How to respond to the 'irrelevant' argument



How does one respond to the claim that the Church and what she teaches is irrelevant in a rational discussion (even on discussions dealing explicitly with religion)?


You can’t. A person taking such a stand has conceded defeat before the discussion even starts


What he said. Can’t argue with someone who jams his fingers in his ears yelling, “la la la!”

Of course if there are more than just you and him, you can wait your turn and bring the Church in on the table, then he has to deal with the actual argument otherwise his poisoning of the well will be obvious to everyone.


That doesn’t really help.


There is no answer to your question He said he refuses discuss what the church teaches . When one side refuses to listen to the other side there is no basis for any kind discussion rational or otherwise.



Funny, but true. In any argument or discussion when someone dismisses out of hand your position or POV as irrelevant, they’re not participating in a discussion, but rather a monologue.

Sure, the Church’s position is irrelevant when discussing whether ceramic or semi-metallic brake pads are better…


“Irrelevant” isn’t an argument. It’s an adjective, a one-word sort of sneer of contempt. As William Paley asked, “Who can refute a sneer?”

– Mark L. Chance.


What would be the definition of a “faith-based” statement?

Please define ‘faith.’ :tiphat:



Do the same thing I do when Catholics claim that “mainline” Protestantism is irrelevant. Ask “irrelevant to whom or what and why?”

“Irrelevant” is usually just a weasel word people use to dismiss something they don’t want to consider. (When used on such a broad scale, that is–obviously in a specific discussion a specific argument may be irrelevant in the sense that it has no bearing on the point at hand.)



I agree with this as well as the comment earlier about how specific a discussion is as to whether the “Church” point is valid.
If “coder” wishes to provide something specific, we may be able to help more.



I once had someone working for me who kept saying in our meetings that the tests I wanted him to do were irrelevant. He would say this over and over.

I fired him.

You can do the same.


The general discussion is on religion. The majority of those involved are atheistic and ‘scientific’ who view God and religion as superstition of the masses because their too deluded and brainwashed to know any better.

The discussion has wandered into the area of Sacred Scripture. They were making the argument (if you can call it that) that Scripture is a bunch of nonsense among other (some unrepeatable) things. They portrayed Christians as holding a very fundamentalist/Protestant understanding of Scripture. I guess all Christians all got lumped in together in a relativistic soup.

But, they definitely didn’t have anywhere near an inkling on what the Catholic Church teaches what Sacred Scripture is. So I referenced them to - Providentissimus Deus; Divino Afflante Spiritu; Dei Verbum. That’s when they told me what the Church teaches is irrelevant.

To tell you the truth, it’s gotten so despicable there in their mockery of God (downright vulgar and blasphemous), I’m about ready to just give them the proclamation - Repent and believe in the Gospel (so that they are at least warned - Ezekiel 33:7-9), shake my sandals and go on my merry way.


Since it appears that they have no idea of how we got the Bible, which I am sure is the “Sacred Scripture” you are refering to, you might want to attempt to interject the historical facts of the history of scripture and how it came to be selected. Since the Church is the organizer and canonizer of the Bible (as well as predating any of the written NT texts, obviously the church teachings do bear upon a the book that she assembled.
It is probably pointless but might be worth a try. Also, since I’m sure emotions tend to run pretty high around these people you might want to get this history in writing and give it to them so that they may read it clearly if they so choose.

To tell you the truth, it’s gotten so despicable there in their mockery of God (downright vulgar and blasphemous), I’m about ready to just give them the proclamation - Repent and believe in the Gospel (so that they are at least warned - Ezekiel 33:7-9), shake my sandals and go on my merry way.

To tell you the truth you may be right. Just tell them that you will Pray for them and if any of them ever have any serious questions or a real desire for conversation you’ll be happy to talk to them. Then let it go at that.




He probably thought that you being his boss was irrelevant too…


That’s like asking how to respond to the claim that vessels heavier than air cannot fly - there are times when it is a perfectly fair comment, because a true one. To put another way - in a rational discussion the Church and its teaching are sometimes relevant & sometimes not.

A chef would be unwise to be impressed by the Church’s authority to teach how to cook linguini - because it has no authority to do any such thing; the chef, by contrast, does; cooking pasta if every kind is part of his work. It is the chef, & not the local bishop or priest, who is the expert in the kitchen - to cook is no part of the vocation of any cleric, just as it is no business of the clergy to tell authors how to write stories, or to tell astronomers, gardeners, policemen, osteopaths,optometrists or any one else how to do his or her work. If they try to, they are overstepping the mark, & are guilty of clericalism - IOW, invading the areas of activity to other Christians. That is quite as wrong as for a layman to attempt to do the priest’s work at Mass. Even if the chef & his informant are both Catholics, it is still the chef, & not the Church, that is the authority.

This is why it is wrong for priests to stand for political office: a foul thing to do.


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