Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


DOES TRADITION HAVE THE ROLE OF BEING THE SOLE AUTHORISED INTERPRETER OF THE BIBLE?

The Bible more than any book is abused by people interpreting it who have no skills in doing so.  They would not carry on like that with the any other ancient work.  It is because the book claims to be God's word and have moral authority. So some use it against others.  Others twist it to make it fit their idea of what morality should be.  Not surprisingly there are many sects which arose over controversies about what the Bible actually means.


TRADITION – THE INTERPRETER?

The Roman Catholic Church believes that tradition and the Bible are both the word of God and tradition must be used to find out what the Bible is about. The pope and the bishops have to interpret the Bible for you using this other source of revelation. The injustice of this is plain in the fact that the earliest traditions of the Church all taught that the Old Testament Law was full of symbolism and was not literally true - a form of interpretation that the Church vehemently rejects. For example, the commandment God gave Abraham to get physically circumcised was taken as saying get spiritually not physically circumcised. It was really twisting the whole book. The Epistle of Barnabas, which was considered part of the Bible by many early Christians, and the Epistle of Diognetus were the two most anti literal would-be scriptures. Tradition to a Catholic just means whatever is in the early days of the Church that agrees with the pope and the Church.

Vatican 2 declared that scripture and Tradition are the sources of divinely inspired doctrine and that both are to be revered with the same devotion and respect (On Revelation, Chapter 2:9). The Church has not made up its mind if Tradition adds to scripture or not (Lion Concise Book of Christian Thought, page 217). It is claimed that the Council of Trent taught that it did but that is disputed. The Traditions that Trent said were entitled to as much veneration as scripture seem to have been ones for practice like Sunday worship and the baptism of infants which were allegedly practiced since the apostles governed the Church (ibid 160). Therefore, it seems the decree cannot apply to traditions that cannot be traced back to the apostles or to unwritten doctrines. This means that the Church need not make the other traditions equal to the Bible and indeed should not and also that when the Catholic Church has gone on so long without tradition that is made equal to scripture it should use the Bible alone. But if Trent meant what the disputers say it meant then why didn’t it make this clear? The way it talks about tradition implies that it meant all the tradition and the fact remains that most Catholic doctrine that is regarded as infallible does not come from the Bible in any shape or fashion. The decree says that the Church is infallibly right when it “receives and venerates with an equal feeling of piety and reverence all the books of the Old and New Testament and also the traditions relating as well to faith as to morals” (page 63, Roman Catholic Claims). By implication this condemns birth-control as well and makes all the tradition that Trent had in mind infallible dogma. You see that the decree is a lot clearer than the critics would have you believe.

How could a Church that does not even know if its doctrines like the Immaculate Conception – to pick one out of many – are Tradition or not be infallible when it says the Immaculate Conception is true? A doctrine has to be Tradition or equal to Scripture if not better than it to be infallible. And it can’t be better for the Church never said that though it treated it as better.

Roman doctrine says, “All our doctrines are true including those that are not taught in scripture for they have come down to us from the apostles in the form of tradition. They have come from those who knew what the Bible was all about and what agreed with it.”

Protestant critics of Catholicism are more anxious than they should be to show that Catholic doctrines originated long after apostolic times. But it doesn’t really matter when they started. Why?

A doctrine could easily have been made up by some old fraud a week after or even before the last of the apostles died and then attributed to an apostle so no matter how early a tradition is it is no good for there is no guarantee that it originated with an apostle and the Bible predicts great opposition to the truth even from inside the Church. It shows that it is risky to depend on tradition and that God would not want you to.

The Roman Church cannot teach that tradition is a good enough authority on its own but only accept it in so far as it concurs and sheds more light on Bible revelation. But this would mean that tradition would have to be implied by scripture before it could be accepted. In that case, why have tradition when common-sense would do? Rome can’t admit it would for its tradition is more than just things that are implicit in the Bible.

The Church admits that much tradition is nonsense and it takes the rest to be God’s word. But when it is up to a man and other men to decide which of its traditions are genuine the Roman Catholic ends up in a pit of dishonesty. It is not honest to argue that the pope and Church identify divine tradition and that this tradition shows that they are of divine institution - it is the lie of circular reasoning. There is just no reason why anyone who holds that the pope and the Church are the authority should start to doubt this.

