Thursday, April 22, 2010

Possum Kill, North Carolina

Ergun Caner: "My wife's Dad is from Possum Kill, North Carolina." (link to clip from start of show)

One of the readers of this blog (a guy named "Dan") alerted me to the fact that he tried to track down "Possum Kill, NC" on the map, and couldn't do it. I tried to do the same, and couldn't do it either. I also didn't find it mentioned on any websites or in any books.

There are two exceptions:

I. The first exception is that Ergun Caner himself uses the place as an illustration in his contribution to the Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics, p. 327, left hand column, first full paragraph.

With some sad irony, Ergun Caner ends that entry with the following paragraph:
It is essential that the Christian diligently attempt not to use logical fallacies. The Bible implores the Christian to speak truthfully and without deception. Indeed, Jesus said "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).
(p. 328)

Dr. Caner is right about that. It is one of many good things that Dr. Caner has to say. People may get the wrong idea from my posting articles that are critical of Dr. Caner, but I do not consider the man's work worthless. I do hope God will bring him to repentance on the issue of autobiographical embellishment.

II. The second exception is another blog also trying to track down the same point (link to blog). As of when I published this, no one had found an answer there either.


I think Caner is just trying to speak generically about a rural town. I've heard others use statements like "Smalltown, USA" or "Podunk, [state]", and things like that. I would interpret Caner's words here the same way. I think his usage of it in the encyclopedia entry backs up my understanding. I don't think Dr. Caner meant for people to take the name of the town of his father-in-law literally as being "Possum Kill." It may technically not be true, but I wouldn't classify it in the arena of a lie or an embellishment.


UPDATE: In the testimony at the following link, Dr. Caner insists that the name of the town is "not a joke" (link). That's slightly disturbing, although arguably it was supposed to be for comedic effect.

FURTHER UPDATE: Caner mentions "Nostril, Texas" and "Earlobe, Arkansas" in this clip (link). "Possum Kill" would just be a similar fake place name.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE: When speaking to the Ohio Free Will Baptists, Caner said "this is not a joke, this is the truth, anybody from North Carolina will know this city, her father is from Possum Kill, NC, right near Smithfield." (link).


FBC Jax Watchdog said...

If Possum Kill, NC doesn't exist, its a lie.

He also says over and over again that when he began dating his future wife, he showed up at the door as a "towel head" with a "unibrow".

I doubt it. Look at his picture from 1999. He is not a "towel head". No unibrow.

This is deception. Call it what it is.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Honestly, I think friend FBC is a bit overwrought. I took "Possum Kill" to be a humourous reference to a small, American hick town somewhere out in the boonies. It would be the same thing if he said he had a date with his future wife at the local eatery there, the "Roadkill Cafe."

Come on, fellas. Ha ha, laugh laugh, wink, wink and all that.

Strong Tower said...

Possum Kill comes from a debate Caner had with truth bender venders while on tour with the Beatles:

"Let me take you down, ’cause I’m going to Possum Kill. Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.
Possum Kill forever. Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see. It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out, it doesn’t matter much to me. No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low. That is you can’t you know tune in but it’s all right, that is I think it’s not too bad. Always, no sometimes, think it’s me, but you know I know when it’s a dream. I think I know I mean a ‘Yes’ but it’s all wrong, that is I think I disagree."

Needless to say, he lost the debate.

Fred Butler said...

Thanks for coming to the right conclusion. I was about to go off.

Ergun certainly has lied, but come on folks...

Does this mean that everytime I use this expression in public discourse, which I have, I am lying?

Strong Tower said...

