Thursday, May 31, 2007

Oh what a tangled web we weave...

(Posted on behalf of Steve Hays, in response to Loftus' latest post.)
But how in the hell this personality trait of mine can legitimately lead one to reject my arguments is simply beyond me. It is a non-sequitur.
Actually, we used to reject his arguments on their own merits, or lack thereof. But now he's given us two reasons instead of one!
Listen up. Christians are the first ones to say we are all sinners so I don't want to hear that crap coming from them anymore.
But since he rejects Christian theology and ethics, how is that supposed to immunize him from criticism?

Anyway, forgiveness is extended to penitent sinners, not impenitent sinners.
The Bible says we are bascially all liars (Romans 3:12-14), so what's the big deal here, even if I did lie, and technically I didn't.
Once again, why is he defending his conduct by quoting a book he spends all his time debunking?

Also, in Scripture, confession doesn't include "technical" escape clauses.
Anyone who has read Paul Johnson's book The Intellectuals, knows that some of the brightest minds in recent centuries had personal problems, some of them were serious. Mine are not so serious. I may have an arrogant, stubborn streak, but many people who accomplish something in life have the same traits. While I am pretty much a "nobody" when compared to these "intellectuals," their personal problems say nothing about their arguments, and they say nothing against the influence they had on society, either.
It's true that their misconduct doesn't invalidate their arguments. At the same time, it was their misconduct which motivated their arguments, as a rationalization for misconduct. So there is a relationship between misbehavior and self-justification.
As far as my being dishonest goes, technically I was not dishonest, even if I was deceptive.
Hairsplitting sophistry.
One other thing. I am more revealing about myself than probably any other atheist on the web precisely because I have a healthy self-esteem.
This would be more convincing were it not for the following admission:
My personality problem is that I cannot seem to ignore obnoxious people like Holding, and it has gotten me into trouble. He grates on me. But after week upon week of him belittling and berating us, and of me responding rarely, but still too many times, I was done playing around with the likes of him. You may not understand it. I don't expect you to. It's who I am. I have flaws. It is very difficult to think about this objectively while I am involved in it.
It's clear that Loftus suffers from low self-esteem.

Finally, what's ironic about all this is that Loftus has gone on record admitting that he doesn't believe anything is intrinsically right or wrong. So why does he turn and twist to deflect the charge of mendacity? Why doesn't he have the courage of his amoral convictions? Be a consistent nihilist?

Because, deep down, he retains an irrepressible belief in moral absolutes. His atheistic profession is at war with his God-given conscience. Even as a militant apostate, he has enough common grace to bear witness to the God he denies.


  1. Where is John W. Lostus?

    But seriously, is Loftus serious?


  2. Father Callahan6/01/2007 8:42 AM

    John says:

    "As far as my being dishonest goes, technically I was not dishonest, even if I was deceptive."

    Patrick says:

    "Hairsplitting sophistry."

    Father Callahan says:

    "Where was Patrick back when Paul Manata was doing the same thing? Using the same "its OK to be deceptive in times of war!" crap that John Loftus is now claiming?"

    Manata and Loftus using the same deceptive tactics. How cute.

  3. Father Callahan said:

    "Manata and Loftus using the same deceptive tactics. How cute."

    Manata was doing an obvious spoof. If you can't tell the difference between a fictious parody and intentional deception, then you're pretty gullible.

  4. Father Callahan6/01/2007 10:21 AM

    Steve, are you saying Paul wasn't trying to intentionally deceive anyone?

    Even when he proclaimed that he was NOT the Discomfiter while the deception was going on?

    Even when he posed as other users that were commenting, and claimed authorship of other's posts while the deception was going on?

    Sounds like you have a double standard.

    Plus, I didn't see you coming down on Paul when he was claiming it was OK to deceive the "enemy" in times of war.

  5. Put me down as someone who's kinda gullible but who saw thru The Discomfiter. I didn't know who he was until he revealed himself pretty obviously. Besides, I thought he was hilarious! Kind of like the Pedantic Papist or the Reformed Catholic Pentacostal.

  6. Father Callahan said:

    "Even when he proclaimed that he was NOT the Discomfiter while the deception was going on?"

    People didn't ask Manata if he was the Discomfiter. Rather, people asked the Discomfiter if he was Manata.

    The Discomfiter was a fictious, satirical role. If you ask a fictitious character who he really is, he'll tell you he's a fictitious character. Otherwise, he'd be stepping out of character, which misses the point.

    If a caller to the The Tonight Show were to ask Carnac the Magnificent if he was really Johnny Carson, what sort of answer do you think he'd get?

    You understand the nature of comedy about as well as Lt. Commander Data.