The Church censures all traditions that conflict with scripture (Radio Replies, First Volume, page 125) so ones that do not are okay. But anyone can create doctrines that can be said to be complimentary to and not contrary to scripture. For example, you can teach that the Virgin is the fourth person of the Godhead for the Bible mentions three but does not say there are only three. If the Bible was meant to be interpreted by external material such as the teaching of a pope or an alleged prophet or whatever then we can make it mean what we like to a tremendous extent. For example, when Jesus said that there was a rock he would build the Church on and you agree with Catholic tradition that he thereby meant the pope your vision of the text is coloured. You can’t let it speak for itself. The Bible does not contain rules for every moral question, rightly or wrongly, it says that armed with its general guidance we can work out God’s will so it turns out that we don’t need them.

Tradition is superior to the Bible in the Catholic Church no matter what it would have you believe. The Bible is interpreted by Tradition and since the interpreter is more important than the interpreted Tradition is superior. If Tradition is man-made the result will be a Bible with perverted teachings.

When you interpret a book in accordance with something else you are concealing its true meaning. For example, if tradition said the Bible meant that Jesus was only symbolically God then that would destroy the Bible doctrine of his deity (assuming it teaches his deity like Christendom says it does). In Catholicism, tradition is above the Bible for it determines its meaning and the Vatican is above tradition for it picks the traditions its prefers and enforces acceptance of those on the multitudes. Look how it dropped the universal and constant tradition that opposed ecumenism! Rome now declares that dead unbaptised babies will not suffer the agony of Hell forever though the constant tradition says they do (Vicars of Christ, page 461).

When Rome drops traditions and makes changes she is not only declaring that God is her inferior but she is also saying that the Catholic faith itself is putty in her hands! You cannot have the Vatican and have a real Catholic faith. Your Church is being untruthful to you when she says that divine tradition is that tradition that she has always taught.

Vatican II claimed that tradition was not superior to the Bible for it and scripture are to be accepted as being entitled to the same devotion (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Chapter 2, Part 9) but that is a fib.

When religion is full of doctrines that cannot be understood Roman Catholicism is able to say what she likes to a great extent and call her contradictory doctrines coherent truths that we cannot understand. She says that her understanding of truth always needs improvement so this is her excuse. She is able to reconcile any absurd traditions with the Bible as long as she teaches the importance of mystery.

The authority of Tradition presupposes the Church having the power to be infallible not some of the time but all the time. That is the only way Tradition can be safe so the pope and the infallible councils are superior to both. The pope is now superior to the councils for he must summon them and decide who attends them. It makes one wonder about the councils that were never convened by popes at all.
 
THE PRINTING PROBLEM

Catholics scoff at Private Interpretation or the idea that the Bible is the only authority in religion, because the Bible could not be read by the public until the invention of printing which made Bibles more available. Until then Bibles were hand-written and expensive and too valuable to be handled by just anybody. But the inaccessibility is not the Bible’s fault. If the Bible alone rules then you can’t follow what anybody says about it but must go to the book itself. If the Church really believed that, she would make theologians of everybody so that they could go to the magisterium or dogma-maker of the Church instead of listening to people who do it for them to avoid people following interpretations of the word of God rather than the word of God.

Obviously, if this print argument against the Bible as the only rule of faith is right, then these apostles who invented the principle of Bible alone did not expect Christians to outnumber copies of the Bible. They believed the Church would never end on earth so they must have expected the end of the world to be just some years, or less, away. The Protestant revival of the Bible-only doctrine would prove the dishonesty of the so-called reformers for they only had to open their eyes to see that it was wrong. But the argument is wrong for Private Interpretation applies to those who know the Bible and not just to those who read it. Hearing the Bible read would not stop you from interpreting it for yourself. The Church always read the Bible to the people and quoted it in her books. The argument that the people could not have had no Bibles and so private interpretation had to be wrong is dishonest.

If the Church kept the Bible from the people it is no disproof of private interpretation for that was not what God intended and not his fault. Without printing the essential portions of the Bible could have been written on stone in every diocese so that everybody could read or have them read out.

 “If God intended the Bible to be the sole rule of Faith - as Faith is necessary for salvation and as God “wishes all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of truth” - His divine providence should have secured:
1st. That every man should have become possessed of a Bible.
2nd. That every man should know that his was a copy of the Bible.
3rd. That each one should be certain that he rightly interpreted his Bible.
4th. That the adoption of the Bible, as the sole Rule of Faith, should conduce to unity of Faith, purity of morals, and the promotion of Divine Worship.

