War- & Garbage-Free Facebook Zone (Your Search is Over)

War- & Garbage-Free Facebook Zone (Your Search is Over) May 3, 2020

This is a compilation of five Facebook posts: originally written between March 2014 and May 2015. I have retained the original title for each, with the date.


War-Free and Garbage-Free Facebook Zone (Your Search is Over) [3-5-14]

Isn’t it nice to be on a page where you know that the usual online nonsense will not be tolerated? I block habitual pope-, Novus Ordo Mass- and Vatican II-bashers, and I have a zero tolerance policy towards personal insults directed at others (of whatever beliefs: that is irrelevant).

If you want to do that, go somewhere else. If you want to insult, and keep doing it after two warnings, you’re history. I don’t care if you had a bad hair day, was yelled at by your spouse, was given a dirty look by your son, or if your toilet got jammed up. Either rectify such things pronto (no one’s perfect; we understand that), or you’re outta here.

I was a moderator of the Coming Home Network forum for three years, so I actually did that partially for a living. I know how to moderate and to treat both sides of a dispute with fairness. I’ve been able to offer a congenial, friendly, amiable atmosphere here for over three years: no problem. It’s altogether possible, just as we did it at Coming Home, with the same zero tolerance policy regarding insulting rhetoric.

Some may think it is cruel, etc., to ban people fairly quickly, but unfortunately, it is virtually necessary if you want to have a page where adult discussions can take place minus all the hostility and acrimony that is so common.

My concern is with the people who come here regularly and seek to learn some theology and apologetics. It’s out of consideration for them that I have a strict policy. It’s a loving act towards them (if I’m accused of being “unloving” to those I ban): so that they can be free from the garbage.

It’s been happening here for over three years: a place where you don’t have to worry about trollers, conspiratorial extremists, loudmouths, know-it-alls, and fools who aren’t interested in open, honest discussion or in applying rudimentary Christian ethics to other human beings. St. Paul talks repeatedly about refusing to engage in foolish conversations and stupid controversies, and about avoiding contentious, divisive people. It’s all completely biblical.

Everyone complains about how bad Internet communication is. It’s about time some of us started doing something about it. Don’t allow all the fights and silliness on your page!

Thanks to all my readers: especially the 5500+ regulars, who have made this page what it is. I wouldn’t trade you for any other group of people online. You’re the best!

[original combox]

At the same time, I am passionately in favor of free speech and a free exchange of ideas. But it has to be done with civility and in a dialogical way: not the lectures and trolling tactics of many who love to hear themselves speak (write), but aren’t too crazy about listening to anyone else with a different view.

I can spot the person who doesn’t want to dialogue: only wants to preach or lecture, a thousand miles away, from my 33 years of apologetics experience. This is partly why I am able to moderate efficiently and get rid of the folks who want to do that and ruin it for everyone else.

Bye [Name] (just bashed the ordinary form Mass and Vatican II on this thread, and said that I “dwell in darkness”). Your request to be removed from my friends’ list is granted. That’s one advantage of posts like this. It brings out the extremists, like cockroaches out from under a rock, so they can be removed. May God bless you in all things, [Name].

Any other quasi-schismatics or anti-Catholics or radical Catholic reactionaries or conspiracy nuts wanna come out from under your rock and take your last potshot and tell me I’m going to hell before you are blocked?

People of those views don’t feel comfortable here, because they know that I have zero tolerance for crap and lies, and that those lies are refuted here and in my books and on my blog.

I don’t allow truly bad language, either. The occasional “mild” word is fine, but not the more vulgar or obscene words. And I don’t care what our sewer-culture thinks about that. I reject the coarseness that is now the norm in our society.


A Typical Example of the Sort of  “Exchange of Ideas” that is so Prevalent Today [7-2-14]

This is a textbook / classic example of the fashionable “PC” mentality, whereby everything is relative and personal; hence, every disagreement is perceived as an intolerant attack. It came in the discussion under a very popular meme I put up yesterday, about “judging” (and it is totally public, and this woman voluntarily commented, so it’s not wrong to quote this).

