Whiled away an hour yesterday talking with a couple Jehovah’s Witnesses. This brings to mind a quote from Orestes Brownson (whose works I must read soon):
Convict [your opponent] from tradition, and he appeals to the Bible; convict him from the Bible, and he appeals to reason; convict him from reason, and he appeals to private sentiment; convict him from private sentiment, and he appeals to skepticism, or flies back to reason, to Scripture, or tradition, and alternately from one to the other, never scrupling to affirm, one moment, what he denied the moment before, nor blushing to be found maintaining, that, of contraries, both may be true. He is indifferent as to what he asserts or denies, if able for the moment to obtain an apparent covert from his pursuers.
If only these guys were that sophisticated. While the missionaries were quite willing to pretend to listen, they would not address my objections ever. Which can be summed up: you guys are just making stuff up. Then, the leader took the strategy of claiming that radical pacifism was irrefutably essential to True Religion, and since Catholics engage in war, Catholicism could not be of God. Or something. I said: you just pick a piece of Scripture you like, and use it to beat down the parts of Scripture you don’t like. Didn’t go any where. Oh, well.
A heard-learned lesson from a lifetime of dealing with people: crazy has a lot of experience being crazy, and tends to be pretty good at it. No off-hand comment of a moment has any chance to crack the facade. So I tried to be (almost) as sweet and patient right back at ’em. May God have mercy on us all.