But as the Providence of God has not secured any of these results, we legitimately conclude that the Bible is not the Sole Rule of Faith, for all men could not become possessed of a Bible” (page 15, 16, Lectures and Replies). But the same author would hypocritically reject the argument, “If God meant all to be Christians he would have made sure that all men at least heard of Christ.” His Catholicism would tell him that God wants the whole world won for Christ.

This argument contradicts itself. He quotes the Bible as saying that God wants all to know the truth. In that case, even if it is not enough on its own everybody should and would have a copy if his first deduction is correct. His objection does not work and denies that the Bible has ANY authority at all. Though books were cheap in the Roman Empire (page xx, Roman Catholic Claims) they would still have been too expensive and hard to provide for nearly every family.

The Catholic Church holds that the Bible cannot be enough for you because you need another authority to tell you that it is God’s word. Bible Christians claim that reason and investigation does that but Catholics want you to think it is the allegedly infallible Catholic Church though then they would say that the Church reasoned its way to the belief it declared infallible. The second deduction is a lie for both sides use reason. Or is the Archbishop saying that since the Church has done the thinking for us we know the Bible is true? That is wrong and dangerous. And the Bible forbids it for the Bible itself is saying that we must come to it and see that it is the word of the Lord.

The Catholic Church has infallibly interpreted only seven brief texts of the Bible (page 8-9, How to Interpret the Bible). The Catholic is as free as a Protestant with regard to the rest. The Church raises a storm about private interpretation for nothing. What is the point of it when there are only seven paltry texts that have been infallibly interpreted? It is wrong to say that if the Bible alone were the authority we would have an infallible interpretation of it. You can make mistakes in interpreting the interpretation so mistakes cannot be completely avoided. Therefore, the Bible could be the only authority if mistakes about it are made. And more so if it is up to God to help you interpret.

There is one true and logical interpretation (naturally the simplest one) of the Bible and if we do not find it we have not tried hard enough so it is laziness that is to blame for error and church splits and not the Bible.

If the Bible can’t be supreme authority because it led to disunity then it can’t be an authority at all when the Catholic Church is full of schisms with each group saying it is the true Church and that Catholicism is schismatic.
 
THE BIBLE ON TRADITION

Unlike Protestantism, Roman Catholicism does not derive its doctrines from the Bible alone but from Tradition as well. Tradition with a capital T is the word of God.

The Catholic argument that since the Bible sometimes speaks well of tradition and treats it as authoritive, tradition must be an additional authority to the Bible is untenable because the Bible never says tradition is the other authority. Those traditions might have been divinely inspired and might have been incorporated into and enshrined in scripture alone is they were. The Bible started off as inspired traditions which were written down.

And it may be true that there are inspired traditions outside the Bible but that does not mean that we have to rely on them or are meant to. The Bible never tells us to listen to tradition outside its teaching. It was different to take tradition as the word of God during the apostles’ day for they infallibly discerned the infallible ones but it is too risky to do so now. The Bible is complete so there is no need to.

If a lot of important answers are left out of the Bible does that prove that tradition is needed and complements the Bible? It does not when the Bible does not tell us who has the accurate tradition.

Jesus’ condemnation of tradition only forbids non-inspired tradition (Matthew 15) so it is not proof that the Bible alone must be heeded. It does not prove that Catholic tradition is bad or fraudulent either. But the Bible warns that most people will tend towards apostasy and Jesus and the apostles warned about heretics implying that even if tradition was accepted as a parallel authority to the Bible it could not be depended on once the overseers, the apostles, were gone. So the context of Jesus’ condemnation strongly suggests that only tradition that ends up as scripture should be followed.

Catholics suppose that Isaiah 59:21 in which God says his word will be in the mouths of his people forever is a prediction about the Catholic Church which teaches by word of mouth and not only by a book. Tradition is what is handed down by word of mouth and this verse is supposed to teach the Catholic doctrine. But if the word were to be in a book alone Isaiah would still have written these words.

1 Peter 1:25 is supposed to prove that the Church will preach infallible tradition, that is not in scripture, forever. It is reasoned that it says that the word of God endures forever and must be the preaching meaning the oral tradition of the Church for the New Testament was far from finished. But if the Church follows the Bible and this book is the only inspired authority used the Church can still preach the word of God that endures forever. This verse gives no grounds for the notion of tradition as endorsed in the Catholic Church. And if some of the New Testament had been written and since there was an Old Testament there is no need for imagining it means the Church teaching at all.