She softened at the end, so I don’t want to be too hard on her, but still, the beginning portion was quite frustrating, and the dynamic there is a very common occurrence these days [her words in blue]:

Just don’t [judge] at all; we have no right. Only God can do that.

Not true. We can judge and discern on a lesser level [than God does], because we are commanded to do so in the Bible.

Maybe you can; I can’t.

That’s cuz I order my life by what the Bible says.

If you don’t like what I think, don’t read it, but please leave me alone.

Great. Be well and God bless you. Thanks for stopping by.

What wrong with this guy? All I said was, I don’t believe that way, and didn’t want any more emails. I didn’t mean to hurt his feelings; sorry.

1) Nothing is wrong with me, thank you. 2) You said “leave me alone,” which is an odd way to reply to my reply to your public comment on my public post (which you would receive in e-mail, according to the usual Facebook routine). Most people would assume that the person who made the post would reply back. 3) My feelings are perfectly intact (but thanks for your concern). As an apologist, if I didn’t have a very thick skin after 33 years of discussions with all kinds of viewpoints, I wouldn’t be in this business. I don’t get my feelings hurt due to mere disagreements. Maybe many others do these days, but not me.

I thought I had you blocked . That’s okay; let’s just be friends. Just because we don’t think alike, we don’t have to be mean. I was just saying what I believe. We can’t all be the same. I believe in forgiveness.

So you didn’t block me and now we can be good buddies! Excellent! I have no problems on my end getting along with folks who disagree with me.

[original combox]

I dared to disagree, so that automatically makes me Attila the Hun and an Abuser of Women!

. . . extremely common today. This is the world we live in: folks can hardly string two rational thoughts together.

The great irony here is that if you think all truth is relative, then there is no basis for getting all on your ear about someone disagreeing with you. That makes no sense. If one really believes that, then all opinions are precisely of the same value (all equally valid); therefore, no one who thinks in this way can possibly get angry about a different opinion.

That’s the double standard that inevitably occurs, and it betrays the fact that these folks really do believe some things are true and others false (Their [liberal] views are the true ones, and those who disagree are false; and hence, of course, also “haters”).

It’s hopelessly incoherent and annoying. And there is nothing we can do about it except have a bunch of kids, raise them as disciples, and transform the world through demographics.

Muslims still have lots o’ kids; this is why they are on the ascendancy in world affairs and Christian influence is rapidly declining. We stopped having children. Pope St. Paul VI is the prophet yet again . . .

Alex Cordry: Wait, I’m lost. [Name] didn’t like what you had to say so she commented but if you don’t like what she has to say, leave her alone?

Yeah, now you get it, Alex. I’m supposed to just shut up; listen to a different opinion, but say nothing in return, under pain of being a stalker and verbal abuser. Welcome to the modern world of “discourse.”

If she is coming around now to what I would call “true tolerance” it still illustrates the point I am trying to make by presenting this example: that that is the way to go and not all the subjective mush that we see so often, where no one can disagree without the inevitable “negativity” comin’ out somehow.

Sometimes comments from another view can rightly be considered “trolling” so there are some fine lines. I allow most people to talk freely on this page (though I disallow bashing the pope, the New Mass, and Vatican II here), but there are some who are clearly trolling, and I don’t allow that.

It has to do with a lack of respect for the venue you are in. So there are some issues like that, but in many cases it is just shutting down what cannot be answered, too.


Bad Online Behavior: No Excuses in the Final Analysis [7-9-14]

Someone noted that people are generally a lot nicer in person than they are online. This was my response (with quite a bit added presently):

If a person habitually acts like an ass online, it’s still the same person who exists offline who chooses to do that, when it is totally unnecessary and wrong. They’re either “acting” online (passive-aggressive, gossipy, slanderous, rude, juvenile garbage) or acting when they are “nice” in person. Something is fishy there. Otherwise, they would act with normal Christian charity whether online or in “real life.”

