Thursday, September 20, 2007

Two representatives of different Infallible Interpreters fight it out

Orthodox has asked an interesting question:

It would be instructive to see you debate with someone from one of the churches that does not accept Revelation as scripture.

Just as it would be to see you do the same.
Here's how it could go down. O = Orthodox, X = some other 'ancient branch of Christianity' like a Copt.

O: Revelation is in the Canon... I think.
X: You think? You don't know for sure?
O: Well, it's traditionally held-to as canonical, but our canon is open.
X: So you can't be sure.
O: I can - the Church believes it to be canonical.
X: No, your church is not the true church. Mine is.
O: No, mine is. We have a history.
X: So do we.
O: We go back to the apostles.
X: So do we.
O: No you don't. here's my list.
X: Here's mine.
O: that's not Sacred Tradition.
X: Yes it is. My Church says it is and says your list is not.
O: Well, my Church says your list is not Tradition, even though it's tradition, and my list is Tradition.
X: How do you know it's Sacred Tradition?
O: My church says so and it's been traditionally held to.
X: But your church is the wrong one and so your claims to tradition are invalid.
O: But my church says it is and YOURS is wrong.
X: But your church isn't the true church. So your Tradition is just tradition, whereas my tradition is Tradition.

Etc.

You'd put forward your arguments, they'd put forward their arguments, and then you'd be at an impasse.

My position doesn't depend on whether others accept the rightness of the arguments, but on the arguments themselves.
Speaking of impasse, BTW, look where you are.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how this goes against Catholicism.

If anything you are arguing that it comes down to a claim of authority by each person...but doesnt that hurt your position rather than the Catholic? In the end you cant say why Revelation is Scripture apart from appealing to your own "Tradition".

GeneMBridges said...

Sola Scriptura does not deny the usefulness of tradition. How many times does this have to be repeated for Catholics to get it?

Randy said...

Sola Scriptura does not deny the usefulness of tradition. How many times does this have to be repeated for Catholics to get it?

It does not deny it but practically it makes tradition useless. As soon as somebody questions tradition it disappears. It is a paper tiger. Somebody says I don't think that this tradition lines up with scripture. What is the Sola Scriptora person to do? You can argue that it does but if the person remains unconvinced? Well they have to follow their own reading of scripture. So is tradition useful?

The one thing tradition is good for is to allow a Sola Scriptora person to pick a particular way of reading the bible without evaluating them all. Practically nobody can evaluate all the different possible ways of interpreting scripture. They just need top pick one and run with it. Mostly they pick that one based on the tradition they were raised in or converted into.

kmerian said...

And the point of this post is what? That some christians disagree on the canon? Seems to me to be more of an argument against protestants instead of against Catholics and Orthodox. Protestants justify their canon by saying that the same canon has always been accepted by Christians everywhere, showing that there are differences in the Canon hurts your argument more than ours.

Howard Fisher said...

"Sola Scriptura does not deny the usefulness of tradition. How many times does this have to be repeated for Catholics to get it?"

Randy responded:

"It does not deny it but practically it makes tradition useless."

As I have just had this discussion with another RC, I believe the problem is that the RC has a presupposition that there must be infallible knowledge for us to know anything with certainty. This is what Dr. White has referred to many times as the "Infallible Fuzzies".

If you don't start with that need, then certainty of knowledge may be seen apart from infallibility. God is the only infallible knowing One anyway.

orthodox said...

Firstly, I would say the description of "open" as a mischaracterization of our position on the canon.

Secondly, the historic church has had a lot less emphasis on having the correct canon than it has on having the correct faith. So a discussion with a Copt would be unlikely to unfold like this. In fact, we've got so little to argue about with Copts that the discussion would be more likely to be talking about how what we believe is so much the same, when our churches might be getting together.

Rhology tells us "My position doesn't depend on whether others accept the rightness of the arguments, but on the arguments themselves."

What was that argument again? As I recall your argument was one from tradition, that Christians were led into the truth. Now I could at least present some arguments why my Church is the one led into the truth, as containing the consensus of the most Church at the split. But what is the alternative? Rhology's argument falls flat unless his "led into truth" argument can be pinned on a people. So how is this argument with the Copt going to go when he can't even point to a people that he contends was led into the truth? That conversation fell over before it started.