John 21:23 gives an example of a tradition that thrived in the early Church that was wrong. The tradition promised that an apostle would live forever on earth and be the oracle of God to the Church and so late in the first century John had to attack it. This was a very serious blunder – at least it proves that the early Church did not have a pope to correct error especially when Peter had died long before – and shows that tradition is dangerous and the Church is not safe from nonsensical traditions.

The apostle Paul declared that what would become the great apostasy had started (2 Thessalonians 2) so how could we trust tradition? Tradition was the only excuse the apostates would have had for altering the faith. The apostles claimed to have given the final revelation.

The Bible predicts that most of the people calling themselves Christians would abandon the faith one day and speaks of the awesome power of Satan to delude (2 Thessalonians 2:3 – it speaks of a “great falling away” or apostasy). It says that false teachings and fabricated apostolic traditions were already being concocted while the apostles were alive under the guidance of Satan (2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2). Obviously, even if a tradition could be traced back to the lifetime of the apostles it does not mean that it is a revelation of God. Catholicism illogically assumes the reverse. The Devil might have created the traditions Catholics speak of and the papacy.
 
In Matthew 12 Jesus said that when demons are cast out and can find no home for there is nobody left to possess they will go back to the man they have left and if he is open to their influence they will take worse demons than themselves with them to possess him and that will happen to Jesus’ evil generation. Generation is a general word that certainly indicates that most or nearly all if not all will be taken over by evil. This implies firstly that oral tradition or what isn’t in writing is dangerous and the demons have the knowledge and power to pull off a seemingly foolproof deception and it implies that the New Testament could well be a demonic fabrication and that only books you are 100% sure of can be considered to be God’s word. But no such books exist and Jesus really shot himself in the foot.

When the Bible warns of a great apostasy and makes it clear that the world will be generally involved – meaning the vast majority so it is practically the whole world so even most Christians will be traitors though they might continue to infest the Church. Church traditions are most likely to be diabolical or fraudulent in origin and we have to avoid them.

ROMAN CATHOLIC TRADITION – THE INTERPRETER OF THE BIBLE?

The Roman Catholic Church believes that tradition and the Bible are both the word of God and tradition must be used to find out what the Bible is about. The pope and the bishops have to interpret the Bible for you using this other source of revelation. The injustice of this is plain in the fact that the earliest traditions of the Church all taught that the Old Testament Law was full of symbolism and was not literally true - a form of interpretation that the Church vehemently rejects. For example, the commandment God gave Abraham to get physically circumcised was taken as saying get spiritually not physically circumcised. It was really twisting the whole book. The Epistle of Barnabas, which was considered part of the Bible by many early Christians, and the Epistle of Diognetus were the two most anti literal would-be scriptures. Tradition to a Catholic just means whatever is in the early days of the Church that agrees with the pope and the Church. They don’t have the integrity to admit this.

Vatican 2 declared that scripture and Tradition are the sources of divinely inspired doctrine and that both are to be revered with the same devotion and respect (On Revelation, Chapter 2:9).
 
Some say the Church has not made up its mind if Tradition adds to scripture or not (Lion Concise Book of Christian Thought, page 217). It is claimed that the Council of Trent taught that it has and so that Tradition adds to scripture but that is disputed. But it is obvious that the Church does regard Tradition as addition to scripture though not as scripture. The Church does not teach that the writings of the fathers of the Church and the pope are scripture but it does teach that their teachings are God’s word and infallible. So tradition is not the written word of God in the way the Bible is.
 
It is thought that the Traditions that Trent said were entitled to as much veneration as scripture seem to have been ones for practice like Sunday worship and the baptism of infants which were allegedly practiced since the apostles governed the Church (ibid 160). If this thought is correct then the decree cannot apply to traditions that cannot be traced back to the apostles. This would mean that the Church need not make the other traditions such as birth-control being a sin equal to the Bible and indeed should not. It would also mean that when the Catholic Church has gone on so long without the other traditions it should scrap them.
 
