, particularly on my blog, lead me to question whether or not you needed help. Your behavior over here and evasion of a simple question about contexts doesn't help either. That you won't answer simple questions about context really does make one question your honesty. (2-27-10)

I hope to one day attain to your sublime heights of profoundly objective scholarship. With your constant help and guiding hand and inspiring example, perhaps I can get there. It'll be an uphill battle, though, being the lying evil scumbag and psychotic and vow-breaker and narcissist that I am (i.e., stuff that you anti-Catholics have been telling me for years, but my stubborn ears wouldn't receive it). (3-1-10)

Almost anyone in Junior High School could probably put a quote back in context. All it takes is a library and the Internet. With a context, correcting your poor research and misguided editorial comments of the quotes doesn't take much intelligence. It does though take time [sic]. (3-1-10)

But to say what I am saying, I get must (inevitably) be accused of being dishonest. Swan has already stated as much (more than once); it's not my mere speculation. This is how it always goes: if I disagree with him, I am dishonest, because what he writes is self-evidently true. . . . I must be seen as dishonest by those who can't handle or comprehend any honest disagreement without slinging charges of dishonesty and deliberate misrepresentation. So be it. I think Swan is a liar and relentless twister and distorter when it comes to my Luther research (and I am the world's biggest expert on my own research and what motivates it), so we'll simply regard each other as liars and go our merry ways. (3-1-10)

There is a reason why I've often said I don't take his work seriously. That is, when I read it, I know I'm not getting the insights of someone looking honestly or in-depth at an issue involving Luther. (3-1-10)

I did call you a slanderous ass, and if anyone ever deserved to be called that, after my personal experience for eight years, it is you. I know it to be the case, because as I've said, it is my work that you have distorted on an ongoing basis all that time. You say I do it about Luther; I say you do it with my own work. The difference is that I know my own work and motivations a lot better than you know Luther's work or motivations. (3-1-10)

. . . whether it's you, Steve Ray, Sippo, Madrid, or whoever playing fast and loose with history. (3-2-10)

You have said you are moving on. So let's see that. Go ahead and do it, and shut up in this combox. Now you can go plan another thirty-forty posts devoted to showing that I don't know the slightest thing about context or establishing a contention through documentation and about how dishonest and stupid and "anti-Luther" I supposedly am (to get up to 200 posts about me by summer's end). Have fun. God sees what you are doing. You can't get away with continually lying, whether I call you on it or not. Your soul is what gets harmed by that, not me. It's your loss, not mine. (3-2-10)

The fact of lying is simply what it is. My indignation is against the sin, not the person. It does him no good to keep doing it. I am rebuking the sin for the sake of his soul. All of you yes men that he surrounds himself with don't see that he is distorting and twisting my work. I do, because I have been the target of it.

But there is no personal malice involved at all. I see him and all anti-Catholics as victims of a deeply flawed, intellectually-suicidal worldview (though it remains Christian, with added garbage on top of that which is untrue). I'm simply sick and tired of having my work distorted over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. (3-2-10)

* * *

If one is going to claim to be a professional Roman Catholic apologist, . . . a guy who simply claims to be an apologist. (4-15-10)

It would be ungrateful of me not to thank you for greatly blessing me:

Matthew 5:11-12a: "Blessed are you when men revile you . . . and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. [12] Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven . . . (4-16-10)

It was stupid of me to comment here at all (I know now), but I hoped beyond hope that undeniable lying (exposed as such) could be rectified for a change. My problem is that I'm too much of a blasted optimist and idealist; heaven help me. I always think people (especially Christians, who allegedly live by a much higher ethical standard) will do the right thing when it is plainly shown that they have done something wrong or are in error.

