As I noted last week, Steve Ray’s response (titled “The Obsessed Man Continues his Rant”) to my series (which he professes to have not bothered to read—can you imagine if I replied to his 30 page pdf with the same kind of attitude?) began with these kind words:
Someone informed me that James White the Baptist was continuing his rant concerning my blog on the Assumption of Mary. The guy continues to take me far more seriously than I have ever taken him. He’s really just a little man full of himself an angry know-it-all who’s really just a tempest in a teapot. The only reason I have ever responded to him in the past is for the sake of others reading the material. If I had nine lives I might waste some time refuting his latest rantings, but this time his preaching is not worth responding to. Let him prattle on. I have better things to do that to respond to every pontificating anti-Catholic that sets up a blog.
I had not commented on the fact that he dismisses my response as “not worth responding to.” I would invite our readers to examine what has been offered thus far and see if perhaps Mr. Ray may well be guilty of a little misrepresentation here. It would be easy to waste time focusing upon such kind and charitable lines as “pontificating anti-Catholic,” and “a little man full of himself,” but we already know that Mr. Ray operates on a gross double-standard when it comes to such things, and, you won’t find any of the folks over at Jimmy Akin’s comboxes calling for him to be more charitable as a result, either, will you? In any case, I believe my blog has been active at least as long as Ray’s, covers a much wider range of topics, so the attempt to dismiss it as having been set up just to pontificate in his direction is another indication of just how cavalier Ray is with the truth.
But I decided to take a quick spin through the comments Ray has allowed in response to this post, since a couple of folks contacted me and said that Ray had refused to post their replies. Hence, one can expect a very one-sided set of replies, and that is exactly what you find. Here are some of the more instructive of the comments. Erik wrote,
The greatest day is going to be when James White finally reads history, understands it (he seems to have a problem with isogesis) and, realizing his mistakes, joins RCIA and becomes a Catholic apologist.
That would be “eisegesis,” actually, and isn’t it ironic that this would be posted in this thread, when I am providing fair, accurate replies to Ray which include patristic materials? There is an element of “look, I am putting my fingers in my ears and not listening but still saying you are wrong while not listening to you” in the comments in this thread, to be sure. “Tiber Jumper,” another highly unbiased source, commented,
Your testimony and work has brought far more souls into the Church than Dr. Whites blog could ever pull out of the Church. But its not about numbers but truth. Ultimately, the Truth will set us all free.
If it isn’t about numbers, why cite non-existent numbers? No one has a clue what numbers are accurate or relevant regarding numbers of “converts,” and anyone who knows my work knows I take the long-view, praising God for the conversion stories we do hear, but looking down the road to generations to come as well. I do get wonderful e-mails from people who have come to the truth, but I generally feel very uncomfortable asking to “use” their testimonies. That’s just not how I do things. Next, if you want true irony, remember that the next comment from Randy is in response to Ray’s refusal to so much as pretend to interact with the refutation of his claims:
Think of the parable of the sower. Some ground is just too hard. It needs to soften up a bit. Not just him but many of those that read his site are determined not to listen to the Catholic message. They listen to poke holes but do not REALLY listen. That is in huge contrast to so many Catholic apologists who have given protestantism every chance to convince them it is true.
How many times have I documented the fact that it is Rome’s apologists who so often demonstrate the “fingers in the ears” methodology of apologetics? How many times do their apologists take it as a badge of honor that they have not read my books, that they do notinteract even with the criticism I offer directly of them by playing their own words on the DL? One must truly be living in a fantasy world to think this is an accurate representation of the modern situation. Next we have Z said, and again, this is written in a combox sponsored by a man whose entire persona is self-promotion,
I dont know that I want James White to become a Catholic Apologist. I think the man does more to turn people away from whatever he is promoting, simply because the number one thing he promotes is himself.
As is normal with our intrepid apologists (he identifies himself as one), no examples are given. Remember Guardian, who has had to ask for three months just to come up with documentation of an allegation he made over at Catholic Answers? Regular listeners to the DL have heard the few of these folks who have had the intestinal fortitude to call in, and when challenged on these issues, their replies have been significantly less than useful. Of course, I’d be happy to have Z said call in if he would like to provide some documentation of his allegations. Given the work that I do, it is always best to have answers, and the irony is, I have always openly admitted that there are entire areas that I will not even begin to address because I either know nothing about them, or, only have a general knowledge and I don’t want anyone to invest such an opinion with any extra weight. But, I have rarely found these folks to have taken much time to actually study or listen, so I can hardly put too much weight in such comments.
