Mormonism vs. mainstream Christianity
A discussion from alt.religion.mormon:
>>>Please compare the Mormon religion with Bible Christianity.<<<
Which doesn’t really help, no matter which side of the issue you’re on, because bias will allow us to pick and choose, interpret, and even ignore completely those things we need to find or NOT to find. If you seek to find a white rock in a gravel pile, your eye is drawn to white rocks, not to black ones.
>>>Truth can stand the test and will not crumble on close examination.<<<
This is not so readily applicable to those things held dear by faith. One can’t easily overcome his own emotional attachment to his beliefs enough to fairly test them. The fact is that people from both sides of the LDS issue have examined the same problems with the LDS church, seen the same apologetics, and yet each has come to a different conclusion.
Even worse, Christianity itself has been more closely examined than any other belief system in history and the experts, the ones who dig up the archaeology, who translate the ancient words, who spend their entire careers studying the texts and the artifacts, are very much divided on just what the truth is. A great number of quite respected New Testament scholars conclude that Jesus was an influential teacher of the time and nothing more, and that Christianity is built on a man exaggerated into a myth while equally respected scholars disagree.
Close examination? How close must one get in order to see through his own bias?
>>>What Mormons don’t realize is that they are not walking the plank by reading anti-mormon material or examining mormon doctrine/culture.<<<
Quite true, and this goes for anti-Mormons in examining "anti-Christian" material as well, and for anyone seeking to understand his own religion by putting it to the test, something most are neither willing nor able to do. What is, is, and billions of believers are entirely wrong in their religious faith, and yet the world doesn’t crash down on their ears. A kind and loving God would not make the "right path" so hard to find, even impossible for those born in the wrong place/time.
>>>There are millions of people waiting for you to help you discover the truth.<<<
Ah, yes. And the only problem is that all those eager and helpful folks are competing with each other to sell their particular brand of truth to you. Decisions, decisions. Do I want full rich flavor…….?
>>>They’ll welcome you with open arms and help you develop a relationship with the God who is God.<<<
And if you don’t believe their version of God is God, why, just ask them, and read the scriptures they focus on, interpreted by their "prophets" or inspired leaders, and presto, you’re saved once again. Sort of. Maybe. If you don’t read the fine print.
And realize one most significant thing; proving one belief wrong doesn’t prove another right. The Christians have just as many problems with their beliefs as they lay at the door of the Mormons.
>>>The anti-mormon is not your enemy.<<<
No, the real enemy is our own tendency to seek the wondrous over the commonplace, the fantastic and extraordinary over the boring and natural. We have seen gods in every cloud, demons under every rock and in every disease, Jesus in rust spots on a storage tank, Mary in a porchlight’s reflection off a Chevy bumper, angels and fairies, trolls and elves and, and Elvis, too. Our citizens are regularly abducted and sexually molested by horny aliens, our incurable diseases cured by psychic surgery, our minds read, our futures foretold, our spoons bent and watches stopped, and hundreds of other exciting and mystifying events, none of which have withstood the test of controlled examination, and yet we continue to believe and to finance those who perpetrate these tales.
No, our worst enemy is our own willingness to believe in the extraordinary without demanding evidence corresponding to the claim. Wanna buy the Brooklyn Bridge? I have a deed that says in big print right on the bottom, "Genuine Deed to the Brooklyn Bridge", so it must be authentic.
So what’s a body to do? Instead of letting someone else teach you his or her truth, do your own research, read all sides to an issue and focus on those things that don’t require complex interpretation, special pleading, or acceptance on faith in the extraordinary. Let Occam’s razor cut out the "interpretations" and "special understanding", and just read what it says, trying to understand the cultural/political context in which it was written.
Bottom line on religion, there are too many differing ideas to just throw a dart or let someone else throw darts into your own mind. Take control, and if there’s just not enough information there to get a grip on, withhold judgment. Making no decision is better than making the wrong decision as long as one is still searching for understanding. We too easily allow our own emotions to take the wheel, pedal to the metal, and drive us down the most exciting and wondrous road instead of looking at the map to see what’s down that road.
Last thought; the TRUTH is so ambiguous, so difficult to pin down, so elusive, even to those with the best intentions and purest hearts, maybe it’s more important to love and respect each other than it is to have the "true truth".