Ross Has Responded

Here is his comment. Here is my response, re-posted here:

All right, here we go. Thanks, at least, for responding.

It appears very strongly to me that you actually put words into people’s mouths which they have not stated and if anything libel them.

Examples, please.

I don’t think it’s particularly libellous to point out that it is “outrageous” for you to call someone a “so called Catholic” when you mis-represent what they say yourself frequently.

Okay. Sheila denies the reality of Hell and supports the legality of abortion. She has admitted to believing heresies in another post on this blog. She has shown no desire to try and mold her views to fit the Church. I think “so-called Catholic” is quite appropriate.

But at any rate, please – tell me when I mis-represented her. If you just state it with no proof, that’s libel.

Your particular argument usually follows the form of “so and so says A, therefore they must also mean B (even if they have not said B or recognise B to be a necessary conclusion) which must therefore also mean C etc. and therefore cannot logically be right/Catholic/Christian/Whatever.

1) What I believe is that if a person believes certain things, other things should logically follow. In cases where people don’t reach the conclusion that follows naturally from their premises, I think they’re being inconsistent.

And yes, I think that people do this. We all do.

And anyway, that was never my point with Sheila. It’s that you are not allowed to hold certain beliefs within the Catholic Church without being considered a heretic. Sheila holds heretical beliefs, so she is a heretic. “So-called Catholic” is an apt description for somebody who calls themselves Catholic but doesn’t believe the things the Church requires.

If you were to maybe spend a little more time listening to what people are saying, mulling it over and maybe trying to see things from their point of view, not rushing off to make pre-determined conclusions and maybe made less hurtful personal statements, then maybe I would not call your comments outrageous. Maybe I’d be less infuriated by much of what you say and pay more attention to the good things you do say.

I would love to see you find the “pre-determined conclusions” I draw. I invite you to look, and respond on my own blog. But as it is, you haven’t pointed any out. You’ve just asserted that I make them. That is libelous.

As I mentioned in my post above, or at least was in my mind, I am fed up with pointless point-scoring, endless critical argumenting and narrow sectarianism.

I am interested in right and wrong, and figuring out what is and isn’t. Advocating the legality of killing the unborn is way, way more important than “pointless point-scoring”. It is literally a matter of life and death.

I am much more interested in discussing the reality of following Jesus, worshipping God and living a life according to his will. I don’t think endless criticisms of other Christians without relief does this for me.

I criticize what I perceive to be intellectual dishonesty and views that I consider evil. I don’t much care if a person calls themselves Christian but supports keeping abortion legal. It’s still evil.

I invite you to respond to me on my blog, with actual examples of me doing the things I’m claiming. You will note that for each blog post I write about Sheila and Marc I either quote their posts and comments, link to their posts and comments, or both. If I am misrepresenting them you’ll have to show where I’ve responded to a claim they either didn’t make or that did not logically follow from their premises.

I will finally also note that all of my blog posts show up on Marc’s blog as links. I hide nothing and invite rebuttals.

By the way, for those who might be inclined to criticize me for this, here is the post where Sheila admits she is a heretic.

I invite Ross over to respond with examples of the libel I have committed.

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12 Responses to Ross Has Responded

  1. ccmnxc says:

    Ross stated: “I don’t think endless criticisms of other Christians without relief does this for me.”

    There is some obvious hyperbole here that I will ignore, but I want to get at a more important underlying point. I think while there is nothing wrong with trying to correct other Christians, perpetual harping on Christians as Christians is, I’d agree, unhelpful. However, there is an important caveat here. Sheila hasn’t merely been a Christian who just so happens to disagree with Malcolm et al. Sheila is being openly inconsistent in her Christianity (or at least, Catholicism), which invites scandal and a sort of collective cognitive dissonance. Who needs secular enemies taking shots at the pillars upholding your religious worldview when you have people like Sheila who are blissfully trying to knock down those same pillars from the inside. I’m all for talking with and critiquing those outside of our particular Christian circle when appropriate, but I also think Christians in general and Catholics in particular need to clean house since there is some very insidious and prevalent dissent and scandal present. I’m of the mind – and I think Malcolm would agree with me – that if you are given the option of reforming/correcting any given secularist or any given dissenting Christian or Catholic, it would be better to address the latter.

    Think of it as the whole wolf in sheeps clothing analogy, as often as it is misused, to see the perspective many of us are coming from.

    • I’m of the mind – and I think Malcolm would agree with me – that if you are given the option of reforming/correcting any given secularist or any given dissenting Christian or Catholic, it would be better to address the latter.