In other words, they are not two people, but one, who chooses to act differently (usually much worse) when online. Ethics and morality don’t change according to venue or environment. They are what they are.

Of course, some folks simply have an uncontrolled tongue or a hot temper, or a tendency to run others down, for various possible reasons (besetting sins), and that comes out online as well as offline. I do agree that those sorts of faults get magnified online, but such behavior can’t be blamed solely on lack of body language, inflection, tone, and all the rest, that has been noted hundreds of times.

People act in self-interested fashion. So, we have more to lose in person and we shape up. But online, many folks seem to feel that they can act like idiots and “get away” with it: almost like a know-it-all rebellious college kid out of town on one of the pathetic “breaks”: where he or she feels that they can do any outrageous behavior and not be noticed by anyone they know. No boundaries or responsibilities . . .

That’s how (sadly) too many people act online. I contend that this is the real person coming out (due to less social pressure to “behave”), and that we stand accountable for all the words we say (or type).

In the end, we are responsible for what we do; how we act. Does anyone think it will matter a hill of beans to God on Judgment Day whether our sins were committed via Internet writing or in vocal words in person? St. James’ and St. Paul’s and Jesus’ warnings about the tongue and lack of charity apply here as much as anywhere else.

Thus, I’ve always, from the beginning of my online participation (1996) insisted that folks should act exactly the same here as they would in real life (like a Christian!), and cease with the games, the anonymity (with the allied silliness of nicknames), the one-upsmanship, being the big shot of a forum or venue, the cliques, the disposable friendships, the endless vanity and pretensions of self-importance, factions, divisions, and “groupthink” — and all the other nonsense. But of course, all of that reflects real life, too.

My conclusion is: folks are online what they are “in real life”: even if the “real life” persona may be primarily hidden in their hearts, and is not outwardly observed. What comes out of our “mouths” [or, keyboards] proceeds from the heart, after all, and the bad tree produces bad fruit, etc. (Sermon on the Mount stuff). We are all in need of God’s grace on a continual basis (primarily from the sacraments) in order to be and act as God would have us to be.

[original combox]

Most people think I’m a lot nicer when they meet me because they project all sorts of supposed stern, “mean” attitudes to apologetics writing. It’s sort of an occupational hazard that unfortunately can’t be avoided. So you will (almost certainly) think “he’s a lot nicer and more charming in person” (LOL!) when in fact I am the same me all the time! It’s just that here I am writing about serious stuff and having to correct errors and a lot of people don’t like that and become offended.

Here are three interesting comments about me from the Coming Home Network Forum, where I used to work. The first person has never met me (but supports my work). The second and third (one a fellow moderator there) have met me:

I always thought that Dave’s picture on his website, with the black leather jacket and all, made him look kinda scary. [male]

Yeah, Ted, I have to agree. I must say that old picture captures none of the real Dave Armstrong. I was totally unprepared for the real guy. [female]

Ted, I met Dave Armstrong and his wife myself last year, and I must say that [Name]’s characterization of him is spot on. The old picture of him in the leather jacket quite macabrely turns him into a grimacing mafioso. He is nothing of the kind; . . . [male]

It goes back to apologetics. People think (quite often) that we are mean, stuck-up know-it-alls: must be that in order to be apologists. So when they meet us in person and see that these stereotypes aren’t true, then they are “shocked”. I think it’s a bum rap. Folks who say this should meet Pat Madrid or Jimmy Akin or Scott Hahn or my local friend and fellow apologist Gary Michuta (“the gentle giant”).

We all certainly have our ongoing sins that we struggle with and we can always improve in charity (since the Christian standard is so high: perfection and holiness!). I made that clear in my longer treatment of this on my own page.

I also acknowledged above the role of body language and the other things that are much less evident or impossible to see online. I just don’t think it is an excuse for, or can justify bad behavior. But you’re right, in person we can read the body language and usually respond accordingly.

