Sometimes, when discussing with people, I see some really great questions asked. The problem, though, is that often the person asking the question has already ruled out one or some of the answers, and sometimes they do this without even realizing it.
Among the flurry of recent Catholic related threads on the Preacher's Files, there was one question that made me want to shout for joy and pull my hair out at the same time. The question was a good one, but the refusal to acknowledge the most obvious answer was, to say the least, infuriating. The question was this:
IF what Adam is saying is based on actual fact about the Catholic organization representing God's ultimate intentions to the rest of the world AFTER the perversion by certain un-named individuals from an earlier time, then why didn't the Catholics re-write the Bible to coincide with their teachings and beliefs? They, the Catholic hiearchy dominated the world for over a thousand years during the Dark Ages in which they wouldn't let anyone but Catholic priests read and understand the Bible because they kept it written and taught in the ancient language of Latin.
This thousand year period would have been the perfect time frame to have re-written God's Word and thus appear to the world as consistent with God. They could have written in whole chapters (indeed whole books) illustrating indulgencies, priests with robes, special collars and forbiding them to marry, instrumental music and all the other major differences with their "style of Christianity" and true Christianity as God describes it in His Word.
This statement is so full of false assumptions and misconceptions that it makes my head spin. But the thing that stuck out most to me was the part in bold (emphasis mine). This is a very good question! Why didn't they rewrite the Bible? What is the most obvious answer??? Because there was no need to, because nothing in the Bible is contrary to Catholic teaching! It's amazing to me that this idea is SO FOREIGN to the person who asked the question, that he doesn't even take time to consider the possibility, and in fact it seems even expects Catholics themselves to agree that Catholic teaching is contrary to the scriptures!
But see, in attempts to show that they have misconceptions about Catholic teaching, any use of the catechism or other non-biblical text is shot down as "teaching of men." Remember, at this point no one (on the Catholic side of things) is trying to prove anyone right or wrong, we're simply trying to show that Catholics do not teach what they say Catholics teach.
Now, what if I use their logic and say, "Show me in the Bible where it says Catholics teach XYZ?" If anyone were nonsensical enough to even take up this challenge, they might provide the many typical scriptures used such as, "Call no man father" and the whole "doctrine of demons" stuff and the verses about if anyone else teaches another gospel they are false prophets, etc. I would ask, "Yes, I see those verses and I agree with them, but where does it say anything about Catholics teaching those things?" They might try to argue that it's obvious it's talking about Catholics, because the Catholic Church teaches them. If I ask where does it say that the Catholic Church teaches them, I would probably get redirected back to the same verses. And this, my friends, is what we call circular reasoning.
If, however, someone was a bit more aloof, and actually attempted to use the catechism or other document to show where Catholics teach XYZ, it would be a complete double standard to disallow a Catholic to use the same catechism or document to show him where Catholics don't teach XYZ. And yet, this happens all the time. In fact, there's a good example of a similar double standard in that very thread.
The poster mentions that they are using an extra-biblical text in bible class, and someone (a non-CoC member, as far as I can tell) asks him why not just use the Bible, since non-CoC members are told over and over again that nothing but the bible is useful or necessary.
I see no problem in supplementing our Bible study with such books as long as they don't add anything or take away anything but present God's Word in an organized manner and draw solid, Biblically based conclusions.
Hmm...seems to me that if a Catholic (or other kind of Christian) ever dares to use a text besides the bible (which also backs the things up it says with scripture and comes to biblically based conclusions, for instance the catechism), he is told that anything other than the bible is adding to God's Word. So...I guess that only applies to non-CoC members?
Usually the biggest benefit I see from studying such books is that they sometimes help "fleshing out" the details in the background or history behind some of the scenes and/or the decisions made in the Bible.
And again, if a Catholic appeals to history he is often told the only history he needs is in the bible, and it doesn't matter what history says or what the background was if it's not in the Bible. But again, I guess this only applies to non-CoC members.
The sad part is, most of the time CoC members don't even realize the circular arguments they are making and the double standards they hold. They are caught in a vicious circle inside their heads, unable to break free unless they commit the horrible sin of actually considering someone else's viewpoint. And this is why it is so hard to discuss with them, because in their world, showing respect and consideration for another viewpoint is nearly as bad as agreeing with it.