Thursday, June 21, 2007

Keep em' Coming Father Euteneuer!

Another column from Father Euteneuer of Human Life International via John Mallon. This one is a letter to Amnesty International.

Amnesty International: What Part of Murder Don’t You Understand?

Abortion is murder. It is not a human right. An unwanted pregnancy for an unmarried woman, especially as a result of rape or incest or in a war zone, is a very difficult thing, but with enough love, care and effort it can be turned into a beautiful thing, no matter what the circumstances. Abortion can never be turned into a good thing. The pro-life movement says, “Why not love them both?”, but all efforts are taken to drown out the voice of reason.

Abortion sweeps the problem under the rug and makes the situation “easier” for everyone involved except the woman who must live with the aftermath, and of course, the child who is murdered. Human rights organizations have a mission to provide love, care and effort to help bring about the best possible outcome. Why else do they exist but to bring justice to terrible situations? Abortion is a grotesque injustice.

This is why it is so disappointing that Amnesty International has abandoned the unborn child as deserving human rights protection. Now, this once great human rights organization has bought into the lie that one person’s rights over their own body trumps the rights of another person’s—the unborn child’s—right to life.

Amnesty International’s Widney Brown has actually come out and said that: “[The pregnant woman’s] right to health and the right to the quality of life that she needs and the healing that she needs, this is what we would say should be the priority,” (The National Catholic Register, “No Amnesty for the Unborn,” June 12-23). There is no healing to be found in abortion. Abortion is something from which a woman needs to be healed.

Abortion is murder. This is an objective fact. Today it has reached the point of genocide. It is a grave injustice and violation of human rights. It is something Amnesty International should be addressing as a violation not treating as a solution. The humanity of the unborn child is not an “imposition” of one’s morality or “religious values” on another. The humanity of the unborn child is an empirical scientific fact. By applying a sliding scale to the value of any innocent human life, Amnesty International has removed any fixed moral standard to which to anchor their mission. As C.S. Lewis would say, they have sawed off the branch on which they were sitting. They have abandoned their moral leverage and joined the tyrants who stand on lies that permit the killing to continue.

Their claim to be a “voice for the voiceless” does not extend to the innocent human being in the womb. By throwing in with the international abortion lobby they have abandoned the moral high ground on which they stood that gave credibility to their mission, opting instead for the quicksand of moral relativism.

Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace stated in the same National Catholic Register article cited above, that Amnesty International has “betrayed its mission” and that if “Amnesty International persists in this course of action, individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support.” Amnesty International, of course, responded with the usual smug doublespeak of the Culture of Death. (See Amnesty International press release, link at right.)

Of all people, Amnesty International ought to know that killing only begets more killing and this decision has rendered the world a less safe place.

HLI challenges Amnesty International to prove that abortion is anything less than murder—an abuse of the most basic human right—the right to life.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International
Well said.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Brownback For President

Brownback is hands down the best serious contender for the presidency. No one else even comes close. There's my endorsement. Hope you take a chance to look at his page and pass it along... especially if you're Christian and especially if you're Catholic.

Thank You President Bush

Bush vetoes another Embryonic Stem Cell bill.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How Can We Keep Being Promiscuous & Reduce AIDS?

Here's another great column from Fr. Euteneuer from HLI. This one is entitled: Death by Sex and Stealth.

Monday, June 18, 2007

US House Wants to Subsidize Culture of Death Around the World

This is why it's important for us to vote.

Washington, Jun. 15, 2007 (C-fam.org/CWNews.com) - Democratic legislative leaders in the US House of Representative are pushing for foreign-aid subsidies to groups that lobby for legalization of abortion in other countries, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-Fam) reports.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Global Warming Idiot

This kind of guy is dangerous. He has coherent logic but comes up with a conclusion thats as far off as it could be because he lacks the ability to link logic/probability with the real world. Watch his video and then scroll down to see how he is completely wrong.