    I also notice that some people simply attribute certain anonymous or pseudonymous comments to Manata.

    BTW, when you call yourself Fr. Callahan, are you guilty of a double standard? Somehow I doubt that you're really an Irish priest.

    "Plus, I didn't see you coming down on Paul when he was claiming it was OK to deceive the 'enemy' in times of war."

    i) To begin with, Loftus wasn't merely deceiving his Christian "enemies." He was deceiving his secular readers.

    ii) And if you think that a satirical impersonation is morally equivalent to deceiving our mortal enemies in time of war, then your moral blindness knows no bounds.

  7. Ahh, I thought someone here was talking about me. Listen up Crazymanandy, I'm right here defending the non-beliefs of atheists everywhere.

    And my personal problems are none of your business. What is this? The View? Is Hays really Rosie O'Donnell? This is just a ploy to distract the reader from my iron-clad arguments against Christianity. I may have a few personal problems, sure, but you have a few thousand apologetic problems! It's a good thing I have so much self-esteem, because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggonit, people like me. So, I'll be here to kick sand in the face of the likes of Holding and Hays. I won't let their flimsy arguments go unopposed.

    And nice try defending Manata, Steve. I didn't think that "Discomfiter" thing was a spoof. In fact, I thought some of his arguments were irrefutable.

  8. Father Callahan6/01/2007 10:59 AM

    Steve said:

    "People didn't ask Manata if he was the Discomfiter. Rather, people asked the Discomfiter if he was Manata."

    Actually, Steve, I asked Paul exactly that, in one of the comments sections. "Paul, are you the Discomfiter?" and he answered "No. He ain't me."

    So, you may want to equivocate on the phrasing he used, but it was clear that I asked him directly, he responded directly, and lied.

    But hey, its OK for Christians to lie for the Lord.

    Keep defending Paul, and his lying, and you're actually now defending Loftus, and his retarded antics as well.

  9. Semper Reformanda6/01/2007 11:29 AM

    "Keep defending Paul, and his lying, and you're actually now defending Loftus, and his retarded antics as well."

    Translation: "I have no argument, but hopefully some chest-thumping bravado will do the trick."

  10. Father Callahan said:

    "But hey, its OK for Christians to lie for the Lord."

    And at what Catholic parish do you celebrate Mass? After all, I assume you're a real Irish priest. Surely you wouldn't be using a pseudonym. After all, that would be a case of impersonating someone you're not, right?

  11. Father Callahan6/01/2007 11:47 AM

    HA! I figured Steve would dodge. Typical.

    What a hypocrite.

    Whether or not I'm an Irish priest is of no concern, or is Paul Manata's dishonesty (and your defense of it) somehow contingent on my own antics?

    Lying for the Lord. Such a powerful witness. The Holy Spirit indeed.

  12. And for the record I did not technically lie. It was deception, which is different than a lie, because a lie is something you tell to deceive someone into thinking something that is not true. A deception is just saying some things that aren't true in order to deceive someone into believing something that is not true. Uh, well, there are some subtle differences. I mean, it's not that easy to define, but it's there. My people over at DC understand it anyway. We do it to each other all the time.

    Regardless, it doesn't matter because in my universe nothing is inherently right or wrong. I don't feel bad about lying...I mean deceiving because, you know, nothing is really wrong with it.

  13. semper reformanda6/01/2007 11:59 AM

    Because, based on your own criteria, if you're not really a priest named "Callahan", then you're just as guilty of lying as everyone else you're pointing your finger at.

    However, I think you would be sensible enough to realize that things like pseudonyms and satire cannot seriously be considered "lying".

  14. Truthfully, this comment is false.

  15. So, Christians propose that they are 'new creatures in Christ,' and are somehow different in thought/word/deed than the evil unregenerate scum that also inhabit the world.

    If an evil unregenerate scum asks the Christian why they are inconsistent when they support lying, the Christian says "you lie too!"

    Is not the Christian held to a different standard? Is not the Christian the one claiming to HAVE some ultimate standard? Why does it matter if the unregenerate is not living up to a standard, isn't the Christian the one claiming to have this?

    Its sad, really.

  16. hostus twinkius6/01/2007 12:28 PM

    Fr. Callahan,

    Yer grasping at straws buddy. You're trying to point the finger without much of a point. It was a spoof. You know, joking around. If you ask a clown his name at the circus do you expect him to say "Bob"? Or if he says "Zippy" do you proclaim "Liar!" Do you really want to claim righteous indignation here? C'mon. You've got nothing else on these guys, and you can't address the actual argumentation, so you're ranting about this. Let's be sensible, OK?

  17. hostus twinkius6/01/2007 12:30 PM

    Anonymous, you're right. It's sad, really. You're lack of reasoning, that is.

