Apologetics for the Masses, #394 - The Doctrinal Dance (cont'd)

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Topic

An email exchange with a Protestant who does everything possible to avoid answering my questions. 

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General Comments

Hey folks,

Two things:

1) If any of you are interested in taking the online apologetics course I taught last semester for Homeschool Connections, or maybe having your kids take it, you can do so now. Simply click on the link below and sign up with Homeschool Connections.  The cost of signing up for one course is $11.97 per month.  For unlimited access to all 400+ courses they have it's $34.97 per month for the entire family. You can cancel anytime!  And, if you choose the Unlimited Access option, it's free for the first seven days, so you can give it a trial run.

Here is the link to the sign-up page, https://learn.homeschoolconnections.com/hsc-2020-all-access-updated/
 
2) My apologies to any of you who tuned in to Gary Michuta's "Apocryphal Apocalypse" program at 5:00 PM yesterday expecting to see me on there.  Around 2 o'clock I got involved with a big project I'm working on and completely forgot that I was supposed to be on with Gary, and William Albrecht, at 5 o'clock.  I remembered around 5:45, though, and, in spite of some technical problems, was finally able to get on with them around 6:00 for about an hour.  But, again, my apologies to anyone who tuned in at 5:00 only to find that I wasn't there.  Mea maxima culpa!
 
And, that "big project" I'm working on?  You're going to have to wait about 3 weeks to find out, so stay tuned...

Introduction

     Okay, in this newsletter I continue my dialogue with Dancer - an anti-Catholic Protestant - who favors the shotgun approach to dialogue and who does a lot of dancing from one topic to another (thus the name, Dancer, as in the doctrinal dance).  As I stated in the last newsletter, the conversation, as it took place, was rather difficult for me to follow - again, because he would just shoot off multiple emails with multiple topics all within just a short period of time - which makes for a bit of difficulty in trying to translate it exactly as it happened into this newsletter.  So, in the last newsletter I kind of set the background for this newsletter.  Last newsletter I gave you Phase II of my exchange with Dancer - I set the trap by asking him a simple question - and in this newsletter I'll get into Phase III - springing the trap. 

     And let me just add this: quite often I will have people ask me, "How do you know if you're getting somewhere with a person when you're dialoguing with them?"  They will ask that because, in spite of several rounds of emails, where they use the techniques they've learned and ask the questions they've seen me ask, they don't seem to be making a dent in the other person's theological beliefs.  So they ask how can they tell if they're making any progress at all.  I always answer the same way, "Has the person you're talking with gotten upset with you?"  If someone gets upset with you, that means you may be planting a seed with them, because why else are they getting hacked off at you?  You're getting to them and while they won't admit it straight out, them getting upset or even angry with you is the sign that their conscience is being pricked by the seeds you're throwing out there.

     Well, let me tell you, I seem to be getting to Dancer in a big way.  I have told him that I will no longer read any emails from him, and that his emails - another couple dozen or so that he has sent - are all going directly to my Junk mail folder, until such time as he answer several specific questions/arguments I have given him - several times - and answered them with direct answers that pertain to those particular questions/arguments.  I told him he could call the question line for my Balaam's Ride program and leave a message saying he has sent me an email with direct responses to those questions/arguments.  At which point I will read his email and respond accordingly.

       As all of you know, I don't let folks get away with not answering my questions/arguments.  I have given him numerous chances to do so - more chances than I usually give people.  It apparently is driving him nuts that I won't read his emails until he gives me some direct responses.  He didn't call the Balaam's Ride phone number, rather, he has called my Bible Christian Society number a few times and has left messages calling me, and I quote, a "coward," "delusional," "a whiny, whiny baby," and a "spoiled only child".  I really enjoyed the "whiny, whiny baby" as opposed to just being a whiny baby, I'm whiny whiny.  And, as one of six children, I had to laugh at the "spoiled only child" reference.  That, folks, is when you know you're getting to someone.

     See what I put up with to get material for these newsletters to send out to you folks?  [Insert smiley face here]

Challenge/Response/Strategy

Setting the Theological Trap

"I'm going to ask you one question...just one...and if you answer it directly, and without hatred and condemnation and false accusations, then I will consider responding to your other emails.  If not, then please know that I will blacklist your email and all future emails will go straight to my junk mail file.