Interesting Argument About Global Warming - Watch more free videos

The key part he leaves out is an estimated probability for each scenario. The grid is completely useless without it. He is using Pascal's wager basically - but Pascal had infinite damage values in some of his cells. Best case scenario for theist = infinite goodness worst case scenario for atheist = infinite badness ... It works with Pascal's wager because it doesnt matter what the probability is. Infinity x .000000001 is still infinity.

Unfortunately in this guy's argument - a p value would be absolutely necessary since even by his own admission, none of the scenarios result in an infinite value. So it very much depends on the p value. The expected damage for each cell would be the p value (probability of it happening) multiplied by the the damage value (of course this would have to be subjective). So let's look at a very possible scenario to disprove his theory. Let's take another example, in this case we are examining whether or not we should spend $5000 on personal protection. The problem is, there is a chance (however slim it may be) that we may be kidnapped tomorrow and brutally tortured for the rest of our lives by a gang of angry circus clowns who were laid off because of (of course) Bush. So... we have entertained the question - should we spend the remainder of our life savings - $5000 on personal protection - karate lessons, gun classes, personal highpowered rifle, gun permits, pistol, knives and a few other things....


According to that guy's logic - the sensible choice could only be to spend the money right? Of course we all instantly recognize that as completely ridiculous. But what's missing? In this case it is the P Values. We know instantly that he's wrong because we know without pulling out a calculator that the probability of such a thing happening is so low that it certainly isn't worth our time or money to invest in the defense. So, it is EXTREMELY relevant to discuss the issue on a 'row basis' as he incorrectly argued against. It is absolutely vital to our final decision what the row probability is. Take this scenario which would completely contradict his conclusion where the probability of no global warming is 99% and the probability of Global warming being a real phenomenon is 1% Damage value will be on a scale from 1 to 10 and assuming worst case scenario (all things considered I dont think that's too unreasonable - and I'll get to all things considered later):
Since we're trying to minimize our expected damage, we would of course choose no action in this scenario. Now of course, the p values may be wrong and they may be way wrong.. Fine.. But we cant make a decision without knowing them unlike he said.

As I mentioned before, this over simplification of the process also leaves out some other very real possibilities on each axis - on the Y - Global warming is happening but its not caused by us on the (the greatest increase in global temperature in the last century was between 1930 and 1940, long before there were any serious carbon 14 issues) X - We take action but it's too late, we've already caused too much damage.

Finally - anyone who thinks regulations are going to do ANYTHING about global warming has obviously never been to Asia. The amount of pollution caused by any of the hundreds of major metro areas in developing nations probably equals America's entire pollution output. That being said, one visit to Manila would make a tree hugger out of Rush Limbaugh - but being responsible with our planet is one thing, making catastrophically uneducated decisions is another.

This is another glorious example of why liberals don't do well with radio talk shows, blogs or pretty much anything else that exposes their thought process.

To the creator of the video - Hey bro, the "hole has been poked". Nice try.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Well in MY Day, Theologians Were Bishops!

I just started reading Jaroslav Pelikan's "The Emergence of Catholic Tradition". On page 5 he says:

During the years 100-600, most theologians were bishops; from 600 - 1500 in the West, they were monks; since 1500, they have been university professors.
Unfortunately, I think he's right. Am I the only one who finds this trend more than just a bit disturbing?

(As an unrelated side note, this is my 300th post!)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

2007 JMP User Conference

Thanks to a generous grant by the SAS Institute, I will be at the 2007 Annual JMP User Conference all this week. Posting may be slow.

The Death Penalty

I see a lot of Catholics hotly disputing the death penalty as immoral and the wording in the Catechism even says that modern technology has advanced so much that it's rarely needed anymore. Hell there was more Catholic outcry over convicted genocidal tyrant Saddam Hussein's death than there is / was about Terri Schiavo. As if the hypocrisy of it all weren't enough to make anyone raise an eyebrow at least...

And as if common sense didn't already solidly explain this: Studies have repeatedly proven the Death Penalty Saves Lives. (By the way that's not from a conservative think-tank, thats from the AP - hardly conservative friendly).

