Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Uncertainty of Infallibility


The lack of a list of infallible teachings by the RCC has been discussed here previously. We are often told by RC e-pologists that we Protestants suffer from uncertainty in faith and morals due to the lack of an infallible organization to lead us, yet RCs cannot even define their own body of infallible doctrine. Additionally, a few weeks ago I posted on my own blog about an old dispute (in the Catholic community) over whether or not a particular papal decree by JPII was actually infallible. Ironically, the confusion was bore out in the comments section where it was clear two Catholic commenters were still in disagreement over what exactly made the declaration infallible (although I think they may have figured it out eventually).

The comments in James’ previous post on the authorship of the Book of Hebrews has flushed out another interesting principle in regard to infallibility. It appears that not all portions of conciliar decisions and papal statements are infallible. As the Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

"But before being bound to give such an assent, the believer has a right to be certain that the teaching in question is definitive (since only definitive teaching is infallible); and the means by which the definitive intention, whether of a council or of the pope, may be recognized have been stated above. It need only be added here that not everything in a conciliar or papal pronouncement, in which some doctrine is defined, is to be treated as definitive and infallible. For example, in the lengthy Bull of Pius IX defining the Immaculate Conception the strictly definitive and infallible portion is comprised in a sentence or two; and the same is true in many cases in regard to conciliar decisions. The merely argumentative and justificatory statements embodied in definitive judgments, however true and authoritative they may be, are not covered by the guarantee of infallibility which attaches to the strictly definitive sentences -- unless, indeed, their infallibility has been previously or subsequently established by an independent decision."

The illusion of certainty in the RC position is quickly disappearing.

First, one must determine what documents and decrees could be considered infallible. Second, one must determine exactly what is or is not infallible within those documents/decrees. Is the determination of the above made fallibly or infallibly? And by whom is such a determination made?

(Note that the Catholic Encyclopedia affirms that a believer should know what is infallible before giving assent but we have yet to see an RC who can produce a list of all infallible statements. How can one assent to infallible doctrines that they can't clearly define?)

42 comments:

Lucian said...

... shouldn't it rather read "the illusion of infallibility" instead?

Carrie said...

Oops. Thanks!

Jason L. said...

Were one of these lists to be provided, folks like yourself would make short order of it, exposing it for its doctrinal contradiction and lack of authority. It's much easier to be a doctrinal chameleon, changing infallible decrees and Biblical interpretations with the wind.

Keep up the good work.

Kepha said...

Hmmm. So:

1.) One makes a fallible decision to accept Jesus.

2.) One makes a fallible decision to accept the Catholic Church.

And,

1.) Protestants have a fallible list of infallible Books.

2.) Catholics have a fallible list of infallible teachings.

Further,

1.) Protestants disagree over the interpretations of the Bible.

2.) Catholics disagree over the interpretations of the Magisterium.

Very interesting.

Pontificator said...

I think it is fair to say that sometimes Catholics, especially on the internet, reduce the infallibility of the Catholic Church to a list of infallible teachings, usually the larger the better. This construal, as you point out, is vulnerable to the simple observation that there is no infallible list of infallible teachings, just as there is no infallible list of authentic ecumenical councils. Anyone who is acquainted with Catholic theology knows that Catholics debate all these matters quite vigorously--up to a point.

But possessing absolute certainty about every doctrinal question is not what ecclesial infallibility is all about. The Catholic claim is more nuanced and cautious. I think it boils down to this: God has so bound himself to his Church by his Spirit that he will not allow her to irretrievably fall away from his truth. God will not allow his Church to impose falsehood upon the consciences of the faithful. I quote Cardinal Ratzinger:

"This doctrine [of infallibility] needs to be understood very precisely within its correct limitations, so as not to be misused or misunderstood. It doesn't mean that every word that the ecclesiastical authorities say, or even every word said by a pope, is infallible. It certainly does mean that wherever the Church, in the great spiritual and cultural struggles of history, and after all possible prayer and grappling with the truth, insists that this is the correct interpretation and draws a line there, she has been promised that in this instance she will not lead people into error. That she will not be turned into an instrument of destruction for the Word of God, but remains the mother, the living agent within whom the Word is alive and truly expresses himself and is truly interpreted" (God and the World, p. 356).