And whatever argument he comes up with next, it won't lead to a canon in the historical sense: a κανών, a standard. All it leads to is him having an argument for his own intellectual stimulation, not a standard for the church.

Now why don't you post the hypothetical discussioin above between yourself and the Copt? Let's see how successful that one is.

GeneMBridges said...

It does not deny it but practically it makes tradition useless. As soon as somebody questions tradition it disappears. It is a paper tiger. Somebody says I don't think that this tradition lines up with scripture. What is the Sola Scriptora person to do? You can argue that it does but if the person remains unconvinced? Well they have to follow their own reading of scripture. So is tradition useful?

A. We read Scripture by the grammatical-historical method. It does not preselect for any one "reading" of Scripture.

What we do is weigh the exegetical arguments.

Ah, but what about things like Calvinism and Arminianism, does that proved that the GHM is a failure?

No, because the arguments v. Calvinism are, as a rule, philosophical and ethical.

For example, Arminianism makes libetarian freedom a fundamentum. Where can we find that in Scripture? Libertarians do not generally stake out their position on that issue from Scripture. So, Arminianism is beginning with a grid and laying it down on the text. The text is then exegeted to comply with that grid.

Tradition is useful in Protestantism to keep a control on what lies outside the pale of orthodoxy.

However, according to you, it seems, who has some sort of aprioristic version of what a rule of faith (Tradition) should do, tradition is not "useful" unless it is "infallible." However, how do you adjudicate between two competing "traditions?"

orthodox said...

"For example, Arminianism makes libetarian freedom a fundamentum."

That's funny because Arminans themselves claim to believe in compatibilism and they further claim that Calvinists deny the biblically taught idea of compatibilism by emphasising God's will to the point that man's will no longer exists.

All the sides are continually accusing the others of looking at the text through their own grid. And they're right because they all are. The question is whether there is a canonical grid for understanding or not. Otherwise it's your grid vs my grid.

Of course everyone here will no doubt deny that they have a grid...

Saint and Sinner said...

Orthodox said, "Of course everyone here will no doubt deny that they have a grid..."

No, I doubt that anyone here will *deny* that they have a grid. This would include the grid of how to discern what is legitimate apostolic tradition from traditions that came from pagan philosophy, language, and culture.

GeneMBridges said...

That's funny because Arminans themselves claim to believe in compatibilism and they further claim that Calvinists deny the biblically taught idea of compatibilism by emphasising God's will to the point that man's will no longer exists.

Funny, Orthodox, what is defended there for Arminianism is Molinism, and the works of William Land Craig are noted.

WLC adhere's to libertarian freedom. That's the point of his version of Middle Knowledge - it's a compromise position, but it still upholds libertarianism.

WLC in his own work states this about it's exegetical foundation:

Since Scripture does not reflect upon this question, no amount of proof-texting can prove that
God’s counterfactual knowledge is possessed logically prior to his creative decree. This is a
matter for theological-philosophical reflection, not biblical exegesis. Thus, while it is clearly
unbiblical to deny that God has simple foreknowledge and even counterfactual knowledge, those who deny middle knowledge cannot be accused of being unbiblical." (Middle Knowledge View: Foreknowledge of God, 4 Views, 123).

Bruce Ware's work is also listed, but Ware repeatedly denies libertarian freedom (see, for example, his work on divine election in Four Views on Election - oh, what's the use, you never bother to read what we tell you to read).

For the record compatibilist middle knowledge is a theory of middle knowledge that denies libertarian freedom, so sending me to an article on it is utterly nonresponsive to a discussion of Arminians use of libertarianism as a fundamentum. By the way, I'm only quoting Miley - see below.

One of the major criticisms of Ware's work is that it makes "scientia media" superfluous because it still cashes out as natural, not middle, knowledge.

http://monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/Middle_Knowledge.pdf

And what I stated is absolutely true, regarding libertarian freedom in Arminian theology. It is freely admitted by Arminians that (a) it is a fundamentum of their system of theology and (b) it is not exegetically derived.

John Miley, said that human freedom is an Arminian fundamentum and went on to defend libertarian freedom. I believe you will find that in Volume 2 of his Systematic Theology around page 275, and it precisely this fundamentum that leads him to state that, therefore, the Arminian system holds the universality of the atonement and provisory nature of the atonement, and the conditionality of salvation.