It is the host's responsibility as a Christian to correct and retract the falsehoods (and outright deliberate lies, insofar as he has been corrected by the party being charged) in the interest of truth and the well-being of his own soul and relationship to God. (4-16-10)

Why though do you [sic] at times do mass deletions of your comments? That behavior appears very erratic. (4-17-10)

Well, according to you, who think I suffer from "psychosis" and arrogance and extreme narcissism, why would there have to be any explanation? You're assuming that what I do has some rational reason, which is absurd in the case of a psychotic. In actuality (getting away from your fictional fantasies), usually it is because there is no rational interaction taking place, and if there is any "interaction" at all, it is mostly mocking (just like this thread). So I get disgusted with that because it perverts the legitimate progression of intellectual discourse and I go and delete comments.

If someone can't maintain a normal conversation, he doesn't deserve to be interacted with, per the many biblical injunctions to avoid the vain discourse. It's almost like an occasion of sin: a rational statement may make you guys stumble again and indulge in yet more lying and mocking (like teasing a dog with a bone or tempting an alcoholic with liquor). That doesn't help you, and I get extremely tired of it in about half a second. (4-17-10)

I’ve repeatedly said that others do take you seriously, so I critique your “work”- especially since you write on Roman Catholicism and the Reformation, subjects that interest me. Part of looking over your “work” and commenting on it is nothing else than showing why you shouldn’t be taken seriously. (4-18-10)

For my part, though, I have removed all posts about him from my blog, after being challenged by his friend Carrie to do so. She said that if I thought so strongly that our "dialogues" were substandard, that I could always remove all of them from my site (so I did). We all know, however, that the host is unwilling to do any such thing. (4-17-10)

I don’t recall Carrie’s challenge to you, nor the context of her comments. Correct, I’m not going to dump posts in which you’re either mentioned or critiqued. From a simply pragmatic reason, I don’t have the time to edit and delete a few years worth of posts. If you do, fine. On the other hand, Many of the posts in which I responded to you either harshly or with sarcasm were usually the result of some insulting thing you wrote about me. In a few cases, the posts you wrote about me had to be toned down because of your nastiness. I don’t have the time to do such editing- what I wrote reflected my feelings at the moment. If I was angered by your comments, well then I was angered. Was I sinfully angry? That’s indeed possible. Was my sarcasm sinful at times? Quite possibly. Was it in each instance? Probably not. (4-18-10)

Thank you. I say the same about myself, which is one reason why I took down all the posts having to do with you, and urged that you reciprocate. Are you at least willing to look over all your posts about me and remove ones that you yourself deem to be of this category of sinful expression? Or do you have no time for that project, either? (4-18-10)

Yes, I’m willing to do that, will it happen any time soon? Probably not. (4-18-10)

* * *

You say I am a psychoticI only note it for observers reading this who don't know the background.

I don’t recall all specifics of the thread in which I made that statement, but I do recall saying you needed help- and this was after I read a bunch of . . . other points that weren’t even the topic of the post. You simply began talking about yourself. (4-18-10)

We already know how Our Illustrious Host has claimed I suffer from "psychosis" and have a serious psychological problem (documented above). So that matches the "bipolar" remark.

Yeah, and the comment was made in a context in which you . . . brought up multiple issues irrelevant to the post, and then talked about yourself (a lot), and then deleted all your posts. No, that, isn’t strange behavior, nope. (4-18-10)

And so for these reasons (your jaded, hyper-biased description, but we'll even accept your report for the sake of argument), you feel it is entirely justified to call someone a psychotic? This was not merely anger or disgust at my supposed exasperating or tedious remarks. You had already stated the same on your site back in August. This was not a spur-of-the-moment outburst of temper and intemperate language.

So do you stand by it now or not, or do you want to keep playing games of mediocre obfuscation and selective memory and playing around with contexts, as if this lessens the seriousness of the slander? Am I a psychotic? Do I still need to go to a shrink and get meds, as a condition for you to start acting in a civil fashion?

