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Are Mormons Christians?

  

Category:  Religion & Ethics

By:  outis  •  one month ago  •  56 comments

Are Mormons Christians?



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I seeded a video from Dan McClellan a few days ago. Someone brought up the fact that Dan is a Mormon, as though that somehow disqualified him. I've watched many of his videos, but have never seen Mormonism intrude on his scholarship.

Then this video popped up today. Karma??



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Outis
Freshman Principal
1  author  Outis    one month ago

I do not believe in the Trinity - I have no problem with someone who does, but I do not. According to this gatekeeper I am not a Christian. 

On the other hand, I know that Christ taught inclusion. He gave us no exceptions to his commandment to love one another. So... is someone who excludes me still entitled to be called a Christian?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
1.1  TᵢG  replied to  Outis @1    one month ago

Seems to me that there is no governing body that can determine the defining characteristics of 'being a Christian'.   I think it is probably safe to say that anyone who holds to the philosophy of Jesus Christ can consider themselves Christian.    Of course, the philosophy of Jesus Christ is itself subject to definition so one must necessarily be basic and stick with unassailable characteristics.

You seem to view the philosophy of Jesus to be founded on 'Love thy neighbor'.   I think that characteristic alone provides the basis for a sound argument that you are a Christian.

I do not think it is valid for someone to argue that you are not a Christian because you do not hold true to everything Jesus is believed to have said.   Thus, even if you do not believe Jesus ever existed as a singular, divine entity, you could create a sound argument that you are a Christian.   Or, probably more accurately, nobody would be able to create a sound argument that you are not a Christian without imposing their own criteria.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1.1  JohnRussell  replied to  TᵢG @1.1    one month ago

To the best of my knowledge Mormon beliefs are in conflict with every other Christian sect. In my mind that makes describing them as Christian a dubious proposition. 

 
 
 
Outis
Freshman Principal
1.1.2  author  Outis  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.1    one month ago

Do you have any specifics? 

(I know a bit about Mormonism. It seems to me to have the expected characteristics of a denomination created in the 19th Century. Some of those are hard for "modernists" to accept... and I know that some of them have been abandoned / cancelled by the Mormon Church. Some of the same critiques may be made of most of the Protestant denominations that arose in that century.)

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
1.1.3  TᵢG  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.1    one month ago

Mormons have their own additional 'bible' (the book of Mormon), but they (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) do believe in Jesus and follow their view of his teachings.

Why would they not be considered true Christians?

 
 
 
Gsquared
Professor Principal
1.1.4  Gsquared  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.1    one month ago

Being a "Christian" is a self-applied label.  Every Christian sect thinks the other Christian sects aren't "real" Christians.  It seems that if you call yourself a Christian, then you are a Christian.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
1.1.5  sandy-2021492  replied to  Gsquared @1.1.4    one month ago

Yup.

The churches I grew up in taught that Catholics aren't really Christians, because they practice idolatry.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1.6  JohnRussell  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1.1.5    one month ago

LOL.  Catholics, of course believe they are the original Christian denomination. The Protestants came out of a reformation of the original Christianity. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1.7  JohnRussell  replied to  Gsquared @1.1.4    one month ago
Every Christian sect thinks the other Christian sects aren't "real" Christians. 

I dont believe that is an accurate statement. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1.8  JohnRussell  replied to  Outis @1.1.2    one month ago

Bing Chat GPT Co-pilot.  -

Mormons, also known as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), consider themselves to be Christians. However, the classification of Mormons as Christians can be a topic of debate and depends on varying perspectives.

Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Beliefs and Practices:

    • Mormons believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and follow His teachings.
    • They consider the Book of Mormon to be an additional scripture alongside the Bible.
    • Their religious practices include baptism, prayer, and worship.
  2. Differences from Traditional Christianity:

    • Unique Scriptures: Mormons accept the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price as sacred texts, in addition to the Bible.
    • Distinct Doctrines: Their beliefs include concepts such as eternal progression, premortal existence, and exaltation.
    • Temple Rituals: Mormons participate in temple ceremonies, including baptism for the dead and eternal marriage.
  3. Christian Denominations’ Views:

    • Some mainstream Christian denominations do not recognize Mormons as part of traditional Christianity due to these differences.
    • Others acknowledge their Christian identity based on their belief in Jesus Christ.

