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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

You Don't Seriously Believe That

I have heard some form of this argument over and over: "We don't need absolute certainty in religious doctrine, and it is inappropriate to seek it." This needs to be called out as a subtle form of religious indifferentism. If the man's lack of certitude is at all related to his creatureliness or original sin (in the latter case, excepting Jesus and Mary, if you don't mind) then it applies to all religious claims equally. Christianity happened here, in the real world. The Incarnation is the guarantor that our faith is not fideistic; it depends on the credibility of the witnesses, one of which is God, who raised the Incarnate Word to new life after death.

It's been the fashion to deny that the visible community acts as a preserver of particular dogma, but we know by experience this is false. If you walk into a Presbyterian church, ordinarily, that community has distinctives that make it what it is. In other words, it's a theological heuristic. I'm simply giving people the benefit of the doubt: if they hold some idea, especially in regard to religion, we take them at their word they believe it's true, unless they say otherwise. It's not objectionable that they believe doctrine y as opposed to doctrine x; it's just foolish to do it without a reason. Worse still, it's foolish to deny the need for dogmatic certainty out of fear of who knows what. Because this is God, we need stronger reasons than preference. That doesn't end the discussion, but it should murder this stupid postmodern notion that we don't need infallibility. I love Newbigin, but he was dead wrong. Jimmy Hoffa dead wrong. He's re-opening the liberal Protestant gate back to naturalist atheism, and some of you Reformed are doing it for pointless reasons. If I may be perfectly frank. The theology of encounter and immanence isn't wholly meritless, but it's dangerously subjective, if not anchored in the real. "Two Kingdoms" circles back and kisses William James, unwittingly, also.

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