Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wrap-up of last night's debate

There is no question that Deeper Truth Blog won last night's debate, improving our overall record to 18-0. How close the debate was, however, depends very much on the view of the premise(s) which we were debating.  In this sense, one could take the micro view or the macro view.

If we are taking the micro view, that is, examining each piece of Catholic Marian devotion and theology and measuring it's value, I think anyone listening would argue that it was a very spirited and competitive debate. There were more than a few overreaches by Ketterer but also a few arguments that I failed to capitalize on as sharply as I might have in the past. (The fact that I was exhausted from all the overtime was surely a factor in that).

Overall, I successfully countered most-but not all- of his points and out-pointed him on both style and substance, in the range of about a 55-45 victory. Honestly, I thought Brian made very effective use of the rules and the clock to get as many arguments into a tight space as possible. He failed to respond to a large number of my points but, as I have already conceded, so did I. If we view this debate in this focus "Catholics are incorrect on a number of Marian doctrines", Ketterer held his own, losing a narrow 55-45 victory or perhaps even a few points tighter than that. This would make this, without question, the closest debate we have had yet. He lost it because he failed to counter my Biblical arguments and prove any of his own by anything more than innuendo and empty juxtaposition of Catholicism on pagan religions of the past.

If, however, the debate premise was a macro one, in keeping with the bravado he posted on his own facebook, he lost this debate in a rout of titanic proportions. Never once did Ketterer approach demonstrating that the Catholic Mary is a goddess nor that any Catholic engages in any idolatrous or pagan practice, whatsoever. This is the type of wild-eyed conspiratorial over reach that we have come to know and expect from cultists like George Lujack and Debra JM Smith. In fact, during this very debate, Brian actually denounced the cult of Calvinism that the loopy Debra Smith adheres to.

There is little doubt that Brian sincerely believes that Catholic doctrine about Mary- the Assumption, the Immaculate conception, Intercessory prayer etc- constitutes material worship, as illogical as this position is. However, debates are about winning on the merits of the arguments. When pressed repeatedly, Brian could not scriptural support the bulwark argument of his entire case of worship, the argument that a simple, intercessory prayer constitutes worship. Again, he is free to believe that but, if a debate is built on proof, he whiffed and he whiffed badly.

Even more damaging to his case (in fact, fatally so) is the unsupported and unsupportable position that Mary, who we call "blessed among women" and merely ask to pray for us, is a goddess in our theology.

My guess is that Brian uses unnecessary rhetoric and hyperbole such as this because of some personal animus towards Catholics. Of course, I would never claim I could prove that. Over-reach is not my style.

Brian caught me at the weakest point he likely ever will in this debate and still lost clearly, if closely. He would be well served to brush up on how to construct cogent, well-formed, logically sound and Biblical arguments going forward, and check the inflammatory hyperbole at the door. I suspect the audience would rather hear sound, reasoned, scholarly debates going forward rather than venomous polemics.

In Brian's case, he does not want to play into my hands too much and find himself on the losing end of a rout. Jes' sayin'. He can heed or not at his own peril.

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