The Eucharist, Part 27: Interlude

Note: This is part of this series on the Eucharistic liturgy found in the patristics. The series is an expanded response to FishEaters’ “What the Earliest Christians Wrote About the Eucharist.”

The original liturgy:

The Roman liturgy:


This series is, in part, a response to FishEaters, who was raised up as a credible expert on the Roman Catholic Eucharist:

Comment by Bardelys the Magnificent
As well sourced as this post was, Derek of all people would know that there’s just as much, if not more, evidence on the other side (Fisheaters has a great write-up on the eucharist).

I had, for a while, wanted to respond to FishEaters’ “The Eucharist,” but we needed to set up the ground work of this series before we could attempt it. Now, in this interlude, we will partially examine FishEaters’ explicit claims.

In her “great write-up”, there are many errors and unfounded assumptions. It is difficult to take it seriously. Yet, in my experience, FishEaters is fairly typical as far as Roman Catholic apologists go. This is not hyperbole, nor an ad hominem. FishEaters demonstrates things like cherry-picking, failing to check her references (e.g. in “Abolishing the Sacrifice” below), and leaps of inference, and so makes trivial mistakes. But, don’t worry, I’m not just making empty claims, I’ll show it below.


FishEaters’ statements are so full of loaded words and phrases, that we have to break them down piece-by-piece. Consider these sentences:

The Mass is a true Sacrifice: Christ, as the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, offers the graces of His once and for all Sacrifice on the Cross to us sacramentally under the appearances of bread and wine through the ministry of His ordained priests.

Christ’s ordained priests offer Christ to the Father under the appearances of bread and wine. Christ is really and truly present, under the appearance of bread and wine, in every way: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

Look how many terms of art there are:

  • The Mass
  • True Sacrifice
  • Order of Melchizedek
  • The Graces
  • Sacramentally
  • Appearance(s) of bread and wine
  • Ordained
  • Really and Truly Present

Of these, only one (or maybe two) is mentioned—in the sense given above—explicitly in the Bible. If you are not a Roman Catholic, there is a very good chance probably don’t even know what she is talking about. But the complexity doesn’t end there. These sentences assume the following doctrines and dogmas:

  • Transubstantiation
  • The Real Presence
  • The sacrifice of Christ’s body and blood
  • The doctrines of the graces, priesthood, and the sacraments.

What is one to do with this? To even respond to it, you have to address each one of these things. Were I to attempt this, it would take months of articles, just as this series on the Eucharist. The underlying assumptions make it too complex to address it directly.

So what are we to do? Deny the Roman Catholic assumptions:

First, no church writer in the first 300 years of the church ever offers Christ’s body and blood as a sacrifice. Without this, transubstantiation, the real presence, and the sacrifice of the body and blood are just later innovations.

By contrast, this series has shown that the thanksgiving is a true sacrifice—of prayer, praise, hymns, service, gratitude, a pure heart, a pure mind, and the giving of gifts and tithes—in fulfillment of Malachi 1.

Malachi 1:7-13
“By offering defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty. “Now plead with God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?”—says the Lord Almighty. “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord Almighty. “But you profane it by saying, ‘The Lord’s table is defiled,’ and, ‘Its food is contemptible.’ And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the Lord Almighty. “When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the Lord

As per Part 26: Lactantius, the offering is of the incorporeal, because the altar of God is in heaven.

As discussed in Part 8: Interlude, this is attested by Jesus, the apostles, the Didache, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, Lactantius, Eusebius, Aphrahat, Athanasius, and Cyril. Far from being a minor view, about a third of those we discuss in this series state it explicitly.

Second, no church writer in the first 300 years of the church ever offers views Christ’s body and blood literally (i.e. not a symbol).

Third, no church writer in the first 300 years of the church ever distinguishes between the appearance and substance of the bread and wine. At most they talk about the bread and wine having two simultaneous natures (e.g. physical food and spiritual “body”)

Fourth, the doctrines of the sacraments are a based on a Greek-to-Latin translation error in the late 4th century. As we discussed in Part 9: Tertullian, the conflation of ‘mystery’ with ‘sacrament’ is invalid. Moreover, the concept of “graces”, as part of the Roman Catholic conception within the sacramental systems, is an invention of Roman Catholicism. We discuss this in more detail in Part 34: Hilary of Poitiers.

