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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

A Time to Laugh: When Trolls Crawl Out from under their Rocks

A troll dressed like an
angel is still a troll.
If you just wait a bit, a troll masquerading as an angel will cast off the costume and reveal her troll-ness to the least to you.

I wrote about trolls and tattletales last week describing several as being like "moths to a flame" flapping around my blog. Before I continue, let's define the noun troll and the verb to troll:
verb: to antagonize (others) online by deliberately posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content; harass, criticize, or antagonize (someone) especially by provocatively disparaging or mocking public statements, postings, or acts. 
noun: one who does these things
I've stopped posting comments by trolls since they add nothing to the conversation as you'll see by the two most recent comments. They mostly engage in ad hominem attacks. I guess they figure if only they throw enough rocks or shoot enough darts, they'll knock you down and metaphorically kill you off. Fat chance!

But let's digress for a moment into the world of logic to examine another definition: the ad hominem fallacy. (Why don't they teach logic these days?)  Sad to say, many people seem incapable of making a reasonable argument and engage in nothing but strings of ad hominem attacks. The ad hominem is a logical fallacy defined thus:
Ad hominem ("At the person") An informal fallacy in which the object of attack is not the merits of some position, but the person who takes that position. When the attack is on the character of the person, the fallacy is called an "abusive ad hominem"; when the attack is grounded on the special circumstances of some person, the fallacy is called a "circumstantial ad hominem."
Really folks, if you are an intelligent person, please swear off the ad hominem attacks and argue on the merits of a case. If you disagree with someone's opinion, debate the issue, don't get out your blowgun and poisoned darts. Embrace Socrates as your model! Be prepared to defend your position logically with evidence and ask your opponent to defend his. People of good will can disagree without being disagreeable.

Now here's the logic test for the day. As you read the two troll comments below, identify whether they are "abusive ad hominems" or "circumstantial ad hominems."

I obviously hit a nerve with the tattletale troll who sent this message on Easter Sunday morning. (Really! Didn't she have anything better to do on the day we celebrate Christ's Resurrection?):
You a(sic) truly are a sorry excuse for for(sic) a Christian, you will never win on any of the hot button issues you select promote(sic). Never!!! The evil one ( TRUMP) will also not be President in just under seven months.So you better get ready. TRUMP is currentlty(sic) not the majority and neither are you PRAISE GOD!!! You are the moth to the flame going from hot topic to hot topic as the typical participant in what is known as white privilege MAGA! And you will leave this life bitter, privileged, not revelant(sic), and as a sinner who lacks remorse, compassion, or empathy for anyone who does not share your wicked/evil/Godless point of view. But there is good news its not too late to repent of your sins...
Wow! Her fingers must have burnt holes in the keyboard! While I didn't post her comment, it made me laugh and shake my head. Is that an argument?

Ah, Troll, this exposed you more than, perhaps, you wished. You are a Trump hater, probably a Democrat which means you are most likely pro-abortion. Your comment is filled with name calling and insults. I said a Hail Mary for you when I read it and offered my rosary and holy hour for you as well. I also prayed for you at the drive-in Easter Sunday Mass I attended in the afternoon. I hope, after you calmed down, that you were able to have a blessed and peaceful Easter Sunday with a family who loves you. Thanks for the laugh! May God bless and keep you.

Calling all trolls. Stand on the high ground and fling rocks 
and abusive ad hominems at everyone you disagree with. 
But that wasn't the end of the trolling. A little later Easter morning, the blogger troll piled on. (Didn't she have anything better to do on Easter morning either?):
Now just maybe you can have some empathy for the people in the Amazon who have no priests to say Mass or administer the Sacraments. You didn’t care about them last year and now you are suffering their fate. Interesting how things work out. Your blog is so angry and hateful. You are preaching only to those who already agree with you. You do nothing to help spread the Good News of salvation. You just turn people away from God. I actually do feel sorry for you, Mary Ann. I hope Our Lord works a miracle in your life to take away your anger and hate.
Goodness! Trolls are all "Johnny one note." They bang the same discordant "tune," beating the drum accusing you of rage and hate. You hear it from Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Maxine Waters. Chuck Schumer, Andrew Cuomo, AOC, etc., etc. -- not an original note among them.

My brother Ray actually loved trolls. He welcomed them on his Facebook wall. They made him laugh.  Just goes to show we share the same genes. Ray, please intercede for the trolls that they will study logic and knock off the ad hominems.

I think every time I write a post I will ask myself: "Did you argue the merits of the case and provide evidence to support your position?" It's a good question. I don't want to engage in ad hominems either. (So maybe I'll stop calling liberal loonies liberal loonies.)

