So, I have been writing on why the church (or Christians) need to have good critical thinking. Check out all the recent articles before this one to dive deeper with me. I have been offering reasons, both biblical and more, that Christianity is not a ‘spiritual’ religion alone like so many others. As Rowan Williams once pointed out, Christianity is the most material religion. Namely, it is the most physically focused. It is also the most historically driven religion as well. Today, I met with some Mormon’s who were trying to convert a young man. The young man asked if I would come along. Well, after the encounter I can say once again, that Mormonism is a ship that cannot float (check out picture to the left).
I absolutely love debating and discussing the truth. But, that is not what these Mormon missionaries had in mind. The two younger women are dedicating a couple of years of their life to spreading the “truth” and they were not even focused on figuring it out. As they talked about their classic views, such as Christianity going into Apostasy shortly after the Apostles (no proof offered by the way), and how Joseph Smith, their 14 year old prophet who received the truth, when no one else in the world who sought God were worthy of receiving it (do you see the problem here?), was given it and he restored the church to the ‘truth.’
First, let me point out how prideful this comment is. Since Jesus promised that those who seek would find, and countless millions have sought and found truth and have joined Christian Churches, some young person who knows almost nothing, can tell them they are all wrong. Mormons will likely try and soften the blow of this point, but it cannot be deflected. Moreover, take any other 14 year old who is “searching” and what is the probability that we should believe them? Near 0% probability. We take this and apply it to Joseph Smith and the claim is unbelievable.
As I was sitting there listening to their ‘speech,’ I could not help but think about the kind of spell they were under. Now, by spell, I only mean to convey that they were not thinking rationally, and there has to be all sorts of things that are getting in the way of their rational processing. At one point I provided a test case for them. It was to find out at what point something could falsify their belief that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I offered a comparison to do this. I said, that if it was shown that Jesus did not rise from the dead, it would falsify Christianity. Therefore, if it was shown that Joseph Smith’s teachings contradicted the Bible, or there was no archaeological evidence for their book of Mormon, could it falsify their beliefs?
The basic answer they gave was no. One even went on to say that even if Jesus was not dead and resurrected in the past, that one day they believe he would be, and thus they could still believe it. Surely, this not mainstream Mormon teaching, but still. I then moved on to ask if there was a contradiction between their teachings on the Bible, which would they pick? They never chose. They were concerned with them having a bad understanding, or they would have to go and ask their authority, their leaders, their prophets etc. It was also kind of interesting. In the beginning it was encouraged to ask questions, but in the end it was encouraged to just pray. It seemed as if they wanted to share their message but not get their message challenged. The truth is, it has been a number of years since I have sat down and discussed with Mormons. But, I could not help to relate to the atheist at this point. Namely, if this is ‘religion’ I want nothing of it.
Good thing there is more to Christianity than a will to believe, but I will share more in the next blog.