Fifth, the Bible teaches that all Christian men and women are priests. With respect to the Roman Catholic innovation of “sacraments” and “the Mass,” this is especially relevant. See The Protestation of Dr. Hugh Latimer. As Hugh Latimer pointed out, if priests are to offer Christ to the Father, than this implies that only priests should take part in the sacrament, not the laity. For the laity to take part exposes the logical contradiction in the Mass sacrifice.

In short, Roman Catholicism didn’t exist prior to the late 4th-century. The answer to all the Roman Catholic innovations is not to address those innovations directly, but merely to point out that they have no basis in the first 300 years of the church, and are thus not apostolic nor part of church tradition.

A Hint of a Problem

Above we cited Malachi 1:11. We see hints of a problem with FishEaters stance in the way she handles scripture:

Malachi 1:10-11
Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense [“Sacrifice” in the Douay-Reims] shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering [“clean oblation” in the Douay-Reims]: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.

Notice her annotations of scripture. I wouldn’t normally complain about this, except that the Douay-Reims is an English translation from the Latin Vulgate, and so inherits all of the errors of the parent plus the ones introduced by the English translation. Neither of these translations are critical translations, that is, scholars do not look to either of these as being authoritative of what the originals contained. Notice how she prefers sacrifice over incense because the former (somewhat) supports a Roman liturgy, but the latter does not. Let me demonstrate.

First, she cites 2 Chronicles 4:2:

2 Chronicles 4:2
[And Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying…] Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel.

The word for incense here is qetoreth (smoke, incense). The word for incense used in Malachi is qatar (to make sacrifices smoke), whose origin is a denominative verb which comes from qetoreth. They are also related to qitor which means “thick smoke.” All these related words refer to smoke. They are often translated as incense for this reason, because any smoke of a sacrifice that is pleasing to God is “incense.” To the extent that it refers to sacrifice, it refers to the smoke: the smoke of sacrifice.

Second, the word “incense” in Malachi is translated as thymiama (θυμίαμα) in the Greek Septuagint. This translation is the Old Testament which Jesus, the Apostles, and the early church writers quoted from in their writings. The Greek word means aromatic incense or odor. That is the same word as used by John the Revelator, who identifies the incense as prayers.

Revelation 5:8
Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense (thymiamatōn; θυμιαμάτων), which are the prayers of God’s people. 

Third, it is translated as “incense” in almost every English translation. It is, notably, the Catholic translations that avoid using incense.

Fourth, she wants you to accept the Latin Vulgate as authoritative, not the earlier Greek and original Hebrew:

In Jerome’s (A.D. 340-420) Vulgate, the word that the King James Bible renders “incense” is “sacrificatur,” and “offering” is rendered “oblatio.”

In Hebrew, the words are qatar (קָטַר) and minchah (מִנְחָה). In the Greek Septuagint, they are thymiama (θυμίαμα) and thysia (θυσία). Ironically, in both Hebrew and Greek, the second word—for “offering” (KJV) and “oblatio” (Latin)—means sacrifice. But the first word in Latin “sacrificatur” means sacrifice! This mistranslation…

…in every place [sacrifice] shall be [offered] unto my name, and a pure [sacrifice]…

…removes the distinction found in the original “incense,” as if ‘sacrifices and sacrifices would be sacrificed’ (i.e. offered). FishEaters did not cite Revelation 5:8, which calls the incense that God receives the “prayers of God’s people.” It is no wonder, given her opinion of any version of the Bible that goes against the Roman liturgy:

…the faulty King James “incense” translation!

FishEaters just assumed that the official Catholic version of the Bible must be correct and that every other version must be incorrect, including the earlier and original versions. In doing so, she implicitly called the original Bible faulty! This is quite illustrative of the contrast between sola ecclesia—the church alone—and sola scriptura—scripture alone. Faced with a conflict between scripture and her church, FishEaters chose the latter.

We have seen throughout this series how the habit of using pro-Roman Catholic Latin translations instead of the original and earlier Greek in the church fathers has led to a number of egregious intentional mistranslations (e.g. in English). We are not going to repeat that mistake here.

Fifth, she doth protest too much:

Protester, where are this incense and pure oblation offered? This sacrifice is prophecied! Where is it? 

Our sacrifice is our thanksgiving which we offer in Spirit and in truth. As John the Revelator saw, the incense that God receives are the prayers of God’s people.

The Priesthood

FishEaters moves to the crux of the issue:

In all these cases, the word “priesthood” entails “sacrifice” as sacrifice is what priests do. The question becomes, then, what is being offered by each kind of priest?