Nor was I talking about the occasional slip-up or loss of temper, but rather, as I clarified in my longer treatment, the “person [who] *habitually* acts like an ass online . . .” In other words, a vice or character defect . . .

I say that [habitually] bad online behavior comes from the heart, and that it betrays someone who has serious problems. It’ll come out less “in real life” because of social stigma and having more to lose. But it is still there in their heart (which is a large part of my point); they simply repress it better in person than online, where there are less inhibitions and no face-to-face interaction.

I maintain that it is “one person” who is doing the whole thing, and that they act differently online or offline, due to factors we have been noting. But what is in their heart is there and that’s where everything proceeds from (Sermon on the Mount).

I don’t deny at all that the medium is a factor, as I have reiterated several times. The Internet is a factor making it relatively more difficult to effectively, “normally” communicate; but this is not an excuse for sin.

We have to get to this bottom line, I think, if we hope to reform discourse online, that is so irritating to so many people (how lousy and stupid it often is). I think it can be reformed, and that venues can be moderated, so that a congenial atmosphere can be obtained. I know for sure that we did that at the Coming Home Network, where I was a moderator for three years. And I’ve tried to apply what I learned there (as a moderator) on my own web pages. If people are incorrigible, we must ban them at a certain point, lest they ruin it for everyone else.

People do indeed “give into their darker selves” online. In my larger paper I compared what far too many people do online, to the college kid out on spring break, away from family, and seemingly without responsibility. That was my own analogy; therefore, I do certainly acknowledge that venues and media affect behavior.

Maybe some of the slight confusion about my view is that I am distinguishing between actual behavior (different, according to venue) and what is in people’s hearts, that causes them to act as they do (which is unified and not “split”). My paper was primarily about the latter, and doesn’t deny the former (factually different behavior).

It’s also true that I am always the reformer and the idealist. I believe Internet discourse can potentially be much better, and that there are ways to successfully achieve that, and that it has taken place in many venues, and can, more so.

So while many are becoming disenchanted and saying “to hell with all discussion online” [or at least, controversial discussion], I am always saying that we can all do better if we realize a few things that are different about online, act as we do in real life (not being anonymous or assuming multiple personas or playing games).

A person chooses, for example, whether to be anonymous and/or unaccountable online. That is behavior that (to me) is a sort of game. It’s not like real life at all. And I have always argued that we need to make online as close as possible to how we act online. Nicks and complete unaccountability don’t further that goal (insofar as folks want to seek it in the first place).

But despite my hopeless idealism, it’s true that I do reach a point in particulars where I, too, literally give up. Thus, I dissed Internet discussion forums over ten years ago (then, ironically, I worked at one for three years, but I could help moderate it in that case, which was the difference). I gave up trying to dialogue with Anti-Catholics and radical Catholic reactionaries and the hostile, relentlessly insulting sort of atheist that we often see online (not all atheists; I’ve talked to some very nice ones, too). I have neither the time more patience for any of that, after virtually universal bad experience in the past (after trying for many years).

Others have reached their breaking point with Facebook, period, or blogs. I understand it, but I still don’t think these media are beyond all redemption. We have to all strive to do better and represent our Lord more fully and faithfully. That is constructive and can help make things better in online discourse. We do it one by one, by God’s grace.

I see nothing inherently, woefully deficient in the medium of writing. The Bible is in writing, for heaven’s sake. People give greeting cards. That’s writing. They write love letters to each other. There are pen pals. People write a script for a movie. It is then portrayed visually, which seems more like “real life” (but actually isn’t at all in that case), but it was written beforehand. People read novels and non-fiction books.

So we communicate with each other in writing online, too, and it is real (or certainly can be), if people stop playing games online and trying to manipulate or be rude and insulting to others. I’m saying that these behaviors don’t have to be, and that if we reject them (primarily by blocking incorrigible violators), we can continue to use this medium for much good.

Right now I’m sitting here writing, and it is quite real. I’m writing from my heart, being sincere. It’s not different at all from what I would say in person. If the latter is “real” I don’t see how this is not real, because the essence of what I am communicating is the same. So I don’t agree with this “real life vs. the Internet” business (though I refer to it jokingly). This is still real life, too, which is why we are still subject to God’s laws of morality and ethics while we are online.

Where we would all agree, I think, is in identifying the dangers of a lack of balance and moderation in use of Facebook or other online entities: to the point where we hardly talk to people in person or spend time with them in person, or start neglecting our responsibilities to spouses, children, parents, or friends.

Now you bring up the question of the relative utility of chat (“real time”) vs. more traditional letter-writing. In my opinion, the latter is vastly superior. For that reason I almost never chat online. It’s very inefficient and too time-consuming.

This reminds me, too, of the argument I have made for years that written debate is far superior to oral debates. Because in the latter, what we often find is a circus atmosphere, and lots of sophistry and playing to the crowds.

In written debate, the participants have plenty of time to give the best answer they can give. This is why anti-Catholic James White has avoided a true written debate with me since 1995, while challenging me three times to an oral debate, which I always refuse on principle. So at least where debates are concerned, the written medium is vastly superior, and quite real indeed. Lots of substance, and flatulence and fluff can be identified and refuted for what it is.

Moreover, in this case (strictly talking about debates), the medium that is supposedly less “real” (writing) is way better than the “real life” face-to-face encounter of the oral debate with an audience, where all sorts of games and silliness take place. Occasionally, we see a worthy public oral debate (such as Lincoln-Douglass), but that is the rare exception.

Thus, I conclude that it is not at all obvious that the lack of body language, voice, et al always makes mere writing encounters inferior.


My Three “Laws” Concerning Online Discourse (actual or mere facsimiles thereof) [3-25-15]

Armstrong’s Law #1: It is virtually 100% certain that when anyone (including, sadly, Catholics) starts to vigorously disagree online, some sort of ad hominem insults will start flying, and misrepresentations of opposing views will inevitably occur.

Armstrong’s Law #2: If someone personally attacks and lies about another person and/or his opinions, and the recipient merely defends himself against false charges and objects to the calumnies, he will inevitably be accused by some or many observers of engaging in exactly the same behavior as his attacker, as if the two were “immoral equivalents.”

Armstrong’s Law #3: When there is strong disagreement, inevitably virtually all online discussions about it will immediately be diverted to anything other than what the dispute is actually about: personalities, or “psychoanalysis” of the guy who disagrees, or wholesale mockery and silliness (generally, postmodernist subjective mush over against objectively determined facts). Anything and everything that can be thrown (very much like dog poop on a wall) in order to avoid actually dealing with the topic at hand will be brought into play. The ancients called this sophistry. We may also call it “obfuscation” or “obscurantism.”

[original combox]

Lately, a Catholic man’s primary foes come from the Catholic household of faith (making Jesus’ words ring true). They’re out there now blasting and lying about me. The anti-Catholics and atheists mostly ignore me.


Criticizing Public Posts on Facebook (The Latest Ridiculous and Pathetic Dust-Up) [5-29-15]

I was blocked by a person for making a public criticism on Facebook of a public post on Facebook, having informed them immediately on said post that I was doing so (with the link to my post). This was deemed as underhanded, sneaky, the height of outrageousness, and “behind” the person’s “back.” Does this make any sense to anyone?

Everyone can choose on Facebook if their posts are public or for friends only (or an even more restricted “Custom” setting). So if someone wants no public criticism or publicly posted stuff, they have that option. See the little globe icon under my name above? That means all my posts are public, and fair game for anyone to read or comment upon.

Generally speaking (i.e., beyond merely Facebook), anyone who writes (and this person has a great deal) knows that a public article is fair game to be criticized. I wholeheartedly agree that it is a courtesy to let someone know about it, but it is not morally required to ask their permission, because it is already a matter of public record, and what’s public is public! A = A.