Catholics debate many theological questions. Always have, always will. On many issues a diversity of opinion exists--predestination immediately comes to mind, for example. But it is false to suggest that an authoritative body of magisterial teaching does not exist. Such teaching certainly does exist and is easily identified. A good place to begin is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Not everything found in the Catechism is beyond debate and reform, but it most certainly represents the consensual teaching of the Catholic Church.

And perhaps more to the point of this article, the dogmatic boundaries of the Catholic faith are also easily identified. These boundaries are provided principally by the dogmatic decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, as well as the handful of dogmatic papal decrees.

The key difference between the Catholic Church and every Protestant body is that the Catholic will sometimes find himself in position of freely assenting to a specific dogma that he does not understand or even with which he may provisionally disagree. This point has been admirably stated in two recent articles by Dr Scott Carson: "Why Privileging Private Judgment Is A Sin Against Unity" and "Scripture, Meaning and Interpretation." The classic essay here is John Henry Newman's "Faith and Private Judgment."

Carrie said...

I think it boils down to this: God has so bound himself to his Church by his Spirit that he will not allow her to irretrievably fall away from his truth. God will not allow his Church to impose falsehood upon the consciences of the faithful.

So you hope. But then there are people like Matatics who believe the current Catholic Church has fallen away and only a remnant of true Catholics remain. Then there are the EOs who believe THEY are the one true Church and us Protestants who believe the Church is composed of all true believers (not in a single, visible structure).

This is why I have said before, a Catholic's faith is placed in the Church to save them. It is only in that way that they could follow the Church so blindly without even being able to define the full spectrum of beliefs/teachings.

Kepha said...

Everyone here agrees that God will not allow His new covenant people to perish in error. We have this promise from Jesus Himself (Matt 16:18). The promised Advocate of the people of God is ever-active among them driving them to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude v.3). We cling to this Faith because, as Peter ever-reminds us, they the Apostles had "the prophetic word made more sure, to which [we] do well to pay attention as to a lamp shinging in a dark place" (2 Pt 1:19). Further, the Apostle Paul commands us to "take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me" (2 Tim 1:14; Second Reading for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Daily Roman Missal [Scepter Press, 2003], p. 1542).

Tell us, Pontificator, are the teachings that Mary is Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of All Grace infallible? I realize that they have not been infallible defined/recognized to be infallible, but that doesn't mean the teachings themselves are not infallibe, for the next pope could define them to be such, which would mean that they were always infallible truths that were believe "implicitly." But then again, we simply don't know, do we? I mean, all future popes may never infallibly define them. Does this mean that these marian teachings are not among the "easily identified," "authoritative body of magisterial teaching"?

Kepha said...

I should probably add that a young man from my parish recently left for the priesthood, and right before he left he was involved in "dialgue" with my wife about these very teachings. He position, as is so many Catholics, was that obviously these teachings were/are infallible!

Anonymous said...

infallibility is just a red herring used against prots to send em on wild goose chases. in reality individual catholics just make up their own personal religion and then claim that the pope said it when he really never did.

David Waltz said...

Hello Jonathan,

Excellent post IMHO. Once again, I sincerely believe that our separated brethren fail to understand the false dichotomies that dot the landscape of so many of their posts (this is not to say that us Catholics always avoid them, for we do not). With this in mind, I think all should be on the lookout for false dichotomies, and attempt to correct them when discovered. In this spirit, I shall now proceed…

Carrie’s newest installment is another prime example (for more, see my recent post: Answering Some Recent Charges). I shall delineate two of the false dichotomies contained in her post:

FIRST - “The lack of a list of infallible teachings by the RCC” equates to an “illusion of certainty”.

This is false dichotomy for it ignores the large body of dogma that ALL Catholics agree is irreformable (and as such, infallible). It also fails to take into account the fact that the development of doctrine has not ceased. Just yesterday while reading McGrath’s 3rd edition of Iustitia Dei, I came across a passage that identifies a key component to the discussion at hand:

“The Council of Trent did not produce a definitive and exhaustive account of the Catholic doctrine of justification, and must be regarded as a response to past errors rather than an anticipation of those of the future.” (page 348).