What gets little notice, however, is a series of academic studies over the last half-dozen years that claim to settle a once hotly debated argument — whether the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder. The analyses say yes. They count between three and 18 lives that would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer.
To be blunt, you're an idiot if you needed a study to tell you this: more punishment = less offense. In this case - an eye for an eye may may leave two people blind, but it leaves a whole lot of others with 20/20 vision who would other wise be blind as well. Mercy isn't mercy when it harms others (particularly when it harms more than it helps).

It's like sitting at a long traffic light when some idiot ahead of you lets another person out in front of them. By this "charitable act" they have allowed someone who hasn't been waiting long to jump in line. Ok, no harm done thats a good thing right? But there are 3 to 4 others who have already been waiting long who will now miss the green light and have to wait even longer. So by being "nice" to one, they have been rude to 4 others. How nice is it really?

By saving the life of a murderer, we kill 3 to 18 innocent people. How merciful is this really?

Now with that said - I hate the death penalty. I hate death altogether. There's nothing good about it. I hit a squirrel with my car the other day and it made me cringe. It didn't kill him, but I knew he would die as I saw him limp away - his hind legs rendered completely useless. How much more do I detest the death of any human being!

But the life of many innocents must be protected over the life of one murderer. It's not merely about keeping that individual from murdering again (although even if so, most murderers are released after only a few years these days). Its about deterring other would-be murderers.

St. Papias and the Importance of Tradition

But I shall not be unwilling to put down, along with my interpretations, whatsoever instructions I received with care at any time from the elders, and stored up with care in my memory, assuring you at the same time of their truth. For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those who spoke much, but in those who taught the truth; nor in those who related strange commandments, but in those who rehearsed the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and proceeding from truth itself. If, then, any one who had attended on the elders came, I asked minutely after their sayings,—what Andrew or Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the Lord's disciples: which things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say. For I imagined that what was to be got from books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding voice.
Of course he's not specifically talking about "the Bible", but can you imagine a [denomination name censored by the ecumenical police] saying that? Gotta love the early Christians.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Woman Slapped... Sternly on the Wrist For Murdering Her Husband

Maybe in this day in age this kind of thing won't surprise anyone but the Tennessee woman who murdered her husband (preacher) was sentenced to only three years in prison. If that weren't bad enough, she'll be eligible for release in just 7 months.

Can Atheism Make a Case Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

Recently, I posted a short piece about educating yourself on embryonic stem cell research. Since then, an atheist has been raising some excellent questions about whether or not a case can be made against embryonic stem cell research from an atheistic stand point as well. Give it a look if you get a chance.

Very Cool Visual Java Applet to See Who is Linking to You

http://www.touchgraph.com/TGGoogleBrowser.html

Why Does Suicide Matter if Abortion Doesn't?

This post is also available in Japanese.

I'm puzzled as to why the secular media is running this story showing concern for the suicide rate in Japan (in particular). Why would the government of Japan, the media or any other secular source care if the suicide rate is high? After all - it's their body right? Who are you to inflict your morality on them? If we care for mere economic / social reasons - then surely the same must be said for abortion. Why is suicide bad for the economy or society but abortion isn't?

This story shows the suicides in Japan topped 30,000 again last year (for the ninth straight year). In 2001 though, the legal abortions in the same country topped 340,000! So we have ruled out the "it's my body" argument - obviously the secular world doesn't care about whose body it is - why are they concerned with suicide and not with murder?

According to the article here are some suicide rates per 100,000 people (notice the more 'religious' the country, the less suicide - but hey, maybe there's no causal relationship right?):

Russia: 39.4
Japan: 24.1
France: 18.4
USA: 10.4

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Irish Man Convicted For Falsely Accusing a Priest

From Catholic World News:

Dublin, Jun. 7, 2007 (CWNews.com) - An Irish man has been convicted of making false allegations that a Catholic priest molested him.
I bet CNN is just dying to get this story out.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ok So I Guess They're Still Saying Sola Scriptura

Apparently my arguments weren't good enough to settle the debate once and for all as I had predicted. Kenny Pearce posted a nice response to which I will respond here. (You can read the full post by clicking here and scrolling down to his reply but for now, I will just post the phrases I want to dispute).