Fred, Pilgrim, since when does anyone need to make up names to caricature the southeast, or anyone from the southeast? If Caner needed to be cutsie he could have tapped any one of a thousand names of places in NC and gotten his message across. I think Possum Kill is another example of what James White spoke of, and being quite generous, speculated that Caner may be a victim of his own imagination. Sometimes embellishing the story grows to the point that the story teller no longer knows the difference between the embell and the ishing. There is nothing wrong with Caner wanting to be funny, nothing wrong with him wanting a caricature to stick the point in the minds of his listeners. But... Caner has gone so far out of the way to make his story appeal that it appears he has no idea what is and isn't creative imagination. He uses the name twice in the clip and they are not in either a punch-line or a straight line leading to one. He states them as matter of fact, not as humor. When he does make a humorous remark in the dialogue and takes on his phony Islamic persona, then it is obvious that he is trying to be funny, and actually is quite humorous. I'll cut him slack, but there is no lack of names, real names, he could have used out of the Southern lexicon. If it was normal and natural to his life, it would seem, he would just have used what was familiar to him and to everyone else who he knows including his wife and father-in-law. Now in contrast to the North Carolina contrivance, he makes a funny when speaking of his mother's conversion and that she now lives in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. I don't know if that is true, but what makes humor so humorous is that it has a foot inside the door of reality. Why didn't he just use one of thousands of places in NC that he should be familiar with, that are legit, to make his point, and not have created one out of thin air and used it, not once, but twice? And before, in a book? Beside that, Possum Kill, in that order, would be more likely found in places like Australia, New Zealand, or in Europe. That combination is simply not found, often, State-side. So one wonders, even in his logic example, where was he getting it from? Perhaps someone else wrote it? Maybe they weren't from the South and were really not familiar with it at all, either? Hmm? Or, Ergun himself wasn't familiar with the South, but had something in his mind not knowing where it came from and just emitted it while writing the example? I have to agree with White. It appears that Ergun does exaggerate and fabricate to the point that they control his reality. It would be one thing if it were just innocent hyperbole and imaginative expression, but he will not, and perhaps cannot, set the record straight. It may just be that Caner's father-in-law isn't at all the caricature that Caner paints of him. And how would we know? Odds are he is not the hick Caner makes him out to be.

Here's the point. Caner has garnered a reputation of incredibility. So, Fred, Pilgrim, if you want to use Possum Kill as a caricature of North Carolinans, go a head. But people from Bearhug and Big Butt are going to think you're a little strange.

Now it wasn't a lie for Caner to use it. It was ignorant, not a lie. It fits his rap-sheet, though, as a liar, and because of that can only serve to solidify the image of untruthfulness that he has come to have. Everything he does is suspect now, even his authoring of books and his degrees. Nothing is off the table until he comes clean. As White says, what matters is that Caner tells the truth, for the credibility of others' Christian apologetic, not Caner, is what is at stake.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Strong Tower,

So, Fred, Pilgrim, if you want to use Possum Kill as a caricature of North Carolinans, go a head. But people from Bearhug and Big Butt are going to think you're a little strange.

I'm not sure how you got from my theory that Caner was joking to suggesting that Fred and I want to caricature North Carolinians; didn't see that coming.

The length of your post suggests to me that you're pretty much convinced that Caner is lying as long as he's moving his lips. Well, it seems to me that he has done enough damage to himself with his various contradictory statements and embellishments over the years that he doesn't need your help.

All I ask is that you be fair and not glom onto just anything you think supports your obvious views that Caner is a liar, a cheat, and whatever else you think of him. I may think some of these things too, but I suggest continuing to proceed with caution for the sake of a person's reputation. I want to know the truth too, but we must not be impatient in "hurrying it along."

I'll tell my friends in Blue Ball and Intercourse you said hello.

Blessings in Christ,


Strong Tower said...

"I'm not sure how you got from my theory that Caner was joking to suggesting that Fred and I want to caricature North Carolinians; didn't see that coming."

I didn't say anthing of the kind. What I did say was that it is impossible to legitimate such a caricature. Keep what I said within the context of all that I said and you'll see what I meant much more clearly. Fred said: "Does this mean that everytime I use this expression in public discourse, which I have, I am lying?" I didn't even consider that Fred actually uses the exact phrase in public discourse. He might, but that is not the point anyway. The point is why would he, except out of ignorance of Carolinans own culture. But Caner isn't. He claims close relationship with it, he married it, and still acts as if he is ignorant of it.

Length has nothing to do with anything, Pil.

But... you did get my point. Everything, even Caner claiming to be Caner is now suspect, period. White is right, LU, JFjr, and Caner owe it to the world to come clean. By not coming clean they are defrauding in truth and monitarily stealing money from people who are victims of misinformation. Excusiating for Caner doesn't wash even if he is innocent of particular wrong doings.

Anonymous said...

This comment most probably should be posted at the previous article before this one?

I wanted to observe, based, partly on my witness first hand of both Turks and Kurds and based on some of the limited work I have personally done among and with Shia and Sunni Muslims in the United States; ironically, in Sweden, other European countries, England, France, Belgium, Switzerland; and then parts of West Africa; and the Middle East, Israel and Albania and directly from Tehran, Iran too.

