Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Facebook Faith #58 Schoolyard Bickering

I am part of a group on Facebook which discusses 90s Christian music.  It is quite an eclectic bunch consisting of Christian fundamentalists, liberal Christians, varied levels of vague spirituality, and atheists.  For the most part, music is at the fulcrum but religious discussions happen.  I appreciate that most folks keep it at the discussion (and not argumentation) level.

Someone started a thread asking if the folks in the group considered religions like the Mormons and JW's to be Christian.  In the thread, I responded and this is part of the conversation.
Andrew Hackman - I moved out to Utah 13 years ago. One of the things that led me out of the faith was a realization, for the most part, that Mormons were simply better at Christianity than my Evangelical sect. Since I was taught that they were not even Christians, this was a bit of an eye-opener.  :)
Holly - Doesn't make them Christians, though.
Andrew Hackman - Why not? A person who believes in Christ and his teachings would seem to be, in the simplest sense, a Christian. Anyone denying that would merely be stating their preferred articulation, but that would not have any basis. Any attempt at such quickly devolves into schoolyard bickering.
Holly -"Not all who say to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the Kingdom of Heaven."
Andrew Hackman - Sure... but every sect could announce that of every other sect... like I said, schoolyard bickering.
Holly -You don't get to merely self-identify as a Christian, you have to be incorporated into Christ through baptism according to the Lord's command. Mormons do not have a valid baptism.
Andrew Hackman - And they say you don't have a valid baptism... see how this works?

The conversation went on a little while longer, but I bailed.  When I find myself wanting to repeat something I have already said, this shows me I am not really being heard ... so why bother?

Holly could not see the folly of claiming her baptism had validity while Mormon baptism did not.  She could not understand why I felt her belief did not have a superior claim.  It is like some believers cannot achieve escape velocity, so they keep spinning around the same gravity well.  I will join them rhetorically for one orbit, but then it gets tedious.  In the past, I would have spun around in that conversation to exasperation.

Later in the thread, a gentleman referred to Mormon beliefs as "kooky".  I tried to explain that, from an outsider's view, his religious beliefs would seem just as "kooky".  No movement there either.

I have to clarify that I do know plenty of religious believers who are aware of what their beliefs look like to an outsider, and so are careful in how they approach the belief structures of other religions.  They do not try to supply objective certainty to something that is inherently a subjective experience.
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