Friday, September 16, 2005

There is no "argument for" Catholicism


There is no "argument for" Catholicism, because Catholicism is not a subjective belief; rather, it is an objective reality. It is the objective reality, not one's own imperfect perception of the reality, that is the ground of unity.


For some time now, Jason Engwer and I have been asking Prejean why he doesn’t mount an argument for Catholicism—especially since he demands of us an argument for Evangelicalism in general and the grammatico-historical method in particular.

Jason and I have been more than willing to accommodate his demands, yet he has never reciprocated the challenge.

Now, however, we finally know why. He never mounted an argument for Catholicism because, in his own words, there is no argument for Catholicism.

His argument for there being no argument is that “Catholicism is not a subjective belief; rather, it is an objective reality.”

It’s hard to see how this amounts to much of an argument. Can you not argue for an objective reality? If, say, someone challenged the election of Ratzinger to the pontificate, couldn’t the cardinals who cast their vote for Ratzinger testify to that fact?

Perhaps, though, this misses the point. If there is no argument for Catholicism, then I suppose there’s no argument for there being no argument for Catholicism. Who am I to argue with his non-argument?

In any event, Prejean could have saved everyone a lot of trouble by admitting right up front that there’s no argument for Catholicism. Now that he himself has disposed of Catholicism as a serious contender for our intellectual allegiance, we can move on to the other contenders.

Oh, just in case I’ve mistaken his meaning, Prejean is more than welcome to clarify matters by offering his argument for Catholicism. Otherwise, I’ll take him at his word.

BTW, Enloe, for one, thinks that Prejean's non-argument is just swell. He's boarding the burning ship just as the rats are diving overboard.


  1. Prejean's line is really just a statement that the RCC exists, and that is its own justifcation. That's a classic example of the "is-ought" logical fallacy.

    If that's all he has, he has nothing.

  2. At least Prejean is honest -- it's rare to find a Catholic that is willing to say, "there is no logical defense of my belief system: it just is."

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  4. Relevant to this discussion are Steve Hays' critique of Philip Blosser's critique of sola scriptura, "By Scripture Alone," and Blosser's rebuttal, "Sola Scriptura revisited: a reply to Steve Hays (in 95 antitheses)."