And please, readers, pray for the trolls. I'm sure their mommies think they are cute and lovable even when they're having tantrums.


Osusanna said...

"Now just maybe you can have some empathy for the people in the Amazon who have no priests to say Mass or administer the Sacraments." Maybe not our Easter morning when written; maybe Rome time zone.

M.T. said...

I'm sorry; but I can't believe what I just read! Those are awful comments and I'll join you in praying for the ones who wrote them....I feel sorry for them...It seems that hate permeates their very sad! And how unfair to you.... And, regarding the 'virus'... do you think that it will go away even if no exorcism is performed at the Vatican? I continue to wonder why the main intention of prayers written by 'bishops' and others in authority ask for a cure, help to those affected by it, etc.but no emphasis given regarding the big issues of our time: repentance and end for abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, etc. So so much to lament .....Divine Mercy, continue to be patient with us because we are so very hardheaded! God bless you!

Aqua said...

The worst trolls have no argument, just lines of emotives. Many times they appear to be produced by a machine in another nation, a troll farm they call them. Absent an argument, there is no point in continuing - block. With an argument, there is an opening for a conversation. Cut through the rhetoric and find the argument.

Blogger Troll above appears to have an argument: our Catholic purpose is to “spread The good news of salvation”.

Very good. That assertion is a good common reference point between Catholics. What is it? Please define. What is the Catholic “good news of salvation” she is spreading throughout the world?

Compare that view, then, to the Magisterial Teaching of Holy Mother Church. That is a basis for productive discussion.

If it turns out she means (as I suspect) female priestesses and married Priests to relieve shortages and acceptance of change to Dogma and constant Church Teaching and the unchanging Gospel delivered to mankind by Christ .... well .... that is not, actually, the good news of salvation but worldly (satanic) bondage in new and improved packaging.

Cut through all rhetoric and emotion and find the essential point (perhaps there is none). Don’t go down emotional rabbit trails. Debate essential, valid points. Or delete.

roseofsharon said...

We also need to make reparation for the egregious sin of contraception. Even some Catholics who are opposed to abortion see nothing wrong with practicing birth control. (When was the last time you heard it condemned from the pulpit?) This chemical warfare against women continues and is promoted by Planned Parenthood - type sex education in the schools.
JESUS, mercy!

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Well said, Aqua. Thank you.

And you are 100% right, Rose. Contraception is the root of abortiion. A priest once said to me that in some ways it is worth than abortion. The baby conceived at least exists, a new created soul, but contraception wills the NON-EXISTENCE of a soul willed by God. Of course the Church does not impose automatic excommunication for those who contracept, but it is indeed a grievous sin!

roseofsharon said...

Mary Ann, first of all, thank you for all the effort you put into your daily Blog. GOD bless you!
My concern, too, about the issue of contraception is that some women, seeing nothing wrong with the practice, do not confess this sin in Confession. They have made themselves their own “god,” deciding what is right and wrong. Their consciences are formed, not by the Church, but by their own very flawed judgment. Submission of mind and will to the Church is alien to them.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

It's so very sad. The gift from God that makes us most like Him is our ability to participate in His very act of creation. And what do so many do -- fling it back in His face. My dear mom had twelve pregnancies: ten living children, one baby lost near delivery when the umbilical cord separated from the placenta, and one miscarriage. When she was dying of ovarian cancer she lived with us for her last months. One day she forlornly asked, "Why this?" She never used her fertility in any way except in cooperation with God. I could only say, "I don't know, Mom. Maybe in atonement for all the women who misused the gift of their fertility." I'm asking her intercession today for all those couples misusing the greatest gift they've been given by God -- the ability to participate in bringing into being a new soul destined for eternity. Our Lady of Life, pray for them.

Aqua said...

roseofsharon: to tag on to your thoughts on contraception (totally agree, and also that it is a core Catholic problem) - this is a men’s issue also.

Raised as a Protestant, I was taught as if it were the spiritual air that I breathed that “family planning” was a natural part of married life. Get a job. Make money. Buy middle to upper class things. Find a nice wife. Build a responsibly sized family (2 or 3 kids). Raise them in a nice family, nice things, nice vacations, nice memories, nice church, go to heaven some day and have the same sort of life you had on earth - in heaven forever.

Too many kids impinges on that entire plan. Not responsible. Leads to debt, uncertainty, financial problems, chaos in the pews rather than lined up nicely and perfectly in the pews.

As I said, we didn’t think about it - it was the air of our culture. We just had small families. “Sex” (I hate that word - so cheap) was meant to be used for marital benefit and to produce a specific responsible number of kids.