In summary, while Mormons self-identify as Christians, opinions within the broader Christian community vary. It’s essential to approach this topic with respect for diverse perspectives. 

 
 
 
Gsquared
Professor Principal
1.1.9  Gsquared  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.7    one month ago

You don't think that every Christian denomination believes that their sect is the only true religion?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
1.1.10  TᵢG  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.7    one month ago

The word 'every' should be replaced with 'many' and then it would ring quite true.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
1.1.11  sandy-2021492  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.6    one month ago

A good illustration of religious tribalism on the part of both.  One's own interpretation is correct, and everyone else's is wrong.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
1.1.12  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Gsquared @1.1.4    one month ago
Being a "Christian" is a self-applied label.

Is that not also true of the world’s other major religions?

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.13  Texan1211  replied to  Gsquared @1.1.4    one month ago
Being a "Christian" is a self-applied label.  

Like Republican, Democrat, Wiccan, Muslim, etc.

Every Christian sect thinks the other Christian sects aren't "real" Christians.  

That isn't at all true.

It seems that if you call yourself a Christian, then you are a Christian

You got it!

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
1.1.14  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Gsquared @1.1.4    one month ago
It seems that if you call yourself a Christian, then you are a Christian.

Kinda like racial and gender self identification?

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.15  Texan1211  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @1.1.14    one month ago

Exactly, but for some reason, Christians should be treated differently.

 
 
 
Outis
Freshman Principal
1.1.16  author  Outis  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.8    one month ago

Are Reform Jews really Jews?

Are Shi'ites really Muslims?

Et cetera.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
1.1.17  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.15    one month ago

They are unwilling to conform to what is fashionable.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Professor Principal
1.1.18  Gsquared  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @1.1.14    one month ago

No.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.19  Texan1211  replied to  Gsquared @1.1.18    one month ago

yes.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
1.1.20  Krishna  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.7    one month ago

Every Christian sect does not believe believe they are the only true Christians!!! At best that’s an over-generalization. 

Obviously you know little about the Quakers . . .

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
1.1.21  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @1.1.20    one month ago

And it’s not only the Quakers— have you ever heard of the Unitarian-Universalists?

Them and the Quakers come to mind— but if I thought about it I bet I could think of several others. . . 

 
 
 
Gsquared
Professor Principal
1.1.22  Gsquared  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.19    one month ago

That's an idiotic response.

 
 
 
Outis
Freshman Principal
1.1.23  author  Outis  replied to  Krishna @1.1.21    one month ago

Are Unitarian-Universalists really Christians?    jrSmiley_82_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
1.1.24  evilone  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1.1    one month ago
To the best of my knowledge Mormon beliefs are in conflict with every other Christian sect. In my mind that makes describing them as Christian a dubious proposition. 

According to my Evangelical ex-wife Catholics are not Christian because they pray to the Madonna and Saints... The only requirement of Christianity is "faith" in Christ. Whether they are following The Word or not could be argued. 

original

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.25  Texan1211  replied to  Gsquared @1.1.22    one month ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
1.1.26  Drakkonis  replied to  Outis @1.1.2    one month ago
Do you have any specifics?

Regardless of anyone's opinion, what decides who is or isn't a Christian is determined by how the Bible defines it. This is the only logical perspective to have on the subject because the Bible is the only reason we even know about Christianity in the first place. It defines not just what a Christian is but who God is, what He wants, what He's done, what He's going to do and what He wants from us. The Bible is the source that defines it all. 

In the case of Mormonism, we don't even get near the question of whether they're Christian by Biblical standards in the first place because the god of Mormonism is not the God of the Bible. The same goes for Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They use the same words but mean something different than how the Bible describes them. 

