Question:

I am thinking of some verses to refute Catholicism, and the "father" thing came up. Would Matthew 23:8-10 be a legitimate argument against calling a Catholic priest "father?"

Answer:

"But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, 'Rabbi, Rabbi.' But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Matthew 23:5-12).

The motivation behind religious titles is to elevate some men above others. I've always been amazed that one of the titles Jesus specifically mentions not to use is one Catholics use for their priests ("father") and their pope (the Latin word for "father").

Christianity is about seeing every Christian as an equal. "Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:2-4). Rather than exalting oneself, true leaders in Christianity see themselves as servants to other Christians. "But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Matthew 23:11-12).