Yes, she has asked the right question. But we have already answered it! The true sacrifices are the prayers of the people of God:

Revelation 5:8
And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people

These are the thanksgiving, the sacrifice of prayer, praise, hymns, service, gratitude, a pure heart, a pure mind, and the giving of gifts and tithes. This fulfills the prophecy of Malachi 1:11. These are offered by every Christian in every place in every time before God, and so every Christian is a priest:

John 4:19-26
Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

True worship was always sacrificial worship. For the Samaritans this was on Mount Gerizim. For the Jews it was in Jerusalem. But for Christians it is no longer animals or anything else corporeal, nor is it at any particular location: our sacrifice is now in Spirit and truth alone in all places. This is why Jesus setup a thanksgiving and why he commanded it of us. It is our thanksgiving [offering] to God.

When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman, he told her that his followers would worship in Spirit and truth now. Not after Christ’s last supper, crucifixion, death, resurrection, or ascension: now. The sacrificial worship that would be made in all places and in all nations began even then before Christ’s offering himself as the Paschal sacrifice, even before he offered the bread and wine at the Last Supper.

Abolishing the Sacrifice

On one hand, FishEaters says this…

Interestingly, even the Jewish rabbis said in the Midrash that, when the Messiah comes, all offerings will be abolished except the thanksgiving todah offering (Vayikra Rabba 9,2).

…but on the other she says this:

Christ’s Once and For All Historical Sacrifice Brings Together all the Old Testament Korbanot

The Korbonot she lists are the Korban Todah (thanksgiving offerings), Korban Pesach (Passover Offering), and the Red Heifer offering of Melchizedek. Here are the problems:

First, her Jewish references do not support her claim. Here is what the Midrash says:

…all the offerings will be abolished but the thanks offering will not be abolished. All the prayers will be abolished, but the thanksgiving [prayer] will not be abolished…

The Messiah was to abolish all offerings and all prayers except the thanksgiving. When has the Roman Catholic church abolished all prayers except the thanksgiving? Perhaps it has abolished prayers to the dead and prayers to the saints? Moreover, this also directly contradicts her claim that Christ’s death on the cross brings together all the sacrifices. Bringing them all together is not abolishing anything.

But what about the other Jewish reference:

Now, this Passover offering is intimately associated with (rabbis even call the yearly memorial a form of) Korban Todah insofar as a Korban Todah is obligatory when one has been saved from danger, as what happened when God spared the Hebrews’ firstborn. These two korbanot go hand in hand.

Note: most fascinating, and relevant to the common Protestant accusations of Catholics “re-crucifiying” Jesus and denying the efficacy of His once and for all sacrifice at Golgotha, is the Seder practice of quoting from the Haggada, ” v’hi sh’amda l’avoteinu… sheb’chol dor v’dor omdim aleinu l’chaloteinu…,” that is: the Israelites’ national redemption was not only a “one-time historical event” but perpetual in every generation. See

If Jesus abolished all sacrifice except the thanksgiving, then the purpose of the Lord’s Supper is to thank God for the sacrifice of his son and the salvation that he brought, which is precisely what a remembrance service accomplishes. After all, when Jesus went to the cross for us, he caused death to permanently pass over us. So every time we gather, in perpetuity, we are to give thanks for that. That thanks is our thanksgiving, our only thanksgiving. But the Roman Catholic does not believe this.

FishEaters is throwing Jewish quotes as Protestants, but those quotes do not support her claims. FishEaters does not understand the reference she is using—the Haggada from the 2nd or 3rd century:

And it is this (the Torah) that has stood by our ancestors and for us. For not only one (enemy) has risen up against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise up to destroy us. But the Holy One, Blessed be He, delivers us from their hands.

Do you know what’s missing there? Any reference to what FishEaters has claimed. It is certainly no Jewish justification for offering Jesus as the Passover sacrifice, something no one in the first 300 years of the church ever did, and no Jew has ever done.

The link FishEaters provided only shows the reference in Hebrew alongside the English commentary she referenced. She clearly didn’t bother to read the actual translated text, or she would have realized that it is a reference to the Hebrew people triumphing over their enemies who had enslaved them, not a reference to the Passover sacrifice being repeated. Let’s emphasize this: the Jews perpetually celebrated the Passover as remembrance of God saving them from slavery—their national redemption! Passover is a celebration of the solidarity of Jewish Nationalism!

The Jews do not perpetually offer the sacrifice of a lamb at Passover. They no longer make sacrifices. It should be obvious as a matter of historical fact, that FishEaters’ claim is impossible. FishEaters is so blinded by her Roman axiom that she can’t even imagine that the evidence might not support her claims. She just assumes that it does, without even bothering to check it.