“Theology gives importance to the question of freedom. Our position on so cardinal a question must influence our interpretation of the Scriptures as the source of theology, and chiefly determine the cast of our doctrinal system.[…] freedom is fundamental in Arminianism.” Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, p. 275.

Is Miley not representative of Arminianism?

(1) “The essence of this view is that a free action is one that does not have a sufficient condition or cause prior to its occurrence…the common experience of deliberation assumes that our choices are undetermined.”

(2) “…It seems intuitively and immediately evident that many of our actions are up to us in the sense that when faced with a decision, both (or more) options are within our power to choose…Libertarians argue that our immediate sense of power to choose between alternative courses of action is more certain and trustworthy than any theory that denies we have power.

(3) “Libertarians take very seriously the widespread judgment that we are morally responsible for our actions and that moral responsibility requires freedom” That is, a person cannot be held morally responsible for an act unless he or she was free to perform that act and free to refrain from it. This is basic moral intuition.”

Walls and Dongell end their definition of libertarian freedom by asserting that to prove the validity of libertarian free will “…Arminians rely on contested philosophical judgments at this point.” By their own admission, then they RELY on philosophy, not Scripture as an ultimate basis for their conjecture.

Are Walls and Dongell not representative of Arminianism?

So, who am I to believe, you, or representative theologians who are Arminians?

You would do well to acquaint yourself with opposing positions.

Further, if you'd bother to read Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics - to which I have pointed you repeatedly in the past, but you are either too lazy or too cheap (or both) to read and engage, you'd find that the old central dogma thesis that says that God's sovereignty (for Calvinism) and justification by faith alone (for Lutheranism) has long since been disproved - but if you want to continue with 19th century historical scholarship, be our guest.

Muller, in Vol. 4 writes:
"those scholars who have argued that the doctrine of the attributes provides, together with the doctrine of the eternal decree, the initial point of departure for a purely deductive system of theology have thoroughly misunderstood the Protestant orthodox system. Neither the doctrine of God nor any other locus in the Reformed orthodox theology was logically deduced - rather all the loci were elicited from Scripture in the context of a long tradition of biblical interpretation that had, for centuries, worked in alliance with theological formulation."

What's more, he goes on to describe not the debt that Reformed theology owes to Augustine, but to the eclectic nature of the use of philosophical arguments and their explicit use as ancillary arguments.

The problem for you is that the record of written theological works has been proven not to support that thesis for Reformed theology or Lutheranism, and historians today, many of whom are not even Calvinists, have shown this. If you feel otherwise, let him take it up with Muller, Klauber, Trueman, Clark, and others, and Muller, for the record, is not a Calvinist, so it isn't as if he has a theological position to defend, viz. Calvinism. By way of contrast, Miley has admitted that libertarianism functions this way for Arminians.

You shouldn't be crying about using rationalistic principles to construct a theology. You're the one that repeatedly begins with an aprioristic idea of how a rule of faith is to function. You're as guilty of rationalism as any Arminian, and if Calvinism does do that, well, that would only testify to your double standards, and we've seen that happen many times, haven't we?

Compatibilism is not the essence of Calvinism - it never has been. If you think it has, it 's up to you to show that to be the case. Libertarianism is essential to Arminianism - this is both true and freely (pun intended) admitted by their own theologians.


Of course everyone here will no doubt deny that they have a grid...


Yes, as I have witnessed many times, you live in a constant state of denial.

orthodox said...

I agree that compatibilism is not the essence of Calvinism. In fact Calvinism is opposed to compatibilisim at every turn, even though it pays it lip service.


" That's the point of his version of Middle Knowledge - it's a compromise position, but it still upholds libertarianism."

Whose definition of libertarianism? When Arminians are denying holding to libertarianism and you say they are, then you'd better sort out your terms first.

"Since Scripture does not reflect upon this question, no amount of proof-texting can prove that
God’s counterfactual knowledge is possessed logically prior to his creative decree."

Ahh, but you said "No, because the arguments v. Calvinism are, as a rule, philosophical and ethical."

But the statement that "scripture does not reflect on this question" is a BIBLICAL argument. If you think the bible does reflect on this issue, then you've just refuted your own thesis, because one exegete says the bible is silent and another exegete says it is not. Thankyou for blowing away your own claim.

