Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Samples of the Best Mormons are Christians Arguments

Those who proclaim that Mormons aren't Christians have been on the rise. At least one evangelical was criticized for his saying that and much more, just like it should have been. For those who are adamant that Mormons aren't Christians or worse, they hide behind "theology" as if it somehow acts as a shield. Many people less swayed by priests and religious contentions see past trying to contextualize the disenfranchising and name-calling.

It is no surprise that Mormons have just as ferociously claim that they are Christians. What is interesting is the few times that a non-Mormon has made the case.  Nothing they or Mormons will say can change the minds of those determined to demand theological purity as they see it. However, it is nice to see not everyone agrees with narrow terminology where a broader one makes more sense.

The best one is from an ex-Mormon who rare to form doesn't seem to have an axe to grind. The whole thing is from  the Fact Checker is worth a read. The best quote:

To learn more, Fact Checker contacted Wynona Majied-Martinez, who teaches religious studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, and Truckee Meadows Community College.
Does she think Mormons qualify as Christian? Yes.
But what about their conception of the Trinity?

"In the Mormon faith, it's a different take on the Trinity, a different conception, but it still qualifies as Christian," she said. "They believe in Jesus, they believe in God, they even believe in the Trinity itself, it's just three different (entities) with three different roles."

Using the analogy of biology and the characteristics used to define which animals are classified as which species, do academic scholars include Mormons under the heading of "Christian"?
Yes, Majied-Martinez said, adding that, no, there is not an asterisk by the name to signify doubt.

Another writer is far less concerned with the issue when talking about Jews and Mormons. The article has the usual criticism about temple work that has arisen over the last twenty years. One comment he made is important:

For most Jews, especially the Orthodox, Christians and Mormons are virtually identical, “six of one or half a dozen of the other”, at the very least, and very often members in the same brotherhood of shunned religious minorities. As one Jewish leader who served as a rabbi in the army in the Vietnam War told me: “In our unit there were 50 Protestants and Catholics in one corner, and me and the Mormon in the other.”
"Who says Mormons aren't Christians?" asks a Muslim contributor to CNN, and comes away impressed with the answers he found. In many ways its a very flattering picture; almost embarrassingly. However, the point is similar to the Jewish one above:
While it probably doesn't matter to a person like Jeffress, the LDS members we met proudly consider themselves Christians. After all, the full name of their religion is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." If your religion has the words "Jesus Christ" in its name, it's kind of a tip off that Christ's teachings are important to you.

Economist author says yes that Mormons are Christians. His reasons are more theologically based, but with simple points not enamored with lots of dogma:

It's always been my understanding the necessary and sufficient condition of being a Christian is that you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and saviour. (Romans 10:9: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.") Many people cite an additional criterion, that Christians must be baptised. (Mark 16:16 quotes Jesus saying the following, post-resurrection: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.") But that has been debated for centuries and most Christians will allow at least some exceptions. Beyond that, most Christians have additional beliefs and the denominations may set their own standards for membership, as indeed Mormons do. But under the standard given above, Mormons are clearly Christians.
It may be that the definitional standard given above isn't the appropriate one; that's another question we can debate over the next few centuries . . .

American News Post opinion  Mormons and the Mainstream might not come right out and say it, but the point is still clear that Mormons are Christians regardless of the unorthodox teachings:

. . . This differing on the belief of the structure of the Trinity is not without precedence, however. There has been a long and vigorous debate about the nature of the Trinity throughout much of history, and while it has been at a bit of standstill for the last few hundred years, I think it is hardly strange that some Christian groups would still be up for re-evaluating the concept.
Is the Mormon’s Social Trinitarianism it [sic] any stranger than the traditional belief in the Trinity, or other Christian concepts like Transubstantiation or Unconditional Election? In my opinion, not particularly; but it appears my thoughts on this subject do not echo those of many Christians.
 The fight over Mormons as Christians will probably never really end. Too many aren't familiar enough with their own history to know that Early Christianity was filled with differences of opinions that ended when theologians under direction of the Roman State decided who was "in" and who was "out." Mormons, and a few others, are bucking this trend and I think for the better.

A final quote from a comment at the Economist sums up the discussion similar to the way I feel about the argument:

This is what this all sounds like to an atheist like me:
Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!" He said, "Nobody loves me." I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"
He said, "Yes." I said, "Are you a Christian, Muslim or a Jew?" He said, "A Christian." I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me, too! What franchise?" He said, "Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?" He said, "Northern Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"
He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region." I said, "Me, too!"
Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912." I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.

It might come from an Atheist, but I want to give this an amen!

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