     "Here is that one question: Are you seeking God...yes or no?"

 

Dancer

Absolutely positively 100% yesssss!

I am no expert by any means like you I have studied rcc jehovah witness and Mormons some. Mostly catholic I was raised catholic and left the church when I was 18. Like so many others at that time seeking the TRUTH YESSSSS I HAVE read most of the ccc probably more than most people who profess to be catholic that’s funny right

 

My Response - Springing the Trap

Okay, now maybe we can get somewhere.  So, you are "absolutely positively 100% yesssss!" seeking God.

Well, I have a problem with that because the Bible says, "No one seeks for God," (Romans 3:11).  That's an absolute isn't it?  I mean, it says "NO ONE!"


So, which is it?  Are you wrong or is the Bible wrong?

 

Comments

     Okay, he is "absolutely positively 100% yessss!" seeking God.  He has stepped into the scriptural trap and set it off.  If Romans 3:23, which says "all have sinned," is treated as being an absolute - "All means All!" - then Romans 3:11 should also be treated as an absolute.  If absolutely "all" have sinned, then absolutely "no one" is seeking God.  The problem, for Protestants, is that the vast majority of them believe they are seeking God.  So, how to reconcile their belief with the Bible?  We'll see how it turns out for Dancer.

     Also, we have an explanation for the root of his anti-Catholicism - he is an ex-Catholic - and he thinks, by virtue of reading "most" of the Catechism, that he knows more about the Catholic faith than most Catholics do.  The problem is, his emails betray his total ignorance of Catholic teaching, at least about salvation.

 

Dancer

Are you righteous???

 

My Response

"There is none that is righteous, no not one," (Rom 3:10).  Yet, the Bible says lots of people were righteous.  So, is the Bible contradicting itself?
 

And please answer my previous question: You say you are seeking God, yet the Bible says no one is seeking God.  So, who is wrong...you, or the Bible?

 

Comments

His first instinct is to deflect my question - to start dancing - because he has obviously recognized that my question has put him in a bit of a scriptural bind.  So, I answered him, directly, using a quote from Scripture, and then followed up with another question right in line with the first, that puts him in an even bigger bind.

 

Dancer

     This is very disingenuous and insincere of you, it’s a ridiculous questions, talk about taking verses out of context. And your referencing Old Testament scriptures. 

     How much good works to be like CHRIST. SO are you a righteous man ??? Have you never broken any of the Ten Commandments and Jesus said if you look at a woman with lust in your heart then you are guilty of adultery of breaking the law. So how many good deeds does it take to become holy as He IS HOLY ??? I’m good. I will pray for you and all the false religions of the world even the non believers!!!!! Atheist that is , but I think you got the point.
 

My Response

      It is not disingenuous nor is it insincere.  I am asking these questions to make a point, why do you find yourself unable to answer them?  Is it because you don't understand the Bible well enough to be able to answer them?  Do I have you a little bit perplexed and confused with my questions, which causes you to attack me personally as opposed to trying to figure out how to answer my very legitimate, scripturally-based questions?  Anytime someone launches personal attacks against me I know it's because I've confused them and they have no other option but to come at me.

     And, I am referencing, first and foremost, chapter 3 of Romans, not the Old Testament.  "There is none that is righteous, no not one," Romans 3:10.  Why does the Bible say that none...ABSOLUTELY NONE...are righteous, yet the Bible also says there are indeed righteous people?  Why can you not answer that?  Is the Bible contradicting itself?  If not, why not?

     And, why can you not answer how it is that you say you are seeking God, but the Bible, Romans 3:11, says no one - ABSOLUTELY NO ONE -is seeking God?  Either you are wrong or the Bible is wrong...which is it?  You are making a claim that runs directly contrary to something very clearly stated in the Bible.  Are you wrong, or is the Bible wrong?  Answer the question!

     Is your faith so weak that you are afraid to try to answer these questions?  Or, do you simply lack the knowledge to be able to answer these questions, so instead you turn it around and launch a personal attack on me?

