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I was thinking and have come up with a concept that I will call the "Rule of Majority".

Assuming that one of the Abrahamic religions is true, then if we are imbued with the Holy Spirit, and that the aforementioned Spirit guides our actions, then the sect with the most followers must be true?

For He is with us always (cf. Mat 28:20), and the Holy Spirit is a helper which helps to show us the right path (cf. John 14:26).

And furthermore, I am aware of the Parable of the Narrow Path, but could this refer to the correct sect being a minority globally?

Thus, my question is: What from scripture, tradition, or common sense can buffer or destroy the so-called "Rule of Majority"?

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    Appeal to the majority is a fallacy. Also, Christians would say that two of the Abrahamic religions are true (Judaism and Christianity).
    – Matthew
    Commented Apr 23 at 16:52
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    @Matthew some Christians might say two; others may not. The question of Judaism post Christianity is a complex one.
    – eques
    Commented Apr 23 at 17:05
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    @Matthew That's a pretty major flaw - and it was a majority at one point before Jesus. I don't think most Christians would say Judaism is true. The point with this, though, is if the influence of the Holy Spirit would make appealing to the majority a reasonable logical conclusion. Commented Apr 23 at 17:18
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    To follow the majority is decidedly against the words and leadership of Jesus of Nazareth. Broad is the gate and wide is the way that leads to destruction and many there be which go in thereat ; but strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life. And few there be that find it. Matthew 7:13,14.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 23 at 18:37
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    @NigelJ but at the same time, going contrary to the majority doesn't mean you are doing the right either.
    – eques
    Commented Apr 23 at 21:15

5 Answers 5

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Appeal to the majority is a fallacy. Therefore, common sense tells me that majority beliefs are not, in and of themselves, a reliable indicator of who possesses Truth.

As you also noted, certain Scripture passages strongly suggest (but do not prove) that the majority is, in fact, not in possession of Truth.

Both Scripture and common sense suggest that the proposed "rule of majority" is not reliable. That isn't the same as proving that the majority is wrong, just that being the majority is a poor indicator of correctness.

Now... as you and Peter noted, true believers possess the Truth. However, we have established that popularity of belief is not a reliable indicator for Truth. Therefore, the argument "the sect with the most followers must be true" is fallacious.

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This is indeed a doctrine known as "infallibilitas in credendo"

Pope Francis puts it like this:

One of the characteristics of this faithful people is its infallibility; yes, it is infallible in credendo [in belief]. (In credendo falli nequit, says LG 12). Infallibilitas in credendo. [Infallible in belief.] And I explain it like this: “when you want to know what Holy Mother Church believes, go to the Magisterium because its task is to teach it to you. But when you want to know how the Church believes, go to the faithful people”.

https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2023/october/documents/20231025-intervento-sinodo.html

The people of God, when considered as a whole, cannot err. This is something people who put an absolute premium on the entire deposit of revelation begin contained in the books of the Bible (or the Koran) would be apt to squirm while hearing. But it either:

  1. Explains why the Trinity and the Assumption of Mary and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and a whole host of other true Catholic doctrines haven't resulted in the Catholic church and all her adherents being smitted from the face of the earth (i.e. Catholic doctrine is right)
  2. Means that God, in His infinite mercy, is giving us time to figure these things out for ourselves before the end of time. (i.e. non-Catholics are right)
  3. Nothing at all (i.e. nihilists are right)

So, it's not the rule of the majority, strictly speaking, it's the rule of the believers. God doesn't succumb to the no-true-scotsman fallacy like us mortal men. So He knows who constitutes "the faithful", its up to each of us to hope (and work to the end) that we qualify.

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  • Importantly, credendo is a gerundive, meaning, in this case, what ought to be believed. The faithful are infallible in what is to be believed by the Christian faithful. The same grammar is used in defining levels of dogma, as in "de fide credenda" and "de fide tenenda." It's not just what is believed (or held in case of tenenda), but what is to be believed.
    – jaredad7
    Commented Apr 23 at 21:33
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Abrahamic Religion is broken up into 3 major groups (population by pew):

  • Christianity (31%)
  • Islam (23%)
  • Judaism (.2%)

So while this is true currently, this does not indicate Catholicism is correct (as mentioned in comment) just Christianity is the current majority and this was not always the case.

