Sola scriptura: an analysis

[quote=Contarini] The Catholic clergy does not have a “direct” mandate either. It has an indirect mandate passed down through apostolic succession. In other words, we can agree that the task of interpreting Scripture is given to the Church as a whole.
[/quote]

We can only agree on on this if we mean the same thing by it (which I don’t think we do). The question of the directness of the mandate of Apostolic succession is a bit tangential, since my hope for this thread was to examine sola scriptura. I do happen to be writing out my meager thoughts on Apostolic Authority, and at some time I’ll probably post it as well (unfortunately it’s longer than this one was).

[quote=Contarini]The more unanimous the Church is about something, and the more important the question is, and the more convincing the Church’s arguments are, the more certain we can be that it is correct.
[/quote]

It’s rather like the current debate about same-sex so-called “marriage”, isn’t it? You can go back to the dawn of history and never find a single instance of a culture having to define marriage as a bond between one man and one woman precisely because no one ever questioned it. Now that (it seems) we have to actually define it as such, does this mean we’re making up something new?

You can also go back for the first 1500 years of the Church and find no one who rejected the teaching that the Apostolic teaching authority is given to the Magesterium, a visible and hierarchical office. What you can find is overwhelming evidence that it was accepted without question.

The Church is both visible and spiritual, a hierarchical society of which the civil and ecclesiastical government of ancient Israel was a type, and the Mystical Body of Christ whose relationship to Him is typified by the spousal union of Man and Woman. The task of interpreting God’s revealed truth is given to the Church, yes; it is given not through the individual believer but rather through the visible hierarchical structure of the Magesterium, which is protected by the Spirit from teaching erroneous doctrine.

As man and woman become one flesh in marital union and yet remain distinct, so Church and Christ, Body and Head, mystically become one flesh and yet remain distinct. As the Bride and Body of Christ, as it were “bone of His Bone and flesh of His Flesh” , sanctified and presented to Him eternally spotless and without blemish, the pillar and foundation of truth, can one believe that Christ would allow his mystical Church to fall into error? As the light of the human race, the light set on a lampstand so that it might light the whole world to bring glory to his name, are we to believe that he would allow his beloved Bride to be hidden under a bushel basket for 1500 years while some grotesque harlot impersonated her in the town square? I think not.

If the Church cannot be relied on to provide true and infallible teaching, if each individual must decide what doctrine is true by relying only on the original untranslated texts and his belief that the Spirit is guiding him, then the Church has no such task at all: the individual has the task.

[quote=Contarini] Furthermore, your dichotomy between our own judgment and Scripture does not make any sense. Ultimately we have to use our own judgment at some point. You have used your own judgment in deciding that Catholicism is more convincing than Orthodoxy, for instance. God works through our judgment as through other things. Rejecting all human judgment is the sort of thing fundamentalists do
[/quote]

But I’ve not rejected reliance on all human judgement, only reliance on judgement pertaining to revealed truth.

It is within the purview of human judgement to determine rational laws by which to evaluate the evidence of history. It is by those laws that we conclude that Jesus of Nazareth really exiested and is truly God Incarnate. By those laws I find that the texts show it to be reasonable to conclude that Jesus set up a visible teaching authority which would be forever protected from teaching erroneous doctrine and which would teach the true faith every day forever, with St. Peter as the Chief Steward of the Kingdom. And by those laws I find that the extrabiblical evidence shows that ALL of the early Church teaching agrees with Catholic doctrine on this point.

So when I come to matters of revealed truth that I don’t understand, on the authority of Christ himself I can rest assured that the Magesterium of the Catholic Church has it right.

[quote=Contarini]That’s true, and against the WCF this is a powerful argument. This (not interpretation so much) is where the WCF really does have to rely on the self-authentication argument and on the inward testimony of the Spirit. I, like you, find this inadequate.
[/quote]

This is not merely a powerful argument, it is a fatal one. One cannot rely on scripture alone when one has no objective way (that is, no way that does not ultimately rely on one’s own judgement in discerning revealed truth) to determine which texts are scripture and which are not.

