Monday, June 07, 2004

The Arrow of Theology

It's not like Time's arrow.

Infallibility is a dogma that nobody should need. If the arguments are good enough, they stand on their own. If they aren't then infalliblity won't help. Well, maybe it helps claims that are insufficiently justified (e.g., the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary). For claims that have counterarguments, infallibility is useless; the counterargument itself serves as proof that infallibility is falsely claimed.

Which leads to a further conclusion. It is necessary to consider the bad theology (a.k.a. heresy) as well as the good; otherwise, you can't understand the good properly, because it forms in relationship to the bad. Nicene orthodoxy makes much less sense if you don't understand Arianism and the other errors to which it is the answer. Hence, theology consists in large part of seeing the pathway through all these arguments. And it seems to me that the orthodox tradition-- not necessarily the Eastern version thereof-- demonstrates itself to be essentially correct. Most ancient heresies, when espoused by moderns, are invented anew, particularly Arianism, which the Jehovah's Witnesses reinvented.

When you look at the details, however, the picture of inevitable progress gets severely muddled. At this late hour I see a lot of "doctrine" that has severe problems when held up against the words of Jesus. It is not too much to ask that the two be consistent. To get back to the dog: Jesus never says that dogs are unclean. But he does lift up the first great commandment. Now Nick; if you used a guide dog, would you want someone to take it from you on such a pretext?

3 comments:

尼古拉 said...

I think "Nick" is becoming the most used word on this blog. You obsession with ROAC and with me is cute and possibly even flattering, but I would hope and pray (and I thought of this before I posted on it) that I would not be so prideful as to think my opinion should over rule Church tradition and would be gladly led into the Church by another worshiper and have my dog tied up outside.

C. Wingate said...

Actually, since "Nikolai" is far and away the dominant posters, why shouldn't replies to "Nick" be the dominant response?

If you're wondering why I keep referring to you by name, it's because here, you speak on your own authority. Borrowing the authority of others doesn't work where their authority is not presumed.

I'm not obsessed with ROAC; you are. But if you're the one who wants to come and play this game, it's only natural that (a) you'll perceive ROAC to be my main target (which it isn't), and (b) the activity will tend to revolve around you as an object example of religious argument on the internet. I'm taking potshots at the liberals too, only you don't bother to respond to those. You thus provide fresh material, and they do not.

From my perspective, ROAC is a schismatic sect of somewhat dubious origins whose importance is magnified all out of proportion by its internet presence. The recruitment of young men to come to its compound in Colorado is a novelty when it comes to Eastern Orthodox groups, though it fits into a more general pattern of the EO internet presence as being heavily driven by rejectionist converts. All of this gives it a disproportionate interest as an extreme, and as long as I have you as an example it would be best to put you to use, would it not?

尼古拉 said...

How many entries mention either me or ROAC? It started before I even came here. Its just simple math. I mean blog entries, not comments.

But I am sure just like you visit Orthodox forums with self-admittedly no plan on conversion, I imagine my being here is probably doing no good for either of our salvation, so I will leave and let today be my last day here.

Adios Chuck!