How to argue with the Pope

If you’re going to argue with Pope Francis, at least respond in kind.

When the Pope speaks about immigration reform, wealth redistribution or climate change, he’s proclaiming God’s perspective. You may not believe he knows anything more about God’s perspective than you do, but you can, I hope, acknowledge that he believes this is true. His comments on “political” issues like the ones I listed above are rooted in, he believes, a correct understanding of Scripture and what we know about God through our observations of the universe.

So saying something like…

“The Pope is wrong about climate change. Anti-warming policy is bad policy — it’s just a red carpet for bigger government.”

…means nothing to him and those who believe him. He, along with millions around the world, believes this is God’s perspective. It doesn’t matter what you think about anti-warming policy, even if you could prove it wrong, as long as God is for it.

So if you’re going to argue with the Pope, do so in kind. Here’s how:

If you don’t believe in God, then don’t argue with the Pope’s facts. His facts are of a different kind than yours. For you, the Pope is simply wrong because he believes in a false being called “god.” Why argue any further than that? Why analyze and critique his statements according to your understanding of things? He says what he says because, he believes, God says it that way. Showing him some “evidence” that is rooted in something other than God’s revelation is pointless.

If you’re a Christian but not Roman Catholic (or, for that matter, Roman Catholic but not a Francis fan), then correct the Pope with Scripture and an appeal to general revelation (that is, what we know about God from our observations of the universe). Correct his theology. Correct his view on God’s will for these particular “political” issues, specifically. Don’t go around saying he’s wrong about, say, immigration reform because that’s bad economic policy. Why should he care? Why should anyone who takes him seriously care? If God said it, it’s not bad economic policy (according to those who take him seriously).

What’s worst is when Christians who don’t like the Pope think he’s wrong because his views don’t align with free market capitalism. What if God’s views don’t align with free market capitalism? If you want to wage a sound argument against the Pope’s ideas, show that God supports free market capitalism, or whatever you think God supports.

These thoughts are jumbled. I hope you get what I’m trying to say.

Basically, if you think Pope Francis is wrong about things and you’re not a Christian, don’t argue with the specifics of his propositions. Argue with the source of his ideas. If you think Pope Francis is wrong about things and you’re a Christian, take issue with his theology. Don’t say he’s wrong just because the numbers don’t add up — again, why should he or his supporters care if they truly believe he speaks for God?

Posted by Nick Freiling

Founder/Director of PeopleFish. I write on technology, market research and economics. Bylines at Startup Grind, FEE, the American Enterprise Institute and the Mises Institute.

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