Friday, December 11, 2009

Sola Scriptura's Logical Incoherency

In this short post, I am going to handle only the logical shortcomings in the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura; I will handle the historical and Scriptural shortcomings in separate articles at a later time.

Sola Scriptura, a foundational belief of all Protestants of any denomination, is one of the most strikingly illogical doctrines ever put forward. If we look at deeper than surface-level, we suddenly see rampant self-contradiction and just plain bad thinking.

First, Sola Scriptura is illogical because it is self-refuting; here's why:
  1. Sola Scriptura asserts that all revealed knowledge is to be found in the inspired Scriptures.
  2. The Protestant version of the Scriptures consists of 66 books, compiled after a very long process within the Church.
  3. These 66 books, then, are what is referred to when Protestants say "inspired Scriptures."
  4. Nowhere in any of these 66 books are we told that these 66 books specifically are the entirety of "inspired Scriptures."
  5. Since the books of Scripture nowhere provide a table of contents telling us what books belong to Scripture, we must conclude that said table of contents is an addition to Scripture.
  6. It follows from this that the 66 books of the Protestant Scriptures cannot be a revealed truth.
  7. The 66 books of the Protestant Scriptures cannot be deduced either from human reason or from nature, the only other possible sources of knowledge.
  8. Since the 66 books of Protestant Scripture cannot be deduced from divine revelation, human reason, nor nature, it cannot be known which books Scripture consists of, thereby making Sola Scriptura an impossibility.
A second way in which Sola Scriptura is illogical is that it is essentially an argument from silence. Arguments from silence are a logical fallacy in which an individual draws a positive conclusion about an author's thoughts on a subject based on that author's apparent silence concerning the subject. This flaw in logic applies especially to the extreme form of Sola Scriptura known as Solo Scriptura, which is basically stated as "if it isn't in the Bible, I won't believe it."

The assumption here is that everything the Apostles had to say they wrote down; the question that follows, though, is who ever wrote down everything they had to say?

A third way in which Sola Scriptura is illogical is that it is based on the false assumption that we are able to approach anything tabula rasa (that is, as blank slates). It's a simple fact of human nature that this is impossible; wherever we go we bring with us the baggage of culture, language, and upbringing.

Imagine reading Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and attempting to interpret it without having any knowledge about the Civil War or even American history in general. It's impossible; everything has to be interpreted within a context. And, as the Scriptures themselves as well as the writings of early Christians make clear, the context of Scripture is the Church. Outside of this context, it is impossible to rightly interpret Scripture.






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