Second, she doesn’t list all the Korbonot. The Old Testament describes many more sacrifices than the three that she gave. She doesn’t’ explain how all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, besides those few restricted, are “brought together” in Christ. She’s just selected three of them and ignored the rest.

Third, the thanksgiving sacrifice that Christ established is incorporeal and he set it up long before the Last Supper or his death and resurrection on the cross. Jesus discussed this with the Samaritan Woman at the Well.

The Bread of Life

That He was understood to mean this literally is obvious when one reads that people were offended, disgusted, when they heard Him say so! They were so revolted, that many walked away — but Jesus didn’t stop them and clarify, “You idiots, you misunderstand! I speak in spiritual terms and am not talking literally!” No. What He did was let them go: John 6:51-69

This is ironic, considering what Cyril wrote:

Catechetical Lecture 22
Christ on a certain occasion discoursing with the Jews said,

Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no life in you. — John 6:53

They not having heard His saying in a spiritual sense were offended, and went back, supposing that He was inviting them to eat flesh.

Citation: Cyril of Jerusalem. “Catechetical Lecture 22.” ¶4 (350)

Cyril, writing in 350AD and whom we discussed in Part 25, is in complete opposition to FishEaters, in no uncertain terms. By Cyril’s reasoning, FishEaters has fallen in with the error made by the Jews: supposing that he was inviting them to eat his (literal) flesh. Moreover, no church writer in the first 300 years of the church agrees with her claim. For the early church, the body and blood of Christ were figurative of spiritual things.

FishEaters simply took the Roman Catholic understanding and read it right into scripture. The irony of FishEaters’ position is completely lost on her:

Bottom line: one either reads Scripture, listens to the Church, and intellectually assents to what they’ve taught for two millennia, in spite of one’s “feelings,” in spite of the accidents (the appearances) of “bread” and “wine,” or one doesn’t. To those who not only don’t, but feel compelled to mock, well, mock on. They scorned Jesus, too.

The Jews scorned Jesus because Jesus told them that his flesh and blood were figures and they thought he was speaking literally. Do you know—according to FishEaters—the best way to defend Jesus from scorning? Join in with those who scorned him!

[Note: if all Our Lord was talking about was a monthly-or-so gathering together to sing “Shine, Jesus, Shine” and eat some bread in memory of Him, how could it be such a “hard saying”?]

What was so hard about Jesus being the Bread of Life? Accepting the Word of God that he received from his Father. Indeed, for billions of people—many of which are Roman Catholic—it has been incredibly difficult to accept what Jesus was saying about his doctrine in John 6. The single largest body of “Christians” is unable to accept his hard saying! It doesn’t get any harder than that.

FishEaters seems to be asking “What if Jesus’ hard saying wasn’t actually a hard saying at all, but was actually so easy that my denomination could dominate for 1500 years?” If that’s what a hard saying means, then Roman Catholicism falls to her very own objection!

Sacrificed on a Thursday

All of these Old Testament sacrifices were ineffectual in the eternal sense, but they prefigure the New Testament Sacrifice instituted by Christ from Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday) to His Crucifixion — actually the same day by Jewish reckoning, from sunset to sunset….on that Thursday, He fulfilled Passover, taking bread and wine, after the order of Melchizedek, and saying “This IS My body, this IS My blood.” 

As we go throughout this series, we have seen where Roman Catholicism got its ideas. When did Roman Catholicism get the idea that the Final Passover actually took place the day before Jesus was crucified at the Lord’s Supper? We read about that in Part 23: Gregory of Nyssa.

Gregory noticed a big problem. Since the last Supper was on Thursday, but Jesus was crucified and died on Friday, there wasn’t enough “days” for Gregory to count to three. So he came up with a creative way around this problem. In 373, he was the first to claim that Jesus offered his (crucified, dead, and buried) flesh at the Lord’s Supper. Indeed, Gregory said that Jesus was actually in the grave even as he served his disciples. Since Jesus was dead and in the grave, even as he served himself, Gregory could now count to three days in the grave.

This innovation would need to be refined (e.g. Jesus had to serve his living flesh), but it eventually turned into an orthodox Roman Catholic belief. But no writer in the first 300 years of the church ever made this claim. Christ sacrificed himself on the cross, not at the Lord’s Supper. FishEaters’ attempt to merge the Thanksgiving and Paschal sacrifices into one falls flat.