I'll give one example. God the Father. In the Bible, God is eternal; without beginning or end and there is no God beside Him. There's more to it but that alone is enough to get on with the point. In Mormonism, God is not those things. The Mormon god was once a man just like us but, on another planet somewhere else in this universe who earned his way before the god of that planet and eventually was exalted to godhood over our planet. The god of that other planet was also once a man on yet another planet who worked his way to worthiness before that god, who also had to do the same thing on still another planet. This goes back only Mormons know how long. They even know what the name of the planet that their god of this world comes from. Kolob. 

Their concept of Jesus is similar, as is differences in just who the Holy Spirit is. So, the question becomes not are Mormons Christians but instead, can the question even be asked legitimately when each group isn't even talking about the same things? In Christianity, salvation comes from Jesus. In Mormonism, it doesn't. Jesus just opens the door but the Mormon still has to work to become worthy, something anathema to what the Bible literally says. 

Now, I suppose for someone who may view the Bible as little more than a book on philosophy, the question really doesn't matter all that much. It's just philosophy and that's just the thinking of men and the Bible just represents the thinking of primitives trying to understand the world. In that case, nothing I've said is likely to convince.

However, for those who think the Bible is actually "God breathed", or inspired in other words, what I've said is part of the actual answer as to why Christians don't consider Mormonism Christian. It simply isn't by Biblical definition. And the issue is why don't Christians consider Mormons Christian, not why don't those who don't take the Bible as the literal word of God consider Mormons Christians. 

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
1.1.27  Drakkonis  replied to  Drakkonis @1.1.26    one month ago

Also, Dan in the video above is pretty much completely wrong. I'll try to get to why later, but no promises. 

 
 
 
Freefaller
Professor Quiet
2  Freefaller    one month ago

Yes it is one of the many, many christian sects

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.1  JBB  replied to  Freefaller @2    one month ago

Thousands of Christian sects actually...

 
 
 
Eat The Press Do Not Read It
Professor Guide
3  Eat The Press Do Not Read It    one month ago

CHRISTIANS are not Christian, "Christ Like". They do not walk on water, turn water to wine, or wine to water, to water their plants.

Jesus did NOT preach for money. He preached to "Ed-u-mate" the Masses of Asses that rode donkeys.

Jesus brought people back from the dead, he, himself, rose up after he was declared dead, rolled a massive stone from his tomb, and walked around as big as you please, and scared the "Be Jesus" out of his friends.

The term "Christian" was created by Emperor/King Constantine (A.D, 280-337).  Emperor of Rome  (306-337). He converted to Christianity, called:  "The Great"!

Constantinople (AD 330-1930), now located in the country of Turkey and renamed Istanbul, after the Muslims who conquered it.

It was the Council of Nice, that assembled large swaths of hand printed manuscripts in Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and who the Hell knows how many other languages decided on which they would "Hold", and which they would "fold".

This glorious mess of "so-called" scholars then decide which manuscripts were retained and which were to be burned. And, that went for believer, as well.

As near as I can tell, the term CHRISTIAN was coined by Constantine, over 200 years as the man called Jesus died.

So any one, today, can call themselves whatever they want, or CHRISTIAN, depending on the flavor they like.

Slaughtering millions over a name seem, to this half-wit, a bit over the top.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
3.1  Krishna  replied to  Eat The Press Do Not Read It @3    one month ago

I believe that turning water into wine is within the realm of possibility. (And I’m not basing that on any religious teachings). In fact it’s better explained by  more recent developments in Quantum Physics. . . .

(I forgot the Scientific name but I believe another term for that phenomenon is “telekinesis”).

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.1.1  TᵢG  replied to  Krishna @3.1    one month ago

Are you thinking of changing atoms?    Taking the H and O atoms and reconfiguring them into the complex assortment of compounds (with all sorts of underlying atoms) that we call wine?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4  Kavika     one month ago

Where Mormons and other sects differ is that the Mormons believe that Native Americans are descendants of the Lamanites.

An introductory paragraph added to the Book of Mormon in the LDS Church's 1981 edition stated in part: "After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians." [9] [10]  In a 2006 edition, the statement was altered to indicate that "the Lamanites ... are among the ancestors of the American Indians."

