Longevity, Endurance, and Truth

I am pretty sure I have heard one or another apologist on Catholic Answers Live, and have certainly heard people in real life support the Truth of Christianity with assertions along the line of:
Well, it’s been around for 2000 years…
*The apostles were ***martyred **rather than renounce their story – Surely they would not have done so if they were making it up…?
Indeed, even the Acts of the Apostles alludes to this in 5:34-42.

And it makes me cringe.
I find this support to be unsatisfactory at best.

How long is *long enough *to establish Truth? Why does 2000 years make Christianity True, but not older religions such as Judaism or Hinduism. And: Was not Christianity True when it was only 1500 years old? Then cannot Islam today make the same claim to Truth?

And the witness of the martyrs is inspiring. But have not men likewise died for causes less than true? In ideological wars, in cults (Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, Jim Jones, et cetera)? How many martyrs does it take to establish Truth? And have not martyrs of some other faiths (Judaism, Hinduism, Islam) shown at least as much witness?

Believe me, I love the Catholic faith and hold it True.

But if I – who am friendly to the Faith – find these supports of *longevity *and *endurance *to be weak, why should I expect them to convince others?

Is there some reason to hold *longevity *and *endurance *as supporting Christianity (and specifically Catholicism) and not other belief systems?


Surely our salvation history and faith started when God created the world? Our faith is established in the Old Testament, which Jesus taught, followed and developed by giving a new commandment. He also made a new covenant which I understand enables the Gentiles to be the adopted sons and daughters of God. The word Christianity may have been only coined some 2000 years ago but it wasn’t a new faith in the sense that it was a growth of the faith in the One True living God. It appeared new because God sent His only Son to save the whole world and those who followed Christ became known as Christians.

That is my understanding and I may be a little wonky on things (it is past bedtime in the UK), however, I am confident that I will learn more from other posts.

Yes, it doesn’t prove that Catholicism is superior to Hinduism. But it does show that it is superior to extinct religions. And there are many of those.

Well, first of all, is that true? How many martyrs of Hinduism or Islam are there…?

Second, martyrdom does show that the belief is serious. It does make faiths with martyrs more serious than made up “religions” like “Pastafarianism”…

Third, the point is that apostles were martyred. The argument goes on like this:

  1. Apostles have chosen to die rather than to deny Catholicism. (premise)
  2. Apostles would have known if Catholicism was true. (premise)
  3. If someone chooses to die rather than to deny p, that someone believes p to be true. (premise)
  4. If someone knows some p to be true, that someone also believes p. (premise)
  5. If someone knows some p to be false, that someone does not believe p. (premise)
  6. Apostles would have believed Catholicism if and only if it was true (from 2, 4 and 5)
  7. Apostles did believe Catholicism was true (from 1 and 3)
  8. Catholicism is true (from 6 and 7)

Or symbolically:

  1. Martyred(A, C)
  2. ( C <=> knows(A, C) ) and ( not C <=> knows(A, not C) )
  3. Martyred(x, p) => believes(x, p), for each x, p
  4. knows(x, p) => believes(x, p), for each x, p
  5. knows(x, not p) => not believes(x, p), for each x, p
  6. C <=> believes(A, C)
  7. believes(A, C)
  8. C

The sixth step (the least obvious) can be shown to follow like this (if I didn’t miss anything - it is not a full natural deduction, as I didn’t want to use temporary assumptions, but it’s close):

  1. (p <=> q) and (not p <=> r) [premise, like 2 in previous argument]
  2. q => s [premise, like 4 in previous argument]
  3. r => not s [premise, like 5 in previous argument]
  4. p <=> q [from 1]
  5. p => s [from 2, 4]
  6. not p <=> r [from 1]
  7. not p => not s [from 3, 6]
  8. p <=> s [from 5, 7]

(If you don’t trust this proof, you can try entering “((p <=> q) & (-p <=> r) & (q => s) & (r => -s)) => (p <=> s)” in teachinglogic.liglab.fr/DN/index.php and it should construct you a nicer one.)

As you can see, the conclusion does follow, if all premises are granted. If they are not granted - then we have a different discussion…

Well, what was the context in regards to the statement that the Church has been around for 2000 years?

More often than not its in the context of a discussion or answer against protestantism to establish the principle that Church authority and Sacred Tradition existed prior to Protestantism thus proving that protestantism is a novelty and not historical Christianity.

Bishop Sheen wrote about his in the opening chapter of “The Life of Christ.” While endurance and longevity are factors, Christ was the only one who was pre-announced. His coming was not unexpected. The Bishop writes; "There were no predictions about Buddha, Confucius, Lao-tze, Mohammed, or anyone else; but there were predictions about Christ. Others came and said “Here I am, believe me.” Secondarily, the Bishop points to the impact of Christ’s coming. So great was His coming that time itself was split in two and altered forever. And thirdly, the Bishop states that every other person came into this world to live. He came into this world to die and presented himself as a Savior, not merely a teacher.

On the contrary it is well known that Buddhas appear from time to time. The signs of a buddha are wellknown and were recongised at his birth and also the approximate ETA of at least the next Buddha is known.


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