When I listen to Caner make a claim that he is "Persian" from Turkey or claim his pedigree is more on the violent side from Turkey and claim he is a Sunni, I pause and wonder, "where does that come from"? That doesn't square with my experience of Muslims from Turkey or Kurdistan, nor with my read, nor with my understanding of the nature of the Turk, the majority of which are Sunni and their realm isn't anywhere near that of the Iranian Sunni or Shia or other offshoots of the Muslim cultures in that region of the world. It is my opinion that no Turk would consider himself strongly or loosely "Persian" by cultural or regional basis?

If there is someone in here who can make plain my concerns, this is what I would ask.

Seeing the "majority" of Muslims are Sunni in Turkey and they are of the most mild of manners, hospitality and more side with the non-violent of the Muslim family tree, how can Caner claim to be, one, a "Persian"; and two, raised up with a violent hatred for other ethnicities characterizing himself as being trained up as a Muslim terrorist youth?

Oh yeah and another thing; having been thinking a little more about one area of discrepancy, I have adjusted one aspect of my concern for where Ergun was "born" and then raised. Can anyone in here address this question?

Could it be that Ergun was "born" in Sweden and then the family returned to the father's homeland of Turkey for a period of time and introduced Ergun while living in Turkey for a briefer period of time to Madras training not knowing that relocation of his family was going to come more suddenly upon them than their intentions was for relocating his family back to his homeland, Turkey?

It seems to me from recall that I read or watched a video clip where it was established that Ergun came to the United States at an early age of about 4 or 5 years old? If that is the truth, then the timelines are off and he has sprung his own trap upon himself with his earlier and later claims??


sphnx said...

I hadn't heard of Mr. Caner prior to any of the present controversy surfacing. When James White first mentioned Mr. Caner's claim to have debated such and such persons I was interested in finding copies or transcripts of these debates to further my own studies.

As it is I realize that won't be possible. Although there may be some useful information to gain from his insight and experience, I wonder why he puts so much emphasis on his background and what _he_ has overcome rather than what God has overcome (or I'm just not that familiar with him and am missing the point).

He may have truly been raised Muslim, or not, it seems it matters little. The Lord has overcome my sin and that may be a greater, or no less of a feat than overcoming a particular false religion.
That is, building a reputation as one known as a convert from a particular false religion seems of little importance (unless it is necessary or useful in establishing their credentials in academic discussion). It's certainly not evidence against the falsity of that religion, however, and growing up in a particular false religion or having some familiarity with it may aid one in their understanding of those who hold such views, but it's not something I would build my reputation on--and that seems to be Mr. Caner's selling point.

Nevertheless, to make such a serious charge as a lie over what appears likely to be a metaphor (is that the right term?) or where meaning is ambiguous, seems an act of desperation.

p.s. I have a unibrow, but I shave it. Please don't hold it against me (the unibrow or the shaving).

Turretinfan said...


I think you and I are in basic agreement. Click here for more serious questions about honesty.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto you.

Turretin you have done your best to be fair and honest in this whole debacle. You have went out on a limb for Ergun Caner.

I even went so far to critique James White on the issue of him saying Muslims cannot pray in the bathroom (which thankfully he has now amended to his credit).

But to say autobiographical embellishments?

With all due respect a person can bend over backwards on two occasions.
1) To go out of their way to accomadate someone one.
2) Animals do it as a show of submission to a far more superior combatant.

I never thought that you of all people Francis would be in category no.2! You have been more than fair. The man is a flat liar!

Anonymous said...

It AMAZES me that so much time, energy and attention is being given to tear down and distroy Mr. Caner. Is it REALLY worth all this? Why is it so important that you distroy him? Because you dont agree with his beliefs? If there have been statements made inaccurately or misinformation given and he has corrected it, let it be. Thank God that God Himself doesnt bager me (and you) every day, all day for every mistake. He wouldnt have time to do anything else...I'm sure I'd keep Him busy!! My point is this: 1) if Mr. Caner said/did/told something inaccurate and he's acknowledged it, corrected it and moved on, so should you.
2) I'm not perfect...not even 50% of the time. Neither are you. You make mistakes.
3) Get a life! There is more to life than distroying this man.

Turretinfan said...


Who is your rant aimed at?


Strong Tower said...

"It AMAZES me that so much time, energy and attention..."

And what is a non person doing wasting their time writing things like this?

But, just so the Cowardly Anons will know, Ergun Caner hasn't apologized, hasn't repented, hasn't corrected anything. He has lied and defrauded people and is aiding and abetting in the defrauding of thousands of people out of millions of dollars by Liberty University. Beyond those trivial points, he is undermining the testimony of Jesus Christ. It is the latter that is of the greatest importance and concern. Not that it seems to matter much to anonymouses, anyway.