If Christianity is true, then why do Catholics have to be right?


#1

Help! I'm stumped in this debate (yes, another debate :)

debate.org/debates/If-Christianity-is-true-then-Catholics-are-right


#2

Catholicism holds the fullness of Christ's Truth. All other Christian faiths hold a part of it. That is why Catholics are right.


#3

The question is probably: why is the collection of Catholic dogma important for one's salvation, so that heretics is a kind of unbelief?


#4

The main detractor’s posts are based on flawed assumption and requirements.

I believe that Christianity is true, and given that Christianity is true, Roman Catholicism is a distortion of Christianity.

His assertion, followed by his reasoning:

  1. Roman Catholicism, as it is presented today, is remarkably different from what Jesus taught and from the early church.

A baseless assertion, followed by absolutely no supporting evidence.

  1. Catholicism is not the only Christian religion whose members are compelled to adhere to specific doctrines.

True, but this fact in no way undermines Catholicism’s correctness or place of primacy among the Christian religions.

  1. Catholicism’s members do not all hold the same doctrines.

This is like saying not all republicans or democrats adhere to the same doctrines; heck, the same is likely true of his own Church. This statement is terrible wordplay. What he is trying to assert is “Because members of the Catholic faith do not all adhere to the same doctrines, Catholicism can’t be right.”

There are so many things wrong with that statement, but I’m only going to focus on the most important one:

The existence of a set of rules / doctrine does not automatically mean that all people are going to follow those rules. If this were true, then we would have no original sin or fallen nature, because Adam and Eve wouldn’t have disobeyed God. This is like saying, when an american breaks the law, America ceases to be a country. It’s a poor and, frankly, stupid assertion that no serious student of religion would make.

(At this point, based on the wording of your post, I’m going to assume that you’re the person who set up the debate? If this is the case, your opponent is basically throwing the by-the-books arguments back at you. A search on catholic.com clears most of them up.)

Moving on to his first point, about Peter being the rock.

There is a great deal of information drawn from the original writing of the Bible which is not present in the English translation (or any modern translation, to my knowledge) that has to do with the exact word used for* Peter *and for rock. A detailed breakdown can be found here, but I’ll give you a brief breakdown:

In Greek, Peter’s name is Petros, and the word for rock is Petra; similarly, in Latin they are Petrus and petra respectively. There are essentially the masculine and feminine forms of the same base word. In Armaeic, however, this distinction does not exist, and they are both written as ke’pha’; Jesus’ naming of Peter is purposeful; He literally named him “Rock”

Taken from that website:

The core of the meaning appears to rest in the two words for a “rock.” If Matthew recorded that Christ used the same word both for (1) the proper name of Peter and (2) the foundation on which Christ says he will build the church, then an interpretation follows that the foundation of the church is Peter

Galatians 2 is referencing the lack of requirements of circumcision, and Paul’s rebuking of Peter for forcing the gentiles to adopt the Jewish custom, while not completely practicing it himself. Paul was in the right, and Peter conceded the point; from then on, circumcision was no longer required of the gentiles. The reason the opponent is bringing this is is likely due to a misunderstanding about Papal infallibility, which only attaches under specific conditions. Peter was a sinner, just like the rest of us, and he failed at time, just like the rest of us. If he claims that this is grounds for Catholicism to be false, then his own denomination (because despite what he says, non-denominations is a denomination… that entire moniker makes me angrier than I can express.) along with every other denomination ever must be false, because whomever founded them is not perfect. Catholicism is the only church that can trace its origins back to the one perfect Son of God; therefore, we are the only church whose founder was not sinful.

The opponent then moves on to discuss Matthew 23:8-10, the portion “Call no man teacher (rabbi).” Here is a good breakdown on that one, but I’ll include an abbreviated version.

This is another instance of Biblical literal-ism ignoring the true meaning of the statement. As Christ often does, he was using allegory / hyperbole / storytelling to make his point.

From the site:

Jesus criticized Jewish leaders who love “the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market places, and being called ‘rabbi’ by men” (Matt. 23:6–7). His admonition here is a response to the Pharisees’ proud hearts and their grasping after marks of status and prestige.

He was using hyperbole (exaggeration to make a point) to show the scribes and Pharisees how sinful and proud they were for not looking humbly to God as the source of all authority and fatherhood and teaching, and instead setting themselves up as the ultimate authorities, father figures, and teachers.

He next tries to cite John 2:27-28… but John:2 ends at 25, so I’m not sure where this is actually from; that makes it hard to debate.

continued on next post:


#5

continued form previous post:

From there, he asks if Matthew 28:19-20 is a command.

[BIBLEDRB]Matthew 28:19-20[/BIBLEDRB]

Um... yes, it is.... what does that have to do with anything

He then asks if, for some reason, the power to forgive sins wasn't conferred to Thomas? First off, in reading it, I see no reason to think that; secondly, even if that was true, what does it matter? It went to all the rest of them how would one apostle not getting it negate anything? He is also making a very human error, attributing physical limitations to Christ. God is omnipotent / omnipresent, he has no physical limitation. Thomas was with him as much as the other disciples, and as much as you and I are, constantly.

In Luke 10:16, was Judas among those given "legislative power"?