      Obviously it depends on context, but with all things being equal yes, I would agree.

      That is one of the major reasons, besides some head-butting we’ve had, that I harp on Sheila as much as I do. She tries to present herself as a “progressive Catholic” on Marc’s blog, but it needs to be made clear that her views are NOT Catholic. Acting as if Catholics can believe the things she does is scandalous, and can cause great harm.

    • Crude says:

      I largely agree, and will be more blunt. Sheila decided to become part of a church which teaches things she doesn’t believe in, apparently in the hope of changing them from the inside. This isn’t about ignorance or misunderstanding – she’s made her choice to reject the teachings on abortion, among other things.

      She shows colossal disrespect for Catholics in general – and, I suppose, Christians in general – by not either A) deciding to submit to the teaching of the church, or B) leaving it. So just how much respect is she owed?

  2. Eric says:

    I’m curious how they’d react if a poster with the handle Liberal/pluralist/progressive Christian commented adhering to 5-point Calvinism. I bet the “so called progressive” label would be thrown out pretty quickly. Rightly so I might add.

  3. Ross says:

    Yet again I failed to check some box or other so can’t respond at Lotharson’s site so will do it here.

    Firstly, I’m not going to give a point-by-point analysis of exactly where I state you are putting words into peoples’ mouths, just take it that I don’t agree that particular logical forms of extrapolating that someone must mean something, because they stated something else are always valid. So when you conclude that someone must mean X because they have stated Y is “putting words into their mouths”. Possibly they have been sloppy and haven’t quite thought things through, but generally life is not as logically consistent as you may believe.

    I personally have found that some of your statements posted in this blog, such as your attacks on Marc and Sheila to be outrageous, as they seem to be unkind and totally over-reacting to anything originally stated. I’m not sure how my finding your comments outrageous (as maybe others do too) can be construed as outrageous.

    When discussing how Sheila is a “self confessed heretic”, I think you have missed the original irony in the comment and actually fully justify her fears and reasons for not making certain comments within the church community context.

    I really do wonder why you seem to find it necessary to root out heresies and heretics and make such an issue of holding them up for censure. It seems to me that Jesus was quite concerned about us not judging others, in fear of judgment ourselves. There’s nothing wrong in being concerned about right and wrong, but it’s what is done about it that is important. When Jesus himself appeared to be most critical, it seems to me it was against the religious and religious authorities of his day passing judgment on “sinners”.

    I am not a Roman Catholic myself, so from an unqualified position I would have to say that I’m still pretty sure there are many within that tradition who disagree with many official doctrines of the church, yet still desire to follow Jesus and also remain within that community. In fact there are many within all denominations who are unsure or very sure they don’t agree with official doctrine.

    I keep coming to the words of Jesus about whether the wheat and tares should be separated, his answer is to leave it to God, because when tearing out the heretics, many innocents themselves are consumed in the fire.

    I’ll just restate my original point in that as followers of Jesus we should be looking much more for positive things to do than negatively looking around for wolves in sheeps’ clothing. Because we’re much more likely to damage the sheep than any wolves.

    If your posts contained 1 critical evaluation to 5 positive uplifting examples of faith in Jesus, then I’m sure I wouldn’t find the nature of your posts as infuriating and outrageous as I do.

    Finally, I hope and pray that even if you find most of my criticism invalid or hurtful, that maybe within it there may be cause for reflection and possible revision of approach.

    • Ross says:

      By outrageous I really mean libellous, end para 3.

      • Crude says:

        I am not a Roman Catholic myself, so from an unqualified position I would have to say that I’m still pretty sure there are many within that tradition who disagree with many official doctrines of the church, yet still desire to follow Jesus and also remain within that community. In fact there are many within all denominations who are unsure or very sure they don’t agree with official doctrine.

        I think this is key here. Why in the world should there be sympathy for people who ‘want to belong to’ or even change the community, who reject the official doctrines? They don’t have to be in the church to follow Jesus (really, do you think we’re talking about people who believe extra ecclesia nulla salus here?) in their own minds.

        This isn’t about a lack of certainty in Sheila’s case – she’s flat out opposed to it and wants to change it. What respect is owed then? This isn’t about wanting to follow Christ.

        Here’s a thought. The LGBT population of the US is apparently under 3%. Imagine if conservative christians joined LGBT organizations en masse, with the goal of guiding the community in a better way – so in short order GLAAD was denouncing sodomy as sinful, etc. The LGBT groups respond by barring people who don’t believe that same-sex sexual acts are great and moral.