"For the record compatibilist middle knowledge is a theory of middle knowledge that denies libertarian freedom"

After you just finished lecturing me that middle knowledge upholds libertarianism. Grrr.

"so sending me to an article on it is utterly nonresponsive to a discussion of Arminians use of libertarianism as a fundamentum"

So now you're saying this Arminian denies libertarianism. And so your position keeps changing in every paragraph.

Randy said...

For example, Arminianism makes libetarian freedom a fundamentum. Where can we find that in Scripture? Libertarians do not generally stake out their position on that issue from Scripture. So, Arminianism is beginning with a grid and laying it down on the text. The text is then exegeted to comply with that grid.

So would an Arminian agree with this? I doubt it. They would say they are getting their ideas from scripture alone. So this is just one more disgreement about what scriture says. The trouble I have with claim that it is all exegetical is the belief follows tradition and not intelligence. I was a Calvinist because I was raised that way. I knew Arminians who were just as intelligent and just as good at exegesis as any Calvinist. They were just raise Arminian. So what really seems to matter is tradition.

Tradition is useful in Protestantism to keep a control on what lies outside the pale of orthodoxy.

How does it do this? If somebody says the trinity is not biblical how does tradition help?

However, according to you, it seems, who has some sort of aprioristic version of what a rule of faith (Tradition) should do, tradition is not "useful" unless it is "infallible." However, how do you adjudicate between two competing "traditions?"

It is hard. That is why we must hold fast to sacred tradition. If we lose it it is hard to recover. Just like if we have competing "scriptures" it is hard to adjudicate. The reality is in both cases it is not THAT hard to find the true tradition or the true scripture. People who are really looking tend to figure it out.

Rhology said...

Just a few comments:

Kmerian said:
Protestants justify their canon by saying that the same canon has always been accepted by Christians everywhere

Totally wrong.

And the point of this post is what? That some christians disagree on the canon?

No, that these two are from two infall interpers and just beg the question all over the place. "My infall interper is right; it says so!" "No, MINE is b/c it says so!"
"I have Tradition on my side. Yours is just tradition." "No, YOURS is just tradition, MINE is Tradition!"


Then Orthodox asks me what my alternative would be, and it would go exactly as my convos with him have gone. I posted this in order to illustrate the alternative to OUR convos, which would be a convo between two holders-to of two different infall interper systems, who understand the full implications of their worldviews. As has been obvious for a long time, you either don't realise or refuse to take into acct those implications.

Peace,
Rhology

kmerian said...

rhology,

You claim my words on the canon are wrong, and I know that is not always the case, but I can't tell you how many times a protestant has told me just that as a defense for the Bible.

As for your fictional dialog, what implications are you referring to?

Saint and Sinner said...

randy,

"So would an Arminian agree with this? I doubt it. They would say they are getting their ideas from scripture alone. So this is just one more disgreement about what scriture says."

Did you not just read what Gene said? He quoted straight from Arminian systematic theologies saying that libertarian free-will is presupposed *prior* to exegesis. This is in contrast with the Calvinists who have sought to derive their theology solely from Scripture with philosophical arguments to back them up only *after* the exegesis.

"I was a Calvinist because I was raised that way. I knew Arminians who were just as intelligent and just as good at exegesis as any Calvinist. They were just raise Arminian. So what really seems to matter is tradition."

This is an admission of intellectual laziness. Instead of giving up because some people believe because of their upbringing, you should have been more discerning.

This is like the Pomo who states that we can't know the true religion because everyone's been influenced by their background.

I wish you would apply the same standard to this as to what you stated later:

"People who are really looking tend to figure it out."

Saint and Sinner said...

I have an idea for you high churchians out there. If you want to know how Prots determine what is and what is not Scripture, go pick up Introductions to the Old and New Testament:

http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Old-Testament-Tremper-Longman/dp/0310263417/ref=pd_bbs_2/104-0624654-9267914?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190400236&sr=8-2

http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-New-Testament-D-Carson/dp/0310238595/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_b/104-0624654-9267914?ie=UTF8&qid=1190400236&sr=8-2

It lists all the historical data from which the Jews/early church (without the need of an infallible interpreter) determined the extent of the Old and New Testaments respectively.

