Thursday, July 28, 2011

5 More Inconvenient, Perhaps Offensive Thoughts Or Questions

5. Which community of Christians ought I to join if Catholic claims to be the Church Christ founded proved false? Does it matter if none that I'd join bother to claim it?

4. If councils may err, why hold a council at all?

3. If people may err in interpretation absent a charism of the Holy Spirit, why would simply increasing the number of people help? Why should anyone trust an ecclesial community that wasn't infalliable?

2. If the answer to (3)b is, "You shouldn't," are you saying I should trust myself?

1. If we are imperfect, the hermeneutical process is imperfect, and the Church (however conceived) is not infalliable, how do we arrive at the truth of revelation? Are you at all bothered by the fact that godly people using the same means and process cannot agree on the precise content of that revelation?


Timothy R. Butler said...

I'm going to be a warm and winsome debater today. ;-)

5.) Every church that is worth being in should claim to be a part of the Church Christ founded.

4.) Isn't that true of almost everything worthwhile we do?

3.) Because interpretation is dealing with real language meaning specific things. So, we use multiple people as checks and balances. Just as you might, say, when discussing what Hamlet means. There is no magisterium to authoritatively claim to interpret Hamlet, yet I understand the English language enough to know that the "To be or not to be" soliloquy is about suicide.

2.) You should fully trust only God. Remember, the Church claimed Galileo was a heretic for arguing for heliocentricity, so clearly it can err (leaving aside whether papal decrees ex cathedra can be inerrant). There are degrees of trust. All of us have different friendships which are privileged with different levels of trust. Same thing: most of my friends have erred and I err. Yet, I know some are less prone to error (or betrayal or whatever), and I react accordingly.

1.) Even the Catholic Church allows freedom on some matters because of multiple interpretations...

The thing is, when we really think about it, virtually everything we do is based not on certainty, but probability. I go to class because I think the class is going to occur, not because I *know* it will occur. I assume my car will start, again, because I know it probably will. As David Hume noted, we do not even know for sure that cause and effect are any more than mere coincidences. If you've only tried an experiment 999,999 times, how do you know that it isn't every 1,000,000 time that something else happens? And, ad nauseam.

Abraham didn't know that God wouldn't require him to kill Isaac. I tend to think Søren Kiekegaard was precisely right when he said Abraham had to think that he had to go through with the deed *while* simultaneously trusting that God will come through with his promise. E.g., he had to have faith. Ultimately we have to believe something not because we can prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt, but because we have faith -- not a blind faith, Abraham knew a lot about God already when Genesis 22 rolled around, but an informed faith.

In the end, you don't know that you are interpreting the Bible or Fathers or the Magisterium correctly. It *could* be that you have a deep-seated Freudian-style psychosis (I'm speaking generically you, I don't think you have a psychosis) and that has influenced you to hear everything the Magisterium says in a way other than what the Catholic Church really intends. Yet, you've read enough and talked to folks enough that you think you can say so with a high probability.

And, that is all I do as well, though I land in a slightly different place. Happily, a place where we both have the same Lord and Savior.

Jason said...

The Magisterium interprets the Fathers and the Scriptures, and it is living so it can clarify any confusion regarding itself. There is a much higher level of trust here. And historical continuity.