Mormons were/are against mixed marriages but the LDS allowed Mormon men to marry Native American women since they were Lamanites but would not allow a white Mormon woman to marry a Native man, I guess that Laminaite only goes so far with the LDS.

I do not know of any other Christian religion/sect that follows that line of thinking.

 
 
 
Outis
Freshman Principal
4.1  author  Outis  replied to  Kavika @4    one month ago

Are these rules still in effect?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Outis @4.1    one month ago
Are these rules still in effect?

Yes, the Lamanite thing is still part of the LDS orthodoxy. Regarding the marriage rules I don't really know but the LDS does not have a great reputation among Indians because of the ""Indian Boarding Schools'' and how they like many Europeans look down on Indians they also fought some long running wars in the 1800s into the early 1900s. 

 
 
 
Outis
Freshman Principal
4.1.2  author  Outis  replied to  Kavika @4.1.1    one month ago

Thanks 

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
4.2  Krishna  replied to  Kavika @4    one month ago

Are they actually laminated— I had always thought that they were only one layer . . . ???

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
6  Drakkonis    one month ago

I intended to go through Dan's video moment by moment to address the many errors I see him making but it was getting ridiculously long so I abandoned that idea. 

Instead, I'll just sum up the first approximately two and a half minutes as an unnecessary slog through what constitutes the no true Scotsman fallacy, except to say that Dan was wrong in saying Michael's definition was not accurate. It was accurate and Dan's definition said the same thing but he presented it as if it said something different. 

Rather, I will point out where Dan goes seriously off the rails. At 2:46, Michael says "Words have to have a coherent meaning." To this, Dan says "No, they don't". No explanation for the statement. We're just supposed to accept it, apparently. However, one can imagine a world where people try to communicate with words that have no coherent meaning. Big underground left for zinger Bob transfer over ducky? Or let's just take the word "woman". 

That was not a casual contribution by Dan, though. In fact, the denial that words have to have coherent meaning is key to the rest of his argument, as it allows him to define things as he wishes to suit his argument. 

Immediately after Dan says "No, they don't", Michael says something I agree with but I consider badly worded on his part and, in my opinion, is immediately misunderstood by Dan, or not misunderstood and simply used to introduce his own error concerning what constitutes a Christian. 

Michael: "And we Christians are allowed to define the boundaries of our own belief system, and what we mean by the term "Christian", which we use to describe ourselves." 

The reason the wording is unfortunate is that to anyone unfamiliar with Michael, it might seem that a bunch of people get together and arbitrarily decide who gets to be in the club or something similar. That isn't what he meant and the wording he used doesn't naturally invite what should be an obvious question. What criteria do Christians use to decide who is and isn't a Christian? 

This gives Dan the opening he needs for his argument which basically states that Michael's statement is all well and good as long as all people who identify as Christian have a seat at the table. That reasoning goes back to his claim that words do not need to have a coherent meaning. If you remove the meaning from the word, you can define it any way you wish to suit whatever need you have. 

Since I have been following Michael on YouTube for a few years now, I know that the criteria he uses for determining who and who isn't a Christian is what the Bible has to say on the subject. The Bible is the most studied book in history for a reason. That is the reason. Regardless of how what Mormons tell non-Mormons about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, salvation and all the rest, what they actually believe on those subjects cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. Nothing Jesus said, when not taken out of context of the rest of the Bible, supports Mormon beliefs. It simply isn't there. 

In any case, Dan takes what Michael said, without inquiring what the criteria for drawing the boundaries of what constitutes a Christan are. Instead, he falsely claims that Michael's case is circular reasoning. That's unfounded precisely because he doesn't ask what the criteria for the boundaries are. 

He next incorrectly claims that Michael is making an appeal to definition fallacy, which simply isn't true. Michael's argument doesn't rest on a dictionary or lexicon definition of a particular word or usage in order to validate his argument. This is an especially bizarre claim to make since no one could possibly think the dictionary could encapsulate the total meaning of "Christian" in simple dictionary definition. 

