Sunday, August 15, 2010

Meet and greet with Rhology

James Swan asked me to compile a sort of about-me and compilation of my favorite work, so here goes:

Rhology is the not-particularly-anonymous proprietor of the blog Rhoblogy, and is feeling a little strange as he composes this autobiographical post in 3rd-person.
Raised in a mainline, fairly liberal Methodist church and family in the Midwestern USA, which "faith" did little to prepare him for modernist and skeptical questionings related to science and Darwinian evolution, Rhology became an atheist at the age of 13. Jesus used a deep depression and a sharp sense of meaninglessness à la Ecclesiastes to show him that, no matter what he achieved, he'd lose it all to death at the end. Jesus then intervened and saved him just before his 16th birthday. For years charismatic, he eventually became "de-charismaticised" and a just-plain-Baptist. Only recently did the Lord use John 6:45 to turn Rho into an evil baby-eating Calvinist (a redundant term, to be sure).
During his university studies, Rhology studied in France for a year, and to prepare himself did some initial reading about Romanism, thinking that he would meet many challenges from that worldview while there. Oops - little did he realise that most everyone in France is a functional atheist. First lesson learned about Romanism in the real world.
Not long after, a worldview challenge came into view through longtime close friend David Bryan, who completed his journey from Bapticostal to Eastern Orthodoxy and in the course of numerous conversations, several of them the stereotypical "long talk late into the night", defeated many of Rho's arguments and forced him to do some serious rethinking. In the course of time, Rho consumed a great deal of, for example, James White's debates against Romanist opponents and also read through the Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith series and digested what could be applied to Eastern Orthodoxy, figuring that the truth would prevail. Long email discussions with David B later, Rho realised that the grass was not in reality greener on the Sola Ecclesia side of the hill, and he remained a Sola Scripturist. Honestly, in his internal dissension during this time, as he felt Sola Scriptura wobbling, he knew that if SS were to fall completely, conversion to EOC would be the logical conclusion, and was mentally prepared to go there if that were where the truth lay. Let's just say life would have been quite a bit different!

Not long after, Rhology's first forays into Internet apologetics and polemics on the topic of Romanism and such took place at Steve Ray's Catholic Convert forums. Then known as "Rho", he spent several months as a very active member, learning which arguments were good and sharpening them, and discarding others. (Unfortunately, very near the end of his stay there and a little before the death of John Paul II, their forums were hacked and all public archives were either lost or privatised, so these records are not accessible.) "Rho" also spent significant time on the orthodoxchristianity.net message boards, working on his understanding of EOC doctrine and finding more chinks in EO argumentation.

Rhology and his wife became tentmaker missionaries/ESL teachers in Japan for a year, starting in the summer of 2005, and Rhoblogy was begun as an online journal of that adventure. Slowly, the blog began to become less of a journal and more of what it is today. Since Jesus saved Rhology out of atheism when he was 16 and he (as should be obvious) tends toward the cynical and sarcastic, he gravitates toward rationalistic, concrete, and big-picture topics, which is why a great deal of the material at Rhoblogy deals with atheism, skepticism, Darwinian evolution, and liberalism. When you think about it, it's pretty cool how the Lord has brought such a diverse group together on the Beggars All team.

Rho's personal top 10 in dealing with Romanism and Eastern Orthodoxy:
10) On how the challenge "Where's your infallible Canon of Scripture?"is ludicrous since Romanists don't even have a fallible canon of their own infallible teachings, let alone an infallible one
9) Series on the glorious biblical teaching of Jesus' Preservation of the Saints
8) Compendium of resources on Eastern Orthodoxy
7) Irony in Patristics, exploring the question-begging nature of labeling some ancient writers "Church Fathers" and others "not-Church-Fathers"
6) Pro-Catholic and Enjoying It!
5) Because Rho loves the Gospel - Tim Staples keeps the commandments! and Taking sin seriously, or, The Gospel
4) Jesus' prayer for unity in John 17 (dispelling the "33,000 denominations" 'argument')
3) The special pleading of Sola Ecclesia-ists' claims to "unity" (burying the "33,000 denominations" 'argument')
2) Matrix of argumentation regarding how the Roman dogma of the Eucharist is monophysite
1) Formal debate with EO blogger DavidW on Sola Scriptura

Rho's personal top 10 in dealing with other topics on Rhoblogy and as a guest-blogger elsewhere:

10) The wire coat hanger and Darwin
9) Salvaging the Darwinian wreckage
8) A question for Dan Barker
7) Here lies an unwanted late-term fœtus, rest in peace (in which Rhology 'eulogises' George Tiller, the baby killer)
6) Series discussing Hymenæanism (aka Hyper-Preterism)
5) A moral quandary for atheistic morality
4) Empathy as Basis for Morality
3) Empiricism refuted
2) Guest post on Atheism Is Dead - "Evidence" for evolution is actually evidence for Intelligent Design
1) Guest post on Triablogue - On the Flying Spaghetti Monster

7 comments:

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Hey Rho!!!