Jesus said to love your enemies and bless those who curse you. You say you will start acting in a charitable civil fashion worthy of a baby Christian if I get meds, see a shrink and admit that I am nuts. I give you a lot of credit for originality, at least. It isn't very often that one sees such a ridiculous and infantile display of foolishness and barely suppressed anger. (4-18-10)

You don't recall accusing me of being a psychotic. How convenient. I already cited it above in this thread. Here it is again [I cited the two August citations in red above]: . . . You put in several comments dripping with a sarcastic, condescending disdain. I then responded with a direct reply to your charge that I am nuts, that I have also cited above in this thread (go read it). This was the immediate context of your reiteration that I am a wacko nutjob, written on 2-26-10 [also above, including the retracted orange sentence]: . . . You used the word "psychosis." You said I should get "medication or therapy" and that I am "struggling with deep psychological issues." Do you stand by these statements or not? And do you agree with the ones your cronies have made, that I mentioned above? (4-18-10)

* * *

Just curious: Do you stand by your description of my supposed "serious" psychiatric disorders as "psychosis"? (4-18-10)

I mentioned a few comments back about this, about how your behavior got quite odd and erratic and why I made the comment- I’ve always found your behavior odd and erratic (in terms of your insults, retractions, obsessions, reasoning, put up a blog post, take down a blog post, excessive comments about yourself, etc). I don’t know you in person, nor am I trained in psychology, so I can’t know for sure if you have serious problems. (4-18-10)

Yet you felt that you could diagnose me in public as a psychotic? Does this mean you retract and renounce your "diagnosis" now? (4-18-10)

But you do indeed come off as a strange person via your cyber exploits.
(4-18-10)

And "strange" equates in your mind with nuts and psychotic, huh? (4-18-10)

If you do indeed have some sort of disorder, my error in the matter was pointing it out publicly
.
(4-18-10)

Oh, so now I see that you still regard it as a live possibility, if you are not certain and entertain it publicly as such. (4-18-10)

That is, if indeed your odd behavior is the result of personal problems, then I should not have taken the opportunity to use it in such a way as to make matters worse for you by stating it publicly.
(4-18-10)

So you are still inclined to believe that, and state so in public. Thank you for your honesty about the lie you wish to put out for public consumption. (4-18-10)

No, re-read my comment Dave. I said “I don’t know you in person, nor am I trained in psychology, so I can’t know for sure if you have serious problems.” That is, I don’t know you Dave, as you don’t know me. I’m sorry if you think my comment is a “lie”- but I’m trying to be as honest with you as possible. We’re two people on the opposite ends of the keyboard who only have a one dimensional understanding of each other via writing. It’s entirely possible my previous comment is wrong. If it is, please accept my apology. I don’t mean that sarcastically or in jest. (4-18-10)

[after I jokingly posted the lyrics of "They're coming to take me away"] Again, if I’ve mischaracterized you, my apology. (4-18-10)

So you are renouncing the psychosis charge, even though you still think it is a distinct possibility and think it quite plausible, though you can't know for sure, etc.? (4-18-10)

To actually prove to you the truth of one of my statements above, I actually went back just now into my blog archive, and deleted the post in which I questioned aspects of your psychology. I doubt this will change any of the distance between us, but it at least should demonstrate to you that I meant what I said above.(4-18-10)

I appreciate that; thanks. Now I want to know if you retract and renounce it. That is two different things. You can remove a statement for a variety of reasons yet still continue to believe or suspect that the statement was true. You are still hemming and hawing and making "I'm not sure if you beat your wife or not" sorts of loaded statements. You can't have it both ways. You need to renounce the entire thing and concede that there was never any basis for it from the get-go. (4-18-10)

I actually went back and re-read my statement before I deleted it. In the comment, I questioned not determined. Those are two very different things. I can’t renounce that I said you had definite problems, because I didn’t say that. I wondered and posited if you did. I’ll renounce the statement from Edward’s blog, “nice example of your psychosis” or whatever I said. That’s the best I can do Dave. If you’d like me to say I don’t have credentials to determine your state, that’s fine. If you’d like me to renounce that I questioned your state, I wouldn’t be being honest. If you want me to concede I have no basis for my own opinion about you, I can’t do that either. My experience with you is my experience with you. (4-18-10)

Okay; thanks for those concessions and the retraction. This means that I will remove the one statement you retracted [instead, I have colored it in orange for necessary documentary purposes and noted the retraction above]. But the others will stay in the post you have cited.