A large portion of the dogmatic decrees produced by the Ecumenical Councils falls into this category—i.e. they are responses to “past errors”. Much of the “certainty” of Catholic dogma lies in the negation of false doctrine. In essence, ‘goal-posts’ are set for future theologians, eliminating the need to address battles already won, as well as many fruitless ‘rabbit-trails’. No amount of ‘spin’ will change this valuable aspect of Catholic “certainty”.

SECOND – “First, one must determine what documents and decrees could be considered infallible. Second, one must determine exactly what is or is not infallible within those documents/decrees.”

The above is another false dichotomy for it assumes that NO amount certainty exists about “what documents and decrees could be considered infallible”. The fact that SOME “documents and decrees” are disputed among reputable Catholic scholars as to whether or not they are infallible teachings, cannot in turn be twisted into the conclusion that ALL are disputed—“certainty” does exist concerning numerous “documents and decrees”.


And just briefly before ending my post, I would like to provide another online source for Newman’s valuable “Faith and Judgment”: NEWMAN



Grace and peace,

David

Ree said...

"The key difference between the Catholic Church and every Protestant body is that the Catholic will sometimes find himself in position of freely assenting to a specific dogma that he does not understand or even with which he may provisionally disagree."

The same is so for Protestants when we assent to truths in Scripture that we don't fully understand or that are contrary to what we would otherwise believe were it not for the witness of Scripture. So much for your "key difference."

Rhology said...

The problem with what David Waltz has said is that he doesn't have an infallible way to know which documents are infallible. He may point us to "all RCs agree that ___ is infallible" but that only tells us that all RCs agree; it does not tell us that it is indeed infallible.

David or any other RC reading, pick ANY RC document you like and please inform us how you know infallibly that it is infallible.

David Waltz said...

Hi Rhology,

Thanks for responding. You posted the following:

>>David or any other RC reading, pick ANY RC document you like and please inform us how you know infallibly that it is infallible.>>

Me: All the decrees and definitions contained in the Ecumenical Councils concerning faith and morals; and this, because Vatican I states that they are.

Now, before any says, “circular reasoning”, I shall upfront stipulate that it is.

How does one know that “all Scripture is inspired”? Because Scripture says it is.

In a very real sense we are all presuppositionalists. Where I differ with a consistent Protestant presuppostionalist is that I apply the same methodology supporting my presuppositions concerning Sacred Scripture to Sacred Tradition.


Grace and peace,

David

Kepha said...

OK. Sorry for the horrible post earlier. Here is the last paragraph again, revised and without the typos!

Are the teachings that Mary is Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of All Grace infallible? I realize that they have not been infallibly defined/recognized, but that doesn't mean that the teachings themselves are not infallible, just that it took a while for the pope to realize it. Of course, all future popes may never infallibly define/recognize them. It seems that we simply don't know the status of these teachings. Are they just not among the "easily identified," "authoritative body of magisterial teaching" that exist?

Rhology said...

Thanks David.

Now,

1) I'd like to know how, since you are a fallible individual, you know infallibly that... all the decrees and definitions contained in the Ecumenical Councils concerning faith and morals...are infallible.

2) because Vatican I states that they are.

We both agree, however, that Scr is infallible. We don't agree that RCC dogma is infallible, so your objection doesn't work.
Maybe this would be a better example of what I mean: Vatican I depends on a previous statement of the Church that it can produce infallible proclamations. 2 questions:
1) what is that proclamation?
2) How do you know the proclamation that the RCC can make infallible statements is itself an infallible statement?

Peace,
Rhology

Kepha said...

Mr. Waltz,

Are you and Pontificator saying that infallbility is applicable only generally and not specifically? In other words, and for example, are you both saying that the Magisterium infallibly declared the existence of Purgatory, but that we are free to understand the details of such a state how we see fit? Or to use another example, are you both saying that the Magisterium declared that God's Word was/is "inspired," but just what that means is debateable (surely you're aware of the debate within Catholicism over just how Scripture is inspired)?

Pontificator said...

David or any other RC reading, pick ANY RC document you like and please inform us how you know infallibly that it is infallible.

There is a philosophical confusion here, but I'm not sophisticated enough to specify it. Mike Liccione is the person best equipped to answer this.

Am I absolutely certain that _____ (fill in the blank) is an infallible dogma of the Catholic Faith? Probably not. Heck, I'm not absolutely certain that this computer sitting in front of me truly exists, but I'm reasonably certain that it does. There are degrees of certitude, are there not?