[quote=Mystophilus] This is not actually true, because it presumes that doctrine is a perfect
[/quote]

representation of the truth…I believe that we are all wrong about God. I believe that God, while knowable in the abstract and limited sense, is not knowable in the absolute sense. Although I’d tend to agree with you that God is not completely knowable, it sounds as though you’re saying that he’s completely unknowable, which is another thing entirely. The claim is that the Holy Spirit prevents the Magesterium from saying that something about God is absulutely true when it’s not; this does NOT mean that the Magesterium will say everything true that could be said. But again, this thread isn’t really about Catholic doctrine, it’s about the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura.

[quote=Mystophilus] How can you have more freedom than someone who has absolute freedom to determine what they believe? …because his/her reading is determined by his/her prejudices, the Protestant believes whatever s/he really wants to believe.
[/quote]

“Let your thoughts become more surely my thoughts, and your ways, my ways; let my judgements accord with your judgements, and let the sentiments of my heart be most like your very own.” This is true freedom: to willingly assent to submit to God’s will in all things.

Grace and peace be with you.

[quote=neophyte]Although I’d tend to agree with you that God is not completely knowable, it sounds as though you’re saying that he’s completely unknowable, which is another thing entirely.As I said, I believe that God is knowable in the abstract and limited sense.

“Let your thoughts become more surely my thoughts, and your ways, my ways; let my judgements accord with your judgements, and let the sentiments of my heart be most like your very own.” This is true freedom: to willingly assent to submit to God’s will in all things…
[/quote]

True freedom, I would say, is to be able to willingly do anything.

Grace and peace be with you.

And with you.

[quote=Catholic Dude][/indent]Here from the first words, the Church acknowledges man’s limitations in understanding God, but that doesn’t mean what man does know is so insignificant or complicated that any attempt at understanding Him will ultimately leave us in the dark. From the first passages of the OT we see God revealing Himself as a good God, loving, very intimate with Adam and Eve, later revealing a series of covenants and even becomes Incarnate.
[/quote]

As I mentioned, I believe that God is knowable, but not perfectly so. In other words, I do not think that we are completely in the dark, but I do think that are constantly shifting shadows which weave their way through our best attempts at understanding God, and that we will never be rid of these. My epistemology may be pessimistic about success, but I still validate the attempt: I do not think that we should ever give up trying to know God, because I do not think that we will ever be justified in saying, “The task is complete. We know all there is to know.”

our job isn’t to become God, it’s to know and participate in what He has revealed specifically for us to know.

So I can now promote my hobby to my calling? Fantastic! :smiley:

Its not something that human nature readily accepts, but nothing is impossible with God.

While this affirms the possibility of the event, it says nothing about the actuality of it.

You talk about error as if men are always wrong on everything, kind of like the way that protestants use the term “Total Depravity” to turn man into a complete hopeless pile of trash not worth saving.

I think that people are almost always wrong about everything complex, but not always completely wrong about such things. In other words, I think that we are not so much absolutely wrong as we are so often wrong as to be thoroughly unreliable.

In the case of Infallibility, it isn’t blind teachings; they are well spelled out and take into consideration Scripture, Church Fathers, and Tradition (which includes guidance by the Holy Spirit).

I know; I have researched this and understand the basis of the decisions. A few of them, e.g., the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, I would describe as ‘the most reasonable historical theory’, but I am simply not able to agree that they are unquestionably true.

Also I just looked Alexander Pope up and it turns out he was Catholic, so that should say something.

(That wasn’t accidental.)

I always used to think that it was terribly quaint that he had that family name.

[quote=Catholic Dude]Do you think if Church history supported most protestant teachings that that information would not be trumpeted from the roof tops?
[/quote]

Only when Church history does, but Catholic doctrine doesn’t.:wink:

This isn’t a random one in a million “choice” in selecting those books, its ignoring history both consciously and subconsciously. Here is a situation where I don’t understand your logic; you have been building up this argument about “what is truth?”, but then seem to believe that somehow Protestants individually just happened to pick the same books as the Church did. (well not exacly the same books, the protestants later removed some books that said things they didnt agree with.)