In courtesy to you I will include all your qualifications and limited apologies from this thread (added tomorrow, as it is 3 AM now) [that became this present post]. That way, my readers can be treated to extensive discussion of whether in fact I am a lunatic: a thing you continue to entertain as a distinct possibility. At such time that you decide this whole line of thought and speculation is unethical and unwarranted; indefensible, please let me know (and also make a permanent public statement to undo all the public damage), and I will remove all of it.

Perhaps further reflection and the work of the Holy Spirit can bring this about. I'm delighted that any progress at all could be made, and sincerely thank you for that. You're probably getting blasted in private for even this much concession to the "evil" DA . . . it took guts to admit I was right about anything at all. This is encouraging. (4-18-10)

Dave, if any progress can be made here, you should at least admit the blatant double standards you use in which you claim victim status while at the same time mocking others. I don’t see how a person can claim the Holy Spirit is working when that same person uses such a blatantly obvious double standard. (4-18-10)

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Nor will you distance yourself from [Stave] Hays saying I am "evil" and of "evil character." Is that not judging my heart? What's next? That I am damned to hell too? You object to people questioning Luther's psychological states, yet you turn around and psychoanalyze me without cause. Hence you wrote: "Perhaps the most outrageous claim from Sippo is 'Luther was a bipolar manic-depressive who was virtually psychotic during his periods of mania'" (5-29-06). In Luther's case, I have found many non-Catholic historians who agree that he suffered from serious cyclical depression [post one / post two], which is not all that different from manic-depression (I minored in psychology and majored in sociology; I know a little bit about this stuff). Erickson actually classifies him as such, and he was Jewish, not Catholic.

So Sippo's claim quite arguably has some considerable relation to truth, according to many many Luther historians, but your insult of me had no proof whatever. You cite "erratic" behavior online and some deletion of posts (I explained the latter today and it is perfectly understandable). You recognize now that the public judgment was unwarranted, which is good, progress, and commendable, yet you still seem to have the suspicion that it is true, which is scarcely less objectionable. I'm trying to make the point that saying someone is nuts or evil is completely out of bounds. The statements are made merely because someone has a theological or ethical disagreement. It's ad hominem. It has no place in any rational discussion. (4-18-10)

* * *

Do you agree with your friend [Steve] Hays saying I have an "evil character" and that I am flat-out "evil"? (4-18-10)

I don’t recall the context of Steve’s comments, but perhaps he had good reason to say what he did. You’ve posted some downright awful things over the years. I don’t keep track of them, but there have been times I’ve read your blog and wondered what motivates you to post some of the things you’ve posted. On the other hand, if I believe you actively promote a false gospel, then indeed, the work you do is not God-pleasing, at all. (4-18-10)

How about your friend David T. King's description of me as a "foul-mouthed Romanist"? Do you proudly stand by and support all those descriptions? (4-18-10)

Similarly, I’m sure Pastor King had a good reason to make that comment. (4-18-10)

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The mocker strikes again by calling me “Doe”. You’ve got quite a lot of nerve to claim a Bible verse in order play the victim while you repeatedly slander and mock me. Simply stop hiding your hostility behind a Bible verse Dave. If you want to start claiming Bible verses, you better walk the walk as well. (4-18-10)

Would you prefer "viper"? I'd be glad to call you that, too, if you keep lying. And I have an impeccable precedent and role model for doing so. I do call you "Doe." You deny that I am an apologist. You deny that I am a professional apologist. You mock my research by putting that word in quotes. You mock even my "work" by habitually putting quotations around that, too, as if I don't even work now, either??!!You claim I am a pretender who takes people's money in an unethical fashion. You call me a psychotic. Certainly all of these sewer scum insults would qualify as actionable in a civil suit for defamation on the grounds of libel, were I inclined to go that route (I am not at all).