Then we have Dozie the Internet Mind Reader and Amateur Psychologist. He starts out with this observation:
One of the major problems in America and in the world today is the problem of people raised in dysfunctional homes that is, raised without any standard values or proper boundaries.
Then we get personal…
In observing James White and his form of rebellion and his seemingly autonomous religious existence (the man has never invoked any form of religious authority over him or made reference to any limitations his religion imposes on him and his public behavior), I cannot fail but make a connection between his approach in public discourse and the environment and values in which he grew up.
And this from a person who hasn’t a clueabout the “environment” in which I grew up, of course. What is more, the fact that I am an elder in a Reformed Baptist Church, affirm the vital importance of church membership, etc., only shows how little these people actually care about the accuracy or factuality of their public pronouncements. But it should be remembered, for these folks, this is an apologetic argument.They are obviously not up to the challenge of actually dealing with the issues (remember the context of the combox), so this is the only mechanism open to them: lie about the person who is presenting the historical and biblical arguments you cannot possibly refute, and use your lies as your basis for ignoring the essence of the arguments. We cannot help but feel for someone who deceived and entrapped in false religion as this person, but we must recognize the existence of this kind of rhetoric. So, in the face of the obvious hypocrisy of Steve Ray to first take me “seriously” enough to offer a 30 page pdf, and then, upon receiving criticism and refutation, all of a sudden no longer take me “seriously” enough to defend his own assertions, consider the insight we gain here into the followers of Ray. Dozie opines,
In a sense, like the radical left who grew up in dysfunctional homes, here must be an example of a radical right who was raised up badly and who inserts himself in the most obnoxious manner in conversations regarding a system he is incapable of understanding and insists that we must answer to him provide him with a certain level of refutation. I do not think a Catholic has to. I have insisted that no Protestant(who is not a seeker) has a right to make any kind of demand on a Catholic for any kind of answer. The most appropriate response to James White then is to let his matter die.
When you have to attack a man’s family to get around his documentation of your errors, well, you are truly bankrupt in the arena of truth.
Finally, Ray chimes in in response to another comment counseling ignoring my replies to his own claims with these words,
I agree with you completely, but there are some innocent folks who might be influenced by such nonsense and it is good for them to see that guys like White and his kind are very easy to refute. If someone does not refute them, like saints have refuted heretics in the past, then others might think they cannot be refuted. Such petty, self-important know-it-alls need to be refuted so others don’t fall prey to them.
Actually James White does more for good for the Catholic Church right where he is! I know many people that have become more convinced of the Catholic Church by listening to arrogant folks like him.
OK, so which is it…am I important enough to respond to, not important enough to respond to, or am I so easy to refute? Can Ray figure it out? I’m not sure, but if he is right, and I am so good at bringing folks into Rome, how come I’m not getting invitations to debate the likes of Ray, or, appear on their radio programs? I’d think if they really believed this, they’d want to give me as broad an audience as possible to get more folks into Rome! But, of course, we know this is nothing but the bluster of a man who cobbled together a pdf from previous documents and now refuses to defend his own assertions…and errors. He melted down when refuted on the 33,000 denominations error, and hence his behavior here is hardly startling. He shows how very charitable he is with this comment,
Third, if I considered White important enough and I had free time with nothing to do on my hand, I would deal with his latest rant which I haven’t even taken the time to read. I responded the last few times since I did have a day or so and they were interesting topics for me to expand upon.
Fourth, whenever one steps into a mud puddle with White one always feels the need of a shower. I took one last week and am now on to other projects more profitable and beneficial. However, if I have time this summer I may revisit his site and read his latest and edit my papers with Addendums to deal with his “critique.”
We all know if I spoke of him in this fashion we’d never hear the end of it, but again we see the double-standard: in the service of Rome, all insults are allowed. No one will call him on it, to be sure. In any case, the comments of his supporters found in this combox give us a somewhat startling insight into the mindset of those who buy into the twisted reasoning of Ray and others.