What I said was not that they just happened to pick up the same books, but that they made a decision to use those particular books. Their position was not a simply derivative of the Catholic one; it was fully independent, as shown by their preference for the Tanakh OT over the Septuagint OT.

Think about it, the same people that say that the Bible holds all their teachings, that same Bible doesn’t even say what books are to be included. You have to admit that that is undefendable.

Canon-formation definitely contradicts sola scriptura, but I think that the doctrine is already contradicted by the text itself.

To say that “2+2=4” already takes for granted the fact that we agree on those symbols and usage, which all hold a historical story of origin. How about rotating the “+” symbol 45 degrees to become “x”, guess what 2x2=4, how confusing is that! The fact that you chose to ignore that history and usage of those symbols just opens yourself up to miscalculations later, or in the protestant case those errors become revisionist history and come off sounding something like “This is the truth. The way it’s always been”.

I am not sure what you are after, here. I do not see how I am supposed to have “ignored” that history and usage, except by not taking the time to mention it, and I doubt that you really want me to list the development of every signifier that I use. However, I should perhaps mention that the fact that we both may both use a signifier now to refer to (approximately) the same signified can be utterly irrespective of that signifier’s history. A “slut” was once simply a lower-class woman. “buxom” originally meant ‘flexible’. “thou”, “thee”, and “thy”, the original second person pronouns, went from being the generic form to being the pejorative used only for one’s inferiors to being the honorific used for one’s superiors. What does “gay” mean? All of these have changed, and most people use the current meanings without any conception that there ever was another one. Punctuation has been altered repeatedly, and significantly, over hundreds of years. Symbols change over time, and so long as we both understand them to mean approximately the same thing now, communication is manageable. The origin and development of the signifier is only very rarely a necessary topic of discussion.

[Bible not perfect] How come? (or In what way?) Better yet what book(s) do you consider superior to the Bible?

I do not believe that it is a perfect historical record or a perfect doctrinal source. As for superior texts, it depends entirely upon what you are seeking. If you want to learn about microwave cooking, the Bible is useless. If you want to learn about God, I would suggest that there are a lot of other texts which could help, but I would be loathe to rank them.

What you say is very true, at the same time I would question if anarchy could really be called freedom. Freedom as I see it has boundaries.

Only if the boundaries are consciously and willingly self-imposed can bounded freedom truly be free.

Mystophilus-

As I mentioned, I believe that God is knowable, but not perfectly so. In other words, I do not think that we are completely in the dark, but I do think that are constantly shifting shadows which weave their way through our best attempts at understanding God, and that we will never be rid of these. My epistemology may be pessimistic about success, but I still validate the attempt: I do not think that we should ever give up trying to know God, because I do not think that we will ever be justified in saying, “The task is complete. We know all there is to know.”

No Church teaching I haver ever heard of says anything close to “we know all there is to know” concerning understanding God.

So I can now promote my hobby to my calling? Fantastic!

?

While this affirms the possibility of the event, it says nothing about the actuality of it.

I dont know what to say, its like someone believing that the Bible is inspired by God, I dont think there is any “proof” that everyone will accept.

I think that people are almost always wrong about everything complex, but not always completely wrong about such things. In other words, I think that we are not so much absolutely wrong as we are so often wrong as to be thoroughly unreliable.

Most people would agree with this, again in the Infallible decrees I have read these are not taken out of the blue as people think, not only that they are not defined in such a way as to claim the Church knows everything about the teaching, but rather is sure what it has revealed is not in error. eg I could say there is “one true God”, I would not be in error in what I said, but I am far from fully defining what God is or what He does.

I know; I have researched this and understand the basis of the decisions. A few of them, e.g., the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, I would describe as ‘the most reasonable historical theory’, but I am simply not able to agree that they are unquestionably true.

There are a lot of infallible decrees that people struggle with, just like there are many passages in the Bible people struggle with. Im not asking you to blindly accept them either. As for the “unquestionably” part, as I have said before I have not read any decrees where the teaching is not explained, now that I think of it I bet there is better support (via Scripture, Fathers, Tradition) for any given Catholic decree than for SS.

