Why some rabid anti-Catholic debators are so boring


“Not Worthy” posted this on another this forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=151437&page=6 thread, and I am responding to it here since its off-topic. It is a response to this quote:

Originally Posted by justasking4 forums.catholic.com/images/buttons_cad/viewpost.gif
To those that think White is lame, why not call him on his program or see if he will debate you. Maybe you can do what i have yet to hear any catholic do in those debates. How is it possible that a person with a “sub par” degree can beat catholic apologists say about your church?

[NotWorthy responded]: **One way I can think of when a Catholic is called to defend something. Any time you are in defense of something, the offense can choose their mode of attack. **

Let’s say it’s the Real Presence and this is only an example. Mr. White can try and go through Scriptures interpretations to attack it. He could try and go through the Early Church Fathers to attack it. He could try and go through the various minor changes in tradition to attack it. Or He could come up with some unique way that hasn’t been heavily focused on before. Mr. White has the choice of which means he’s going to concentrate on and really focus on that line of attack.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Defender has to be prepared for ALL of these forms of attack, as well as be so solidly grounded in Scripture and Church Writings as to be able to defend even when a unique attack comes around.

I see this time and time again on these Forums where I have to defend against one person that the Church’s Traditions aren’t even found in Scripture, while the next person is arguing that the Church’s Scripture interpretations are too literal in establishing our traditions.

Good points! This also reminds me of a recent Francis Beckwith quote from this new thread forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=158250:

Originally Posted by Randy Carson forums.catholic.com/images/buttons_cad/viewpost.gif
[Francis Beckwith]: …I do not believe, however, that the misrepresentation is the result of purposeful deception. But rather, it is the result of reading Trent with Protestant assumptions and without a charitable disposition

Yes, this is how James White debates - with a complete lack of charity. His exudes a most worldly essense in how he debates, and certainly in his words about his sister. What is more worldly than lack of charity? That lack of charity is boring, it makes me run the other way. Because I am a Christian, I am in love with Jesus, and I am drawn to my Shepherd, and my Shephard is Perfect Charity. I am repelled by one who is opposite that. That is why I find James White debates so boring. One wants Christianity from a Christian debate, and how do you know one is a Christian? By their love. When I listen to one of White’s debates, I feel cheated. It was supposed to be a Christian debate. Where is the Christianity? Where is the love?

What Not Worthy has said here about the style of White’s debates is true. He puts himself in a postion to win by being the attacker, from whom one must defend oneself.

I don’t think much of a professed Christian whose career is all about putting himself in a perpetual position of attack. Is that really being an apologist?

I respect what apologist Karl Keating has to say about his life as an apologist on his May 29th newsletter. I think there is a thing to be said about not only becoming proficient in ones profession but also endeavoring to be a well-rounded person with other interests. And there is a whole lot to be said for being a person who debates whith charity, like he does, and like so many other Catholic apologists also do.



We Catholics have to be prepared for anything. Even if discussing one point, the Protestant may come with a laundry-list, shot-gun blast of 100 points, many out of left field. And for the most part, this laundry-list will be mere allegations, without supporting proof. They merely make the allegation, and leave it up to the Catholic to unravel.

I think that we are generally too defensive (constantly on the defense.) I think that Catholic apologetics should go more on the offensive.


Protestants for the most part can not stay on topic. When they feel beat on a topic they breach onto another topic to draw attention away from the defeat. I’ve seen it more times than not.


Since I teach in an adult classroom, I have had “class discussions” that felt like the “shot-gun blast” you mentioned. One tactic which almost always works is to imitate Jesus, Who almost always answered a question with a question. (Go through the Gospels; you’ll be surprised how often this happens.)

So, for example, someone might say, “Why are all Christians so racist?” Instead of saying lamely, “Well, not all Christians are racist” or something like that, I would just ask: “Which Christians in particular are you talking about? What documentation do you have for their racism? Do you have any actual evidence?” Most of the time attackers are not expecting a question or two in return, and they really have no specifics in mind; they are just repeating a charge they heard vaguely from someone else.

Or something like: “Why do Catholics fear and mistrust the Bible so much?” “What makes you think Catholics fear and mistrust the Bible?” “Well, because they chained up the Bible in the Middle Ages.” “And do you know why Bibles were chained to pulpits in the Middle Ages?”

Notice how suddenly I’m not the one on the defensive who has to explain himself?

Of course, when using this approach, be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes people are not attacking, but are genuinely seeking information, and God might lead you simply to give a straightforward answer.


Correctamundo! :thumbsup:

As I recently said on another thread, the burden of proof is always on the person making the charge. Why should anyone bust their rear digging up refutation every time someone makes a ridiculous, unsubstantiated charge? Your first question (asked with a smile :slight_smile: ) should be “Oh really? And what proof do you have of that?”


Yes. Not acknowledging when the opponent has made a point, and instead, launching an attack on a new topic is an example of lack of charity (or even plain good manners) in debate, and it is how White debates as a matter of routine.


Good advice Fidelis and cpayne. I’ll have to remember that.


One other point along the same line: If you do ask “Where did you get that idea from?” and they respond with something like, “That’s the way it was stated in the Fourth Post-Linear Left-Handed Moldavian Bishops’ Council of 1383,” just tell them you’ll respond when they show you that quote. Majority of the time, you’ll never hear from them again.


Good response. Because its highly unlikely they ever read the document. They just read a quote on an anti-Catholic website, one which can be traced back to Lorraine Bottners errant book.


