Originally Posted by Karl Keating
You will forgive me, I'm sure, if I acknowledge that I don't remember the specifics of our phone conversation. (The same must be said of just about every conversation, telephonic or otherwise, that I had more than a week ago.)
But I'm pleased to learn of your conversion and a bit surprised to learn that you found value in my debate with Peter Ruckman. I don't recall saying anything striking.
That debate occurred in 1987. Two things I recall distinctly: Before the debate, Ruckman declined to shake my hand, and, while I was making the concluding remarks of the debate, he left the room so as not to find himself in the same awkward position for a second time.
I suppose that if I had been an unbeliever rather than a Catholic, he wouldn't have hesitated to engage in the usual courtesies.
Your message prompted me to look up Ruckman in Wikipedia. The guy is kookier than I recollect. (He believes in UFOs and space aliens and holds that babies aren't "living souls" until they take their first breath, so abortion is okay.)
Cordial greetings and what a pleasant surprise to read your reply to my post today. Thankyou kindly for taking the time to respond.
There is no need to apologise for having no recollection of our telephone conversation, it was over 20 years ago and I fully appreciate that you have had myriads of telephone conversations with people respecting Catholicism since then.
As regards your debate with Mr. Ruckman, I think the reason for its profound impact upon me was chiefly twofold: 1/ it was truly ecumenical and not falsely irenical, in that it did not downplay fundamental differences (I had witnessed that sort of thing frequently within Anglicanism, A.R.C.I.C etal), and 2/ it delineated those differences with clarity and, above all, charity. Moreover, whatever its merits or demerits, it was all in all a very lively and, sometimes, entertaining exchange between yourself and Mr. Ruckman. BTW, I now have the entire debate on 4 CD's, courtesy of St. Joseph Communications Inc.
, who promote the set in quite glowing terms by saying, "Discover a dynamic demonstration of apologetics in action from the founder of Catholic Answers", evidently they were favourably impressed enough to issue the debate in a CD box set as an aid to the aspiring apologist.
At any rate, to a young chap who had never before heard an impartial presentation of Catholic truth from an apologist, it did cause me to entertain some doubts as regards some basic Protestant beliefs - especially circular reasoning as a means of proving biblical inspiration. Thankfully it led me on to a more thorough examination of the claims of the Catholic Church and to much more weighty study. Nevertheless, it was the first step on the rung of the ladder on my journey home to Rome and for that I shall always be eternally grateful - "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform".
It is rather surprising to hear that Mr. Ruckman believes in aliens and U.F.O.'s, how very bizzare. Even from the debate, he did come accross as rather eccentric, but I must confess I am astounded that a fundamentalist Baptist pastor would embrace such ridiculous notions.
Warmest good wishes,
PS Is it possible to telephone you at Catholic Answers
, as I should really like to speak with you further?