So a friendly journal reader linked from a comment in my last JE to the JE of user Pudge: http://slashdot.org/~pudge/journal/171395. The title of the JE is "Mormonism is a Cult, and So is Radical Atheism". Obviously I had a problem with the premise. The main problems I had were:
1. "Cult" was never well-defined
2. Pudge claimed that scholars provided his definition, but when I criticized his choice of scholar (Walter Martin, look him up on wikipedia and decide for yourself) as being a non-scholar he claimed this was ad hominem. So, to recap, it's relevant to say "dude is a scholar" to back up your claim that he said x, but it is a logical fallacy to say "dude is not a scholar" to criticize. So I suppose scholarship is a one-way street.
3. He consistently denied making a value statement by claiming that Mormons are a cult and refused to answer the question that would have made that clear ("Do you consider Christianity superior to non-Christianity?")
Well he threatened to foe me so that I couldn't post to his journal, but I just kept posting anyway, and he continued to respond. So I figured he realized my comments were in good faith. Then this morning I found a long reply from him with (gues what!) no option to reply. I'd been Foe'd. (comment here: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=234185&cid=19123505)
Now partly I just want to respond here. It's my journal, so I can, and I'll feel a little relief even if no one reads it. But partially I also want to vent about how pathetically spineless I consider this. A journal is your turf. If you want to keep from being hassled, that's your perogative. But if you don't like someone just foe them and have done with it. Posting an incredibly long article (before or after the foe) that you know they will not be able to respond to is pathetic. It's like radio show hosts who mute their callers and go on rambling monologues as though the caller was incapable of finding any whole in the logic.
What's more pathetic, however, is that you have some sad soul wandering around who's been so completely and totally mind-f***ed by the evangelical anti-cultists. The poor guy things Walter Marin is a scholar! The dude has never published a single article, review, or book with a scholarly source (only with evangelical presses), he used the title "Doctor" for nearly a decade with no PhD, and then just paid cash for a PhD from a diploma mill. This is scholarship? And in the face of mounting evidence against his idol, Pudge simply turns the criticism off. That's beyond sad.
So - some jewels from his untouchable comment:
So it's not ad hominem to say he's not a scholar (me)
No, but it is ad hominem to imply it is relevant to this discussion.
Then, one ponders, why did you bring up scholars to defend your "definition" in the first place?
False. In fact, you demonstrated nothing of the sort. In fact, other uses were noted separate from Martin. In fact, you did not show anything about what "most scholars" think, only what one person said most scholars think, or some other similar nonsense.
So, for those who don't want to read the comments, Pudge has provided a vague and worthless definition of "cult" and claimed that many scholars backed it up, but only provided one name. An evangelical. I quoted to professors of sociology who argued the term "cult" had no meaning left. Oh well...
Then he just launches into the longest stream of calling things "ad hominem" I've ever seen. Including:
If you think Christianity is better than non-Christianity, then calling Mormons non-Christian is a value statement. (me)
Again, ad hominem. (pudge)
Here's more good times:
But you haven't actually removed the religious bias, you've just swept it under the rug. The bias creeps back in when you decide which religion to use as the basis. If a Mormon uses your definition of cult, then evangelicals are a cult. But you've only applied it one way. (me)
In fact, no. You could not be more wrong. The definition assumes that the parent religion is the one to use as the basis. So Judaism cannot possibly be a cult of Christianity, and Protestantism cannot possibly be a cult of Mormonism, because it gets the parent-child relationship backward. And of course, I stated this clearly up front. (pudge)
For our viewers at home, Mormonism claims to be the original Church of Christ. Thus, if Mormonism is true, it is the mainstream Christians who are the child religions and Mormonism = Church of Christ is parent religion. I'm not trying to argue my doctrine against his, I'm pointing out that you can't define the "parent/child" relationship without religious bias. Only by assuming that Mormon doctrine is false do you end up with "Mormonism must be the parent". An objective reading would say "from the perspective of Mormonism, they are the parent and from the perspective of mainstream Christianity, they are the parent".
Anyway... my dealings with Pudge make me yearn for a "Coward of the Week" award. Anyone else think that's a good idea?