     It seems to me, that you don't know the Bible all that well or you would be able to answer these simple, Bible-based questions. Yet, even though you don't know the Bible all that well you feel brave enough to tell me how the Catholic Church is wrong on this or that doctrine and how it teaches error about this or that when you don't actually know what the Catholic Church teaches or why it teaches it and how it actually stacks up perfectly well with what the Bible teaches, that is, if you actually knew what the Bible teaches.

     But, again, it is obvious from your inability to answer these two simple questions that you don't know a whole lot about the Bible because I have confused you rather easily with my questions.  So, if you don't know all that much about the Bible, how is it you have the audacity to tell me that the Catholic Church is teaching something contrary to the Bible when you are so blatantly ignorant as to what the heck the Bible teaches?!

     Answer the questions or we are done:

1) The Bible says NO ONE - ABSOLUTELY NO ONE - is seeking God. Dancer says he is seeking God.  Who should I believe: The Word of God, or the Word of Dancer?  Which one is wrong?

2) The Bible says NONE is righteous, NO NOT ONE. Yet, the Bible says lots of people are righteous. So, is the Bible contradicting itself?  If not, why not?


Comments

     Okay, he first tried to dance away from my question, which only got him in deeper, so his next tack is to dismiss my questions out of hand by saying they are "disingenous" and "insincere".  And, then, he goes back to dancing in the 2nd part of his email, but he does it in a way that really doesn't make any sense. He's responding to arguments that I haven't made and so he goes way off on a tangent. 

     In my response, you can see that I am now no longer treating him as if he had some smattering of good will, rather I am treating him, as they would say in the courtroom, as a hostile witness.  I am just going to be blunt and to the point.  There is now no longer any reason to believe he is operating in good faith.  He attacks me personally and then he attacks my religion.  Why?  Because he can't answer my questions.  That's why, as I've said in the previous newsletter, the question about searching for God is one of my favorite questions to ask someone.  It always throws them for a loop.  And, in this instance, he has no clue that my ultimate aim is to simply show him that if "none" in Romans 3:10, and "no one" in Romans 3:11, and "all" in Romans 3:12 are not absolutes, then why would you interpret "all" in verse 23 as an absolute?  And if "all" in verse 23 is not an absolute, then you have obliterated one major Protestant argument made against Mary having ever sinned.

 

Dancer

You are "WRONG"!

 

My Response

1) "You are WRONG!"?  Really?!  That's the best you can do?  What are you, a 6th grader?  That is a non-response to a legitimate question.  The question is: The Bible says NONE is righteous, NO NOT ONE!  Yet, the Bible also says there are righteous people.  Is the Bible contradicting itself, and, if not, why not?

"You are WRONG" is not an answer.  It is the response I would expect from a 6th grader, not someone who has been through dental school.  Do you maybe not understand the question, or are you afraid of the real answer?

2) Also, "You are WRONG" is not a coherent or rational answer to my other question: You say you are seeking God, yet the Bible says no one is seeking God. So, who is wrong...you, or the Bible?  Why do you keep avoiding engaging with these questions?

Look, Dancer, the fact that you are afraid to even attempt to answer these questions, should maybe tell you something about your beliefs regarding Scripture.  Try confusing me or getting me flustered by asking me a question about Scripture.  You can't do it.  Why?!  Because my understanding of Scripture, as guided by the Church, is rational, coherent, systematic, and non-contradictory.  Yours is not, which is why you are having so much trouble processing my questions.

Maybe it's time to re-assess what you believe and why you believe it, eh?

 

Comments

     He tries to dance, he tries to dismiss, and now his 3rd strategy is to simply declare.  And he does it in a rather infallible manner: "You are WRONG!"  Well, I guess that settles everything, especially since he put "WRONG" in all caps.

     His theology is being severely tested here and he can't handle it...at all.  No matter which way he turns, no matter what tack he takes, I am not letting him off the hook and I am staying with these two questions. 

 

Dancer

     No one seeks after God So wow you are truly wasting your time obviously doing a tv show trying to get these totally lost depraved people to come to you catholic religion that’s truly unbelievable all the time and energy you wasting could be doing something so much more productive. Forget about the great commission at end of Mathew 28. Forget about the rest of the Bible if it do clearly contradicts itself why do you bother. ?????

