:shrug:Good example IrishDude45,
Obviously, Mr. Duke’s article isn’t much more than rhetorical propaganda. I’m up too early and so feel the need to refute it to warm up for the day.
Catholicism and Ancient Literacy By Kerry Duke
April 14, 2005
The Catholic church does its best to denigrate the role of the Bible. Their ploy is to destroy faith in the Bible as the final authority so that men will be driven to Rome for direction.
This is not true and is a specious argument meant to poison the well by eliciting an emotional revulsion in his sympathetic readers.
What the Church teaches is (and has always taught) that the Bible nowhere lays claim to the authority that has been alleged to it since the 16th century by the Reformers and their step children, we have to go with the actual Biblical doctrine that specifically calls the church “the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1st Timothy 3:15)
One of their old claims is that people in the early centuries of the church did not have Bibles like we do today and even if they did have them they couldn’t read them. One Catholic fellow even wrote and said 98% of people in that period couldn’t read or write! If people back then were so illiterate, then why did Pilate waste his time writing on Jesus’ cross, “This is the king of the Jews” in Greek, Latin, and Aramaic (Luke 23:38)? How could the people at Berea search the Scriptures every day (Acts 17:11)? Why would Paul have told the Ephesians, “When ye read, ye may understand” (Eph. 3:4) if most of them couldn’t read?
Here he has confused the ability to speak languages while being unable to read them. Even today, here in the U.S., we have literacy programs for people who function and communicate well enough to get by while being unable to read.
Does the mention of the Bereans actually support his claim? No. The fact is that nowhere has the church ever asserted that everyone was illiterate because that’s silly. Some have always been more literate than others ever since man first began to write/draw on cave walls. What happens in most cases is that many people would confer with the literate person to get information. People followed scholars then much the same as we do today. One cannot be literate in all things even in one’s own language. For example, I can read and understand the words in my Bible, but I would have great difficulty reading and making sense of a text on astrophysics even though it was written in English. I have to rely on someone literate in that science to explain it to me, (a friend, teacher, or professor) and this is precisely what Christian history shows. Even in the Old Testament Moses and Aaron and the priests had to declare what God had written to the Israelites verbally. Where there multiple copies of the 10 commandments then? Where does it say that in the Bible? (It doesn’t.)
Nor does the passage in Ephesians support his assertion. The epistle is addressed to the whole church in Ephesus, but it was read to them by their elders (bishops and their appointed priests, [see Ignatius of Antioch’s letter to Smyrna, chapter 8] who then shared it orally with the people. Copies were made obviously and circulated, but again, the percentage of literate persons was still small.
One Catholic writer said that “unnumbered millions” before the year 1500 “had no Bibles, or were too poor to buy one, or could not read it even though they bought one, or could not understand it even if they could read it.”1 He goes on to say, “Rome claims that the Bible is her book; that she has preserved it and perpetuated it, and that she alone knows what it means; that nobody else has any right to it whatsoever, or any authority to declare what the true meaning is.”2 This is the Catholic position on the Bible, stated in unmasked arrogance almost 100 years ago before the days of political correctness.
This is not “arrogance” at all but simple fact. Does this man really want to try to assert that prior to the invention of the printing press that copies of the Word of God were widespread, inexpensive, and that that everyone could read and understand them? He argues against Fr. Henry Graham’s excellent book and yet has no historical leg to stand upon, while Fr. Graham’s work cites the history of the Bible and Christianity. I have it and have read it, and recommend it to you all.