His reasoning went something like this: Catholics say the Bible plus the Church’s Magisterium is the authority. Protestants say it is just the Bible [and their Bible is seven books shorter]. Hence, going with a simpler hypothesis over a more complex one, Protestantism’s authority paradigm should be preferred over Catholicism’s.
The odd thing here is that Ockham’s Razor is in no way some ironclad rule that we can use against anything we like in order to argue for our beliefs. I mean, Muslims could argue that, based on Ockham’s Razor, their simpler doctrine of God’s being should be preferred over the more complex Christian doctrine of the Trinity. (Muslims deny that God is a Trinity of three Divine Persons.)
Or someone could argue against Protestants that only the four gospels should be used as the Bible because, based on Ockham’s Razor, four books are simpler than sixty-six and contain the words of Jesus Christ Himself, so why add more if the four will do?
But Nate also employed the Razor against transubstantiation. His argument ran something like this: The bread and wine look like bread and wine to everyone. Therefore by Ockham’s Razor they are bread and wine and not Christ’s Body and Blood.
The debate hosts gave me a brief rebuttal time here, and my response was: Jesus looked like any other human being, not like God. Matter of fact many of His contemporaries, employing Ockham’s Razor, said “isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” and did not believe He was God. Yet Jesus was God, so Ockham’s Razor in this case fails spectacularly. It can be pitted against faith, and that is terrible.
The Church Fathers and early Christians testified to their belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist numerous times. Though the consecrated Hosts look like bread, it is only their appearance. Their substance has been changed into Christ’s Body and Blood. Yet, in spite of this unanimous teaching in the early Church, Protestants reject this belief. This is another example of a “corruption” in the early Church’s teachings, according to Protestants.
This is why, near the end of the debate, I argued that Nate needed to tell us a principled way of determining when the early Church was reliable and when it was not. He needed to do so because he accepted the New Testament canon of Scripture from the early Church–something he admitted in the course of the debate–but he rejected other teachings, like the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, that the same early Church taught. (In the debate, I brought up another doctrine universally taught in the early Church–baptismal regeneration–which Nate and all Protestants (except for Lutherans) reject).
But Nate could not give a principled reason for knowing when the Church was teaching reliably and when she was not. So his acceptance of the canon but rejection of the Real Presence is ad hoc. Arbitrary.
To complete the discussion on Ockham’s Razor, I would simply point out that nowhere does Scripture say to use this principle to interpret Scripture (or to do anything else with it). So Nate’s usage of it as an interpretive key to the Eucharistic passages has no support in the Bible itself.