Yes, he was, because at the time he was still an apostle. In fact, he remained one until his death. Again, this has nothing to do with the debate topic.... I'm tempted to skip over these that don't pertain...

If 1 Corinthians 3:1-10 is about hierarchy, why does verse 10 end with a warning to be careful how you build? And why is it followed by verses about how that work (of building the church) can be built up? Can the church hierarchy fail?

This verse (1), and the following ones deal with an admonishment of the Corinthians for living too-worldly lives. They are too caught up in the inner fighting about who teh best apostle is, and do not reflect on the fact that it is God, not the apostle, who brings about faith and conversion.

The tenth verse deals with Paul as "the Architect", and has to do with making sure your foundation is strong; that is, making sure that your faith is strong. You want your faith the be firmly grounded, not based on a passing and incomplete understanding. It is talking about how the foundation was / is being built by the apostles. The faith of members can falter (as we've seen), but that doesn't negate the truth of the message, as he seems to be implying. (People can start believing that 2+2 is five, but that doesn't stop 2+2 from equaling four.)

If Acts 1:21-26 is about the succession of apostles, why are there only 12 foundation stones mentioned in Revelation 21:14? And, which name is written on the 12th: Matthias or Paul?

Admittedly, I've never heard this one before. This verse deals with nothing more than who they chose to replace Judas. It's not the apostolic succession as it pertains to Peter, it's only about who they would make the new Twelfth. As to the note in Revelations, you have to remember that Revelations is highly allegorical. That aside, it is probably because Judas killed himself before he was able to begin his true apostolic work, that is, spreading the word of God. That's only my conjecture though, you'll have to look elsewhere for that one.

It is called noble in Acts 17, when the laity held an Apostle to the standard of Scripture rather than taking him at his word. Does this fly in the Roman Catholic church?

I don't understand the purpose of the question. Should we point out when a priest is doing something incorrectly? Most certainly.... What does this have to do with the debate?

I wonder why Cyprian didn't mention the pope" Perhaps it is because there was no pope at the time he was writing. I find it more likely that Cyprian was talking about the current state of the Church than paving the way for papists. If the Church is in all Bishops, what are we to make of it when a Bishop, rather than the multitude under him, goes astray? If an apostle can go astray, why can't a Bishop?

Because the word Pope didn't exist yet. He seems to be implying that because a Pope wasn't mentioned, there couldn't have been one. That like saying, if I don't refer to my wife when I'm writing about something, she obviously doesn't exist. It's another stupidly flawed argument that no serious debater should be making.

Also, once again, what does this have to do with the debate? Is he making the assertion that a Bishop went astray? If so, then he's completely right, there were several who rejected Catholic dogma, they sometimes decided to break of and form their own church (an prime example of human hubris, the type that is all too common in the protestant denominations, otherwise there wouldn't be 30,000+ of them); there were even some Popes who lived lives not worthy of their position. What does this have to do with anything? If anything, this should be a sign of the legitimacy of the Papacy; no matter how bad the Pope was (and there were some bad, bad Popes around the renaissance), Catholic dogma remained intact. "The gates of Hell shall not prevail against you."

I have neither the time nor concentration to cover the last few paragraphs, good luck on that.

Good luck, hope this helps.

As to why we have to be right:

We were started by Christ himself, and he guaranteed us, personally, that Hell would not prevail against us. That has been true of the Catholic church for over 2000 years; no matter how world culture has changed, no matter how we've been persecuted, and no matter how much internal turmoil there has been, we have remained constant; we have stuck to the Truth as it was revealed by God through the Holy Spirit. We have not faltered in the face of overwhelming opposition (such as this nonsense with abortion / gay marriage.) We remain the One, Holy and Apostolic Church we have always, and will always be. Most of the Protestant church's can barely claim to be one hundred years old; a select few have barely touched the 500 year mark; and yet they persist in claiming that they know better than the Church that Christ himself began. As I said before, human hubris knows no bounds, and pride is the sin from which all other sins derive.


#6

I just joined and Favorited the debate, keep up the good work and defending the faith :smiley:


#7

Just saw your response. Glad to see you liked my post XD You probably should have gone into more detail with your responses though, but that’s just my opinion… I like detail in debate :stuck_out_tongue:


#8

[quote="mab23, post:6, topic:311939"]
I just joined and Favorited the debate, keep up the good work and defending the faith :D

[/quote]

Thanks. I haven't been controlling my online persona on the site the past couple of days; I need to work on that, but some trolls are just so aggravating. I think Paul said preaching without love is as a clashing cymbal.

[quote="ProdglArchitect, post:7, topic:311939"]
Just saw your response. Glad to see you liked my post XD You probably should have gone into more detail with your responses though, but that's just my opinion.. I like detail in debate :p

[/quote]

Haha, yes, I forgot to give you proper thanks. I would have gone in more detail, but I'm actually learning as I go along... I started this debate not sure how I would argue lol.


#9

[quote="SlimNm, post:1, topic:311939"]
Help! I'm stumped in this debate (yes, another debate :)

debate.org/debates/If-Christianity-is-true-then-Catholics-are-right

[/quote]

better recheck the forum rules about posting links to other sites like this.


#10

#11

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.