Ok. So I see the likelihood that there needs to be an earthly authority. Question is: How does one determine who has that authority?
There are many churches claiming to be The One True Church/Earthly Authority. Why should I believe the CC is that authority?
I think the problem, at least for me and perhaps others, is the tendancy to believe that the best way to determine where the authority is, is to compare it to the early church; the apostolic church; the church of the Bible… Or, is that really a problem?:
This is circular reasoning. If there needs to be an extra-biblical, eartly authority, we still need to determine where that authority is, and the bible is the only infallible source to turn to. The rest is heresay and more self-interpretation.
No matter what angle I try to come to the Catholic Church from, I run into a wall - or should I say - I come back to the same place b/c I’m running around in circles.
It can’t be proven. But then again, neither can God’s existence be proven. You can show me what you think is more probable, and I can show you conflicting things that I think are more probable, but neither of us can prove anything at all and we all have to rely on our own, flawed judgement.
So, perhaps it looks more probable that the CC is the OTC, but the problem there is that when you introduce crafty Satan into the picture it throws a monkey wrench into the whole thing. Perhaps the CC looks like the most probable answer (I say “looks like” in that many of the reasoning, apologetically, historically, etc. is somewhat convincing), but I always ask myself (and what is keeping me from accepting the Catholic defense) if the Catholic defense of “supposed” scripture contradictions are not simply crafty ways of excusing herself. There are many, what appear to me to be, blatant contradictions in some very plain verses. Inevitably someone will say “what is so plain about that verse? You are looking at it too simplistically. You need to look at history, culture, etc to understand how to interpret that”. But is that all scripture is? A mere picture of how things were in particular circumstances at a particular time in history?
It seems to me that the Bible is simply viewed as old letters and early church writings with no more value than present church writings. If that is the case (as it seems to be – to Catholics anyway) then there is no way to really determine if the Catholic claims of authority, current teachings, etc. are valid or not b/c you can’t prove they didn’t fall into error somewhere along the lines w/out a point of comparison/rule of measure that the average Joe can turn to.
That, I believe, is where non-Cs determine that the Bible must be that authority. We know it comes from God. We’re not all so sure the CC as we see it today is.
Anyone else dizzy?
God must be taking into account our flawed evalutations. If we can’t infallibly interpret scripture, then we can’t infallibly interpret the earthly authority either.