Wednesday, August 26, 2009

*BEST OF BTB #5* Fallacious arguments regarding Sola Scriptura

LionofJudah871 asks a question that is too complex to answer in a short sentence or two. Answering it gives me an opportunity to answer an argument I hear often and to explain why that argument is based on unsound logic.

Question: Does the bible say NOT to use the Word of God alone when teaching? and where does the bible say that man made doctrines are okay
The young man who asked this question is named Bryan. I have no doubt Bryan is sincere in his desire to love and serve God. He is simply very confused. He asked the question because, when challenged, (and much to his surprise), he was not able to demonstrate Sola Scriptura (The Bible alone as authority) as a foundational Scriptural premise. In fact, the precept of "The Bible alone" is not in the Bible at all. This fact, ironically enough, refutes the very doctrine Protestants attempt to use as a foundation for theological debate.

Protestants won't give this precept up easily, however. As fallacious and impossible as Sola Scriptura is, it is absolutely foundational to their way of thinking. That is because they have been ensnared in a logical spider web that they cannot break free from.

When debating a protestant on Sola Scriptura, an appeal must be made to basic logic and how a cogent argument must be constructed.

Let's break Bryan's argument down and expose why it doesn't make logical sense.

Does the bible say NOT to use......

This first argument is a logical fallacy called an "Argument from Ignorance". This argument asserts that A is true because A has not been proven false, or we cannot know if it is true. "I have a million dollars hidden in the ground because you cannot prove I don't have a million dollars in the ground"
There are all kinds of assertions we could make about the Bible using this kind of logical construction. Does the Bible say NOT to eat at McDonalds everyday? Does the Bible say NOT to roll around in the mud in your suit? Does the Bible say NOT to bet the rent money on the horse races?
Certainly, if someone advocated these as Biblical premises, you would consider the burden of proof to be on them! and rightly so. That is why, when Bryan attempted to establish "The Bible alone" as a precept, I challenged him to prove it. He could not. That certainly denies him the right to demand it as a requirement for further debate.
The burden of proof always lies with the person making an assertion. This is why "innocent until proven guilty" is such a foundational precept in our society.

the Word of God alone.....
This argument is a false or unsubstantiated premise.

Since only Fords are cars, anyone buying a Chevy isn't buying a car.
The statement is fallacious because it is based on an unsupported premise; "Only Fords are cars" When making an argument like this, the debater will insist you accept a premise that he cannot demonstrate.
In the case of Scripture, Bryan is failing to see Scripture as a necessary, yet insufficient part of God's word. He is, instead, arguing that Scripture is fully necessary and sufficient as a means of transmitting God's word, to the exclusion of all other means.
Once again, the demand must be made that he prove this premise and, once again, he cannot.

The view of the Protestant is that since Scripture= The Word of God, therefore, the Word of God always= Scripture. This argument is fallacious.

"All Corvettes are cars, therefore, all cars are Corvettes"

Besides, Scripture itself, tells us that this notion is false.

2THES 2:15 Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.
Here, Paul is affirming both Written Scripture and Sacred Tradition. This refutes the idea that only Scripture is the Word of God and establishes the premise that Scripture is not exclusionary truth.
Once again, you run the risk of reading more into what I am saying than what I am actually saying. To say that something is necessary but insufficient does not mean that two contradictory sources of truth can exist side by side. This is what protestants claim Catholics believe but it is unsubstantiated nonsense. Protestants demand a 'this or that' philosophy when it comes to Scripture and Tradition and the Magisterium.

It is the Bible OR The Church, as if the two are opposed. Catholics believe in the Bible AND Church authority as each provides part of the larger whole.

The need for air is absolute. We must have it. The need for water is, also, essential for life. True, also, the need for food. Since all are taken through the mouth, one might argue that the mouth is only designed to receive one of these. You could argue that I do need air but, in doing so, you have certainly not made an argument that I don't need water.

So, if you argue that Air is necessary for life, it is not the same as arguing that Air is sufficient for life. When you argue for the Bible alone, you are essentially making an argument analogous to Air alone.
when teaching?
Teaching? You quoted me Matthew 23:9 which says call no man Father yet you skipped right over Matthew 23:8 that says call no man teacher (or Rabbi in some translations). Bryan, you are not in an position to be a teacher of the scriptures to me. Please do not be offended but listen. So, far, I have already taught you that 3 things you assumed were true about the scriptures are, in fact, false.
1) That Sola Scriptura (The Bible alone) is a proven, foundational Biblical principle.
2) That the "Whore of Babylon" is the Catholic Church.
3) That calling a religious leader "Father" is a violation of scripture.
The principle of teaching must be preceded by learning and you have far too much of the latter left to do before you are ready for the former. By your own admission, you are very young in the faith. There is no shame in that. We all have to start somewhere. However, when you presume that you are ready to teach someone, such as myself, that has been studying the Christian faith for about 30 years, you do come across as a bit presumptuous.
Actually, it goes deeper than that. You see, I have read the arguments of the very early church- the very early church that gave you your Bible. Who are you that your knowledge and understanding can compare with Justin Martyr and Ignacious of Antioch and Polycarp and Jerome and Aquinas and Augustine?
For the first 1400 years of the Church, only a fraction of Christians had a Bible and for the first 384 years, no one had one! How were all those men and women saved? The were saved by the Church, Bryan. Jesus founded the CHURCH as the Pillar and foundation of all the truth (1 Timothy 3:15)

and where does the bible say that man made doctrines are okay?
It doesn't and it shouldn't. However, your premise is false. There are no man made doctrines in the Catholic Church. You assume that because you cannot simply open your Bible and see the Doctrine of The Assumption jump off the page, that it is a false, man made doctrine. This is the trap that you are in;

A is true because B is false because A is true because B is false because A is true because B is false..... and on and on and on.

The truth is just the opposite. There is nothing about what the Catholic Church teaches that I cannot show you in the very Scriptures you hold in your hand. It's all there. The Mass, the Priests, Mary's perpetual virginity, Purgatory... ALL of it.

However, I cannot show you the truth unless you are willing to open your eyes and be shown.

You are 21 years old. I have lived your lifetime more than twice. My advice to you is to heed the words of Scripture and humble yourself like a little child.

MT 11:25 At that time Jesus said in reply, "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.
Before you read my answers, devote yourself to prayer. Ask Jesus to send the Holy Spirit to examine if what I tell you is true. I make my arguments relying very heavily on the scriptures and I am willing to defend any doctrine of the Catholic faith using the scriptures. I know that Catholicism is the truth. That is not an argument boast, it is a simple summation of fact. The biblical proof of Catholicism is so beyond overwhelming as to be able to remove even the smallest shadow of a doubt from your mind.

Just as soon as you are ready to admit to yourself that you don't know everything, the Holy Spirit can use me to PROVE to you that the Catholic Church is the true church. Yes, I can prove it. There is no doubt about it.

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