I am almost never informed when someone is critiquing anything of mine, let alone asked permission. But I like to (and routinely do) let people know when I do a critique. When I informed the outraged person that I had let them know, on their post in question (since they seemed unaware), I was berated because it had been during dinnertime and informed that this was an ethical loophole. Huh? [scratching head] More evidence of my sneaky, “under a rock” nature, I reckon. Everyone knows that about me, right?

I also removed my post as soon as I learned that the person was most (shall we say?) “displeased” about it. The Bible says, “as much as possible [I love the qualifier!] be at peace with all men.” But how much do you wanna bet that I am still being talked about [in a public post] over there now, behind my back [having been blocked]?

Of course, a lot of people detest the notion of anyone daring to criticize them about anything in the first place, but that is another matter entirely . . .

[original combox]

If it weren’t for my love of farcical humor, I would have long ago been in a rubber room, faced with the asinine nonsense that regularly occurs online. It’s good to see that there are a few souls left who see this garbage for what it is.

Indeed, as I predicted, I am being massively gossiped about and slandered (by fellow Catholics) over there, as I speak. So now we have a ludicrous nuthouse scenario where I am supposedly outrageously wrong for publicly responding to a public post (having let them know with a link), yet this person is not wrong for gossiping about me truly behind my back (with a chorus of half-a-dozen back-slapping sycophants), while I am blocked (said person also having stated yesterday that they don’t block people for mere disagreements).

Today we learn that I am supposedly “desperate for traffic.” My Facebook traffic is very regular, with 6,090 friends and followers. I don’t need traffic. I need book sales. And believe me, I don’t gain popularity (or book sales) when I am involved in one of these stupid conflicts. It doesn’t help me. So this “theory” doesn’t make any sense. But why would we expect it to, in this circumstance?

Another person in the thread informs everyone that “Dave’s been a loving nurser of grudges for a long time.” I’m “jackass-y” and have an “inquisitorial streak.”

Another [and this is a person whom I had thought was my friend] states that I am a “Lone Ranger” professional Catholic apologist who lacks a basic understanding that Catholicism is a relationship with God and that the goal is salvation of souls and not just “syllogisms.”

Now a meme has been made: “Armstrong’s About to Ruin This Thread.” That’s tough to do when I’m blocked, ain’t it?

Another Paragon of Virtue and Oracle of Truth stated that I “already ruined the Internet.”

So now it’s a wholesale slander- and gossip-fest, with not a single person objecting to it (at least in public on that thread). It’s what I call a “feeding frenzy.”

[update: at least one person had the decency, guts, and fair-mindedness to publicly protest in the thread. I also know of one other prominent online person who has defriended the offending party in disgust]

All because I publicly objected to an atrocious public post that (what else?) attacked Pope Francis. For that, I must be the recipient of all the above ridiculous insults, from the usual suspects. And even this reply (mark my words) will now be lambasted, because I’m not allowed to ever speak out against such unethical and hypocritical tactics, which are rampant online. I’m just supposed to shut up. If I don’t, it’s because I want traffic, I’m a resentful jackass, and don’t understand that apologetics (which I’ve engaged in for now 34 years) is to save souls.

This is what passes for intelligent discourse these days. Very edifying, isn’t it? I haven’t named any names here, but they are sure naming ME, ain’t they?

Another person at least refrained from attacking me, but he casually noted that Pope Francis “hates traditionalists.” That was enough to earn a block. I don’t have any patience for the idiotic anti-Francis mentalities anymore. Two friends of mine just departed Facebook in the last week. They had had enough; seen enough.

And on and on it goes.

I even said before I was blocked, that I removed my public post and requested that the person reciprocate and remove all the insults and hissy-fits about my post that were much ado about nothing.

But of course they didn’t do that (which would be normal behavior) and instead we get the entirely predictable gossipfest and slanderfest: people who are academics and published writers disgracing themselves in a public display of pharisaical idiocy and sheer hypocrisy.