In fact, it would appear Dan doesn't understand the fallacy as evidenced by him stating

But we also have an appeal to definition, this notion that you can reduce conceptual categories and particularly, social identity, to necessary and sufficient features...

That is not what constitutes an appeal to definition fallacy. If that were the case, any attempt to define what constitutes a citizen of any given country would be a fallacy. What constitutes a law abiding citizen would be a fallacy. 

And then the claim that the definition of what constitutes a Christian would exclude pretty much all Christians who lived during Jesus' time or the following two or three generations is simply sophistry. Especially since what he said about the Trinity and Jesus as both God and man didn't come until later. That's completely untrue. Those concepts were present from the beginning. Not everywhere but they were there. He's taken the fact that these things weren't settled on as official doctrine out of competing errors until later as meaning they didn't exist until then. Not the case. Nor does it take into account of the realities of a new and emerging faith. That doctrine wasn't as developed officially early on doesn't mean that Christians at the time did not believe the core elements necessary to be a Christian. And we don't have to assume this because the writings of the early Church fathers, From Clement of Rome, who's actually mentioned in the NT itself, onward, confirm this. He is simply wrong. 

Lastly, Dan says 

"And as you can see in the definition on the screen, whether or not the feature is arbitrary or meaningful plays no role in whether or not it is a no true Scotsman fallacy."

This is logically ridiculous. This means that, according to Dan, the simple act of objecting to a counterclaim to a claim makes the argument the fallacy. In other words, the following would be a no true Scotsman fallacy according to Dan. It would seem that Dan also doesn't understand this fallacy, either. 

The reason why the following is a fallacy...

Person A: "No  Scotsman  puts sugar on his  porridge ."
Person B: "But my uncle Angus is a Scotsman and he puts sugar on his porridge."
Person A: "But no  true  Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."

... is because the reply to the counterclaim is to dismiss it as a counter to the initial,  unsupportable  generalization. In other words, if the claim that Mormons are not Christians is supportable, then objection to the counterclaim doesn't make it a fallacy. In fact, the counter to the counterclaim becomes the justification for the claim by way of reason and evidence. 

Dan's claim is that Christianity is whatever people say it is as a whole, apparently. That's fine. He can call himself a Christian all day long. Not a problem for me. I simply don't recognize it, nor will I say they are when asked, because they do not fit the Biblical definition of what constitutes a Christian, and that's the definition that matters. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.1  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6    one month ago

No True Scotsman:

  1. A typically generalized claim is made.
  2. The claim is refuted with a counter example.
  3. The claim is then redefined to exclude the counter example.

The reason why the following is a fallacy... Person A: "No  Scotsman  puts sugar on his  porridge ."
Person B: "But my uncle Angus is a Scotsman and he puts sugar on his porridge."
Person A: "But no  true  Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
... is because the reply to the counterclaim is to dismiss it as a counter to the initial,  unsupportable  generalization. In other words, if the claim that Mormons are not Christians is supportable, then objection to the counterclaim doesn't make it a fallacy. In fact, the counter to the counterclaim becomes the justification for the claim by way of reason and evidence. 

That is simply not the case.   When B identified an exception to the rule stated by A, A then redefined his generalization to exclude the exception.   That is what makes the example a No True Scotsman fallacy.

But the problem here is not the No True Scotsman fallacy.   It is actually one of definition.

Unlike the word "Scotsman" whose sole defining characteristic is to be a male of Scottish descent, the word "Christian" has no single authoritative definition.

Michael offers the following defining characteristics for being a Christian:

Belief ...

  • in One God
  • in the Trinity
  • in the fall of humanity
  • that Jesus is both human and divine
  • in the virgin birth
  • in Jesus' death and resurrection
  • in Jesus' second coming
  • the inspiration of scripture

But that is just what Michael and others who think like him consider as the defining characteristics.   Others define Christian differently.   Who is correct?   We do not have an authoritative definition of "Christian" to even articulate the first premise of a No True Scotsman argument:

No Christian would ...