I think some Protestants probably believe the very thing you are saying (you can find somebody who believes just about anything), but, firstly, I don't think you are working with the most plausible form of the doctrine.
Now that may be true - that I'm not working with it's most plausible form, but the arguments I'm posting are not from isolated Protestants I've engaged with in the past but from professional Protestant apologists. I actually don't know of any other arguments in favor of sola scriptura (or any that I thought worth mentioning) and I have spent quite some time looking for them -10 years to be exact. This also sounds like Catholic v Reformed arguments on sola fide - the Reformed say 'but wait! thats not what we believe when we say sola fide' - which is true.. but Catholic apologists are attacking the heresy as given by Luther - the same kind condemned in James 2:24. Catholics & Reformed are surprisingly close on this issue - 'by faith not by works'... We agree whole heartedly.

The Protestant understanding that I am working with is the Westminster Confession of Faith. I don't know your background but the WCF teaches that everything else is fallible save the Holy Scriptures. I know we're both hitting on a lot of different points which as you said would be impractical to get into. So lets just keep it to that one point. Protestants believe (in the wording of WCF) "all councils may err and many have".

My points are:

1. There is no Scriptural precedence for the belief that only the Bible is infallible

2. There is no early Church precedence for the belief that only the Bible is infallible (in regards to our last discussion, we may disagree on this point - but I certainly agree as far as saying that there WAS early Church precedence for no other God-breathed Scripture than the Bible)

3. There IS Scriptural precedence for extra biblical God-given authority (and I know you agree with this although we disagree on what that authority is). The Bible never says 'the Church shall be infallible' or 'the successor of Peter shall be infallible' of course. I'm just talking about authority. Catholics (and Orthodox) believe that Christ extended special authority to His apostles "whatever you bind and loose..." and that authority was passed down. Their authority has made certain mysteries clear which the Bible did not- the Trinity, The Canon, Mariology etc... (I know I know we're getting into heavy disagreement territory) But assuming the Church has ANY authority, it must have received it from Christ and therefore had it from the beginning. The concept of an invisible entity having authority is in my mind incomprehensible. Finally, we have a strong hierarchy (centered around the successors of the apostles - and I'll leave it there to keep the pope out of it) develop immediately after the apostles died. This is made super clear by St. Ignatius' writings. The concept of "invisible church" never existed until the Reformation. The Early Christians believed in a visible body governed by the apostles and or their successors. If they were wrong or misguided, they strayed immediately.

Now as for the Church- I know we're not going to agree on much there but the Catholic Church does include the Orthodox Churches in "Church". I.E. we are in communion with one another albeit imperfectly. They are permitted to share the Eucharist with us. So when I say "Church" even with a capital c, I am including the Orthodox Churches as well. This can get into some real shady territory so I wont go too far down this road but as I understand it, the Catholic Church sees herself as the full and true inheritor of the OHCA Church established by Christ and the Orthodox Churches also true inheritors (their holy orders are still valid) although not full (they are not in communion with the successor of Peter).
It is absolutley the case that a lesser authority can (epistemically) establish a greater authority.
That's not what I raised an issue with, I said if a fallible church selected the canon, we'd have no way to know if they were right or not.
So a Protestant can still claim (and I do claim!) that it is by the tradition of the Church that we identify which books belong to the canon
So you believe in the inspiration of the deutero-canonical books then?