Moreover, FishEaters’ is very confused about the chronology:

Melchizedek’s bread and wine, korban todah, korban pesach, the sacrifice of the red heifer, the Old Testament manna, Malachi’s “pure offering” — all these sacrificial effects, gifts, and prophecies were brought together when Christ instituted the Mass at His Last Supper and then, on that same Jewish day, shed His blood for the remission of sin.

According to Gregory of Nyssa and the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Last Supper was on a Thursday and Jesus was crucified on a Friday. The whole reason Gregory’s solution “worked” is because the Last Supper was not on Friday. Since FishEaters’ chronology seems integral to her merging of the sacrifices into one, a miscalculation would invalidate her argument. Considering that there are some who hold to a Wednesday crucifixion and a literal 3 days / 3 nights in the grave, it’s best not to debate the correct chronology at this time, but rather simply be aware of the issue, and how these other writings disagree with FishEaters’ private interpretation. Since, according to FishEaters the Lord’s Supper was really on a Friday due to her selected chronology, we would like to know how she calculates her three days in the grave.

In any case, the original sacrifice of the Lamb to put blood on the doorframe took place the very same night that the angel passed over. Jesus was crucified and died during the day. For someone placing extreme emphasis on the precise arrangement of hours in the day, this is sloppy and arbitrary.

Time Travel

FishEaters view requires one to subscribe to particular philosophies of time and infinities that are not, themselves, specified anywhere in Scripture:

Christ died once at a finite point in History; but God is outside of time and His offering of Himself is eternal. [..] Calvary is pulled out of time and re-presented before our very eyes!

For what its worth, FishEaters’ viewpoint is difficult to distinguish from Part 23: Gregory of Nyssa, who had to have Jesus die on Thursday before he died on Friday in order to be in the grave long enough to count to three days.

There are a host of metaphysical reasons why the space-time-defying, time-traveling Jesus doesn’t make sense. Most notably, it invalidates the incarnation. Suffice it to say that FishEaters hasn’t thought through the consequences that the “eternal present” view of time (which she didn’t invent) has on other doctrines and aspects of Jesus’ life. She really just wants you to accept time travel “only here and not anywhere else and don’t look over there,” which makes no sense at all.

There is no reason at all, other than to support a medieval Roman liturgy, to make these kinds of philosophical and metaphysical commitments, especially when those commitments are not rationally consistent. Each and every new appeal to a “mystery” undermines the rationality of the claims being made.


It’s so sad, and so infuriating, that Catholics are accused of “worshipping bread.”

Yes, we agree. When we tell the truth, it evokes in listeners an infuriating state. Nobody likes to hear the truth when it opposes their deeply held beliefs. It is sad, even infuriating, that Roman Catholics are easily deceived. But, as we’ll see with Joshua Charles below, this deception is freely chosen.

…one might think Catholics are crazy as they kneel down…

And they’d be correct. The early church banned kneeling on Sunday and any time during Pentecost. Kneeling during those times is a Roman Catholic novelty.

It takes the eyes of faith to “see” that the apparent mere bread and wine are truly the Body and Blood of Christ; it takes an intellectual assent to divine revelation [..] Sometimes one might struggle to “feel” that what appears to be “bread” and “wine” are what He said they are, especially at many modern Masses during which the Body and Blood are so often treated with irreverence.

This is straight out of Orwell’s 1984:

“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

It’s the only way they can get you to accept a lie as truth. It is the Roman Catholic’s most essential command, for the acceptance of the bread as literal flesh is the very essence of what it means to be a Roman Catholic. Without the Mass sacrifice, there is no Roman Catholicism.

Bottom line: one either reads Scripture, listens to the Church, and intellectually assents to what they’ve taught for two millennia, in spite of one’s “feelings,” in spite of the accidents (the appearances) of “bread” and “wine,” or one doesn’t.

It is impossible to assent intellectually to what the Roman Catholic Church has taught for two millenia, because it didn’t exist prior to the late 4th century. It is truly ironic to describe Protestants as succumbing to “feelings” when the Roman Eucharistic liturgy is an historical anachronism. It is ironic that the Roman Catholic church flees to their feelings of mystery as an ‘explanation’ for its dogmas and doctrines when it cannot use history or the rational mind.