Since I have been following Michael on YouTube for a few years now, I know that the criteria he uses for determining who and who isn't a Christian is what the Bible has to say on the subject.

That cannot be true since the Bible does not make any mention of the Trinity (for example).   The concept of the Trinity was invented by the First Council of Nicaea (325 AD).  They pieced together bits from the Bible along with ideas from earlier philosophers and produced the exegesis of the Trinity.   And what the Bible says on most any subject is almost incoherent given the various conflicting exegeses in existence.   Finally, by what criteria is the Bible the authority on anything?

My point is, again, that there is no authoritative set of defining characteristics for "Christian".   That is the problem.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
6.1.1  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.1    one month ago
That is simply not the case.

Actually, it is. As you say, in the case of Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge meets the definition because the counterclaim is recognized as an exception. Angus is known to be an actual Scotsman so qualifies the exception that counters the claim. 

Not so with the Christian/Mormon comparison because it is not apparent that Mormons are actually Christians. 

But that is just what Michael and others who think like him consider as the defining characteristics. 
Unlike the word "Scotsman" whose sole defining characteristic is to be a male of Scottish descent, the word "Christian" has no single authoritative definition.

Not in every detail but, the ones that are not debatable? Yes, there is such a definition and no disagreement that I know of. Basically, the ones listed by Michael above. It's only a partial list, mind you, but everything on it is a necessary belief to hold to be a Christian. Not because we decided to make those the issues but because we can empirically prove that is the case the Bible makes. 

And let's be clear here. This is the standard Christians believe applies to be considered Christian because the Bible demands it. Whether anyone else, including Mormons, agrees is irrelevant. Mormons, Muslims, atheists or anyone else are free to consider Mormons, or anyone else making the claim, Christians if they desire. It is what we hold to be true to be Christian and we're not going to change our position on it simply because someone wants to be thought of as Christian in order to seem more appealing and deceptively mainstream. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.1.2  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.1.1    one month ago
Actually, it is. As you say, in the case of Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge meets the definition because the counterclaim is recognized as an exception. Angus is known to be an actual Scotsman so qualifies the exception that counters the claim. 

I was referring to this:

The reason why the following is a fallacy ... is because the reply to the counterclaim is to dismiss it as a counter to the initial,  unsupportable  generalization. In other words, if the claim that Mormons are not Christians is supportable, then objection to the counterclaim doesn't make it a fallacy.  In fact, the counter to the counterclaim becomes the justification for the claim by way of reason and evidence. 

What matters is that the counterclaim redefined the generalization; it redefined the opening premise.   It is true that this was done so that the objection was excluded.  But the mechanism of dismissal was to change the argument itself.

Not so with the Christian/Mormon comparison because it is not apparent that Mormons are actually Christians. 

This now is aligning with my subsequent argument.   A Scotsman is well defined; a Christian is not.

This is the standard Christians believe applies to be considered Christian because the Bible demands it.

This is where the lack of authority is a problem.   There are people who believe they are Christian simply by following the Love Thy Neighbor philosophy of Jesus.   Sans a defining authority, who is to say that they are incorrect?

We could almost articulate a "No Standard Christian" argument here.

It is what we hold to be true to be Christian and we're not going to change our position on it simply because someone wants to be thought of as Christian in order to seem more appealing and deceptively mainstream. 

But who is 'we'?   Why are the peaceful, gentle, forgiving souls who genuinely try to follow the philosophy of Jesus excluded from the table?   I know quite a few people who are not so sure about all the claims made in the Bible regarding Jesus but believe they are practicing Christians.   I suspect they would be a bit offended by those who claim that they are not part of the 'we'.

I think this is a point made by Dan.

Ultimately it is my point:  there is no authority that has clearly articulated the defining characteristics of being a Christian.   All that exists are human beings pointing to excerpts from documents and declaring defining characteristics.   And these human beings, of course, do not agree.