And as Luther argued, some of the books of the NT were suspect even from Patristic witness. The earliest writers concerning these books (Hebrews, 2-3 John 2 Peter James etc...) cast doubt on their authenticity. How then can we say any tradition is strong enough by itself (if not ratified by an authoritative council) to justify calling it Scripture with no hesitation? How about Polycarp which is unanimously affirmed by tradition as authentic and is every bit as apostolic as Mark, Luke and possibly Hebrews? How do we know this shouldn't be included in the canon except by either an authoritative council or an authoritative tradition? Both of these sources (if you say they have authority) condemn sola scriptura. How can they have authority to tell us which books belong in the Bible, but not the authority to condemn heresy?

I agree that the Church does not give Scripture it's authority. It is God given to be sure. We just believe that God also gave the Church authority which is equally infallible (but not equal in all regards as I mentioned earlier).
you would have to say that it is more certain that the Scripture is inerrant (and that we have the correct canon)
The second part of that is much more difficult than the first. Without the Church being infallible, I cannot agree to the second and therefore cannot agree to the first. The Church may as easily have erred on this point as she may have erred in the divinity of Christ or of the nature of the Trinity. I think this also boils down to a different approach. It's a failure of the argument to begin with by saying 'the Church is subject to Scripture' or 'the Scripture is subject to Church'. While human involvement is present in both, in both cases - we're talking about entities which are divine in nature. The Church is the body of Christ - thereby receiving her divine nature from Christ. She receives her authority solely from Christ - as do the Scriptures. To talk about the Church and the Scriptures and which one derives authority from which is coherent logically, but we're talking about things spiritual - even divine in nature. They are not dependent on one another but both dependent on a third source - God.

I'll leave that point there although I could say much more about the effects of Scripture being the supreme test.

Re: Point 3 - You asked what I believe the OHCA Church was, I agree with you about the spiritual community - living & dead. We would separate beliefs at me identifying the Roman Catholic Church (don't let the wording throw you off - remember all of these titles "Roman" and even "Catholic" were added to our name as a result of other groups splitting off from us and our need to remind everyone just which church we were) Proof from Scripture ----- thats another long topic...Most of my proof would come from history though and not from explicit Scriptural references.

I read your post on Berkeley. He is certainly very eloquent. To paraphrase another Anglican (N.T. Wright) he writes so well that I'm almost tempted to believe him! But certain things about what he says, I think, clearly demonstrate that he didn't study too hard about the Catholic Church -
If we are sanctified and enlightened by the Holy Ghost & by Christ, this will make up for our defects without the Pope's assistance.

There is an invisible Church whereof Christ is the head, the members of which are linked together by faith, hope, & charity. By faith in Christ, not in the Pope.
This demonstrates a highly skewed understanding of the Catholic Church at best. This false dichotomy between faith in Christ & faith in the Pope is hardly representative of Catholic teaching anyway. We call for the need to be in communion with the Pope in order to be called a full member of the Church (not that you can't go to heaven of course). Many Protestants view the pope as the king of the Catholic Church - the spiritual dictator. Thats not who he is at all. He plays the exact same role as St. Peter would if he were alive today (if Catholicism is correct).

And remember what Jesus said "you know those who are regarded as rulers of the gentiles lord it over them and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be the very last and the slave of all." Catholics view clergy at all levels (as I think all Christians do) as servants. They are not rulers or dictators in a worldly way. In fact, in the above quoted passage, the word for servant in the vulgate is 'minister':
non ita est autem in vobis sed quicumque voluerit fieri maior erit vester minister
Anyway, like I said he seems like a brilliant writer and I'm sure he's got a lot of great stuff in that book. But I think if he wants to do serious apologetic work against the Catholic Church, he needs to first understand the Church as she really is.

Thanks for the discussion points.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

How I Got Over Mariology

If you've read my blog for any length of time, I think you will have noticed that accepting Mariology has been a long & sometimes even painful process for me. Here's how I got over it...

It is written, 'you shall not put the Lord your God to the test' but it never said anything about putting His mother to the test... so I did. Maybe it was wrong of me...

But I asked Mary to help me understand and accept the teachings of the Church by petitioning her Son on my behalf for something that I have prayed for consistently and unceasingly for over 10 years. If my prayer was answered, I'd know that Mariology was true. Well within one week, my prayer was answered with a yes.