The first thing one does when they are in the wrong is to find sycophants who will agree, thus bolstering the illusion that wrong is right, because six loudmouthed people agree that it is right.

I predicted it, and it has come to pass exactly as I said it would.

I’m not worried about it at all. It’s part of the weekly “occupational hazards” of apologetics. But I passionately condemn and expose it for what it is, as I do anything that is so clearly wrong.

There are five or six nattering nabobs over there who agree that I am a “jackass” — so they can’t possibly be wrong, right? Isn’t truth determined by a head count? They said so! How could it not be true? Six people, after all . . . !!!

Also, I’m not venting so much as rebuking. I’m sure some vent got into that (being human), but it is primarily a rebuke of sin. If we don’t rebuke garbage, the online experience continues to get worse and worse.

My action is perfectly defensible, ethically and morally, while the current slander going on over there is both indefensible and utterly hypocritical according to the very objection wrongfully made about me (“talking behind the back” of someone was condemned, and now that is exactly what some 6-10 people are doing on that very thread, with hundreds watching).

The problem, though, is that if I ask permission, the person (likely, in light of what has transpired) simply says no. Yet it is an issue that needed to be addressed publicly, and already was public. So even if I get a “no” upon asking, there is nothing wrong with critiquing a public post. Ethically, I don’t need permission (though it is always nice if you get it, of course). Then they get even more angry, having denied a “permission” that they wrongly think is required, regarding public material.

So one can’t win either way. The obvious bottom-line problem is simply that they don’t like being disagreed with. Hence this person blocked me, after saying that they didn’t block people. I disagreed too much and had to be “shut up” somehow.

I’ve said for years (I have papers about this going back 17-18 years) that the only way we reform Internet discourse is to model it ourselves: to provide an example of charitable discourse in the venues that we control. I try to do that here. Obviously, some folks think I have failed, but many more have made kind remarks, including many Protestants, and they seem to think I am doing something right.

In any event, the fruit continues. I receive reports all the time that my work has influenced folks to become Catholics. There is demonstrable fruit here, is my point. That’s the bottom line. That’s all that matters. So let the naysayers and the slanderers do all they will. They will not stop me; never have and never will. Their fruit (at least in the present instance) is bitterness and wrath and slander and calumny.

I have never done the work I do to try to please men in the first place. If I wanted to go that route, I could easily make a lot more money than I do, with a lot less insults coming my way. But I do it because God called me to do it, and nothing will stop me from doing it: certainly not a bunch of anal-retentive, idiotic, juvenile name-calling.

I must say that it is one of the oddest, funniest things I have ever heard in my life, to hear a guy who publicly credited me twice in writing as “instrumental” in his conversion to Catholicism, now say that I have only a dim idea that apologetics is about conversion. Yep. Knew that . . .

It’s a strange world we live in. Once people get angry with you they are capable of saying the most outlandish, idiotic things, without the slightest relationship to demonstrable reality and facts.

I know (or did know at one time) most of these people. There’s a lot of angst here. One, e.g., has compared the entire endeavor of professional Catholic apologetics to prostitution (I kid you not). The biggest mouths in this bashing thread have said stupid and slanderous things on many occasions. This is nothing new. When they all get together and decide to slander a particularly wicked person, like me, it’s all the more fun and nuthouse-ish (to coin a phrase).

I’ve experienced just about every conceivable insult and tactic online, Terese. It just never works with me; doesn’t deter me in the slightest. People who do it invariably neither understand 1) me as a person, or 2) what motivates me in my work. They get it wrong every time. And so here it is again. It’s a joke and a farce.

We all have our roles to play that God has given us. Not all can do what I do. And I can’t do a lot of very important things that many others do. But we all should do what we are called to do, as St. Paul says.


Photo credit: A Country Brawl (1610), by Pieter Breughel the Younger (1564-1638) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]


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