Sola Scriptura? Art as Idolatry? Is Jesus Necessary? Mary needs Jesus?

August 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Dialogues

 

I have another inquiry thread asking some foundational questions that are being addressed by this wonderful servant of God. I have some related but different questions about Catholicism that I have the urge to submit respectfully…
1. If we deviate from Sola Scripture and add man made traditions and interpretations as components of faith don’t we introduce the risk of misinterpretation. Humans have imperfect senses, propensity to cheat, prone to errors and we are illusioned. There is no one who can claim to be so perfect that only Holy Spirit is the only influence on his or her consciousness. Under this broadened authorship of doctrines, how do we segregate truly inspired doctrine from the one contaminated by human defects?
2. What is the difference between the idolatry that is condemned in the ten commandments and the ones that we find in different churches? Doesn’t the ban cover all idols including the ones of Jesus and Art?
3. Do we absolutely need Jesus to make it to God’s kingdom? How about believing in Allah, Muhammed, Guru Nanek, Krishna etc. They all either claim to be God or messengers of God, just like Jesus did. Jesus’s death wipes out the Original Sin, which we established is not due to any fault of mankind and is nothing more than serious handicap or impairment. I would think that God would accept anyone belonging to any faith as long as he has surrendered to Him and Jesus’s death is not a necessary intervention. I know I am wrong in this line of thinking, but the point is so subtle that it is escaping my thick brain.
4. Question about Virgin Mary’s divinity-did she need Jesus to be saved?
Thank you in advance!

LikeLike ·  · Share
  • 3 people like this.
  • Ankit Dhawan Please read the last line of my second question as: Doesn’t the ban cover all idols including the ones of Jesus and Mary?
  • Ankit Dhawan For some reason the site admin is removing all visitor comments. We should respect his or her rules. I am open to all bonafide responses.
  • Ankit Dhawan Matt: Thank you for your response. I think you make a good case in defending tradition.Although, I don’t know if I understand your first statement about Sola Scripture. Can we say in the 2000 year history of Catholic Church that no corruption or interference from political establishments has contaminated the Christian doctrines? For the “Church-Scripture-Tradition” combo to be the source of infallible guidance, each component of this set up should meet the infallible standard. Would you agree with this statement?
  • Ankit Dhawan Here are my questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Why do I take birth? Why do I die? Who created me? Who is He (God)? What is my relationship with Him? Why am I separated from Him (God)? How do I re-establish my relationship with God? What is my ultimate destination? As you can see from my other questions, I am still in the Kindergarten of spiritual knowledge. Thanks for your kindness.
  • New Apologetics You wrote:
    1. If we deviate from Sola Scripture and add man made traditions and interpretations as components of faith don’t we introduce the risk of misinterpretation. 

    We reply:
    Yes. Not only do you introduce the risk, but you guarantee misinterpretation. However, our belief is not that we are adding man-made traditions and interpretations. We believe that God has not only left us with an inspired book, but with an inspired teaching authority in the Church to guard against human error in interpreting it or any other truths of faith or morals. If God can inspire the human authors of scripture, then he can also supernaturally guard the Church from teaching error to the world.

    You wrote:
    Humans have imperfect senses, propensity to cheat, prone to errors and we are illusioned. There is no one who can claim to be so perfect that only Holy Spirit is the only influence on his or her consciousness. Under this broadened authorship of doctrines, how do we segregate truly inspired doctrine from the one contaminated by human defects?

    We reply:
    Being perfectly just, if God were to give an inspired book to the world, then he would also give us an inspired safeguard against the misinterpretation of that book. Otherwise, even if the book were inspired, it would ultimately reduce to what we individually think it means. Far from being a reliance on God to teach us, the reading of scripture now becomes a reliance on our own intelligence. 

    Knowing that the written word cannot respond to the needs of the people who are reading it, God has given us the authority of the Church to teach infallibly about the meaning of divine revelation. This says nothing about the perfection of the people involved. We are all poor sinners. It is *God* who providentially ensures that the Church will not teach error in matters of faith and morals. 

    Because God has given us the Church to teach in his name, he has thereby given wisdom to the simple and strength to the weak. No other possible model is consistent with God’s justice or mercy. What he has revealed is not only for the brilliant, nor is it only for the morally perfect, but for *all* who are thirsty.

    Consider those “Christian” doctrines which you rightly reject because they are inconsistent with true love and justice. They did not come from the teaching of the Church, but originated from those who disregarded the authority of the authentic teaching. In any true teaching about God, there is nothing repugnant to the desire of the human heart for justice and love. 

    You wrote:
    2. What is the difference between the idolatry that is condemned in the ten commandments and the ones that we find in different churches? Doesn’t the ban cover all idols including the ones of Jesus and Art?

    We reply:
    An idol is something to which one wrongly offers that worship which is fitting to God alone. The art in question is not the *recipient* of worship, but is a legitimate means *through* which we can offer our worship to God. There is simply no connection to idolatry. We are not disembodied spirits. We have senses, and therefore, sensory experience is a normal part of our relationship with God.

    There is a correlation between calling Catholic art idolatry and a *hatred* of human nature. At its core, the Gospel is that God has given his broken people his own divine *glory*. He has made us one with Jesus and raised us to equality with God by his gift. This core truth (though it is the whole point of scripture) is quite possibly entirely absent among those who share the view of idolatry you describe above.

    You wrote:
    3. Do we absolutely need Jesus to make it to God’s kingdom? How about believing in Allah, Muhammed, Guru Nanek, Krishna etc. They all either claim to be God or messengers of God, just like Jesus did. Jesus’s death wipes out the Original Sin, which we established is not due to any fault of mankind and is nothing more than serious handicap or impairment. I would think that God would accept anyone belonging to any faith as long as he has surrendered to Him and Jesus’s death is not a necessary intervention. I know I am wrong in this line of thinking, but the point is so subtle that it is escaping my thick brain.

    We reply:
    The redemption is the only way for our lost destiny to be restored. Jesus is the one through whom we are redeemed. This does not mean that only those professing Christian ideology can be saved. God, being perfectly just, does not deny salvation to those who want what is right. If we are seeking the truth and are willing (in any degree) to cooperate with God’s effort to save us, then (if we persevere by God’s grace) we will be saved through Jesus even though we don’t know his name. 

    You wrote:
    4. Question about Virgin Mary’s divinity-did she need Jesus to be saved? 

    We reply: Yes. She is not divine by nature, but participates in the divine nature by a gift of God. We will be saying a lot more about this in another response, and will point you to it when it is done.