Thanks Mama Mary! (as the Filipinos say)

Educate Yourself About Embryonic Stem Cell Research

California firm launches national campaign to preserve umbilical cord blood -

San Bruno, CA, Jun 5, 2007 / 12:30 pm (CNA).- The Cord Blood Registry, a blood bank in San Bruno, has launched a nationwide campaign to increase public awareness of cord-blood preservation.

...

For example, a two-year-old boy recently received a transplant of his own cord blood stem cells to treat his type 1 diabetes.

...

Treatment with cord-blood stem cells is more ethical than treatments derived from embryonic stem cells, which requires embryos to be killed in the process. Furthermore, no treatments have come as yet from embryonic stem cell research.
Just make sure you're ready to give a reason why embryonic stem cell research is immoral (not to mention ineffective) - in case you run into... you know culture of death politicians like Giuliani or Schwarzenegger.

Monday, June 04, 2007

After This Post They'll Be Saying Sola-Who?

The Undergroundlogician asked the following question re: 'Sola Scriptura' on my last post:

I'm looking for some topnotch questions that will stop them [anti-Catholic evangelicals] in their tracks.
I started a new thread so it would be on topic. Oh what fun for a wanna be Catholic apologist like me! Underground, let me just say if you've read Keating, Armstrong & Sungenis I'm not very confident that I could add much if anything to their work.

So the question is how do you stump someone who believes in sola scriptura? The easy answer is: you don't. There is not going to be any question that they don't have a ready made response for.

Catholic: The Bible can't be the only authority since it is a literal impossibility - a self referential paradox.

Protestant: I didn't say it was the only authority, just the only infallible authority.

Catholic: How did you find that out since even the authors of the Bible knew no such thing? (Ot at least they didn't mention it)

Protestant: Oh but they did. Second Timothy 3:16 says that 'All Scripture is God breathed'

Catholic: How do you know for certain what Scripture is without another source of authority?

Protestant: The Scriptures are self evident - written by an apostle or the disciple of an apostle.

Catholic: Even if I grant you that Scripture is self evident (pretending I know absolutely nothing about Church history) the verse says all Scripture is God breathed. Catholics agree. The verse does not say 'Only Scripture is infallible'.

I'm not really sure what their response is at this point. But it doesn't really matter, I'm sure you've heard all this before. It boils down to this, to anyone whom it is not already plainly obvious that sola scriptura is as wrong as it could be, I don't know of any way to make them understand. Even though all of those Catholic arguments are, by themselves, strong enough to defeat the doctrine, people still insist on trying to find some crazy loophole to make their way of life - not be wrong. It's human nature - especially when it comes to religion.

Back to the last question - this is simply a question of logic.

Given that all A is B, can C be B? So far as the rules are laid out, sure it can. Just because A is B doesn't mean C can't also be B. Protestants conclude that since A is B then C cannot be B. It's a logical fallacy in it's most basic form. But the thing is, if you have to explain that to someone... they're obviously still not going to get it. It's like arguing whether the vehicle parked out front is a car or a giraffe. If we don't instantly come to the same conclusion as to what that thing is, then there is a serious deficiency going on somewhere else and we're not going to come to a conclusion. I can't say, "look at the steering wheel!! Look at the wheels!! How can you say that is a giraffe?!" That won't work. If the person were capable of detecting those (what should be) obvious clues, they wouldn't have called it a giraffe in the first place.

Same thing with sola scriptura... It's very difficult to express the concepts of why sola scriptura to someone to whom they're not already extremely obvious. At least, that's been my experience.

Now here's the funny thing; not only do Catholics believe that All Scripture is God breathed ---- but we believe that ONLY Scripture is God breathed! We believe that Scripture is uniquely inspired in that it is God's very wording... God's breath. Tradition obviously isn't God breathed because there aren't exact wordings to the teachings of sacred tradition... Even when the Pope speaks ex-cathedra his words aren't God-breathed in the same way that Scripture is. They ARE infallible though - i.e. the Holy Spirit is keeping him from error.

