Tag Archives: Religions

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Jonathan Dodson, Resurgence blog, references a book, "God Is Not One," by  Stephen Prothero.

The basis of the book is good - but if we are going to compare religions that don't look very much like Christianity, I believe it is even more important to look at religions that DO look very much like Christianity.

On Page 12 of his book, Prothero writes:

And so it goes with all the world's religions.  Christians align themselves with Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism, and fast-growing Mormonism may well be emerging as Christianity's fourth way.

This is a problem.  Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism have a few things in common, that Mormonism does not share.

  • The Trinity
  • Christ as eternally existent, not a created being
  • the mortality of man (we do not become gods, with our own planets
  • God the Father as eternally existent, not a created being
  • salvation by grace (compared to "we are saved by grace AFTER ALL THAT WE HAVE DONE."

Mormonism is not Christianity.  To blur that line, to put the gospel on that line...believing in a 'different Jesus' - Mormonism's Jesus - could have eternal consequences.

via a post at The Resurgence.

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Discuss whether you see a way around exclusivism, pluralism, and inclusivism that might still keep integrity of each particular religion in place. Discuss how religious language might or might not play a role in your conclusion.

Exclusivism (the doctrine that only one religion is “true”) is the foundation of many religions.  If Scripture is correct, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”  Whatever a person believes passionately will come out of his or her mouth.  People who believe that their belief system has the only means to salvation; if they believe that souls depend on the truth of that system, that belief will be shared with others. They can fully respect the dignity of other people, and understand the depth of the beliefs of others; they want to share the truth so that all will come to salvation.  One can “witness” or “evangelize” by simply stating one’s belief, while allowing others to share their own beliefs in the same way.

Inclusivism may be compatible with exclusivism, in that (in Christianity, for example) inclusivism maintains that Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation, but salvation (through Christ) can be obtained without a specific belief in Christ for salvation, but through the “general revelation” of nature. People who embrace inclusivism have an understanding that people who have never heard the gospel of Christ, may (through general revelation) may come to a saving faith without ever hearing of Christ).

Pluralism maintains that all religions are equally valid and that any religion may bring a person to salvation.  This cannot be compatible with exclusivism (within a person) but may coincide with inclusivism.  Once cannot simultaneously believe that there is only one means of salvation and believe that there are many ways to salvation.

Within a group of people, discussions can take place that allow sharing and debates of beliefs.  These discussions can get passionate and even heated at times, and they depend on the ability of others to present their convictions and listen to other people and maintain respect and civility for the other people, even if they do not respect the other religion.  If respect and civility are not present, the “doctrine of ‘just shut up’” might come into play.

...continue reading


This is response to a question on another blog about how to decide who is Christian and who is not:

Once upon a time there was a man that lived on a planet called “Kolob”, not so very far away. It came to pass that this man lived a good life and became a god; he came to another little planet called “earth” with his wife that he had married on his home planet.. In their exalted states, this god and his wife gave birth to “spirit children”; the first-born was Jesus – later would come Lucifer, along with many other "spirit children".

The “father-god” was concerned about the future salvation of humans on this new planet and he had a planned. One of his sons (Jesus) agreed with the plan. The other son (Lucifer) did not agree and rebelled, convincing a large number of (pre-human) spirit-children in heaven to side with him. As punishment, the father-god cast Lucifer out of heaven and made Lucifer’s followers into demons, who could never, ever be born as humans(1). Another large number (although not the remaining) of spirit-children sided with Jesus and would be blest to be born as Caucasians. The remaining spirit-children (who had not taken sides) would be born in the line of Cain, as non-Caucasians (black people).

These spirit children remained in heaven, to be born as humans – their race and location depend on the choices that they made in heaven in this great spiritual battle.

Some of these people moved to a place far across the ocean. A group of people from a place called Babel settled in what we now know as Central America(2). Another group, called “Jews” also came to this new place(3). A man named Nephi led these Jews. They divided into two groups, the Nephites and the Lamanites who fought each other. The Nephites were defeated in 428 A.D. The Lamanites continued and are now known as the American Indians.

The father-god’s plan of salvation included the spirit-child, Jesus. In order for the father-god’s plan to work, Jesus needed a body. So the father-god used a girl named Mary, in a process that is as natural as our own birth(4), to give birth to Jesus.

Jesus was born, got married (to three women: Mary, Martha and Mary Magdelene) and had children. At the end of his life, Jesus began to atone for the sin of man (but not personal sins) in a garden(5). After he began the work in the garden, he finished his work on a cross. After Jesus died on the cross, he arose from the dead after three days. During the time between his death and resurrection, Jesus’ spirit was in the spirit world, where the souls of the dead wait for their own resurrection, to be reunited with their bodies. There, he ministered to the “righteous spirits, training them to teach other (sinful or ignorant) spirits – extending his ministry on earth into the spirit world.

After Jesus was resurrected, he went to minister to the Nephites in America. He appeared before a congregation in their temple, and allowed them to feel the wounds in his hands and feet, staying with them for several days, teaching and healing.

For 1800 years, this father-god was quiet. Then(6) the father-god(7) appeared to a boy(8) and revealed to him that religion, as he knew it, was wrong – all of it. Teachers, churches, creeds and beliefs were all abominations. The angel told the boy that he had been chosen to translate a very special book that was written on tablets of gold. Four years9 later an angel(10) appeared and told the boy to begin the work of translation. As the boy translated, a prophet(11) appeared to him and ordained him to restore the “true church”

The story on these tablets was amazing. The story (as related by this boy) was the account of ancient people who came to the Americas, people from Babel and Jews who were fleeing persecution in Jerusalem. According to the boy (now a man), his translation of this book is more doctrinally correct than the Bible(12). He even boasted that he did more than Jesus to keep his church together(13)!

The boy (now a man) published this book(14) and started the one “true” religion – a religion that was so outside of orthodox Christianity that the church was driven from town to town. As the religion grew, so did its doctrine.

Just like the “father-god”, all humans have the potential for becoming god, with their own planets (like earth). One of the father-god’s prophets(15) said, “As god once was, man is. As God is, man may become." When this prophet said, “man…”, he meant exactly that. Women cannot be saved unless they are married to a “priest(16)” in this new religion.

Another teaching of this new religion was that the spirit-children in heaven could only be exalted (with the possibility of becoming a god themselves) if they were born into human bodies and that a man’s glory in heaven depended on the number of babies he had fathered. This meant that adherents of this religion must have as many babies as possible. In order to do this, polygamy was essential. This effectively reduced women to mere commodities. One follower of this religion said, "I think no more of taking another wife than I do of buying a cow(17)."

Folks, this is Mormonism. Either Mormons believe their prophets and doctrine (and all of this story), or they believe that their prophets and presidents were wrong.

Full references and bullet points