It is true, that either one listens to the Roman Catholic church or one doesn’t. You do have to pick one. But in choosing whether to obey the Roman Catholic church, you are not also choosing whether or not you read scripture, or intellectually assent to the early church teachings. Indeed, if you listen to the Roman Catholic church, you cannot assent to what the early church taught, for the Roman liturgy did not exist in the first 300 years of the church. Choosing what the Roman Catholic church says goes against the testimony of scripture. You cannot choose both church and scripture.


There is a famous video of the 1955 atomic bomb test in Nevada. These days, its biggest claim to fame on social media is pushing the theory that it was faked because the camera wasn’t destroyed.

If someone of reasonable intelligence with some knowledge of how to build things took a minute or two to actually think it through, they’d be able to come up with one, two, or even three designs for how to build a camera enclosure to survive the blast. The theory that the video is faked is based entirely on the simple failure to just use one’s mind.

At the opening of this interlude, I said:

FishEaters demonstrates things like cherry-picking, failing to check her references, and leaps of inference, and so makes trivial mistakes.

Most of her mistakes are really easy to avoid, as in, a minute or two of research on Google would yield an explanation that would completely counter her statement. Yeah, it’s that easy. But FishEaters can’t even be bothered to spend a minute or two questioning her own belief. Let’s emphasize this: most people do not even attempt to disprove their own claims, let alone seriously consider their merits.

FishEaters is clearly not putting her own views to the challenge, because she doesn’t even check her references. Her errors are not accidental typos, nor are they—at the other extreme—failures to understand complex contextual language. She’s not even trying. Most of her copy-and-paste quotes can be found exactly on a dozen other websites, with little to no change in markup, let alone links to the primary sources. Even the ellipses (“…”) are found in the same location! With the Jewish sources, she found something that seemed to support her view, so she used it without checking to see if it actually supported her view (or worse, she did check, but used it anyway).

Joshua Charles, another apologist, does check his references, but he readily blocks people (see here, here, and here) who sufficiently challenge him. Prior to his conversion, he willingy challenged his Protestant beliefs, only to convert to Roman Catholicism by, in his own words here, exchanging discussion for decision (i.e. authority; being told what to do; obedience). He wasn’t convinced by argument. In fact, he was explicitly avoiding what he termed “interminable and unresolvable” debates.

To this day, Joshua Charles actively resists having his views challenged by others, and this shows in the way he “argues.” For example, in Becoming Catholic #13, he states that the Mass Sacrifice is found in Justin Martyr. Mind you, not even the Catholic Encyclopedia is so bold, and Part 3: Justin Martyr shows why. But it doesn’t end there. In his writings on the Eucharist, he cites many of the writers in the first 300 years of the church as if they describe a Roman liturgy. He is credulous when it comes to Roman Catholic doctrine, because it is rooted in obedience to someone else’s decision. Beyond the choice to obey another, he denies his own agency.

Many Roman Catholics are not interested in debate or questioning their own views because their faith is rooted in authoritarianism (and its kin, the fallacious argument from authority). There isn’t anything to debate when you’ve made up your mind, and having your mind made up—blind obedience—on theological matters is publicly required, under threat of excommunication, by Roman Catholic decree (see: “Religious Discussions” in the Catholic Encyclopedia).

Bardelys the Magnificent
I cannot argue with Derek here because he’s made up his mind. You don’t post something like this as an inquiry. It’s a statement. [..]  I will not be able to change his mind because any sources I pull up he will have already seen. I can do nothing here. 

A proper intellectual (or scientific) inquiry involves detailed—not limited—examinations of the relevant evidence, including producing hypotheses and theories. The more evidence, the better. What is the most surefire way to tell when you are being subject to propaganda? When the addition of more evidence is viewed as a threat.

I spend an inordinate amount of time putting my viewpoints to the test. I go out of my way to post quotations and opinions of people who hold the opposing viewpoints, trying to avoid where possible quotations from people who agree with me if a quote from an opponent would suffice. I have a whole blog dedicated, in part, to putting my ideas out there with the express purpose of getting them challenged. I even go to other forums for this purpose.  I’ve never blocked anyone on this site, nor otherwise engaged in viewpoint censorship. What I’ve found, invariably, is that no one is more willing to challenge all viewpoints—including my own—than I am. Oh, the people I talk to are quite willing to challenge my viewpoints… but only as long as I don’t challenge theirs.

What makes this disappointing isn’t that Bardelys has imputed certain motivations onto me—which reflects the lamentable state of modern intellectual discourse—but that other readers here will have no opportunity to hear any cross-examination. I’d love to avoid strawmen, but the best I can do is post links to Roman Catholic apologists and respond to them, as in this interlude. I hope that’s enough.


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