The Holy Spirit also kept the Church from error - that is why Sacred tradition is infallible - because God would not let His Church apostatize.

If God DID only keep the Bible from error, and let other things (like His bride, and the entirety of Christianity for 1500 years) slip in to error, we'd certainly have no way of knowing. Since anyone who claimed "only the bible is infallible" could themselves by their own statement be wrong (and of course they are).

It's very hard for me to understand where Protestants are coming from on this issue because as soon as the question even entered my mind - 'where did the Bible come from?', I knew instantly that something was seriously wrong with the way I was taught even though it took me about 10 years to find out just what it was.

Now this issue of authority, Protestants say they believe in 'church authority' but just not infallible authority. Again we run into the same issue and its very cumbersome to explain the details of why anyone should recognize this statement as utterly false right at the get go...but I'll try.

First, Church authority condemned sola scriptura as soon as Martin Luther invented it - so right there, anyone who actually does believe in any kind of Church authority - fallible or not - would have to reject sola scriptura.

But we have two options at this point (and both of which are fundamental Protestant principles)

1. Claim the Church (in so far as whatever authority it has) has erred on this point (being that it is not infallible as Scripture alone is)
2. Redefine what 'Church' is (pretty soon we need to re-define what "is" is. Oh and by the way the Protestant who coined that clever loophole is in the process of redefining what 'church' is .... again.

Now if the Bible said "A is B" and the Church said "A is not B".... maybe we would have the slightest (and I do mean slightest) justification for entertaining the question that the Church was wrong and our private interpretation of Scripture (aided by the Holy Spirit and interpreted by other Scripture yada yada yada fill in the blank) was correct. But that's not even close to what we have so we needn't go down that road. What we have is the Bible saying "All A is B" and an individual (Luther, Calvin whoever) saying "therefore only A is C and since the Church says A, D & E are C, the Church is wrong and I am right" whereas the logic is simply not even on an elementary level.

Clearly, the question isn't whether the Church's authority is infallible here, it's who has the authority to interpret the Scriptures - me or the Church? My argument lacks some explanation... But this is already getting very tedious and ... I just can't spell out every small detail. Pretty soon I'll have to define every word that I write. On to the next step:

The next step is to redefine what 'Church' is. Let's make that C lower case... Since the Church teaches (and always has) a certain thing, the reformers decided to say "the Church isn't really the Church at all" and redefined it as the invisible body of all true believers everywhere. As comfortable as a thought as this may seem to me or you (however mistaken it is) we should keep in mind that this would be completely foreign to pre-reformation ears.

I think there is a sense in which this belief has merit to it. But to say that "the Church" is anything other than the (visibly) one, holy, Catholic (as opposed to Arian, Montanist, Donatist etc..) and apostolic Church is something that makes sense only to post-reformation Christians. (That doesn't make it wrong, just highly suspect to begin with).

But what I find interesting about this redefinition of 'Church' are its surprising parallels with Jesus' redefinition of Israel. The Protestants seem to have re-enacted the parable of the vineyard. In their mind, the Catholic Church had become the wicked tenants, and the Protestants were those to whom the vineyard had been given to once God's judgment was visited upon the ruling regime. Now, this concept deserves its own post (and it will get one) so I don't want to chase this rabbit too far, let's just leave it at this - Jesus was God and was vindicated (destruction of the temple in 70 AD) - Luther was a man and had the opposite of vindication, his heresy splintered into 33,000 (and counting) sects with significant variances in doctrine. Luther's doctrinal errors have been soundly refuted many times over - Jesus' words still stand. Etc.. Etc.. Like I said, I will post again on why this re-definition of 'Church' fails in several regards.

I didn't go into the 'Korban' rule - (the account where Jesus condemns the traditions of the Pharisees because they contradict Scripture) which is the only other passage that Protestants can really use in defense of sola scriptura... but here's James Akin's post on it.