Rhology said...

Kmerian,

The implications I'm trying to express are that both of these two interlocutors are seeing the clash of infallible interpers. One is the EOC. Th'other is, say, RCC. Both are assumed, the foundation, of each guy's side. Neither have any way of being tested b/c each, for him, is the first principle. As opposed to Sola Scriptura, where Scripture is the 1st principle. We test everythg by Scr, but a sola ecclesia-ist judges all things by the Church. That's all fine and dandy until you meet someone else who judges all things by HIS church, whether he's LDS, JW, Moonie, EO, Coptic, Syrian Orthodox, or RC.

Do you disagree with my dialogue? In what way and why?

Peace,
Rhology

Randy said...

Did you not just read what Gene said? He quoted straight from Arminian systematic theologies saying that libertarian free-will is presupposed *prior* to exegesis. This is in contrast with the Calvinists who have sought to derive their theology solely from Scripture with philosophical arguments to back them up only *after* the exegesis.

I heard what he said. Protestants always say WE are the biblical ones and those other guys don't follow scripture. I know many Arminian's who would be highly offended by Gene's comment Can gene provide a single example of one that would agree with his assessment? If not, it is just an uncharitable characterization of an opponent's argument.

This is an admission of intellectual laziness. Instead of giving up because some people believe because of their upbringing, you should have been more discerning.

No, it is an observation about 90% of Christians. I have since become Catholic but I took many years to convert partly because of this laziness.

To tell you the truth there are so many different theologies out there it takes a lot of effort to understand them all. Even guys who understand about 20 different theologies have excluded many without understanding them. So how did they do it? Tradition.

This is like the Pomo who states that we can't know the true religion because everyone's been influenced by their background.

He is right unless of course there is some tradition that can be trusted. Almost like a sacred tradition that God could have preserved from error.

Saint and Sinner said...

"I know many Arminian's who would be highly offended by Gene's comment Can gene provide a single example of one that would agree with his assessment?"

Yes, he quoted several Arminians to that effect: Miley, Walls, and Dongel.

It has also been my experience when debating non-Calvinists that they start with an a priori emotional/philosophical position before coming to Scripture. This colors their exegesis.

"Even guys who understand about 20 different theologies have excluded many without understanding them. So how did they do it? Tradition."

This includes those Romanists who exclude Protestant theologies on the basis of 'Sacred' Tradition.

"He is right unless of course there is some tradition that can be trusted. Almost like a sacred tradition that God could have preserved from error."

How do you know that God preserved YOUR Sacred Tradition from error? Is the belief in this preservation due to the upbriniging of those who convinced you?

You, like most Catholic converts suffer from the "Infallible Fuzzies" which always results in an Infinite Regress.

TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN!

Randy said...

It has also been my experience when debating non-Calvinists that they start with an a priori emotional/philosophical position before coming to Scripture. This colors their exegesis.

I guess you can believe what you want. I would not say that at all. Everyone comes to scripture with baggage. To say Calvinists don't have this problem seems to show an emotional bias.

This includes those Romanists who exclude Protestant theologies on the basis of 'Sacred' Tradition.

Yes, that is the way God intended us to be. We are to think with the church. The body of Christ is to protect us from false teachings. God has wired us to be influenced by tradition. We cannot avoid it no matter how much we try. Why would He not give us a tradition we can trust?

How do you know that God preserved YOUR Sacred Tradition from error?

I know it because Jesus is God. He gave us the gospel and has preserved it for all generations. It is something that transcends culture and transcends time. Only one tradition can claim to have not only existed but produced impressive saints from every century and every nation. Even protestants try and claim Augustine or Athanasus or Thomas Aquinas or Francis of Assisi but they can't. Those are the folks that convinced me.

You, like most Catholic converts suffer from the "Infallible Fuzzies" which always results in an Infinite Regress.

Is this a new kind of insult. I saw the infinite regress argument. Sounds like a 4 year old came up with it. It is always possible to find reasons to disobey God. It is good to seek out evidence but at some point we need to have faith.

kmerian said...

rhology, I do see the point of your post, that neither can both be right. So, say you came upon this disagreement, using scripture alone, how would you defend Revelation being canon?

orthodox said...

