Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The End of Arguing without End


They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.


The Lying Apologists have resorted to the claim, "the teaching that lying is inherently evil is not a teaching that requires our assent" (returning to the claim that began my involvement in all of this, when a Catholic correspondent wrote, "We are not bound by what the Catechism teaches").


So we've come full circle.


Or more accurately, we haven't gone anywhere.


However, I am willing to end this on my part by granting, freely, that if their consciences are clean on this issue, those making excuses for Lying may believe what they want (indeed, free will being what it is, they may believe what they want in any case). This is true for any Catholic issue - birth control, abortion, sodomy, social justice, etc. Each of us is always free - indeed, obligated - to follow his conscience even if it leads him to deny the settled teaching of the Catholic Church (though this is self-defeating, since the primacy of conscience is itself a settled teaching of the Catholic Church).


At any rate, it's high time for the argument to end, as it's no longer a rational argument.


For example, the fact that Janet Smith's case for Lying was utterly annihilated by Tollefsen and Pruss in First Things might give a Lying Apologist pause. But no! Such a defeat can be ignored. More than that, such a defeat can be celebrated. The fact that Smith's sophistry has been dismantled, that her position has been shown to be unsustainable piece by piece, has on the contrary, become proof that she was right. The Lying Apologists don't engage Tollefsen & Pruss's rebuttal. They simply say, "Ah ha! The debate continues!"


Follow the logic, then ... if you dare!


1. ASSERTION: The Catechism does not present the settled teaching of the Catholic Church and we are not required to assent to what it teaches.


2. REBUTTAL: No, the teaching on Lying being inherently evil goes all the way back to Scripture and has been affirmed by bishops (St. Augustine), Popes (St. Gregory), the Angelic Doctor (St. Thomas Aquinas), the Catechism of Trent (over four hundred years ago), and the current Catechism. It may not safely be ignored; it requires our assent.


3. REPLY: You are calling me a dissenter! That's an ad hominem attack!


or


1. ASSERTION: Janet Smith says it's OK to lie!


2. REBUTTAL: Tollefsen and Pruss show how utterly wrong she is.


3. REPLY: Proof that the debate continues! We may believe what we want!


And so it goes.


I will delete all comments on this issue, pro or con, so please don't leave any in the combox below. The argument, as you can see, has become something other than an argument - and so it's pointless to continue.


Let us pray for one another.

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