Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Great Question of Truth

Proposition FIRST:
There is absolute truth.
Proposition Second:
We CAN know truth. It is discernible to the human mind and spirit.
Related Problematic Assumptions
American Protestantism assumes the directional route Truth takes is from the Holy Spirit into the Individual Christian. God reveals and illuminates a correct theological understanding of scripture to the individual who prays and studies the Bible. They do not admit an infallibility of this process, only that God matures them individually into the fullest understanding of scripture. The empirical result of this presumption is that like-minded individual Christians tend towards each other and often group themselves into sects, all convinced that God has revealed a correct understanding to them. 
Conclusion: Christian Relativism
Practically analyzed this idea of direct revelation has supported the breakdown of truth. If we each can have our own individualized truth, then there can be nothing objectively true. 
Seeming Irreconcilable Propositions
Within the context of Protestant assumptions the result of Proposition One and Two is an antagonistic, antithetical contradiction. There is a knowable absolute truth. Everyone sees it not only differently, often in a mutually exclusive way. So therefore, truth cannot exist. 
Common Ground 
Let us lay the groundwork for an understanding between Catholic and Protestant about venues for receiving spiritual knowledge. All Christians admit God’s absolute Truths are in part revealed:
By the Holy Spirit through Scripture
By the Holy Spirit through Spiritual people
By the Holy Spirit through Nature
The difference is not in how God is revealed but in degrees. Protestants consider Scripture as the foremost authority by which God reveals truth to individual persons. 
All other revelations must fit within the boundaries of the individual’s understanding of scripture--through their worldview, perspective and spiritual maturation.
Catholics resolve this mutually exclusive Protestant dilemma of Proposition One and Two by the belief that the primary MEANS of transmitting truth. 
There IS absolute Truth and we CAN know it, but not by ourselves. 
Catholics do not believe the primary way of the Holy Spirit infusing revelation is directly into the individual person via scripture. Catholics do not believe that we can come to the fulness of theological maturity and infallibility through an individualistic relationship with God, but that God gives us TEACHERS. 
This is the CRUX of Protestant and Catholic scriptural interpretation and doctrines--God-appointed teachers. 
Protestants have long been wary of anything “blocking” direct access to God. If the assumption is that the individual receives the fullness of truth directly through the Holy Spirit, why need a Bible? If they will accede to the idea that truth comes via God’s material creation, why insist on the written word alone. 
In truth Protestants do allow for help in theological understanding. They rely on Calvin and Luther and other prominent Protestant teachers. They do rely on the natural world to understand God. They often are not aware of the fact that God uses people and things in which to transmit truth. It is rarely a divine inspiration without any material context where revelation is given. It is sermons, scriptures, prayers, movies, television and day to day routine that the Holy Spirit uses to show us God. 
So, for a Catholic, we recognize our inability to recognize and comprehend Absolute truth---alone. We rely on God appointed teachers within His Holy Church as a solution to Relativism.  There is no friction in the seeming incompatibility of the two propositions and reality. The hostile contradictions dissolve in the mystery of God’s church.
Jesus Loves Me (Catholic Version)
Jesus loves me this I know, for the Apostles told us so.
Little ones to him belong in a church that He made strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus me,
The Apostles tell me so.
Jesus anointed fishers of men. Gave to them the Kingdom of He’vn
Commanded to forgive our sin,  they open the gates and let us in.
Yes Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus love me
The Church has told me so.
Against her Hell will not prevail. The church, He promised, will not fail.
Into heaven, the Groom did go, but left His Bride as white as snow.
Yes, Jesus Loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me,
Jesus tells me so.