Only when Church history does, but Catholic doctrine doesn’t.

I dont get it. Catholic teachings dont have roots in Scripture, Fathers and Tradition? The reason why its not trumpeted is because most Protestants would shrug it off, especially considering this country is mostly protestant, on the flip side IF protestants had a lot of support from those things it would be on everything from the 700 club to Billy Graham’s book lists to required reading in every “Bible College”. The simple truth is that that isnt the case, they can take a lot of those things out of context but they cant do much more.

What I said was not that they just happened to pick up the same books, but that they made a decision to use those particular books. Their position was not a simply derivative of the Catholic one; it was fully independent, as shown by their preference for the Tanakh OT over the Septuagint OT.

Thats unfounded. The “made the decision” AFTER holding and reading the Bible that the Church used for centuries. They didnt go to the library, read every book and “happen” to pick the same books, there was nothing independent about it other than leaving the church and starting their own. Their “preference” to the Hebrew OT was because there were specific teachings that they rejected, I have looked up Deuterocanonical passages in Calvin’s Institues and he dismisses them because they flat out dont fit his agenda. Not only that where do they have the authority to pick what books belong? The Bible doesnt say, so thats an extrabiblical tool right there. Also it had been a LONG established Tradition to have those books included, the “reformers” LATER removed them.

Not only that but the most important factor of all, the individual 27 books fo the NT, where did they get that list from?

(cont)

Canon-formation definitely contradicts sola scriptura, but I think that the doctrine is already contradicted by the text itself.

So why do you defend the protestant position?

I am not sure what you are after, here. I do not see how I am supposed to have “ignored” that history and usage, except by not taking the time to mention it, and I doubt that you really want me to list the development of every signifier that I use. However, I should perhaps mention that the fact that we both may both use a signifier now to refer to (approximately) the same signified can be utterly irrespective of that signifier’s history. A “slut” was once simply a lower-class woman. “buxom” originally meant ‘flexible’. “thou”, “thee”, and “thy”, the original second person pronouns, went from being the generic form to being the pejorative used only for one’s inferiors to being the honorific used for one’s superiors. What does “gay” mean? All of these have changed, and most people use the current meanings without any conception that there ever was another one. Punctuation has been altered repeatedly, and significantly, over hundreds of years. Symbols change over time, and so long as we both understand them to mean approximately the same thing now, communication is manageable. The origin and development of the signifier is only very rarely a necessary topic of discussion.

I think we are confusing eachother here, for one I wasnt talking about word usage, especially not English which both of us can agree doesnt make sense for the most part. I was talking about math symbols, I dont know of there being shifting/changing definitions for +,-,x,/, = etc. What I was trying to get at is to separate something like Church history from Scripture is going to lead to problems and that is what has happened. There are many people who dont think about it but basically have the mindset that the Bible fell from the sky.

I do not believe that it is a perfect historical record or a perfect doctrinal source. As for superior texts, it depends entirely upon what you are seeking. If you want to learn about microwave cooking, the Bible is useless. If you want to learn about God, I would suggest that there are a lot of other texts which could help, but I would be loathe to rank them.

What do you mean “other texts”? If your talking about Judeo-Christian teachings then the OT and OT+NT are what each group uses primarily to learn about God, Im not sure of any other books.

Only if the boundaries are consciously and willingly self-imposed can bounded freedom truly be free.

.
I guess neo answered this best, freedom according to Christians is these boundaries are Church imposed which has Christ as its head.

I dont know how to define unbounded freedom other than to say anarchy.

[quote=Catholic Dude]So why do you defend the protestant position?
[/quote]

I don’t. I think that you may be confusing the fact that I do not support the Catholic position with the idea that I support the Protestant one. I am neither, and I support neither, although I must say that I find the Catholic position more reasonable.

What I was trying to get at is to separate something like Church history from Scripture is going to lead to problems and that is what has happened. There are many people who dont think about it but basically have the mindset that the Bible fell from the sky.

