Monday, May 24, 2010

From a Combox

From a combox discussion

Matthew writes:

You're not making an argument, Nick.

What he was responding to was no argument either. He was responding to this, from the post:

1. The only way Stapleton's argument can be truly successful is if he proves that "God and the church are the same thing." (It seems this can't be done without some kind of serious doctrinal error, so Stapleton's argument is rendered fallacious.)

That's not an argument. It's an assertion. Nick is not obliged to counter an assertion with an argument.

As for Whitaker's reply itself, he is noting that, by the rules of logic, in order for Stapleton's argument to succeed, Stapleton needs to somehow prove that God and the Church are the same thing.

No, he doesn't. All that needs to be established is whether the Church teaches with the authority of Christ. One analogy might be power of attorney: the one who possesses this is able to act with the authority of the one who has given him power of attorney, and yet the two people are certainly not the same.

That's certainly possible. But you need to prove that from Whitaker or Stapleton.

No he doesn't. All he has to do is show that the original premises had to do with the authority of the teaching of the Church, not the authority of the Church generally compared to God's authority generally. And that is beyond dispute from the post itself. But in the post, Whitaker begins with a discussion of the general authority of God in comparison to the general authority of the Church - about which no one argues that God's authority is greater - and moves from there to a conclusion about a specific that is unwarranted. It is certainly a distortion as Nick claimed. If God teaches only through the Church (P<sub>2</sub>), then it is impossible for God to be more authoritative than Himself, and Whitaker's refutation fails.

Lastly, even if Whitaker succeeds against Stapleton's first argument, it does nothing whatsoever to establish that the Church is unnecessary for knowing the canon of Scripture: the notion that Scripture (as an undefined collection of books) might have more authority than the Church in no way implies that the Scripture can (or does) define its own canon, or that the canon may be known in any objective sense apart from the Church.

Well done, Nick.


1 comment:

Reginald de Piperno said...

More from the same combox:

Viisaus wrote:

If the idea of Church being the body of Christ should be accepted with wooden literalism, then the believers would become the fourth member of the Godhead. Trinity would turn into Quaternity.

Or saints would become pantheistically assimilated into divinity, losing their creaturely limitations. (A notion that RC saint-worship implicitly supports, btw.)

Such blasphemous conclusions cannot be true.

Union with Christ does not imply (nor does the Catholic Church teach) that we cease being human, nor that we become divine in the sense of having the same nature as God.

The Bible says that when a man and woman marry, they become "one flesh." No one disputes this, yet no one says that the two have the same DNA after the wedding ceremony either.