Can the infallible dogmas of the Catholic Church be identified with a high degree of probability. Of course. Catholics do this all the time. As I said above, begin with the conciliar and papal dogmas. If a specific dogma has been received by the bishops of the Church as an infallible dogma, then it probably is--and that is all anyone needs to know in order to live a faithful Catholic life.

If you are simply asking, What are the criteria used in identifying these dogmas, then I suggest that you read a book like Magisterium: Teaching Authority in the Catholic Church by Francis Sullivan. The essential criterion is that the Catholic Church proposes _____ to me as requiring my full, definitive, and irrevocable assent. If the Catholic Church does not propose _____ with its full authority, then it is not an irreformable dogma.

As David has mentioned above, dogmas establish the boundaries of Christian belief. Once the Council of Nicaea definitively asserted the dogma that Jesus Christ is identical in substance with the Father, then that became a fundamental datum for theological reflection. To say that it is infallible (or perhaps more accurately, irrreformable) is to say that henceforth we are not permitted to question whether Nicaea got it right. We do not entertain the possibility that Arius was right and Athanasius was wrong. Dogmas definitively and irreformably exclude error, guide our reading of Scripture, and norm our proclamation of the gospel.

Pontificator said...

Are you and Pontificator saying that infallbility is applicable only generally and not specifically?

I cannot speak for David, but in my humble opinion, dogmas should first be understood in terms of their negative function, viz., the exclusion of error.

EgoMakarios said...

I cannot speak for David, but in my humble opinion, dogmas should first be understood in terms of their negative function, viz., the exclusion of error.

So, if it can be shown that one of your dogmas does not really exclude error, but excludes truth, then you must question your infallibility.

Example:

When Christ cleansed the temple, the disciples remembered that it was written of him "the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up" (John 2:17) Where is that from in the OT? From Psalm 69:8-9 "I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children. For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me." Aside, therefore, from Matthew 1:25 that says Joseph knew Mary after Jesus' birth, aside from the references to his brethren in the gospels and James the brother of the Lord in the epistles, we have in this Psalm from his own mouth the statement that "I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children. For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me." Wherein it is made plain that his brothers were maternal brothers. Is the RCC infallible? Do its dogmas exclude error? Nay, but its dogmas exclude truth.

Pontificator said...

Are the teachings that Mary is Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of All Grace infallible?

To qualify as infallible, it would need to be demonstrated that the college of bishops, in union with the Pope, have either taught or are presently teaching that the above Marian beliefs are to be definitively held by all the faithful. This is demonstrably not the case. This is not to say that the beliefs, properly construed, are wrong. It is only to note that they cannot be said to presently enjoy definitive dogmatic status within the Church. I do not believe, e.g., that the title is ever used in the Catholic Catechism. In his book God and the World Cardinal Ratzinger expressed his mild disapproval of the formula "Co-Redemptrix":

"The response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is, broadly, that what is signified by this is already better expressed in other titles of Mary, while the formula 'Co-redemptrix' departs too great an extent from the language of Scripture and of the Fathers and therefore gives rise to misunderstandings."

Catholics, in other words, are not obliged to refer to the Blessed Mother of God as "Co-Redemptrix." But why even raise this issue? The Catholic Church has already dogmatized two Marian beliefs with which, I imagine, you already disagree. The real question is, Who has the authority to determine what belongs to the apostolic deposit of faith. See Scott Carson's article on private judgment.

Kepha said...

Pontificator,

So even though the marian teachings I've mentioned may be infallible in-and-of-themselves (again, there is always the possibility of a later pope dogmatically pronouncing them as such), because they've not been infallibly defined, I don't have to believe them? All that matters is what's infallible . . . right now?

Pontificator, I know that you have converted to the Catholic Church and so the chances of you holding out the possibility that you may be wrong are slim, but I ask you in good faith, is this how you understand Jude's inspired appeal that we contend for the Faith handed down by the Apostles before they died (Jude v. 3)? Is this how you understand his inspired admonition that we "remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude v. 17)? Is this how you understand Peter's inspired and prophetic act of inscripturation; that when he said, "[I know] that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent" (1 Pt 1:14) and "I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder" (1 Pt 1:13), that is, to "remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles" (1 Pt 3:2), for it is they who "have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place" (1 Pt 1:19), that what he was saying is hold on to these teachings as you wait for Christ, and that as you wait teachings will spring up through development, teachings you've never heard from our mouths (for instance, Indulgences)?