In short: birth control for women; birth control for men; birth control essential to responsible married life “in Jesus”.

As a Catholic, I learned for the first time about children being the *only* point of the conjugal act. Period. Even NFP has it all wrong, because it misses the essential spiritual point - we are not to be sexually intimate if children from God is not our guiding purpose. Large numbers of kids is not the point; nor is small numbers. *Being open to life* is the sole point of conjugal relations with our spouse.

All of the Catholic directions I ever received that diverted me from that understanding by minimizing Catholic Teaching on our sexual nature I learned to reject as lies - ultimately damning lies. Man (me) and woman (wife) are to be sexually chaste - always. And that has become the goal of my Catholic life. It is why (since we medically cannot conceive) we specifically chose to adopt children (seven, eight total) - as a response to past sin and a choice consecrated to God for life.

In this world, I think this is perhaps the main message of salvation to a lost world swimming in a sewer pit of sexual deviancy, sourced (due to our status as Light of the World) in the Catholic mistake of accepting birth control and its close cousin NFP.

Mark Docherty said...

Pray for that troll. Imagine walking around like that, going through every day, living your entire life with that kind of contempt, resentment, deficit of charity... It must be awful. Where is the Easter joy? Have joy, troll!

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I agree with your lovely defense of conjugal relations, Aqua, but as a former NFP instructor at Providence Hospital in D.C. let me give a defense of NFP from what I think is the mind of the Church.

God gave us the natural rhythms that allow NFP to be used for SERIOUS reasons to delay or avoid pregnancy. I knew a couple who left all the planning up to God and found them edifying in their trust in God's providence. But not everyone is the same. Think of a mother who suffers from physical or mental health issues that would make taking care of many children a threat to both her and the children? We live in a world where many people do not have the family support of former times. Isolation can make raising a large family very difficult. There certainly can be serious reasons for postponing another pregnancy, a decision that needs serious discernment.

In my own case, I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 39 and hoping to have more children. (We had five at the time, the youngest only three.). After surgery, I was on chemotherapy for most of a year and during that time we used NFP very cautiously because chemo attacks the fastest growing cells and posed a real risk to a baby. If I had become pregnant I would, of course, have immediately stopped the treatment. Sometimes I regret not refusing chemo altogether because I went into early menopause about seven months after surgery. On the other hand, if I hadn't done chemo maybe I would have died and left my husband a widower with young children.

We used to teach our class saying NFP was about planning TO HAVE children and we helped a number of couples struggling with infertility to achieve pregnancy using the method and identifying the best time to conceive.

When taught by someone with a Catholic mind and heart and used in the way it's meant to be, NFP is not at all a "close cousin" of the birth control mentality.

Aqua said...

“... NFP was about planning TO HAVE children ...”. That is all to the good.

Life is complicated, and far be it from me to judge anyone else’s circumstance. And what you describe is a great reminder of that.

NFP was presented to me, and in the (limited) readings I’ve done on it also came across as a Catholic method for “legalized“ regulated family size-planning. There is no doubt it can be turned in this way so that it becomes a contraceptive method. As with all else - it starts with the will of the heart and the choice of the mind.

Not restricted to this topic, but *in general* to the Catholic Faith: we should “consecrate” every thought word and deed to God in the time available to us. What the Catholic Faith has done for me is to show how every action, every thought that inspires future action, must be trained to be oriented toward the will of God with nothing (in time via confession) reserved for the Self. God gives back many times over, with blessings as He intended, if we train our bodies and our mind to be disciplined in every way toward His glory, His good.

As a wise Priest told me once (with respect to a child problem) whatever you love the most, give it up - if God wills it you will get it back.

The parents of The Little Flower (St. Therese of Liseux) intended to be perfectly abstinent in marriage for God’s glory. They were instructed (from my memory here) by their Priest to have children. They had nine. Four died as children. The other five became nuns, one a doctor of the Church. Beyond these children, however, they were abstinent. For me personally, I think of them often as a saintly guide.

Using I Cor 7:1-7 as a guide - the point is that, like St. Pau (I wish all of you were as I am), we are all called to chastity, abstinence even. In every case, however it works out (we all have our own gifts, circumstance) it is always to God’s glory.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Sadly, I've known a number of people who use (and even teach) NFP with a contraceptive mentality so I'm not surprised at your experience. And you are absolutely right when you say we "should 'consecrate' every thought word and deed to God."

May He give us all the grace, through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, to do that.

Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us.

St. Louis and St. Zelie Martin, pray for us.

St. Therese, pray for us.