Debates in general are boring nowadays. They aren’t trying to find the best way of approaching an issue- they are just contests to see who can yell the loudest, and get the last word in.

Some tips for a good debate.

1.) Debating is not just trying to see who can yell the loudest- don’t interrupt each other, don’t ignore what the other person is saying, give each other time to think of a clear, sensible response. Basically, don’t learn debate from Fox News (I agree with many of the positions of the people who work for them, but debates on their shows mostly consist of people trying to yell over each other, interrupt each other, and get the last word in before the program ends).

2.) Do not repeat yourself. When you have one generic answer, and you start repeating it (usually the debate starts getting louder at this point too- remember #1), you lose all credibility.

3.) Do not get angry. Don’t even raise your voice, or laugh or shake your head or move your hands around or anything. Separate your emotions from the subject material and look at it objectively. Basically, don’t learn debate from The View (or even watch that dreadful program to begin with). A good argument will be most effective when it does not rely on anything other than the words themselves (no emotion, no swearing, no volume, no slowing or speeding up of speech other than what is normal to speech- no robot-talking either, no facial expressions or gestures- just clear, proper, matter-of-fact speech)

4.) Never attack individual persons. Debate the issue- not the moral character of the person you are debating, or that of anyone else.

5.) The only valid references are what you have in common. When you debate fundamentalists, you can only use scripture- and only the parts that are worded correctly in versions of the Bible accepted by both groups. When you debate atheists, you’re going to be on your own, and you’d better hope you are a better philosopher than they are. That’s how Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron lost their debate with the atheists (and also made fools of themselves and of the Christian community they represent- which, to the atheists, is all of us- not just fundamentalists).


There is better ways to communicate truth to an audience than debating. There is not one incident in scripture that resembles debating. Even John Macarthur disagrees implicitly how apologists in general debate. I think things like discussion in differences should just be made between the two parties with little or no public exposure. I used the debate method of the above person that you described in discussions with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It did a lot more bad than good. Instead I use the Jesus technique of asking good questions. I will ask them, to read John 5:18 it states Christs equality with God and then ask "If Jesus is not equal with God, how do you accept him as the literal Son of God if he is not equal with God in any way shape or form. They cannot answer it. Yet my goal is not to win arguments but to plant seeds of doubt that will lead them to the truth. I am happy I got out of debating.


Actually, I tend to agree. However, sometimes people give these rapid-fire attacks, expecting you to respond to every detail of their arguments, but not allowing adequate time to do so. My point was that not every attack even needs to be addressed.

As for scripture: In Acts, doesn’t Paul often give a defense of his beliefs (apologia)?


I am always baffled how some anti-catholics try to “prove” the early fathers were in favor of anti-catholic thoughts!

I was very surprised to see Augustine being cited as “proof” for sola scriptura in a thread!:eek:

Half quotes, out of context quotes, or incomplete citations let alone innacurate ones are the things that get to me.


**A hypocrite, hunting after the glory that comes from an apparent righteousness, is untroubled so long as he thinks that he escapes notice. But when he is detected, he utters streams of imprecation, imagining that by abusing others he can hide his own deformity. **
St. Maximos the Confessor


Paul in Acts shows the Athenians respect for their religious zeal. He finds common ground. It is then he shows them that their zeal is misguided. He shows them the error of putting anything before God which is idolatry. That is worshiping anything in place of the one true God. My approach to witnessing to anyone who does not know God is #1 to ask them if they consider themselves to be good people in God’s eyes. Proverbs 20:6 says that every man will proclaim his own goodness. Mark 10:18 says that no one is good but God alone. #2 would be for me to show them their sin by using the moral law of God the Ten Commandments. I would ask them if they have ever murdered or committed adultery. They may say no. Then I would explain that lust is the same as adultery and hatred the same as murder and that little lies and stealing something small is just as deserving of hell as shooting someone or robbing a bank. I then ask them about heaven or hell. If they realize that hell is their destiny, then I explain to them about Christ’s death on the cross and that salvation is free. However it is not without any demands. Jesus in Luke 14:25-33 told the potential converts to count the cost carefully before choosing to follow him. He also said that unless they forsake their sin they cannot be saved. No one in their right would join the army without thinking it over even though joining is free. Then after this I would talk about minor differences in a charitable way. I hope my approach is helpful.


Sounds like you are a big fan of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. :smiley:




Yeah I guess you could say that. I try to use the Roman Missal with the sermon on the mount in it to also make key points. You know the one with the Sunday Readings. I want to also say that I think CCD teachers in emphasizing the fact that while Jesus died for our sins, should also emphasize that he also died for the righteousness of God. If he had never told the Jews and everyone else about hell he never would have been crucified. I don’t really think CCD teachers make this clear enough. I have also learned that the way some unruly kids in CCD treat their teachers are for similar reasons that the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus. Fr. Frank Pavone has been spit on at abortion mills yet he rejoices because he is bearing Christ’s reproach and it beings praise and glory to God. Sinners should get angry at the truth or be converted to the truth in my opinion.




I don’t get it. If protestants and the like debate Catholicism because we do too much or added too much, why does that bother them?
The arguements I seem to hear most are about confession (our way is not necessary for them), baptism for babies (our way is too early for them), communion (our way is too real for them)
I’d think God would be happy when someone went out of their way to do more than he asked, or more than expected!
How can anyone go wrong by doing TOO MUCH for Him?? Can you actually do too much.
What if we are all wrong? Then, I’d rather be wrong doing too much than too little.

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