All that, and my simple use of "Doe" has you throwing a hissy-fit. Which is worse? . . . Are you so vain and prideful that you actually can't distinguish between the relative seriousness of mockery between what you do and my calling you Doe? Are you really that caught up in your disdain and condescension that you can't tell the difference? I trust that 99 out of a 100 in a random sample could tell, but you cannot. (4-18-10)

Dave, you call me names, and many others. If you want to be the victim, you need to be consistent. (4-18-10)

Of course mocking is permitted under some circumstances: lots of biblical precedent. I love sarcasm and satire and have done it for years. I was writing satirical tracts (one about the Resurrection and liberal theories about it) in the mid-80s before anyone had ever heard of Rush Limbaugh. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it. I can defend what I do, and if it is excessive and I am convinced of that, I happily retract and remove it. I've done so many times. I'm not perfect. But I'm not nearly as wicked and hypocritical as you and your buddies make me out to be.

Saying publicly that someone is a lunatic is not mocking: it is downright calumny and lying. That's as different as east is from west compared to me calling you "Doe." I've never said any anti-Catholic was nuts, to my knowledge, or evil, or even insincere. I've defended James White on several occasions when he was unfairly criticized.

There is simply no comparison. Your continual methodology is to take any sharp remark I make and pretend that it is exactly as objectionable as these extreme remarks made about me, wholly apart from context and justifiability in that context. You have tried to appeal to context in defending or half-defending the remarks I object to.

But there is no justification for implying that someone is a madman or lunatic by calling him a psychotic. That goes far beyond mere contextual issues. You renounced the latter statement, I know ("psychosis"), but you continue to not grasp the gravity of making any such claim without cause in the first place. You still suspect this is the case, but you have no hard evidence for that. (4-18-10)

Again, I refer back to the distinction I made earlier when I re-read my deleted post. It wasn’t a lie. Questioning your state is not the same thing as saying “This is your state.” All your comments about me over the years, as well as the mocking names, is simply wrong as well. You have questioned my integrity and mocked my blog entries on Luther and the Reformation- in essence doing exactly what you say I’m doing. I don’t keep a score card of your insults like you do on others. (4-18-10)

Earlier today you claimed I couldn't produce any lies that you have spread about me. Yet before the day was over you have retracted your remark that I have a "psychosis." But even then you have to qualify it and won't absolutely renounce it. Whatever . . . onlookers reading this now see the sorts of things you have thrown out and they understand that it is not rational argument. It is insult, and fully intended as such. And that's only the tip of the iceberg. If I wish to, I could document your avalanche of insults again, as I did once before, but removed it along with all other papers about you. I removed all my stuff about you, save documenting your remarks that I am nuts. You continue on mocking and lying about me just about every week. And you think that will harm me? (4-18-10)

I deny that I have lied about you. I critique your research, and your abilities as a self-professed theologian/apologist. . . . I question this call. In fact, it sounds quite Protestant and Luther-esque. You are what you are because you feel you’ve been called. Has any official from Rome deemed you an apologist? (4-18-10)


See also the closely related paper:

How Anti-Catholic Apologists "Argue" and "Reason": Documentation of James Swan's Avalanche of Childish Personal Insults and Ridiculous Flat-Out Lies About Yours Truly


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2 comments:

Julian Barkin said...

Hmmm, smells like the opposite end of the spectrum of Christianity, like some radical Catholic reactionaries I've seen. This guy is too funny! But sad. He makes me NOT want to engage Protestants and think of them in a non-Christian manner. He's a poor example of his flock. After the vile spew he's said, I NEVER want to even consider, whatever denomination he's in and I'll stay far away from "other" Christianity under Holy Mother Church's safe bosom.

Dave Armstrong said...

You can't judge Protestants or denominations based on the silliness and foolishness of one man. That is never my intention in exposing this sort of rotgut: only to show what one person is like: how they "argue."

He's a "poor example," as you said. Mainly, it is the anti-Catholicism that poisons any otherwise good mind and will. I've seen it time and again.