For The Truth

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Bible, Not human Experience, is the Final Authority

Modern society, while condemning sternly many things which the ancients tolerated or even applauded, countenances some things which they utterly rejected. It is very pleasant and natural for us to quietly assume that ours is the advanced and civilized age. But when men reason thus, "A given usage cannot be improper, because Christian opinion and society allow it among us," they reason in a circle. If the propriety of the usage is in question, then there are two hypotheses to be examined, of which one is, "Ours is a pure state, and therefore what we tolerate must be pure;" but the other is, "This tolerated usage being impure, it proves our state corrupt." Now, the decision between the two hypotheses cannot be made by a self-sufficient assumption. Oriental, Greek, and Papal Christianity justify many things which we think excessive corruptions by just such an assumption. It is no more valid in our case than in theirs. Indeed, the very tendency to such self-sufficiency is, according to the Bible, one of the strongest symptoms of corruption. The matter must be settled by a fair appeal to Bible morals.

Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898) on politics


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