There are probably more than a few places in cyber-space that have environments prone to creating non-discussions. One such place is a Roman Catholic forum known as “One Bread, One Body” (OBOB). I rarely visit this forum because of this rule:
“Those with disagreements or issues about Catholic faith and doctrine are asked to post respectfully and politely; you may "agree to disagree", but you may not disparage, denigrate, or libel Catholicism, nor may you post anything anti-Catholic, links to anti-Catholic websites, pictures, etc. This is a discussion forum, not a debate forum. Feel free to ask questions; but do not slam Catholicism, or the Catholic Church or you will be asked to leave.”
What this rule translates to is this: no one is allowed to counter respond to anything posted on OBOB. I know this first hand. A few years back on this forum, I was invited to take a look at a Luther-bashing thread on OBOB. Of course, I joined in the discussion and responded in my usual demeanor to a few of the posts, correcting blatant error and historical misrepresentation. My posts were quickly deleted, and I was warned by the moderators to “cease and desist”. Ok, fine. I guess everyone needs an environment to just be themselves without being challenged as to what is, or is not, truth. I wasn’t attacking anybody, I was just presenting some facts and counter-responses. After that experience, I now direct Roman Catholics to go and join the OBOB forum when they complain against my responses. If one doesn’t like to hear my responses, go onto OBOB and dialog in a place where one will not be challenged.
Recently I came across an OBOB thread here:
Almost have Protestant friend converting - Need Quick Help
Now, I didn’t expect to find any reason to join in this thread. I had no idea that one of my writings on Luther was being discussed. Well, I disregarged my own past experience with OBOB and posted this in the thread:
I found this discussion interesting. Unfortunately, in the past, the once or twice I tried to respond here on OBOB I was given multiple warnings, and my posts were deleted. So, based on past experience, I suspect that even if I attempt to interact with the comments directed toward my writing, I’m expecting the same will happen again. My posts will be deleted, and I will be given warnings. So really, there is no point. There is also a strong possibility this very post will probably be deleted, and I’ll again be warned.
Well, call me Miss Cleo, I was right. My post was deleted. The OBOB moderator explained:
James,Your post…was in violation of rule 3.8, which states; "You will not discuss Staff actions in the open forums". Since you have no previous staff action on your account, we decided to be lenient with you and just send this friendly pm reminder of the rules. Please adhere to the rules from this point forward. You may post fellowship posts in OBOB, and sometimes we will even allow some level of debte[sic], so long as it is done respectfully. But publically[sic] questioning moderator actions are strictly prohibited. Thank you.
My response: Can you please explain why you're allowing me to be publicly slandered on OBOB? Why is my name "James Swan" being slandered by Newman in the thread my post was deleted from? In other words, why can I not defend myself? Why don't you delete the posts slandering me? I am offended. You folks owe me either a good explanation or an apology. I expect neither, as Roman Catholics usually don't care enough to treat me with even an ounce of respect (Patrick Madrid excluded). Explain.
James,Perhaps if you could point out the post and comments in question, where you believe NewMan slandered you. I reviewed the thread, but did not see any instance of this. What I saw was a simple rebuttal of some of your claims, but I did not see any personal attacks. Please remember, OBOB is not a place for non-Catholics to debate. I hope you can appreciate and respect these rules, especially when someone posts a rebuttal of your work. If you would like to address it, I'm sure you will do so on your site and/or on other forums that allow for debate. Also, I'm sorry to see that you believe Catholics have treated you badly. If this is the case, then I apologize for them. And I would ask you to try not to project your discontent towards other Catholics, who have made no such offense to you.
My Response: Try this:
"Here is something that Fitzmyer wrote (page 361) but Swan did NOT copy (for obvious reasons) on his website:"
"So, far from a smoking gun, the context of Fitzmyer's book actually paints a very different picture than that which Swan tries to convey."
"Fitzmyer explains this in his book (funny that Swan didn't copy that part of Fitzmyer's book)."
"I own a copy of Fitzmyer's book and I suspect strongly that Mr. Swan is taking his comments somewhat out of context."
