A reader writes:
I followed the news of your debate with Michael Voris at the Argument of the Month Club in St. Paul, Minnesota in October of 2013. Do you have any idea why AOMC has never posted the audio files of this debate? They have posted a number of other presentations; however, your debate with Voris, which probably has a wider audience than any of their other presentations, is missing.
Perhaps they had technical difficulties. Perhaps it was that I was essentially arguing the affirmative of an absolutely bulletproof resolution (“Resolved: The way to address the crisis in the Church is through prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and the corporal and spiritual works of mercy”) and that Michael therefore chose to take the utterly impossible task of telling Jesus and the entire Catholic Church they are wrong to recommend these things.
The debate organizers came to me with a resolution that was no resolution at all (“Is there a crisis in the Church and what do we do about it.”) Realizing this was impossible have a debate about, I was the one who suggested the new resolution off the top of my head with the assumption that, surely, somebody would reword it a bit to make it more… arguable. But to my astonishment, the debate organizers simply proposed it, unamended, to Michael and, to my even greater astonshment, he accepted without proposing any changes. This meant that I literally could not possibly lose, even if I had a stroke and lost the power of speech. All I would have to do is gesticulate at the resolution on a chalk board, pound my chest, and nod furiously and I would still win.
This became evident in the debate itself. There was simply nothing Michael could say against the resolution because he would have been arguing against Jesus Christ himself in the Sermon on the Mount and the parable of the sheep and the goats. It was the theological equivalent of “Resolved: 2+2=4”. Impossible to argue against. So the debate was taken up with the only tactics somebody defending a hopeless position could use: complain that I was a bad person who was mean, and talk about other stuff like how much various bishops and clerics sucked, in his opinion. All I had to do was just stick to the resolution and say, “Yes, it’s true I’m sinful and I’m sure you are indeed miffed at Bishop Whosit, but the *resolution* is ” Resolved: The way to address the crisis in the Church is through prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and the corporal and spiritual works of mercy”. I say “Aye! So does Jesus and the entire Catholic Church.”
I have no idea who decides the winner in such debates. I am told (by Dale Ahlquist) that, on the whole, the crowd moved in my direction, so I’ll take his word for it. I’m a bad judge of such things. But it was, at any rate, a fun evening and I felt generally pleased with how it went. Hopefully, one of these days it will show up on video or audio. You might drop Church Militant a line and ask them whatever happened to it.