I have only posted on here once, but I have made much progress away from Protestantism. sola Scriptura is just logically, practically, and biblically flawed. I have come to reject that on my own, but some books have made me even more aware of the problems with it. I am currently studying through the catechism with my wife. I feel like sometime in the near future I could be Catholic, but I don’t want to rush into it. Like most Fundamentalists, although it is an unfair situration, I am the ‘most reluctant convert’, echoing David Currie’s wording in Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, who in turned was echoing C. S. Lewis. Anyway, I also want to take the time to at least introduce my family to many of the arguments.
Anyway, on the the question…So, would someone please explain to me why it is that we have to view Tradition as infallible and authoritative? Could we view it as useful, perhaps even extremely useful? But not authoritative? I know that there would be more subjectivism in Christianity than perhaps desirable, but still, that is not an argument against that view. Perhaps we view Scripture and Tradition as useful (though not infallible) to extracting the ‘spirit of Christianity’ (spirit as in essence, not as in the Holy Spirit). Perhaps we view the authority of Tradition and Scripture as not authoritative in and of themselves, but only authoritative in the sense that we can extract the message from them. I am reminded of something C.S. Lewis said in his section on ‘Scripture’ from the Reflection on the Psalms: “The total result [of the Scriptures] is not “the Word of God” in the sense that every passage, in itself, gives impeccable science or history. It carries the Word of God…” So, could the same be said for Tradition? The importance of Tradition and Scripture is not that they are the Word of God, but instead carry the Word of God.
Also, why can’t we view Tradition in the same way that philosophy and science would view their history? It is important that we have something to build upon, because everyone can’t work their way from 1+1=2 to quantum mechanics. So, tradition is important for advances, but not infallible. Only when Einstein challenged the tradition of Newtonian physics was he able to make the great advances of science that he did. So, can we not view Christian Tradition that way? It is important to have them for theological advances, yet to consider it infallible would actually be a hinderance to Theology.
Anyway, I will leave it at that, for any adequate response will have to long and complex as is. I’m interested to see your responses.