Rhology: We test everythg by Scr, but a sola ecclesia-ist judges all things by the Church.

O: You also test the canon of scripture by the church. You've said before that the canon God's people are led into is your evidence of the canon. So you've already put God's people as your higher test for scripture. All that remains is for you to (a) admit that your "reliable" source of this information involved choosing a church and (b) gaining some consistency.

orthodox said...

Rhology: The implications I'm trying to express are that both of these two interlocutors are seeing the clash of infallible interpers. One is the EOC. Th'other is, say, RCC. Both are assumed, the foundation, of each guy's side.

O: If it's all merely "assumed" how come people make a conscious choice to leave protestantism and either become RCC or become EO? People make this choice every day and they have their reasons. Ask one of them, they'll give you some logically thought out reasons.

Now when you tell us why the RCC canon of the NT is more reliable than the Non-Chalcedoneon canon of the NT, then maybe we can make some progress on this. As it is, you're wallowing in inconsistency.

orthodox said...

S&S: It lists all the historical data from which the Jews/early church (without the need of an infallible interpreter) determined the extent of the Old and New Testaments respectively.

O: If they figured out the canon without an external infallible interpreter then they WERE an infallible interpreter. Oh sorry, we need to use Rhology's terminology, a "reliable" interpreter. Same difference.

Anonymous said...

Sola Scriptura does not deny the usefulness of tradition. How many times does this have to be repeated for Catholics to get it?

The point is if you insist upon sola scriptura, then you must insist your traditional claim of what is and is not scripture mist be infallible, or else sola scriptura is nonsense; however to do this you must deny sola scriptura, ergo it is all nonsense. How many times does this have to be repeated for Reformed Protestants to get it?

Anonymous said...

It's funny how every argument Rhology uses "against" Catholic tradtion he must turn around and proffer in favor of his personal tradtioin, or else he admits that he has no idea what actually is the word of God, let alone be able to support the claim that he judges solely by it. (Yes, we sola scripturists judge by scripture alone, as everyone is obligated to do by God Himself, but we can't tell you what scripture is exactly, because we really don't know.) It is perfectly clear that these people can no more actually believe sola scriptura is a true doctrine than they can believe that Tradtion can have infallible authority.

Sola scriptura REQUIRES the believer to effectively make millions of infallible statements about whether each verse is outside of or inside of the only infallible source they aknowledge: Scripture itself--and they do this based solely upon their Tradition, which is clearly not Scripture.

This does not even qualify as circular reasoning. It is base contradiction.

Anonymous said...

" have an idea for you high churchians out there. If you want to know how Prots determine what is and what is not Scripture, go pick up Introductions to the Old and New Testament: [...]
It lists all the historical data from which the Jews/early church (without the need of an infallible interpreter) determined the extent of the Old and New Testaments respectively"

In short:

We Protestants claim we know what is and is not Scripture based upon History and the testimony of the Jews, not because Scripture itself tells us what is and is not the word of God.

OK, Fine.

Now. let's move forward. Do you KNOW what is or is not Scripture, or are you unsure?
-- If you do not know it infallibly, how do you know so much as a single verse you claim is Scripture axctually is the word of God?
-- If you claim you do know it infallibly, who told you?

Anonymous said...

Anon, I think you missed it:
"Prots determine what is and what is not Scripture, go pick up Introductions to the Old and New Testament: [...]
It lists all the historical data from which the Jews/early church (without the need of an infallible interpreter) determined the extent of the Old and New Testaments respectively" does not translate into "We Protestants claim we know what is and is not Scripture based upon History and the testimony of the Jews" as accurately as it transates into "We Protestants claim we know what is and is not Scripture based upon Tradition."

orthodox said...

"We Protestants claim we know what is and is not Scripture based upon History and the testimony of the Jews"

I see. And do you know what is and is not New Testament scripture based upon the History and the testimony of the Church?

If so, WHICH church and WHICH Jews, because neither the Jews nor churches ever agreed. Holding to sola scriptura does not let you escape putting your money on a particular visible church.

Lucian said...

Yes, I perfectly understand Your point. And yet: Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Monophysism are extremely close one to another. And they're only 3 in number. Whereas Protestant denominations are 30,000+ in number (and that in America alone, to my nknowledge).