        Are the LGBT a bunch of bigots, excluding people from their community who want to belong?

    • Hi Ross, I’m glad you came down here.

      So when you conclude that someone must mean X because they have stated Y is “putting words into their mouths”. Possibly they have been sloppy and haven’t quite thought things through, but generally life is not as logically consistent as you may believe.

      I have never said that. What I have said instead is “If they’re being logically consistent they SHOULD mean X because they’ve stated Y. If they don’t mean that, something is off with their reasoning.”

      I personally have found that some of your statements posted in this blog, such as your attacks on Marc and Sheila to be outrageous, as they seem to be unkind and totally over-reacting to anything originally stated. I’m not sure how my finding your comments outrageous (as maybe others do too) can be construed as libelous.

      Er, because you never actually addressed anything I wrote?

      When discussing how Sheila is a “self confessed heretic”, I think you have missed the original irony in the comment and actually fully justify her fears and reasons for not making certain comments within the church community context.

      So, she’s afraid of being outed as a heretical Catholic. Why, exactly, should I be feeling sympathy for somebody hiding their disobedience from to the Church so they can continue to receive the Eucharist?

      I really do wonder why you seem to find it necessary to root out heresies and heretics and make such an issue of holding them up for censure.

      Because heresy causes people grave scandal, and because the truth matters.

      It seems to me that Jesus was quite concerned about us not judging others, in fear of judgment ourselves. There’s nothing wrong in being concerned about right and wrong, but it’s what is done about it that is important. When Jesus himself appeared to be most critical, it seems to me it was against the religious and religious authorities of his day passing judgment on “sinners”.

      I judge nobody as better than myself, but I also think that if somebody is going around telling people that you can be both a Catholic and a progressive this is something extremely spiritually dangerous, even directly harmful, and it must be corrected. And when people are advocating for evil I see no good reason to word things nicely around them. Not only that, Sheila in particular was intellectually dishonest and passive-aggressive, so you’ll excuse me if my reaction was strong. I do not regret it.

      I am not a Roman Catholic myself, so from an unqualified position I would have to say that I’m still pretty sure there are many within that tradition who disagree with many official doctrines of the church, yet still desire to follow Jesus and also remain within that community. In fact there are many within all denominations who are unsure or very sure they don’t agree with official doctrine.

      Okay, and if they go around openly advocating for the legality of abortion, or denying the reality of Hell, they need to be strongly denounced and corrected.

      I keep coming to the words of Jesus about whether the wheat and tares should be separated, his answer is to leave it to God, because when tearing out the heretics, many innocents themselves are consumed in the fire.

      The parable does not seem to me to be particularly concerned with how we should be treating those who openly reject Church teachings or advocate evil, but rather focuses on who God will reward.

      I’ll just restate my original point in that as followers of Jesus we should be looking much more for positive things to do than negatively looking around for wolves in sheeps’ clothing. Because we’re much more likely to damage the sheep than any wolves.

      Looking around for positive things is nice, but when people are openly advocating evil and defying Church teachings we actually have a responsibility to speak up and denounce them.

      If your posts contained 1 critical evaluation to 5 positive uplifting examples of faith in Jesus, then I’m sure I wouldn’t find the nature of your posts as infuriating and outrageous as I do.

      Your original accusation was that I overreacted and made outrageous claims about people, but when I asked you to prove it you declined. So frankly, your opinion of my posts as “infuriating and outrageous” doesn’t mean much to me. When you go through the effort to call me out by name on another person’s blog and then refuse to back up the claims you made against me, I have to ask: Why should I respect your opinion of my writing?

      Finally, I hope and pray that even if you find most of my criticism invalid or hurtful, that maybe within it there may be cause for reflection and possible revision of approach.

      I find none of it hurtful, but I do think you’re completely off base.

      I know I’ve used strong language, but thank you for responding to me here. I wish you’d actually attempted to back up the things you said, but ah well. C’est la vie.

  4. Ross says:

    I’m going to draw a line under this particular thread, as it came out of a larger comment to Lotharson and is a bit of a tangent.

    Apologies if my rather provocative statement has hurt you, but ultimately it’s more of your issue than mine. I don’t have the time or inclination to case by case answer your questions of me, so make of that what you will.