  18. Hostus Twinkius,

    That's not anonymous! Didn't you know that all anonymous people are Paul Manata?!?!

  19. hostus twinkius6/01/2007 1:01 PM

    Can't be, Peter. There are no spelling errors or typos :-)

    Just kiddin' brother!

  20. I remember in the days of yore, when a person could tell the Christians from the unregenerate scum.

    Sadly, those days are no more.



    Reminds me of a folk song:

    "They will know we are Christians by our love...."

    Sigh. Farewell to the days of Christian love and charity. Hello to the days of justifying deception in order to indulge in sinful behavior towards the lost.


  21. hostus twinkius6/01/2007 1:26 PM

    Farewell anonymous! Thanks for dropping by and making such a profound contribution. Tell the unregenerate scum we said "Hi".



    You know, I am getting choked up a little.

    All right, I'm over it.

  22. Well, I apologized, and Holding and I traded Blogs just now.

    If we're all honest we do stupid things.

    I have no ill feelings toward Paul personally, so I wish others would just let it drop. Manata made me chuckle myself.

    It was in the past, just like what I did will soon be in the past.

    Life goes on. We learn. We grow.

  23. hostus twinkius6/01/2007 3:22 PM

    Great John, but did you repent? I mean, you may have patched things up with Holding, but you ultimately sinned against God by lying (or deceiving, however you want to look at it). Shouldn't you "patch things up" with God, as it were, through Christ? Shouldn't you fix your relationship with Him? Just some thoughts...

  24. Brother Flip6/01/2007 4:01 PM

    Dear Jesus,

    Please forgive Paul Manata for being a deceiver, and forgive fellow t-blogger Steve for supporting him in this. Lord, take the scales from their eyes, and help them to see the error of their ways.

    Thank you Lord!

  25. hostus twinkius6/01/2007 4:12 PM

    Could you spare us the false indignation? Otherwise, provide us with an argument from your atheistic presuppositions from which you could condemn "spoofery".

  26. Christensen in KC6/02/2007 4:59 AM

    I'm not sure what the fuss is all about. Loftus's lying is well known, the admits it in his book...he lied to his congregation, he lied to his wife, he lied to his friends.

    So what do you expect?

  27. Not Paul Manata6/03/2007 3:01 PM

    "Actually, Steve, I asked Paul exactly that, in one of the comments sections. "Paul, are you the Discomfiter?" and he answered "No. He ain't me."

    This is "not_reformed" and he was one of my atheist groupies who got hurt that I didn't let him in on the joke. He used to email me and call me a nice guy, he even sent me The End of Faith, by Harris. After he found out that I duped him, he threw a temper tantrum and said he would "never talk to me again!" Stop, stomp, pout, pout.

    And, no one asked me in any conversation. Not_reformed openly said, on the discomfiter’s forum, that he wants Paul Manata to say if he is or isn't the discomfiter. I then posted on the discomfiter's forum, "he aint me." That would be stupid to go on to the discomfiter’s forum, which was a parody site, and inject non-parody into the situation, effectively ruining the special element the discomfiter had going for it. But, alas, if you really thought an atheist was employing the cosmonautical argument, then you have bigger problems than the discomfiter deceiving you.

    After the satire was over, I freely admitted that the discomfiter was me.

    I never posted as John Loftus, though his admitted deception is more evidence that the one who posted as Loftus was either Loftus or Babinski.

    I only mimicked one poster, "brother blark" (who is probably not_reformed) who was biting off the discomfiter, pretending to be a Christian. I then said that he was me, and all the atheist blogs he was leaving links to his parody site told him to go away because they didn't know who to believe. I beat him at his own game.

    So, you can see that he is obviously hurt over this incident. He just can't let it go.

    I still stand by my position that not all instances of untruths are immoral, and mine was just such an instance... follow the syllogism out.

    I have also stated, that people like Father Callahan are only confirming the Christian story of man by their attitude on this issue. Say I did act immorally. That's what the Bible reports about man. No Christians are sinless. So, pointing out sin in the life of a Christian is only *empirical confirmation* of the claims of the Bible.

    So, at best I did nothing wrong, at worse my critic verifies the claims of Christianity.

    Since it is held that the deception I employed (who most atheists have said that they do not have a problem with, and do not think I did anything wrong. In fact, the discomfiter was asked to go on Faith and Freethought Radio, an atheist radio show. And, they knew who I was! So put that in your moralistic pipe and smoke it.) is immoral, then the atheists are validating the Christian worldview.

    So, either they can drop this song and dance about how the discomfiter outsmarted them, or they can admit their reliance upon Triablogue's worldview.

    Which will it be, not_reformed?