When Jesus was on the earth, Judaism was correct by this rule, so in theory if Islam grows larger then they are correct? This other pew research projects faster growth in Islam over Christianity.

Was Jesus wrong when he opposed Scribes and Pharisees even though they had the majority?

Other common sense counters:

  • mob mentality (being part of the group, does not necessitate the group being correct)
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  • I was thinking ab this point. Well said. Commented Apr 23 at 16:46
  • When Jesus was on Earth, Judaism was correct...
    – jaredad7
    Commented Apr 23 at 21:27
  • @jaredad7 so when Jesus was teaching doctrine that contradicted Pharisees/Sadducees they were correct not Jesus? Is Christianity only correct decades after the fact?
    – depperm
    Commented Apr 23 at 23:04
  • @depperm Jesus was a Jew, my brother.
    – jaredad7
    Commented Apr 26 at 20:57
  • @jaredad7 I was pointing out that he/his teachings contradicted the majority. He separated himself/followers from Judaism, hence we have Christianity and Judaism
    – depperm
    Commented Apr 27 at 16:11
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Since when was the majority always right? (Or, even occasionally right?) Common Sense is no guide to go by, for our senses are determined by upbringing, indoctrination, motivation and (more often than not) selfish desires.

Tradition also varies wildly within the three Abrahamic religions. All three claim to be the only true faith that God approves of, but only one (according to your 'Rule') could be. So on what basis would you determine the one true faith? And given how contradictory their traditions are within their own ranks, such traditions are useless.

Scripture also has to be refined as to whose scripture should be taken as The Guide. The Jewish Hebrew scriptures confine God's truth to his dealings with the nation of Israel, ruling out Christianity and Islam. Islamic scripture rules out Judaism and Christianity. Christian scripture says it is only faith in the Christ Jesus of the New Testament that will save.

However, the authority of the Holy Spirit is something else, and absolutely he determines who he will 'fill', or 'anoint'. Further, those blessed with his indwelling show forth the fruit of the Spirit, so that even non-believers can see the Spirit of Christ in them, as a witness. What is this holy fruit in individuals? After warning against adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strife, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, drunkenness and orgies as acts of the sinful nature that will keep people out of the Kingdom of God, he details how to identify those with the Spirit of Christ:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Galatians 5:22-26 (emphases mine)

So, identify Christians with those qualities, and you will see a night and day contrast between them and those who merely practice religiosity. It's not a religious denomination that will save anybody. God makes known to his people how they witness to the unsaved that it is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27) - that is what testifies to and confirms the gospel message they share.

"The rule" the Bible gives to Christians is detailed in Galatians 6:12-16. Have a read, do!

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  • This does not seem to answer my question. You provide a second "rule" but you do not prove nor disprove my "rule". Some denominations believe you need to be baptized to be saved. Others believe in authority on Earth today. It seems to me that it may indeed be important to pick the right denomination. But that's not the q. It's: Is there a reason or counter example that disproves or proves the "Rule of Majority". Commented Apr 23 at 16:00
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    @HumantheMan My answer shows why denomination cannot come into this "rule". Only the Holy Spirit shows that the"Rule of Faith" is seen in the Spirit of Christ indwelling those who are "right" by him. Denominations are not imbued with the Holy Spirit, but individuals are, and such ones are to be found in myriad denominations. I've shown how the biblical scriptures teach this. The Rule of Christ overrules all human concepts, surely? "As many as walk by this rule..." Gal.6:16 - check it out!
    – Anne
    Commented Apr 23 at 16:54
  • Indeed, but such individuals are not only influenced by the Holy Spirit, there is worldy influences as well. Pride, also. Denomination has to come in to play because of these worldy influences, because some individuals are wrong, and because of such large theological disagreements. Commented Apr 23 at 17:21
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the sect with the most followers must be true

Consider:

  • "For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:14)
  • "… the god of this age did blind the minds of the unbelieving …" (2 Corinthians 4:4, NLT)
  • "… Satan, the one deceiving the whole world …" (Revelation 12:9, NLT)

So we already know that those that are deceived by Satan will be in the majority.

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  • Yes, but neither Catholics nor Christians are the majority, furthermore, "blind the minds of the unbelieving", not the believing. Commented Apr 24 at 14:27

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