Pontificator said...

Kepha, you have misunderstood the relationship between infallibility and truth. Infallibility is concerned with the certitude with which the Church knows and teaches a specific truth. That the Church defines a doctrine infallibly does not make it more true than it was before the Church so defined it. The Church knows many things with various degrees of certainty; but some things she knows with absolute or definitive certitude, i.e., infallibly.

And yes, I do believe that doctrine develops. I find the opposite thesis naive and impossible to rationally sustain in light of the history of Christian belief and praxis.

Pontificator said...

Michael Liccione weighs in.

Kepha said...

Pontificator,

I'm guessing that the Doctrine of the Development of Doctrine doesn't need to be justified from the Apostles writings? I'm guessing that it is an oral tradition handed down by the Apostles that only the bishop of Rome can tell us was handed down by them? Or, let me guess, it was/is a development of doctrine, one "implicitly" believed by the Early Church and not formally recognized until the mid-nineteenth century? And now that Rome has claimed it as her chief apologetic for, not surprisingly, all of her controversial teachings (e.g., Indulgences), we are supposed to bow the knee to this teaching?

Lucian said...

Say, Carrie ...

You didn't create that logo in Power-Point, now, did You?

Carrie said...

You didn't create that logo in Power-Point, now, did You?

What logo?

Rhology said...

He probably means this logo.

And I really like mine, BTW. Thank you!

Lucian said...

Actually, I meant that "illusion of infallibility" logo ...

Anonymous said...

pontificator said: Michael Liccione weighs in.

A Catholic apologist says in effect; "Don't worry about any questions being posed about infallibility. Take the RCC's word for it."

This type of reassurance works only for those already committed to Rome's authority claims.

This from a 'philosopher and teacher'? Pretty weak.

Pontificator said...

Anonymous, I am sure that Dr Liccione would be delighted to hear your criticisms of his weak arguments. Please be sure to share them with him over at his site.

Carrie said...

Actually, I meant that "illusion of infallibility" logo ...

I made it using an online sign generator. There are a variety of options.

Rhology said...

Reminds me of this image that Philip Blosser (I guess) made.
I think it's hilarious.

Invisible Dude said...

Rhology: "1) I'd like to know how, since you are a fallible individual, you know infallibly that... all the decrees and definitions contained in the Ecumenical Councils concerning faith and morals...are infallible."

Invisible Dude: 1)I'd like to know how, since you are a fallible individual, you know infallibly that... all the books contained in the Bible...are infallible.

Rhology: "2) because Vatican I states that they are."

ID: 2) Because we Just know.

Rhology: We both agree, however, that Scr is infallible.

ID: How so? How is it Infallible, explain.


Rhology: "Maybe this would be a better example of what I mean: Vatican I depends on a previous statement of the Church that it can produce infallible proclamations."

ID: Maybe this would be a better example of what I mean: statements in scripture about scripture are not known to be part of scripture infallibly, so, how do we know that anything in it is the Word of God?

2 questions:
1) where is the proof?
2) How do you know the proclamation that the scripture is infallible is accurate?

Thank you for your time,

Invisible Dude.

Rhology said...

Hi ID,

I'd like to know how, since you are a fallible individual, you know infallibly that... all the books contained in the Bible...are infallible.

I don't know that infallibly.
We recently dealt with this here and here. And especially here.

Because we Just know.

Oh OK.
Well, then, I know that Scripture is infallible. I just know it. End of discussion.
Is that really what you want to say?

How so? How is it Infallible, explain.

Wait, are you RC? Do you or do you not believe in the infallibility of Scr?

how do we know that anything in it is the Word of God?

See above.

How do you know the proclamation that the scripture is infallible is accurate?

Which is identical to the question: How do you know the proclamation that the Church is infallible is accurate?
That's the question I've been asking and asking. Scripture's infallibility has many different kinds of proofs. Not so the RCC.

Please also see Kepha's comment above. It's quite illustrative.

Peace,
Rhology

Invisible Dude said...