But if Trent meant what the disputers say it meant then why didn’t it make it clear? The way it talks about tradition implies that it meant all the tradition of the Church. The fact remains that most Catholic doctrine that is regarded as infallible does not come from the Bible in any shape or fashion. The decree says that the Church is infallibly right when it “receives and venerates with an equal feeling of piety and reverence all the books of the Old and New Testament and also the traditions relating as well to faith as to morals” (page 63, Roman Catholic Claims). By implication this condemns birth-control as well and makes all the tradition that Trent had in mind infallible dogma. You see that the decree is a lot clearer than the disputers would have you believe. They just want a loophole to get around the fact that all Catholic tradition is binding on Catholics.

How could a Church that does not even know if its doctrines like the Immaculate Conception – to pick one out of many – are Tradition or not be infallible when it says the Immaculate Conception is true? A doctrine has to be Tradition or equal to Scripture if not better than it to be infallible. And it can’t be better for the Church never said that though it treated it as better.

Roman doctrine says, “All our doctrines are true including those that are not taught in scripture for they have come down to us from the apostles in the form of tradition. They have come from those who knew what the Bible was all about and what agreed with it.”

Protestant critics of Catholicism are more anxious than they should be to show that Catholic doctrines originated long after apostolic times. But it doesn’t really matter when they started. Why?

A doctrine could easily have been made up by some old fraud a week after or even before the last of the apostles died and then attributed to an apostle so no matter how early a tradition is it is no good for there is no guarantee that it originated with an apostle and the Bible predicts great opposition to the truth even from inside the Church. It shows that it is risky to depend on tradition and that God would not want you to.

The Roman Church cannot teach that tradition is a good enough authority on its own but only accept it in so far as it concurs with and sheds more light on Bible revelation. This would mean that tradition would have to be implied by scripture before it could be accepted. In that case, why have tradition when common-sense would do? Rome can’t admit it would for its tradition is more than just things that are implicit in the Bible.

The Church admits that much tradition is nonsense and it takes the rest to be God’s word. But when it is up to a man and other men to decide which of its traditions are genuine the Roman Catholic ends up in a pit of dishonesty. It is not honest to argue that the pope and Church identify divine tradition and that this tradition shows that they are of divine institution - it is the lie of circular reasoning. There is just no reason why anyone who holds that the pope and the Church are the authority should start to doubt this.

The Church censures all traditions that conflict with scripture (Radio Replies, First Volume, page 125) so ones that do not are okay. But anyone can create doctrines that can be said to be complimentary to and not contrary to scripture. For example, you can teach that the Virgin is the fourth person of the Godhead for the Bible mentions three but does not say there are only three. If the Bible was meant to be interpreted by other material then we can make it mean what we like to a tremendous extent. The Bible does not contain rules for every moral question, rightly or wrongly, it says that armed with its general guidance we can work out God’s will so it turns out that we don’t need them.

Tradition is superior to the Bible in the Catholic Church no matter what it would have you believe. The Bible is interpreted by Tradition and since the interpreter is more important than the interpreted Tradition is superior. If Tradition is man-made the result will be a “gospel” with perverted teachings that don’t fit the scriptures.

When you interpret a book in accordance with something else you are concealing its true meaning. For example, if tradition said the Bible meant that Jesus was only symbolically God then that would destroy the Bible doctrine of his deity. In Catholicism, tradition is above the Bible for it determines its meaning and the Vatican is above tradition for it picks the traditions its prefers and enforces acceptance of those on the multitudes. Look how it dropped the universal and constant tradition that opposed ecumenism! Rome now declares that dead unbaptised babies will not suffer the agony of Hell forever though the constant Catholic tradition says they do (Vicars of Christ, page 461).

When Rome drops traditions and makes changes she is not only declaring that God is her inferior but she is also saying that the Catholic faith itself is putty in her hands! You cannot have the Vatican and have a real Catholic faith. Your Church is being untruthful to you when she says that divine tradition is that tradition that she has always taught.

Vatican II claimed that tradition was not superior to the Bible for it and scripture are to be accepted as being entitled to the same devotion (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Chapter 2, Part 9) but that is a fib.

When religion is full of doctrines that cannot be understood Roman Catholicism is able to say what she likes to a great extent and call her contradictory doctrines coherent truths or paradoxes that we cannot understand. She says that her understanding of truth always needs improvement so this is her excuse. She is able to reconcile any absurd traditions with the Bible as long as she teaches the importance of mystery.

The authority of Tradition presupposes the Church having the power to be infallible not some of the time but all the time. That is the only way Tradition can be safe so the pope and the infallible councils are superior to both. The pope is now superior to the councils for he must summon them and decide who attends them. It makes one wonder about the councils that were never convened by popes at all.