I love your posts and I love the journey you've taken with God. And I love your love for God!

Keep up the great work!!

Andrew Suttles said...

Rho -

1) I still don't get the name Rho. Did I miss something? What does it mean?

2) Why did you consider the EO church as the logical place to land, were you to cast the Scriptures aside? In other words, why EO over RC?

Lvka said...

why EO over RC?


Because he is a Protestant. (Our fathers didn't kill their fathers; we don't have indulgences [though we ARE known to indulge :-) ] or purgatory; etc).

Rhology said...

Andrew,

"Rho" is a longstanding nickname, meaning "Red haired one". No, not particularly deep, but I did like the mystique of a unique handle, and it's a Greek letter rho obviously and I dig the chi-rho symbol.
And "rho at g mail dot com" was already taken when I tried to make a gmail acct, so I picked rhology b/c it sounded cool and sophisticated. There are worse handles, like "Alan543434 from the Midwest" or sthg like that.

EOC seems to have more going for it than RCC. Their epistemologies are both very faulty, neither is biblical, but the RCC has the Pope and the ridiculously advanced cult of Mary, whereas EOC's Mariolatry is in a less-advanced stage. Their soteriology is not quite as Pelagian. Their appeal to CFs is not quite as viciously circular (though it's close) to RCC's appeal to the Magisterium.
And it's more mysterious. So all their claims dissipate upon close examination, but it's harder to find good close examination of EOC in America, whereas close examinations of RCC abound. So it's partly subjective. Also my friend David B's conversion had sthg to do with it. If he'd turned RC, it might've been diff for me too.

Lvka,
Honestly, the former never entered my mind. Since people kill each other all the time on all sides of any conflict, that doesn't concern me much.
Good point about indulgences and Purgatory, though - that played into it too.

David Waltz said...

Hello Rho,

Thanks goes to James for encouraging you to post a brief bio—I sincerely appreciated the candor and personal elements. But, with that said, I must in good conscience raise a couple of concerns: first, though I personally enjoy conversion stories, James has gone on record to state his disdain for conversion stories; as such, it sure seems a bit odd to this beachbum that he made the request.

Second, though I especially related to your personal journey from the Methodists, to atheism, to Pentecostalism, to Baptist, and now to Reformed Baptist, I find it more than a bit odd the so many Reformed posters (here, and on ‘sister’ sites) have berated and chided me for my ecclesiastical changes (one less than yours), including James Swan (who devoted a YouTube vid on this genre in my ‘honor’).

Help me out here Rho, is there yet another double-standard at work?


Grace and peace,

David

James Swan said...

Help me out here Rho, is there yet another double-standard at work?

David, I oppose conversion stories as apologetic tools, and we both know that Romanism uses the "story" as a main apologetic tool, if not THE main apologetic tool.

In your case, I respect the fact you researched Romanism till you could no longer be Romanist. De-conversion stories likewise though are used as apologetic tools, and your story appeared to me at the time to being used in such a way.

If one converts or deconverts from Romanism, I'm going to try not to use their story as an apologetic tool.

Rhology said...

David Waltz,

What James said.

I'd add that from self-deceived liberal unconverted heathen to more intellectually honest unconverted heathen (ie, my atheist phase) to regenerate Christian is not very much tapping around at all. Of course, let God be true and every man a liar - if it be to God's glory that I go thru 10 religions before finding the truth, then I will gladly do so if it means I can be united with Christ for eternity.
That said, I did NOT go thru 10 religions; I went thru 2 - worship of myself, then converted to worship of God. I don't think I know many ppl who'd consider Pentecostal -> Moderately Calvinistic Baptist -> Reformed Baptist as even close to whatever you've gone thru, which as I recall involves at least Jehovah's Witness, RCC, and don't-know-what. For what it's worth.