Thursday, September 13, 2007

From the Combox - Concerning Faith

Ellen says:
What I'm trying to do is demonstrate why we don't need (faith-wise) an infallible human body to give us Scripture.

my faith rests not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

we walk by faith, not by sight.

faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
No Catholic would disagree with your last three sentences here. At all.
I won't comment on this again, because it's yet another example of different definitions.
But - assuming for the moment the point that there are definitional differences - they cannot both be right. And consequently this is something that is entirely worth discussing. We may be unable to come to an accord, but we won't know if we do not try.
You appear to attack our trust in God's Word based on the fact that we have faith in what cannot be proven on this earth. Yet it is BECAUSE it cannot be proven on this earth that we call it "faith".
Then you haven't yet understood what I'm saying (and not only me, but others as well). I will try again. The question has nothing to do with whether it is proper to have faith in Christ or not: obviously it is (and it is essential). The question has to do with the reason why we have that faith. The question for the Protestant is: why should the Bible be treated as the Word of God? If you get to the point that you can rationally explain this, then you can continue to where you address the consequences of the fact that the Bible is the Word of God. But how do you know that it is? On what grounds? If you can't come up with an answer to that question that isn't viciously circular, then it doesn't seem to me that you have much reason to believe that it is the Word of God at all.

A secondary problem is that - even if you somehow establish this, it remains that a book is not a judge. It's a book. It cannot and will not adjudicate between two (or more) conflicting positions for you. Instead, some person or other will do it. On what grounds do you say that this person's judgment as to the content of the Bible is even reliable?

Assuming that you can resolve these questions, then it may be reasonable to continue forward to faith in God, whom you cannot see. But to confuse that kind of faith - the faith that believes the things that God has revealed - things that we are not able to "see" on our own because we are unable to attain to them by our reason - with a "faith" that just blindly believes the Bible to be God's Word without a sound reason for it - is a mistake.

Again: this is not to say that the faith of Protestants in Christ is invalid if they can't answer these questions. It just means that they haven't thought through things to realize the inconsistency of their faith in Christ (which I certainly presume is genuine) with the sandy foundation of a belief in the Bible that has no rational grounds. By way of a trivial example: It's like a fat man who (correctly) believes that he ought to diet because he is convinced (incorrectly) that thin people get fewer traffic tickets. The real reason he ought to do it is that it's unhealthy to be overweight. He's doing the right thing, but his reasons are wrong. Very roughly speaking, the Protestant has faith in Christ - which is the right thing - but his reasons for doing so are mistaken, and do not really justify that faith, because he has no good reason to believe that the Bible is the Word of God.

3 comments:

Leo said...

he has no good reason to believe that the Bible is the Word of God.

True, but why can't they make sure, as is their duty, that before condemning people to eternal damnation and Hell-fire that they are doing the right thing, by making sure of what they really believe, it's what they are put on earth for, to find and embrace the truth, which is Christ, who is the way, the Truth and the life.

this is not to say that the faith of Protestants in Christ is invalid if they can't answer these questions.

In other words it's defective.

It just means that they haven't thought through things to realize the inconsistency of their faith in Christ

It means that before they make such weighty judgements concerning everyone else and condemning and refusing communion with legitimate Christians, they should make absolutely sure that they are not thereby acting in an schismatic and sinful manner by learning their stuff first.

Very roughly speaking, the Protestant has faith in Christ

A Christ whom they really don't know, and persecute in the manner of His Church.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Leo,

They do their best, unless you really intend to deny that they are well-meaning. I personally would never go that far. They are mistaken about many things, but not malevolently so. There must be exceptions, but that doesn't mean that we should condemn them all.

Protestants generally aren't guilty of deliberately acting in ignorance when they condemn the Church and Catholics. They are badly misinformed, but they do not realize it. I hope that you do not mean to suggest that they are acting in bad faith, however aggravating it is (and it is aggravating) when they pronounce judgment on us. I don't think that they are. They're terribly wrong, but not deliberately evil (again - there may be exceptions, but I don't know their hearts, so I'm certainly not going to pretend to make a list).

Leo said...

They do their best, unless you really intend to deny that they are well-meaning.

Perhaps, I think that most Protestants are well-meaning, I simply mean that before they attempt to take upon themselves the judgment reserved for God only, they should make sure that their claims are accurate.


I personally would never go that far.

Neither would I.

They are mistaken about many things, but not malevolently so. There must be exceptions, but that doesn't mean that we should condemn them all.

But they enforce their mistakes as supposedly the infallible Word of God, and then proceed to condemn people by such.


Protestants generally aren't guilty of deliberately acting in ignorance when they condemn the Church and Catholics.

Generally speaking, yes, but after the many Protestants that I've had debate with recently, I'm not so sure that they can all be labelled ignorant, especially if they've seen the evidence and still reject it.

They are badly misinformed, but they do not realize it.


Most of them, but not for all, a lot of them do realize what they are doing, whether they believe or no.

I hope that you do not mean to suggest that they are acting in bad faith, however aggravating it is (and it is aggravating) when they pronounce judgment on us.

I'm simply saying that they should only involve themselves when they know their stuff, instead of hurling condemnations in blind ignorance, which can be spiritually deadly. The accusation of heretic is a serious matter.

I don't think that they are. They're terribly wrong, but not deliberately evil (again - there may be exceptions, but I don't know their hearts, so I'm certainly not going to pretend to make a list).

Neither do I, I'm not saying that Protestants are all of bad will, I know that it is possible to be steeped ignorantly in error, but I am saying that for them to make such judgments is very rash, unwise, and dangerous.