Which is to say that they read the text in isolation, divorcing it from its historical context. The only problem which I have with the Catholic position in this regard is that, especially for the NT, many Catholics tend to focus too much on the post-Scriptural context rather than the inter-Scriptural context. Nonetheless, they are still in a better position than Protestants generally are.

What do you mean “other texts”?

I mean non-Christian ones, such as the Qu’ran, the Buddhist sutras, the Dao de Jing, the Confucian Classics, the Mahabharata. All of these present views of God and of morality which are interesting and, in my heretical opinion, useful. The danger of reading them is, of course, that you may be seduced into pluralism.

I dont know how to define unbounded freedom other than to say anarchy.

Anarchy, which is the position in which there is no ruler, is most often applied to a nation-state rather than to an individual person. It can, however, be reasonably applied to a person, inasmuch as any person who is ruled by another is necessarily not free unless that person can freely leave the rule of the other. Thus, anarchy is usually necessary for freedom.

[quote=Catholic Dude]I dont know what to say, its like someone believing that the Bible is inspired by God, I dont think there is any “proof” that everyone will accept.
[/quote]

I know, which is somewhat frustrating. I would like to be convinced that I am wrong about this, but I have yet to find a way of achieving that.

As for the “unquestionably” part, as I have said before I have not read any decrees where the teaching is not explained, now that I think of it I bet there is better support (via Scripture, Fathers, Tradition) for any given Catholic decree than for SS.

Agreed.

I dont get it. Catholic teachings dont have roots in Scripture, Fathers and Tradition?

Not that: many Protestants would be very happy if they could find something which was historically demonstrable and which fitted with sola scriptura but which was not Catholic doctrine and could not be described as a derivation of Catholicism. I do not think that they are ever likely to find such a thing, however.

They “made the decision” AFTER holding and reading the Bible that the Church used for centuries. They didn’t go to the library, read every book and “happen” to pick the same books, there was nothing independent about it other than leaving the church and starting their own. Their “preference” to the Hebrew OT was because there were specific teachings that they rejected. I have looked up Deuterocanonical passages in Calvin’s Institues and he dismisses them because they flat out don’t fit his agenda. Not only that, where do they have the authority to pick what books belong? The Bible doesn’t say, so that’s an extrabiblical tool right there. Also it had been a LONG established Tradition to have those books included, the “reformers” LATER removed them.

As common an idea as this is among Catholics, the fact remains that the OT which the Protestants chose is exactly the same collection as the Hebrew Tanakh. They did not simply start tearing books out of the OT (although that did happen later with some printers), but instead went back to a Jewish collection with as much sanction behind it as the Septuagint, for fairly obvious reasons. As for their authority, it came (they thought) from God. The wonderful thing about the guiding of the Holy Spirit is that it cannot ever be verified, and so everyone claims that they were led by the Spirit to do whatever they do.

Not only that but the most important factor of all, the individual 27 books fo the NT, where did they get that list from?

The Protestants had no problem with them, and so they saw no reason to look for another set.

I think that part of the trouble here may be the fact that, like most Catholics, you conceive of the Catholic Church as having always been the Original Church. Unsurprisingly, this idea is not generally held outside of Catholicism. While the Catholic Church is, and was in the C16th, a descendant of the early Church, so too were, and are, the Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, and Protestant branches of Christianity.

[quote=Mystophilus]True freedom, I would say, is to be able to willingly do anything.
[/quote]

To make this choice is an organic part of our being, it is inescapable. To choose to submit to the will of God is to take the path to full humanity and true freedom: communion with the Eternal One. To choose otherwise is to become willing victim to the most abject and pitiable slavery imaginable.

Genesis 3: 4-5

[quote=neophyte]To make this choice is an organic part of our being, it is inescapable. To choose to submit to the will of God is to take the path to full humanity and true freedom: communion with the Eternal One. To choose otherwise is to become willing victim to the most abject and pitiable slavery imaginable.

Genesis 3: 4-5
[/quote]

Freedom depends upon the availability of options: when there are no options, there is no freedom; when there are infinite options, there is infinite freedom.