     You must be INSANE!

 

My Response

      Are you unable to follow an argument and respond rationally and intelligently?  You go by what the Bible says, right?  That's what you've been telling me.  So, when the Bible...the Word of God...the inspired, inerrant, Word of God says "NO ONE SEEKS GOD," do you not believe what the Bible says?  Yes or no?! 

     Let's try it again:

1) The Bible says NO ONE - ABSOLUTELY NO ONE - is seeking God. Dancer says he is seeking God.  Who should I believe: The Word of God, or the Word of Dancer?  Which one is wrong?

2) The Bible says NONE is righteous, NO NOT ONE. Yet, the Bible says lots of people are righteous. So, is the Bible contradicting itself?  If not, why not.

Can't answer the questions and be consistent in your theology, can you?!

 

Comments

He's getting more and more desperate in his responses.  The same will happen with folks you would be dealing with.  They cannot stand it when you won't let go of the questions you ask that go unanswered.  And, you, of course, by not letting it go, are the bad guy.  Get used to it.  When you engage in discussions about the faith, folks are going to get vexed with you more often than not.

 

Dancer

     Send me those Bible verses on the immaculate conception the assumption of Mary. Infant baptism. Where they bow down to Peter and kiss the ring. Purgatory, bowing down in front of statue idol or image ( I think those graven image verses are in Deut and Leviticus somewhere ) the 6 or 7 sacraments???

 

My Response

You have to keep switching the subject because you can't answer the questions, can you?

1) The Bible says NO ONE - ABSOLUTELY NO ONE - is seeking God. Dancer says he is seeking God.  Who should I believe: The Word of God, or the Word of Dancer?  Which one is wrong?

2) The Bible says NONE is righteous, NO NOT ONE. Yet, the Bible says lots of people are righteous. So, is the Bible contradicting itself?  If not, why not.

Can't answer the questions and be consistent in your theology, can you?! 

Until you answer these two questions, I will not respond to any further statements you make or questions you ask.
 

Comments

     Okay, call him out, repeat the questions.  And, this time, I gave him an ultimatum.  He went back to dancing, since calling me names and responding with utter nonsense didn't work.  So, I am letting him know that I will not answer any more of his questions - about Mary, infant baptism, Peter, Purgatory, etc. - until my questions are answered. 

 

Dancer

I’m not seeking God I already FOUND HIM. HA HA GOTCHA

 

My Response

"Gotcha"?!  Really?!  Maybe you should have said, "Nanny, nanny boo boo?"  What are you, a child?

But, notice how you have to contradict yourself in order to try and answer my questions.  When I first asked you that, you said, "YESSSSS!  100% I am seeking God."  Now you say you aren't seeking God.

Twisting yourself into a knot there, Dancer.  All you're doing is confirming to me that you don't really know much about the Bible, do you?

And, there's another problem with your answer: Why would you, as a believer, be seeking God?  Hadn't you already found him?  And, if you were a non-believer, you wouldn't have been seeking God, at least, according to what you've previously said.  So, when were you seeking God - as a believer, or a non-believer?

 

Comments

Do you see how they have to twist themselves into knots - if not outright contradict themselves as Dancer has done here - in order to attempt to remain consistent in their theology?  But, it is actually impossible for them to do.  Folks, ask questions.  Don't accept anything but direct, pertinent, logically consistent answers.  If you don't get them, keep asking the same questions and don't go wandering down any other paths they may try to take you.  Common sense, logic, and the Bible are all on the side of the Catholic.

Closing Comments

     Alright, I'll have one more newsletter with Dancer...Phase IV.  Probably the week after next.  It doesn't really get any better, but, in fairness to him, he did attempt to answer a couple of questions.  So, I will put those answers out there and then show you how quickly he reverts back to form.  Again, this is a series of about 30-40 emails from him and I'm doing my best to hit the main parts of it.

     I hope all of you have a wonderful, blessed, and holy Holy Week and a very happy and holy Easter!

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Apologetics for the Masses