Rhology: "Hi ID,"

ID said: I'd like to know how, since you are a fallible individual, you know infallibly that... all the books contained in the Bible...are infallible.

Rhology said:"I don't know that infallibly. We recently dealt with this here and here. And especially here."

ID: So, you don't know for sure what the scripture consists of?
Amazing, so how can you go around assuring everyone else about the inerance of scripture and condemn other religious beliefs because it just don't jive with it, when you don't even know for sure that what you have is right?

ID said: "Because we Just know."

Rhology said: "Oh OK.

Well, then, I know that Scripture is infallible. I just know it. End of discussion.
Is that really what you want to say?"


ID: That was an anticipated response to my question, I was pretty sure that I'd get a "We just know what scripture consists of, because we know", not as a response to an anticipated question, sorry for the confusion.



ID said: "How so? How is it Infallible, explain."


Rholofy said:"Wait, are you RC? Do you or do you not believe in the infallibility of Scr?"

Wait, did I ask a question or not?

ID Asked:"how do we know that anything in it is the Word of God?"

Rhology replied: "See above."

ID Asked: "How do you know the proclamation that the scripture is infallible is accurate?"

Rhology answered: "Which is identical to the question: How do you know the proclamation that the Church is infallible is accurate?
That's the question I've been asking and asking. Scripture's infallibility has many different kinds of proofs. Not so the RCC."


Id replies: Now here we are, the infinite regress of the strawman of the RCC.
Can we get a real answer to question with a sent. or two here, or do we half to go down the red herring road with the RC's?

Who cares about the RCC, we're concerned with the Book that you say is inerrant, or have I erred in thinking that you think that your holy book is inerrant?

Ah, the infinite regress of infallibity.

"Christianity, the religion based on the 'we just know'". Don't make the case for the atheist, but, how can we know for sure that anything you say has any value to it at all if your source for all that you believe contains error?

So, again:

I'd like to know how, since you are a fallible individual, you know infallibly that... all the books contained in the Bible...are infallible.

Invisible Dude

Invisible Dude said...

Kepha said...
"Hmmm. So:

1.) One makes a fallible decision to accept Jesus.

2.) One makes a fallible decision to accept the Catholic Church.

And,

1.) Protestants have a fallible list of infallible Books.

2.) Catholics have a fallible list of infallible teachings.

Further,

1.) Protestants disagree over the interpretations of the Bible.

2.) Catholics disagree over the interpretations of the Magisterium.

Very interesting."


ID says:

A fallible list of infallible books, discussion over, the list of infallible books could be in error, in other words, the list of books in the Bible could be wrong, and we could have some books in there that could not be infallible, and some that are which might be left out.
So, the bible, then, is not infallible.

Thanx for the concession folks.

Invisible dude

Rhology said...

ID,

I need to know where you're coming from and who I'm dealing with here.
Are you RC or sthg else?
Do you believe the Scr is infallible or not?

the infinite regress of the strawman of the RCC.

How is that a strawman? Do you have a reasonable answer? It would be a first - feel free to scan the comboxes of those posts to see the paucity of responses so far.

Who cares about the RCC, we're concerned with the Book that you say is inerrant, or have I erred in thinking that you think that your holy book is inerrant?

I care about the RCC. You apparently do too since you're deep in the combox of a post about the RCC.
Or maybe you don't, in which case the question presents itself - why post these questions here?

"Christianity, the religion based on the 'we just know'".

That is, of course, a caricature of my position.

how can we know for sure that anything you say has any value to it at all if your source for all that you believe contains error?

That is a good question, and one I pose to liberals often.

Peace,
Rhology

Invisible Dude said...

Rhology said:"I need to know where you're coming from and who I'm dealing with here.
Are you RC or sthg else?
Do you believe the Scr is infallible or not?"


ID replies:
And why do you need to know my faith system to answer a question that any Christian should be able to answer off the top of their head? It deals directly with the source of your beliefs, you should be able to, in a sentence or two, explain how you know that your faith is truly credible, why is this question important? Because you judge the rest of the world by that canon, which begs questions about the canon, or measuring stick, or rather "standard".


ID asked: "Who cares about the RCC, we're concerned with the Book that you say is inerrant, or have I erred in thinking that you think that your holy book is inerrant?"

