Deconstructing Religious Authority


Kyle Cupp

Kyle Cupp is a freelance writer who blogs about culture, philosophy, politics, postmodernism, and religion. He is a inactive to the group Catholic blog Vox Nova. Kyle lives with his wife, son, and daughter in North Texas. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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3 Responses

  1. Avatar Pinky says:

    Kyle, I wonder about the outline you’ve given here. It seems to me that it could only apply to Catholicism and Mormonism. I can’t think of any other faith where the current leader has authority in the sense you’re describing. In Mormonism, the current prophet has the same authority as Joseph Smith. In Catholicism, the current pope is said to have the protection of the Holy Spirit in his official statements. A Protestant, or a Jew, or a Hindu wouldn’t approach his teachers that way.Report

    • Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

      You’re right that not every structure of religious authority carries with it a claim of divine protection and infallibility, which is why I wrote about both loose structures and complex ones. A Protestant minister might appeal to her training in theology, exegesis, etc. as basis for her authority, while not claiming the charism of infallibility or even the sort of authority that a Roman Catholic bishop would. With her, it’s easier to see how the efficacy of her authority necessitates trust in her as an individual, but for reasons I gave in the post, I think the same is true even for popes claiming to speak infallibly.Report

  2. Avatar Artor says:

    It’s interesting that you begin your article with the image of Mulder & Scully as apparitions, or maybe alcoholic delusions. Any believers and potential converts would rightly want to ask, “What proof do we have that you actually met these supernatural beings? How do we know you didn’t just make it up or hallucinate it?” The clear-thinking among the crowd would also rightly decline to join the movement without some pretty convincing evidence to support it, and they would regard the structure of authority it engenders with an indifferent, “Meh,” or an outright, “Hell no!”
    So even before we get to this religious authority you deconstruct here, why exactly is anyone granting it authority in the first place?Report