 
 
 
Outis
Freshman Principal
6.1.3  author  Outis  replied to  TᵢG @6.1.2    one month ago
We could almost articulate a "No Standard Christian" argument here.

   jrSmiley_81_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
6.1.4  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.1.2    one month ago
But who is 'we'?   Why are the peaceful, gentle, forgiving souls who genuinely try to follow the philosophy of Jesus excluded from the table?   I know quite a few people who are not so sure about all the claims made in the Bible regarding Jesus but believe they are practicing Christians.   I suspect they would be a bit offended by those who claim that they are not part of the 'we'.

I understand your point. I know this view makes us look like stuck up, exclusionary jerks to a lot of people. As if we hold this view because we think it makes us better, superior, in some way or some similar thing. Like maybe it's a self-image device we employ. Probably a bunch of things people would like to say to me or about me if they didn't have to worry about the CoC. I wouldn't hold it against them if they did because I know how what I am saying sounds. 

But you need to understand something to understand why we take the stand on this that we do. This is not a philosophy. Not to us. This is the living God, present in our lives in a personal way, every single day. It isn't a notion of God. It isn't some future expectation of God. It is God, here in our lives right now, fulfilling His promises to us. One of them is that if we truly seek Him we will find Him. That seeking is through His word recorded in the Bible, along with the Holy Spirit to teach us, which He promised to those who repent and follow His Son. I know these are just words to you, but the reality of this happens every day in my life and the lives of other Christians. And we can have no other stance other than the one God commands us to have. 

That stance is not to keep other people out. It is to keep out false understandings of God and what He tells us we must do to be obedient to Him and what it takes to actually follow His Son. Anyone can come join us. It is not an effort to exclude anyone. It isn't our standard, it's His, and we can do nothing else but obey, even if people think we're jerks because of it. We're not going to choose them over God. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.1.5  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.1.4    one month ago

I understand your position, Drakk.   I do not think it is justified but I can appreciate how a deep, unwavering belief would give you the confidence to perceive the belief as truth and then use same as a premise in arguments.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
7  Drakkonis    4 weeks ago

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @7    4 weeks ago

Ultimately this boils down to the definition of Christian and the authority that provides the definition.

Without a source of truth (the authority that specifies the defining characteristics of a Christian) there is no point arguing about who is a Christian.

The Bible is not the source of truth because:

  • It is not proven to be anything more than a highly edited collection of books written by many, varied human beings.
  • The exegesis of 'Christian' based on the Bible is varied.   That is, it is (demonstrably) subject to interpretation.

Without a single source of truth which states the defining characteristics of a Christian, people will go back and forth endlessly and never resolve this.   Just like a political debate — every party in the debate believes they are correct and nobody can prove that they are indeed correct.

 
 
 
Outis
Freshman Principal
7.1.1  author  Outis  replied to  TᵢG @7.1    4 weeks ago
Ultimately this boils down to the definition of Christian and the authority that provides the definition.

Exactly.

I contend that anyone who practices exclusion is not a Christian. Many people who call themselves "Christian" constantly practice exclusion. Our criteria are very different.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
7.1.2  Drakkonis  replied to  Outis @7.1.1    4 weeks ago
I contend that anyone who practices exclusion is not a Christian.

Which is a self-refuting argument if you consider yourself a Christian.

In spite of that, it's not really an exclusionary viewpoint, is it? All I have to do is adopt your definition of what constitutes a Christian and, bingo! I'm a Christian. Same goes with anyone who wants to define Christianity some other way. Like "Christianity is supporting and affirming whatever or whoever a person decides they are as long as they aren't hurting anyone else." That's the problem you don't seem to see or simply don't care about. If Christianity is whatever anyone says it is then it loses any meaning. All that we end up with is Christianity being defined to suit what a person desires it to be rather than what it is. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.3  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @7.1.2    4 weeks ago
Which is a self-refuting argument if you consider yourself a Christian.

Indeed!

If Christianity is whatever anyone says it is then it loses any meaning. All that we end up with is Christianity being defined to suit what a person desires it to be rather than what it is

Which is, I submit, what we actually have.   If there is no authoritative source of truth then all we will have are differing opinions and the inability to determine which (if any) is correct.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
7.1.4  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.3    4 weeks ago
Which is, I submit, what we actually have.   If there is no authoritative source of truth then all we will have are differing opinions and the inability to determine which (if any) is correct.

