Is this the emergence of an Orthodox nihilism?
I would rather call it the emergence of Orthodox reason. I really can't understand how some of you, who are obviously very intelligent, hold to an idea like infallibility. I really am not able to enter into this discussion in full, but here are some thoughts that came to mind... a fictional discussion of sorts of how I understand this type of logic. Of course, in real life "Person 1" is the Church Councils, or the Pope, or the Koran, or whatever.
Person 1: I am infallible.
Person 2: Person 1 is infallible.
Person 3: Prove it.
Person 1: I declare that I am infallible. Therefore, since I am infallible, what I just said is true.
Person 2: Yes, I believe him to be infallible. If he wasn't infallible, I wouldn't follow him. I do follow him, ergo he is infallible.
Person 3: Do you not see how many ways this is wrong? For one, it's one of the most obvious cases of circular reasoning I've seen.
Person 1: No. If I am not fallible, then who is? No one. Therefore, since there must be an infallible criterion for determining truth, I am it.
Person 3: But prove that!
Person 2: He has no need to. He is infallible, and this is self evident. Just have faith. Do you want to fall into nihilism? Subjectivism? You must admit that person 1 is infallible!
Person 1: Yes, who will you trust if not I?
Person 3: But you haven't even begun to show that infallibility is possible, let alone that you are infallible.
Person 1: I don't need to prove it, I'm infallible.
Person 3: Ok, let's go at this another way. If I am fallible, what does it matter that you are infallible? Isn't it sort of a meaningless concept?
Person 2: Absolutely not! Even if I can't infallibly understand Person 1, it is still important that he is infallible, just because it is. And besides, after enough time his infallible view will somehow permeate my soul and I will then understand the truth.
Person 3: How will you verify that you have understood correctly?
Person 2: I'll just know.
Person 3: How?
Person 2: Because Person 1 is infallible, and wouldn't lead me astray.
Person 3: Um, ok... that doesn't really deal with how you would know, it just asserts again something you have yet to prove, and something I would submit you couldn't possibly prove.
Person 2: If you will just accept that Person 1 is infallible, he will lead you into truth. You can't use human reason to figure this stuff out, because these are supernatural truths we are dealing with.
Person 1: Yes, I am infallible. Hear me roar.
Person 3: So basically you will somehow, mystically, prove infallibility to me once I stop trying to understand infallibility, and just accept it without examination?
Person 2: Oh no, you don't have to do that. We don't want you to "check your brain at the door". You just have to have faith.
Person 3: My Muslim neighbor says that same thing, why would I "just have faith" in your unverifiably infallible authority and not in his?
Person 1: Because I am infallible.
Person 2: Yep.