If one chooses to submit oneself to the will of God, one could still choose, at a later date, to defy God, and so freedom is not curtailed by that choice. If one chooses to defy God, one could still choose, at a later date, to submit to God, and so freedom is not curtailed by that choice. Both of these sets of conditions remain true for the same period: the length of a mortal life. Where is the difference in their degree of freedom?

[quote=neophyte]And yet at the same time,the WCF proposes as an article of faith that the unlearned, using ordinary means, may attain a sufficient understanding of scripture.

“All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.” (WCF, Chapter 1, Article 7)

This is in opposition to the clear text of scripture, which warns of the perils of the ignorant trying to understand scripture without guidance.
[/quote]

“Clear text” ? What’s happened to the obscurity of the Bible ? If you can find it clear, maybe others can

“In them (Paul’s letters) there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.” (2 Pet. 3:16)

Let’s have that first bit again:

“All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; **yet **those things which are necessary…are so clearly propounded that…etc.”

It’s a very balanced statement, which exaggerates neither the obscurity nor the perspicuity of the Bible. All Catholics ever see is the obscurity :frowning: That’s because the main thing is to “prove” that Protestants are morons :frowning: . Understanding Protestant doctrine, rather than a caricature of it, is of no importance. If it were so uterly worthless it would not have survived persecution from without and corruption from within.

Many things are perfectly clear in actuality, despite the attempts of some people to try making out that the Bible is utterly unintelligible and completely beyond understanding unless one is RC. I know, because I believed a great many things when I was Protestant that I believe now as a RC. And a lot of others could say the same. Presumably everly word written by Newman before his conversion to Catholicism was utterly worthless - in which case, one wonders why twenty-five of his Anglican sermons have been republished.

St. Peter says “some things” - not “every word”.

This exaggerated notion of the doctrinal obscurity of the Bible leads, if one is consistent, to regarding all Protestants as no better than Christless heathens - all because they are not RC. They don’t have the Church, so of course they never get anything right.

[continued…]

[continued & ended]

Human beings are not brain-dead zombie drones - they have minds of their own, and souls of their own, and these are not the property of any Church. The divines who composed the Westminster Confession were not ignorant savages. IMHO, it is high time that Catholics stopped being so endlessly negative about Protestant theology (of which, to be fair, they always show themselves entirely ignorant).

Why is vomiting on Protestantism so essential to being Catholic ? Only the say-so of the Church is any reason for believing that the Church’s teachers have any rightful authority - so the CC is in exactly the same spot as any Protestant body where legitimacy is concerned. Not that most Catholics will point out the weaknesses in the CC’s own position. If they don’t, though, that reduces Catholic apologetic to special pleading. Which is worthless.

The list of the Canon is not given in scripture: no scriptural text contains a table of contents for the Bible. Thus WCF Ch.1, Art. 2, which proposes a specific list of books as an article of the faith, contradicts WCF Ch1, Art.1/Art. 6/Art. 7/Art. 8, and Ch. 31/Art 4. which in total say that only scripture is authoritative and that a council cannot declare a rule of faith.Thus, either the list of the canon is not an article of the faith, or sola scriptura is false: there is no other alternative.

Maybe they should be quoted; here is a link to the WCF, so that people can make up their minds whether the Confession is as contradictory as claimed:

http://www.reformed.org/documents/westminster_conf_of_faith.html ##

(cont)

[font=Arial]

[quote=Gottle of Geer] …That’s because the main thing is to “prove” that Protestants are morons :frowning: . Understanding Protestant doctrine, rather than a caricature of it, is of no importance. …Why is vomiting on Protestantism so essential to being Catholic ? [/font]
[/quote]

Please, Gottle, I don’t think I’ve said anything that deserves to be called trying to prove that Protestants are morons, vomiting on Protestantism, or presenting a charicature of Protestant doctrine. I’m just evaluating the structure of the Confession to see if it’s internally consistent, and I made sure to faithfully quote the texts precisely to demonstrate that I wasn’t distorting it.

[quote=Gottle of Geer] ## “Clear text” ? What’s happened to the obscurity of the Bible ? If you can find it clear, maybe others can #### Let’s have that first bit again:

“All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; **yet **those things which are necessary…are so clearly propounded that…etc.”

It’s a very balanced statement, which exaggerates neither the obscurity nor the perspicuity of the Bible.
[/quote]

I can grant that it sounds like a balanced statement, but what no one’s managed to explain is how it can be coherent with the rest of the articles of the Confession. The WCF says that the text of scripture is most necessary for salvation, and yet there is no scripture that provides a practical description of what scripture *is, *what texts are and are not inspired of God, nor does the WCF provide a way to determine that such a text, if it existed, is itself inspired.

I never said that everything in the bible is obscure, and in fact I said quite the opposite.

[quote=Mystophilus]Freedom depends upon the availability of options: when there are no options, there is no freedom; when there are infinite options, there is infinite freedom.

If one chooses to submit oneself to the will of God, one could still choose, at a later date, to defy God, and so freedom is not curtailed by that choice. If one chooses to defy God, one could still choose, at a later date, to submit to God, and so freedom is not curtailed by that choice. Both of these sets of conditions remain true for the same period: the length of a mortal life. Where is the difference in their degree of freedom?
[/quote]

“Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude…The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin.” ”
(CCC: 1731,1733) usccb.org/catechism/text/pt3sect1chpt1art3.htm

We are created with a nature to be in relationship with God as Children to a Father, and to have the freedom to accept or reject that relationship. Adam, by submitting to his own will rather than to God’s, rejected that relationship and brought death to what most vitally made us human. We, by also choosing to submit to our own wills, ratify Adam’s original sin, embrace it as our own, and are left longing for that which cannot be satisfied by anything at which we grasp: indulgence nor asceticism, company nor isolation, city nor mountains, nothing satisfies us. And yet we cannot cease grasping, like a laboratory monkey who dies of starvation, sucking on a cocaine dispenser while surrounded by an emperor’s feast of fruit and nuts.

We can choose to act from among many different goods, or from among many different evils. Each choice also contains this choice: to submit to God’s will, or our own.

I agree neophyte didnt go overboard, the thing we have to remember is serious perversions in interpretation have happened and souls have been put in danger.
2Pt3:15 And account the longsuffering of our Lord, salvation; as also our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you: 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction.
The big example of a “certain things hard to understand” that comes to mind is Romans 9 (or even Romans in general). Talk to any protestant and its clear (to me at least) that they draw their main ideas from this book, I have asked various Protestants before to prove their teachings using the Gospel accounts, I havnt seen much proof. Anyway back to Romans 9, thats the central pillar of Calvinism, would you say they distorted and misinterpreted that chapter?

[quote=Gottle of Geer]Human beings are not brain-dead zombie drones - they have minds of their own, and souls of their own, and these are not the property of any Church. The divines who composed the Westminster Confession were not ignorant savages. IMHO, it is high time that Catholics stopped being so endlessly negative about Protestant theology.
[/quote]

Unfortunately, yours is a minority position. Still, if you can convince enough other people of this, the idea can spread.

[FONT=Georgia]Why is vomiting on Protestantism so essential to being Catholic?

This is what will limit the spread. Frequently, an individual establishes his/her identity on the basis of group affiliations: “I am an X”. Having done this, it is as necessary to defend that group as it is to defend the self proper. The very existence of a competing ideological group is often seen as an attack upon the individual’s own group, because any member of the Other group is choosing not to belong to the individual’s own group by joining the ‘opposition’, thus implying that the individual’s own group is wrong.

This is why people become so emotional about others not accepting that their religion is inherently perfect.

Only the say-so of the Church is any reason for believing that the Church’s teachers have any rightful authority - so the CC is in exactly the same spot as any Protestant body where legitimacy is concerned. Not that most Catholics will point out the weaknesses in the CC’s own position. If they don’t, though, that reduces Catholic apologetic to special pleading. Which is worthless.

How did you come to be a Catholic when you do not unquestioningly accept the authority of the hierarchy? Or did you become sceptical after converting?

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.