Yes, I know this is your opinion. Your view doesn't really acknowledge that the Bible exists, though, so no point in trying to discuss it. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.5  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @7.1.4    4 weeks ago
Your view doesn't really acknowledge that the Bible exists, though, so no point in trying to discuss it. 

I suspect you just worded this poorly.   Obviously I acknowledge the existence of the Bible.   What I do not acknowledge (because the evidence suggests the opposite) is the divinity of the Bible.

For the Bible to be the authoritative source of truth, there must be a method to get the true interpretation of its meaning.   As with the word 'Christian' many people believe they have the true interpretation yet they differ.   So who is correct, if any?

And if you argue that truth can be determined by using the proper method of exegesis, who determines which method is the proper one?

This just keeps going ...     In result, nobody actually knows.    But many believe they know.

 
 
 
Outis
Freshman Principal
7.1.6  author  Outis  replied to  Drakkonis @7.1.2    4 weeks ago
I contend

What part of "I" do you not understand? My post agrees with TiG. I'm "excluding" most self-professed "Christians" from Christianity... although I represent... no one.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
7.1.7  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.5    4 weeks ago
I suspect you just worded this poorly.

Knew you'd say something like that. I didn't word it poorly. I meant what I said. 

I do not acknowledge (because the evidence suggests the opposite) is the divinity of the Bible.

Which is irrelevant to the topic of what constitutes a Christian and why I say you don't acknowledge the Bible as existing. Because if you did acknowledge its existence, you'd agree that, whether the Bible is literally the inspired word of God or a complete fabrication, it still contains the NT, which is literally the definition of what a Christian is and a manual on how to live like one. 

Instead, you simply dismiss it as the writings of a primitive culture. As such, you apparently find no need to consider what it has to say on the subject and someone else's "interpretation" is as good as another's. 

I can only assume that if evidence were presented to you someday that convinced you that the Bible was proven to be inspired by God you must have some expectation that the meaning of the words contained in the Bible would somehow change. Say something different than what it currently does or something. I don't know. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.8  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @7.1.7    4 weeks ago
Knew you'd say something like that. I didn't word it poorly. I meant what I said. 

I was giving you the benefit of the doubt.   You actually believe that I do not acknowledge the Bible?    That the collection of books known as the Bible is something I hold to not exist??

Which is irrelevant to the topic of what constitutes a Christian and why I say you don't acknowledge the Bible as existing. 

The defining characteristics of 'Christian' seem to be very much on topic.   I responded to your question as part of my answer so your question took us off topic (although I think we stayed on topic).

Because if you did acknowledge its existence, you'd agree that, whether the Bible is literally the inspired word of God or a complete fabrication, it still contains the NT, which is literally the definition of what a Christian is and a manual on how to live like one. 

No I would not agree with that.   As I noted, the NT is interpreted in many different ways:

TiG@7.1.5For the Bible to be the authoritative source of truth, there must be a method to get the true interpretation of its meaning.   As with the word 'Christian' many people believe they have the true interpretation yet they differ.   So who is correct, if any?

Instead, you simply dismiss it as the writings of a primitive culture. As such, you apparently find no need to consider what it has to say on the subject and someone else's "interpretation" is as good as another's. 

Where did I make even a hint that the Bible is merely the "writings of a primitive culture"?   Who said that I dismiss considering what it has to say on the subject?   I stated that it is not the authoritative source of truth due to the fact that it is almost certainly man made (not divine) and is interpreted in many different ways.   If the Bible were rewritten today by a "modern" culture, I would hold it as not being the authoritative source of truth on the same grounds.

I can only assume that if evidence were presented to you someday that convinced you that the Bible was proven to be inspired by God you must have some expectation that the meaning of the words contained in the Bible would somehow change.

If the Bible is found to be divine, it would still be interpreted by human beings so the problem of interpretation would remain.   What we would need is for God to deliver His message with unambiguous clarity.   I would think God is up to the task.

 
 

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