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Sola Scriptura and Other Points of Confusion. February 6, 2007

Posted by betweennaps in Christianity.
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I’m either on the path to enlightenment or I’m treading on dangerous ground.  Unfortunately, I don’t know which.  After I finished reading Rome Sweet Home, instead of deciding that Catholicism is definitely stupid, I want to know more.

I don’t think I’ve ever really taken the time to consider many of the stipulations that my faith is based on.  I don’t have much trouble reconciling the faith/works debate, but one of the crucial distinctions between Protestantism and Catholicism is sola scriptura – is the Bible the only source of authority?  2 Timothy 3:9 is often used as the basis for the Protestant interpretation, but I never noticed that the verse said “All Scripture…” instead of “Only Scripture….”  At the same time, I’m very wary of the alternative – is it reasonable to put the church’s interpretation of God’s will over your own, considering many aspects of the Catholic church’s history (indulgences, supposedly having 3 popes at once, corruption, etc.).  One illustration, however, made a lot of sense to me. 

In American law we have the Constitution and case law (when a judge of a higher court interprets a law one way, you’re supposed to follow the ruling).  One of the points that Scott Hahn made was that sola scriptura would be like if the founding fathers gave us a Constitution without the courts, and that was it.  It would probably lead to anarchy, which, you could argue is the religious equivalent of the many denominations of Protestantism.

I’m still very unclear about the Catholic plan for salvation.  If it comes down to “be a good person,” I’m quite clear that that would notbe the answer.  I also have issue with the fact that most of the other kids in my CCD classes consisted of the worst-behaving students from my public school.  Regardless, my respect for the Catholic church has been steadily growing since my anti-Catholic days back in college.  I’m increasingly beginning to notice the Catholic church has been the only religious institution to take a hard-line stance on issues that I previously thought were non-issues.  For example, I don’t have a moral problem with contraception, but I can see how it could be bad for society as a whole. 

In any case, digging deeper into my faith and knowing why I believe what I believe is something that I have to do.  I have to be able to face God on judgement day and say that I’ve sought him with all my mind and my soul.  I feel like I have such a big task in front of me and I don’t know when I’ll find the time to read and research as much as I think I’ll need to.

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