it's really fascinating to me to see all these pop-apologists complaining that you can't cite a source on Point A without also accepting his view of Point B, and since Point B materially attacks the Christian Faith in a way that you yourself would not accept, you should not accept his view of Point A.Tim is very close to finishing his Master's degree studies at the University of Dallas.
This is just absurd, and shows the lack of critical thinking ability in the pop-apologetics community. Of course you can cite a scholar on Point A without accepting his view of Point B - it's called weighing arguments. Pop-apologists operate with a goofy, uncritical standard that is really a double standard. When scholarship supports them, they love it ("All these Protestant scholars admit that Peter was the Rock! Why don't you?"). Yet when scholarship contradicts them ("The papacy relied on forgeries for many centuries, and this materially affects its claims to sovereignty in the Church"), they darkly suspect it - and anyone who relies upon it.
The simple fact of the matter is that sober historical inquiry, a discipline given to us by thoroughly committed Christians in the Renaissance, has never been the friend of many of Rome's dogmatic claims, but has in fact demonstrated that the "historical" support for her dogmatic claims is weak, suspect, or else very easily and quite reasonably challengable. If you're a papalist, it's pretty hard to grapple soberly with Lorenzo Valla, or even Erasmus - both good Catholics - and still maintain that your doctrines have "historical" support, so lots of modern Catholics don't even try to grapple with them. They just dismiss them by a specious and really quite intellectually childish appeal to having a superior "faith."
It's just a lot of hand-waving, and it makes you glad to be, as my friend Peter Escalante says, a Protestant since as a Protestant you can face history "with your eyes open" instead of following Belloc's childish dictum, "Always hold the hand of nurse, for fear of finding something worse."
Friday, September 10, 2010
Protestants can face history with eyes open
In the light of all the recent discussions, in which I and other have been accused of "being inconsistent" for the practice of citing the works of certain scholars without swallowing whole everything else those scholars seem to say or believe, Tim Enloe has made the following helpful comment: