About our Debate

I thought Jared made some great points in a comment on another post. I didn’t want it to get “lost” in the comments section of that post, so I’m offering it here as it’s own posting. Thanks Jared.

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A couple of things that I could add regarding the Mormon-Catholic-Protestant debate/dialog:

Naturally, devotees of these three faiths believe theirs is naturally better than the others. I think they each can make legitimate challenges to the others that are grounded in scripture, science, history, or intuition. I also think that there are believable arguments that appear to discredit all of them based on these same grounds. Some, but not all, of the arguments used by devotees and the irreligious alike unfairly draw from perpetual misinterpretations and ignorance of the doctrine and history of these faiths.

This said, I think the apologetics in all three faiths are advanced enough to counter almost all of the arguments against the faiths with explanations that the devoted can accept and feel comfortable with, generally because the core of the faith is not based on argument or reason that can be readily disputed. However, the apologetic arguments are not really convincing unless you shift your belief to the paradigm from which the arguments are made.

I personally think apologetics deals with the outer-trappings of a faith and overlooks the core, the reason for belief and the heart of the spiritual experience. I think it is a sort of comfort blanket that soothes us when we face the chaotic reality and uncertainty of the vast variety of human experience with the divine. It helps us think that we can ultimately understand and explain what is at other times admittedly ultimately unknowable and unexplainable.

I personally think my understanding of Mormonism explains the big picture of spirituality better than Protestantism or Catholicism, but my understanding is far from mainstream. But I can’ t reasonably think Mormons in general are any better or worse connected to God than other sincere followers of Christ. I would agree that many Mormons, including leaders, are stupid, ignorant and supremely uninspired. But that, of course can be said of all people. I think it is really the pot calling the kettle black to expect any other religion, scripture, or church to be free of such foibles, no matter what their claims to inspiration and infallablity.

Perhaps the most difficult problem in interfaith dialogue is to acknowledge and respect the spiritual experiences of devotees of a faith foreign to ours, even when their doctrinal paradigm is incommensurate with the paradigm that our experience with God has lead us to. Acknowledging that others may not just be under the influence of the ”devil” may leave our faith feeling vulnerable and without all of the answers. It forces us to make sense of a God of all people who is involved in each of these spiritual experiences, even as those who believe do not have the “right” picture of Him or whose prejudices may taint that experience. Such acceptance may allow us to give up our “resistance” to “evil” as Jesus suggests and may ultimately lead us to a position that will allow brotherhood and sisterhood across the sectarian boundaries.

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2 thoughts on “About our Debate

  1. “I personally think apologetics deals with the outer-trappings of a faith and overlooks the core, the reason for belief and the heart of the spiritual experience.”

    Amen to that. There is a statement to which I absolutely can agree.

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