locdog offers a rejoinder to my remarks here yesterday

Readers can referee the merits of his argument in my comments box if they like. Very quickly:

1. “Mr. Haskell” is not a way to impress people with the maturity of your argument.

2. Right. Nobody really believes sola scriptura. It’s a slogan, not something people really live by. It’s either ignored in practice, or redefined in such a way as to basically mean “Scripture plus those aspects of Catholic Tradition we happen to feel comfortable with constitutes revelation”.

3. “i have no intention of reading his book”. Good to see that you really care about informed argument. This is the “LALALALAI’mnotlistening” school of reasoned discourse.

4. “Brother” can mean “half brother” if Joseph is the father of James et al by a previous marriage. So there remains the problem that, after you have called people “Mr. Haskell”, refused to inform yourself on what they in fact argue, and made no effort to engage alternative readings of a biblical text, which are vastly older than your novel one, you still have to account for the fact that…

5. Most of the Church, through most of its history, says you are wrong. Hence, the burden of proof is on you that the nouveau construction you put on the text is the absolute, one and only way to read it. Lotsa luck.

6. When Arians attempt to claim that the “burden of proof” is on orthodox Christians to show that “The father is greater than I” or “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God” do not “plainly” mean that Jesus is not God, you agree they are wrong. That’s because, like most Protestants, you affirm Sacred Tradition until you don’t (see #2).

7. Finally, the puzzle remains: why do you *care* that Catholics believe this? If it’s a matter of ambiguity in the text (which it is), then Catholics should, by Protestant lights, be allowed liberty of conscience to believe as they like. But for some weird reason, this matter generates real bitterness and sarcasm from you.

8. And one last note: You really need to break out of the myopic polemical habit of referring to this doctrine (or any doctrine promulgated by the first seven Ecumenical Councils) as something “Rome” is imposing on people. The Eastern Churches affirm the title “Ever-Virgin” (indeed Athanasius takes it for granted in the 4th century). Here’s another book you can refuse to read lest it disturb your hermetically sealed mental world: Truth is Symphonic by Hans urs Von Balthasar. Catholic doctrine is typically a river that springs from many sources, not just a fiat imposed by that great bogeyman “Rome”.