Rhology said: "I care about the RCC. You apparently do too since you're deep in the combox of a post about the RCC."

ID says: The title of this post "The Uncertainty of Infallibility", no?
The Uncertainty of Christians' infallible collection of works is astounding apparently, these questions are all about what the title of this post is all about - The Uncertainty of Infallibility.


Rhology said: "Or maybe you don't, in which case the question presents itself - why post these questions here?"

ID replies: See above.

ID said: "Christianity, the religion based on the 'we just know'".

Rhology replies: That is, of course, a caricature of my position.

ID asked: how can we know for sure that anything you say has any value to it at all if your source for all that you believe contains error?

Rhology Responds: That is a good question, and one I pose to liberals often.

ID replies: And one that I am asking you, it's a challenge, a question that needs answering before any progress can be made about "infallibility".

Invisible Dude

Rhology said...

Hey ID,

It's not that I don't know how to answer the question, it's that the question is answered far differently to an atheist than to a RC. That's why I'd like to know where you're coming from.

The title of the thread might be "the Uncertainty of Infallibility" but the actual post is about the alleged infallibility of the RCC.
Look, tell you what:

-If you're coming from an RC POV, see the 3 threads I linked to above and I'd be happy to talk to you about those. Just note your responses in your next comment and we'll talk.
-If you're coming from a more naturalistic POV, see here and address your comments either here or there and we'll talk that way.
Here's part of the problem - there is no "neutral worldview". So if you're coming from a naturalistic worldview, there is NO reason at all to believe the Bible is infallible. But coming from a Christian worldview, there is lots of reason to believe that. So we don't start there; we start with presuppositions.

how can we know for sure that anything you say has any value to it at all if your source for all that you believe contains error?

This is the question that makes me think you're coming from a RC/Sola Ecclesia background, b/c a RC or SE-ist believes that his infallible interpreter is the foundation, the infallible provider of knowledge.
If you're a naturalist, this question is equally applicable to your own position. There is no mechanism for infallibility in a naturalistic worldview, so if you really believe this question in a naturalistic POV, your view is self-defeating.
Hopefully you see a little more reason now why I ask you to identify your starting point.
The other reason is that
1) I have no obligation to talk to you, but I enjoy it
2) I provide answers; it's only fair that you return the favor
3) If you don't, you're being unfair and I enjoy unfair things a lot less than fair things.

Peace,
Rhology

Invisible Dude said...

Rhology: It's not that I don't know how to answer the question, it's that the question is answered far differently to an atheist than to a RC.

ID: The answer to your own belief, I question infallibility - period - and since both RC's and Reformed Christians believe in some infallible book that tells them what they think God says and does not say, and judge the rest of the world by it; the rest of the world wants to know "How?" or "why is that?", instead of simple allegations of "We have the Word of God which tells us so", which begs the question "and what about this 'Word of God'?"
The answer to how you know that your book is infallible and the Word of God is the same answer to anyone, RC, Protestant, Agnostic, Buddhist, Islamic, or atheist; according to your belief, I'm calling you out on your basis of belief here is what I'm doing, how do you know that your holy book is really holy, or infallible for that matter?


Rhology:That's why I'd like to know where you're coming from.

ID: You said you provided answers, I'm still waiting on the answer to my first question:

I'd like to know how, since you are a fallible individual, you know infallibly that... all the books contained in the Bible...are infallible.

It's a question that I want a simple answer to, where I'm coming from has no bearing on the answer, how you, a fallible individual know that your Bible is infallible - period.

Rhology: The title of the thread might be "the Uncertainty of Infallibility" but the actual post is about the alleged infallibility of the RCC.

ID: What about the alleged infallibility of the Bible?

Rhology: Look, tell you what:

-If you're coming from an RC POV, see the 3 threads I linked to above and I'd be happy to talk to you about those. Just note your responses in your next comment and we'll talk.
-If you're coming from a more naturalistic POV, see here and address your comments either here or there and we'll talk that way.
Here's part of the problem - there is no "neutral worldview".