    I find multiple ironies of your comments though. Accusing me of libel by being critical of you within the same site where you have made comments, is not in the same league as you making very pointed and critical comments of others in a separate site (your own) of comments made elsewhere. At least my criticism was more easily contextualised and no-where near as libellous as your own. Plus, although I am on occasion quite critical of others, including those who claim to follow Jesus, but appear somewhat unlike him in their practice, It’s not an obsession with me.

    Personally I battle with being critical of others and having to rein my feelings in. The idea of “there but for the grace of God go I” springs often to mind. Ultimately I am humbled by the idea of not judging others lest I be judged, which is why my original post to Lotharson was more centred on a positive approach to good Christian examples, rather than frustration at those who seem to have missed the point of Jesus.

    Maybe Sheila does need to rethink whether she should remain within the RC church if it is doctrinally incompatible with her own beliefs and understanding of God’s World. At least God is more accepting of people than people are. I’m sure many people think I am a heretic, but I’m in good company as many people have been killed for heresy, such as Jesus and all the Catholic and Protestant martyrs over the years. I seem to remember reading comments about how the prophets themselves were treated in similar fashion.

    Maybe you need to rethink your own online name and change it to Malcolm de Torquemada.

    • Apologies if my rather provocative statement has hurt you, but ultimately it’s more of your issue than mine.

      There’s no need to offer fake apologies, as you did not hurt me.

      I don’t have the time or inclination to case by case answer your questions of me, so make of that what you will.

      Translation: I’ll make whatever wild claims about you that I want, and this will always be my response.

      I find multiple ironies of your comments though. Accusing me of libel by being critical of you within the same site where you have made comments

      Ross, can you even read? That’s not why I’m accusing you of libel. If you want to know why, go read through the things I actually said to you. You’ll find the answer.

      …is not in the same league as you making very pointed and critical comments of others in a separate site (your own) of comments made elsewhere.

      You’re right! I quote the people I criticize, link to their posts, and cross-post my posts onto others’ blogs. You, on the other hand, make vague comments about me “making outrageous comments about sincere commenters” despite not quoting me once, linking to none of my posts, and not alerting me to the fact that you were doing this. We are, indeed, in separate leagues.

      At least my criticism was more easily contextualize…

      Odd, then, that despite being asked several times you have declined to contextualize it.

      …and no-where near as libellous as your own.

      Ross, I don’t think you understand what the word “libel” means. Hint: It doesn’t mean “mean”.

      Plus, although I am on occasion quite critical of others, including those who claim to follow Jesus, but appear somewhat unlike him in their practice, It’s not an obsession with me.

      …Good for you then? Frankly, Ross, I really don’t care. You do your thing.

      Personally I battle with being critical of others and having to rein my feelings in. The idea of “there but for the grace of God go I” springs often to mind. Ultimately I am humbled by the idea of not judging others lest I be judged, which is why my original post to Lotharson was more centred on a positive approach to good Christian examples, rather than frustration at those who seem to have missed the point of Jesus.

      You seem to have made a typo. I’ll fix it for you:

      Ultimately I am humbled by the idea of not judging others unless I don’t like the things they say lest I be judged…

      There! Fixed!

      Maybe Sheila does need to rethink whether she should remain within the RC church if it is doctrinally incompatible with her own beliefs and understanding of God’s World. At least God is more accepting of people than people are. I’m sure many people think I am a heretic, but I’m in good company as many people have been killed for heresy, such as Jesus and all the Catholic and Protestant martyrs over the years. I seem to remember reading comments about how the prophets themselves were treated in similar fashion.

      And there you have it. Because I, an anonymous blogger with around ten to fifteen regular readers, dared to criticize Ross, he is like the Prophets, the martyrs, and, of course, Jesus. Yes, Ross, you’ve been treated in a similar fashion to people killed for their faith, Prophets of God spat upon by the people of Israel, and, of course, the crucified Incarnate Lord of the Universe Himself. Because I dared to criticize you.

      On a more scholarly note, you just called God a heretic. You’re being completely nonsensical, Ross.

      Maybe you need to rethink your own online name and change it to Malcolm de Torquemada.

      That’s right, everybody: Because I dared to make comments online criticizing people, I am like the Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition. Time to start burning.

      It’s a good thing you’re drawing a line here, Ross, because you’re embarrassing yourself now.

      • Crude says:

        Because I, an anonymous blogger with around ten to fifteen regular readers, dared to criticize Ross, he is like the Prophets, the martyrs, and, of course, Jesus.

        That really is one hell of a moment in the reply there.

  5. Pingback: Malcolm’s Law | Malcolm the Cynic

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