Thursday, October 04, 2007

Misuse of "Anti-Catholicism" Documented

Misuse of "Anti-Catholicism" Documented
And Some Suggestions Made

Peter Pike (as quoted by Dave Armstrong) wrote:
Calling someone an anti-Catholic is like calling someone an anti-semite. The connotations are the same, and Armstrong fully knows that.
Dave Armstrong responded:
Sheer nonsense. As I've stated a million times now, including to Pike, I use the term simply as meaning one who thinks Catholicism is not a Christian system. Period. End of story. And I wrote a paper years ago documenting how many historians and sociologists use the term in this way (though I agree it can have other applications also)[link to paper omitted]

Now, if I am incorrect and Pike thinks that Catholicism is a fully Christian belief-system, every bit as legitimately Christian as any other brand of Protestantism (that disagrees with other brands on particulars), he can say so, and I will acknowledge that he is not an anti-Catholic. As far as I understand he is, but perhaps I am mistaken.
I respond:

Now, either Dave didn't notice or Dave chose to ignore that Mr. Pike wrote: "The connotations are the same ... ." Dave's response of (in essence): "But I mean something else," is not a reasonable response. Dave knows the connotations and uses the term anyway.

Dave, you know full well it's an inflammatory label. So please - stop making excuses.

You've received numerous complaints about it from those you so label, so you cannot plead ignorance.

-Turretinfan

P.S. And there are also self-serving reasons for you to limit your use of such inflammatory labels.

1) Overuse Weakens the Negativity of "Anti-Catholic"

When someone brings up documents like "The Aweful Disclosures of Maria Monk," (link) you may want to assert that she was an Anti-Catholic in order to cast aspersions on her testimony regarding the extreme wickedness of the convent in which she lived. If, however, you just mean she is in the same class as Dr. White and Mr. Pike, the force of your negative labeling will be significantly abated.

2) Using a Narrow Definition may Prevent Arguably Legitimate Use of the Term

Furthermore, if you limit yourself to the definition you provided, you may be unable fairly to call Mrs. Monk an Anti-Catholic, as she does not give any indication of asserting that "Catholicism is not a Christian system." Likewise, if you limit yourself to your narrow definition, you will not be able to call many legitimate Catholic-hating Atheists and Agnostics "Anti-Catholics" because they would probably fully agree with you that "Catholicism is a Christian system."

3) You Look Foolish, Asking Us to Believe Something You Don't as a Prerequisite to Avoiding your Label

Your standard that: "Catholicism is a fully Christian belief-system, every bit as legitimately Christian as any other brand of Protestantism" is not even something that you hold to. You don't believe (assuming you bought Ben16's recent comments) that Catholicism is "as legitimately Christian" as "other brand[s] of Protestantism" (let's overlook the grammatical irregularity). You believe that Roman Catholicism is MORE legitimately Christian than at least some of the "other brand[s] of Protestantism." At least, I think you do. If you don't, please say so, because more than a few people are leavingi their "brand of Protestantism" for "Roman Catholicism" because they believe it is more legitimately Christian. If you don't share their view, please say so.

4) Finally, Applying the Same Standard to your Beliefs would Produce a Result You Wouldn't Like

If I'm correct about what you believe than you have set yourself up as an "Anti-Protestant" (using the reasoning you yourself provided, but applied in reverse to "any other brand of Protestantism"). I don't suppose you'd like to be called an Anti-Protestant (though who knows), so perhaps you could try not to call Dr. White and Mr. Pike "Anti-Catholics," even if you feel your reasoning is legitimate, based on placing yourself in their shoes.

-Turretinfan

14 comments:

orthodox said...

Since that most famous protestant document, the westminster confession, calls the pope an anti-christ, isn't there a bit of pot and kettle here?

Turretinfan said...

I'm not sure that's more famous than, say, the 95 theses, but yes, it does say that the pope is THE Antichrist, and no, that is not the pot to DA's kettle.

-Turretinfan

orthodox said...

how so?

Turretinfan said...

People celebrate (paint pictures of ... etc.) the nailing of the 95 thesis to the door of the chapel but not the completion of the WCF.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

See another example (from one of Dave's friends) here (link). With some added irony in the title of the post.

-Turretinfan

orthodox said...

I don't see the point. Do people celebrate Dave Armstrong's ramblings? What is the point?

Turretinfan said...

And here (link) Dave echos his friend's comments.

Orthodox:

I don't think people celebrate Dave's posts. Perhaps they do ... I really wouldn't know.

Perhaps you were not asking how the 95 theses were more famous than the WCF?

In any event, both the original WCF and the original LBC made the same comment, namely that the pope is not the head of the church, but is instead that antichrist, etc. who will be destroyed at the last day.

It's fairly similar (if somewhat more concrete) to the position of Orthodoxy that resulted in what Roman Catholicism used to call the Great Schism.

Or are you trying to ask something else?

-Turretinfan

pilgrim said...

I've been calle anti-Catholic in public forums--on religion, where I have merely presented Reformed theology, and haven't even mentioned Roman Catholicism or its teaching--I did proclaim teachings that are not in agreement to RCism, but neither were they in agreement with other religious/faith systems.

So that "Anti-Catholic" label is tossed around with little regard.

Turretinfan said...

Well, fellow Pilgrim, that may just be something we have to endure. It's a lot less than our spiritual forefathers endured at the hands of theirs.

-Turretinfan

pilgrim said...

Definitely true there, we do have less to deal with in that sense.

ALthough I was merely pointing out the lack of regard with which "Anti-Catholic" is used.

But yes, at some times & places beingan "Anti-Catholic" was a deadly thing.

orthodox said...

I was trying to ask how your comment was not the pot calling the kettle black with respect to the WC's comments compared to Dave's.

Turretinfan said...

Ah, well, the pot/kettle analogy is disjunct because the "AntiChrist" claim is a specific, concrete theological/eschatological claim, whereas the use of "anti-Calvinist" is just a rhetorical trick Dave uses to place the ears of his Catholic readers on "ignore this guy."

-Turretinfan

Cory Tucholski said...

Keep up the good work. I have said in the past that DA should pay close attention to the use and connotation of words. I'm glad to see that someone else is pointing out how this guy misuses words to his own end.

The tools of the writer's trade are his words. If Dave can't use them properly, he shouldn't be a writer.

Turretinfan said...

Interestingly, Dave's latest post doesn't use the term "Anti-Catholic" even once. Maybe he's catching on!
(link)
-Turretinfan