These comments imply deception on my part- as if I simply took what I wanted for propaganda sake- utter nonsense and slander. Even worse, you guys allow it and wont give me a chance to defend my writing. I thus include you folks as part of the problem, not part of any type of fair solution. I don't usually get this heated up, but the alleged "moderation" is just a sham so no one will pop the big OBOB "bubble."
James, As I said, we are generally lenient with those who post respectively (we even allow for some level of debte[sic]), but not those who come into OBOB and publically[sic] denigrate the OBOB moderators. If you have a problem with something that NewMan said, then I would advise that you follow protocol and contact him privately about it. From my standpoint, nothing he said was a clear flame. We don't take action on posts unless they are blatant violations. If we took action on every post that someone got offended by, then most of CF would be in the trash bin. If you want to debate Newman, then I'm sure that he would be more than happy to arrange something, in another forum that allows for debate. I would also remind you that the same rules that apply to the public fora, also apply to pm's as well. So please be careful about calling our moderation a "sham". I have been lenient with you thus far, and hope that you can extend the same respect to me that you expect from others.
My Response: From your response, it seems quite clear that you are going to allow Newman to insinuate I did poor research and mis-cited Fitzmyer. Hence, you are allowing Newman to publicly denigrate my work. Heaven forbid I'm allowed to respond to his charges- why it might cause....a disagreement! This angers me greatly. If I posted something on a well-read Protestant board that implied your research was poor, and then told you that you can't defend yourself on that forum, and that the comments denigrating your work would remain, how would you feel? How would you feel about the intent and care of the "moderation"?I don't expect the OBOB moderators to see my side on this. But then again, I’m used to Roman Catholic apologetic polemics, so it doesn't surprise me. This will be my last attempt at rational dialog with you. No need to respond, I will not bother you about this anymore, nor will I go into your OBOB forum. Ban me, warn me, It really makes no difference. I have to speak openly and honestly with you. If doing this provokes you to action, then do what you must. These are just discussion forums, they are not life and death.
Newman is doing what any apologist does; responding to the work of another apologist. You are upset because you can't respond directly in the forum, which is against the rules. There is nothing I can do about this. I don't make the rules. I enforce them. If I were to go into the Lutheran sub-forum and try to defend an article I wrote, my post would be deleted as well. These are the rules here, so please respect them.
I'm sorry you feel unjustly persecuted. You clearly do not know what it is like to be Catholic. Try going to other christian forums (like christianity.com, for example), tell them you're Catholic and see how long it takes for you to get banned. We're the whore of babylon remember?
James,No one is going to ban you. You don't even have any staff record on your account (and I hope it continues this way).
Also, FYI; http://www.christianforums.com/showp...3&postcount=29
The link above states the following:
"I would like to state for the record that my earlier critical observations of James Swan's blog in no way meant to impugn his character as a Christian or an apologist. I did not mean to imply that Mr. Swan was trying to mislead any of his readers or intentionally (key word) misrepresent the works of Fitzmyer.
That being said, I will reiterate that I disagree with Mr. Swan's conclusions on the subject matter. Once one analyzes the totality of Fitzmyer's work (and not just the brief excerpt in Mr. Swan's blog), it becomes apparent the Fitzmyer falls far short of saying that Luther's use of the phrase "faith alone" was in lock-step with the more ancient patristic use of it.
If Mr. Swan's point was to illustrate (via Fitzmyer's book) that Luther was not the first to use the phrase "faith alone" - then I agree. If, however, the point was to imply that the patristic use of it was the same as Luther's use of it - then I disagree...and so does Fitzmyer. Whether Mr. Swan intended for his readers to "connect the dots" or not is something only his readers can speculate for themselves about. I merely wanted to illustrate for those in this thread that Fitzmyer never intended to convey that the patristic use of the phrase and Luther's use of it were the same.
But I am perfectly content to say for the record that Mr. Swan and I merely disagree as to the conclusions we draw on the topic at hand. I do not doubt his integrity nor did I intend to convey any disrespect for him personally. I apologize to him if my words seemed too critical of him or his work."