I also didn't go into various Scriptures that point to other authoritative sources but an argument can be made from that angle as well.

I prefer Keating's method of "let's first agree that sola scriptura doesn't work as a doctrine... then we can look at what the Scriptures and the Church actually teach on the subject of authority"

Ok so to conclude, here are my basic points against sola scriptura

1. The bible does not reference itself (it can't since it was compiled hundreds of years after the last book was written)

2. Therefore the bible cannot possibly ever say that the bible is the only authority even if in a prophecy it would make little sense - "And I shall compile this and 72 errr 65 other books into one book and ye shall test everything by this collection of Holy Scriptures which alone shall be called infallible. Question ye not that it was compiled by ordinary men for their so called "Church" shall falleth by the wayside into apostasy shortly after they compileth it. But lo, I shall send a new hero like them of old. A man filled with the Holy Spirit. They shall call him Luther. He will correct all the errors of thy ways.. for a short while.. And then he too shall erreth on many things so I shall send another named Calvin... And he shall teach many.. But I will send more and more until enough schism reveals the truth. Then you shall know my true Church."
(Eh sorry I started having too much fun with that one)

3. "Scripture" is only known by the authority of the Church

a. Forget the "infallible authority" argument for a second, the Church - if it has ANY authority has unambiguously condemned sola scriptura..
b. You can't simply redefine what "church" is in order to weasel out of her authority.

4. Scripture without the Church is a fish out of water - it simply doesn't work.

Hope this made some sense...

Should Religion Affect Your Decisions?

So Schwarzenegger said that he doesn't let his Catholic faith interfere with his political decisions. Well I'm sure the atheists are happy.

“I always said that you should not have your religion interfere with government policies or with the policies of the people,”
Of course not! We wouldn't want morality interfering with our daily lives. Just think of the millions of criminals oppressed into following God's silly moral code. After all, who is the Church to tell us lay people how we should act?
“I am a Catholic and a very dedicated Catholic,"
Great! That means you've changed your mind?
"but that does not interfere with my decision-making"
Oh I see... THAT kind of 'dedicated' Catholic.
"because I know that stem-cell research, the way we are doing it in California ... is the right way to go and will save, very quickly down the line, lives and cure a lot of these illnesses,”
Well actually governor, you don't know that because it's simply false. There are many other countries - such as South Korea - who have had unrestricted embryonic stem cell research for years and have produced absolutely nothing. Let's not forget that South Korea has been having technological breakthroughs in other areas so it's not merely a question of competency.

Bottom line - the ends do not justify the means. And by it's very definition, Christianity is something that will not merely affect but will dominate your decisions if followed with sincerity. Being a politician doesn't excuse your moral subjectivity and the countless evils that will result. On the contrary...

Whites Pretending to be Black

A local church play had three white men paint their faces black and sing negro spirituals.

The church should have honored black music without the makeup, said David Moore, president of the nonprofit Gaston County Organization for Community Concerns, which seeks to improve the quality of life for local minorities.

"I have no problem with anyone that wants to sing black music, but to pretend that you're a black person when you're not a black person seems to be more of a mockery than a celebration," Moore said. "It's misguided at this time in our culture, in our society."

While the performance may have been in bad taste I don't know, I wonder if that hypocrite is protesting Dave Chappelle's show where he dresses up as white man and ---- doesn't honor anything but intentionally and deliberately makes fun of them. Reverse that, and he'd be fired from the show like Imus.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Giuliani Leading in South Carolina?

This story from the Charlotte Observer claims that a new poll shows Giuliani & Clinton are leading in South Carolina. While Clinton had a strong lead, Giuliani only has a slim one (thank God) and the margin of error would probably allow for the poll being wrong. But that is really alarming to see South Carolina - historically a very conservative and values oriented state - picking Giuliani as the lead GOP?! Can you imagine a ballot with two culture of death politicians?