ID: According to some Protestant ministers that I've heard, your holy book is not relative to a person's world-view but upon the objective truths of your God; I don't know if you believe the same way or not, but if so, then my world-view does not affect your faith system, and how it works, I should be able to obtain here the basis for that faith. I'm not questioning the RC's because I know what they'll tell me about their infallible human being of the pope, and from what I read here, that position don't look so good, so, no dude in Rome to confirm it for you, how since he's not infallible, and you're not infallible, and your list is not infallible, what makes the books themselves infallible, and how does the individual Christian know that?


Rhology: So if you're coming from a naturalistic worldview, there is NO reason at all to believe the Bible is infallible.

ID: You're absolutely right, there isn't one, but let's say for argument's sake it was, the question is how? I'm christians out on their beliefs here, so, according to Christianity, on what is Christianity based?
You tell me that Christianity is biblical, or it ain't Christianity, so the question is, what is biblicial, and what is the Bible, and where did it come from, what's its story, but that's a longer version of the simple question posed above, which would be easier for you, I think, to answer.


Rhology: But coming from a Christian worldview, there is lots of reason to believe that.

ID: such as?

Rhology: So we don't start there; we start with presuppositions.

ID: So, you just presuppose that some book from the Middle east is some got the authority of God, is the very word of God Himself, and then go from there, oh, but you don't really know that, you just presuppose that, sounds really concrete and credible me.

Rhology: how can we know for sure that anything you say has any value to it at all if your source for all that you believe contains error.

This is the question that makes me think you're coming from a RC/Sola Ecclesia background, b/c a RC or SE-ist believes that his infallible interpreter is the foundation, the infallible provider of knowledge.

ID: OK, I asked what you ask about RC's, it's simple, I websearch this guy who presents this presentation not far away from me; and some friends went to see this guy and come back and pester me about what this guy believes about God, find your blog, read some posts, wonder about the foundation for all of Christianity, ask qustion about it, get "we just know". So, here we are, what about the basis for all Christianity, could you tell me on what it is all based on, and how you know that. I see Barack criticize Paul, well, what about, we need to know on what basis the criticism is posed, or we're lost when election time comes, I see you criticise RC's, what about the basis for all of this argument?
You criticize other Christians based on "infalibility", and can't answer the same question yourself, makes me wonder, what in the world is Christianity really all about?
Some book that who knows where it come from, just pops up somewhere, and people start calling it infallible, and now we all got to live by it - it just don't add up, so, what are the facts, oh, and don't get all caught up on this, let's consider the real question,

Since you are a fallible individual, how do you know infallibly that all the books contained in the Bible are infallible.

That's our initial question, so, before we can proceed further, let's consider a reply to that one, shall we?


Rhology: If you're a naturalist, this question is equally applicable to your own position. There is no mechanism for infallibility in a naturalistic worldview, so if you really believe this question in a naturalistic POV, your view is self-defeating.

ID: Well now, I ask a question and suddenly we're all interested in me, what about the question, why am I so popular now? I got questions about Christianity, can you answer it or not? If not, I'll ask someone else.

Rhology: Hopefully you see a little more reason now why I ask you to identify your starting point.

ID: Actually, This all began with my asking you to identify your starting point, you start out with this book, now, what about this book?


Rhology: The other reason is that
1) I have no obligation to talk to you, but I enjoy it

ID: Same here, I could ask someone else, and probably will.

Rhology: 2) I provide answers; it's only fair that you return the favor

ID: I agree, When you provide your first answer to the first question, we'll proceed, favour for favour, I answer your questions - if you answer mine - fair enough?

Rhology: 3) If you don't, you're being unfair and I enjoy unfair things a lot less than fair things.

ID: I intend to be fully fair on this, but let's make sure that that intention is mutual, shall we?
So, are you ready to answer our very first question/objection?

Invisible Dude said...

Invisible Dude Posted:

"I'm christians out on their beliefs here, so, according to Christianity, on what is Christianity based?"

Invisible dude meant to post:

"I'm [calling] christians out on their beliefs here, so, according to Christianity, on what is Christianity based?"

Invisible Dude

Rhology said...

ID,

Interesting - it appears that you and/or some of your friends live in my area, if I'm extrapolating correctly from your comment.
I'd be interested in getting together over coffee or something in addition to this online discussion if you're amenable. But you are of course under no obligation. Just email me if you're interested.

And I answered you here. Feel free to engage any questions at that combox, or we can continue here as you like. Personally I prefer over there, but whatever.

Peace,
Rhology