The Instigator
tyler90az
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
SusanBrei
Con (against)
Losing
11 Points

Latter-day Saints are Christian.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
tyler90az
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/21/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,701 times Debate No: 14455
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (7)

 

tyler90az

Pro

The definition of a Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. People who say Latter-day Saints aren't Christian use their own definition. Saying a Latter-day Saint isn't Christian falls under many different fallacies. Namely the irrelevant conclusion fallacy. People believe just because they say Latter-day Saints aren't Christian or because their church says it; the statement must be true.

Lets now look at facts to backup the claim that we are followers of Jesus Christ/Christian. Our church is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hence Jesus Christ within the name. The Book of Mormon another testament of Jesus Christ mentions Jesus Christ over eighty one times. We close our prayers and talks in the name of Jesus Christ. We are counseled to read the bible.

That should start it off!
SusanBrei

Con

Your argument presumes that people who say LDS are not "christian" share your basic understanding of the word. In all probability, this is not the case. The majority of christians in this country, no matter the denomination, share a common book (The Holy Bible), a common history (European Catholicism and Lutherian protestantism), and a basic understanding of the meaning of Christ's teachings and expectations for the afterlife. To these people, the word "christianity", as they use it, describes this common, specific belief system.

What you are attempting to do is subvert the obvious meaning of the word as it is understood by the majority of Americans, broaden it to the point where it lacks all resemblance to its intended meaning, and hold these people accountable to your definition rather than their own.

Would the average American use the word "christian" to describe gnosticism? No. Would they use it to describe Jehovah's Witnesses, or the followers of Jos� Luis de Jes�s Miranda? No. As with the Latter Day Saints, the average American recognizes the tangential nature of these religious movements by setting them apart from mainstream christianity by placing them in a unique category.

The LDS have an extra book, they have distinct beliefs about family, social orde and the afterlife. They wear unique garments, and practice unique rituals. These differences do not fit the normative Christianity schema of the average American, and as a result, their definition of "christianity" does not include the Mormon church.

You are arguing semantics, and if you're going to do so, you have to acknowledge the meaning of the word as it is used by the population you are observing.
Debate Round No. 1
tyler90az

Pro

Your argument further validates my point that people who don't believe LDS are Christian use their own definition. The true definition is a follower of Jesus Christ. Christian is derived from Christ. Christians are people whose acts and behaviors emulate Jesus Christ. Christian doesn't mean people who believe in a certain afterlife. It is important that we go off the true definition of Christian. If were going off false definitions of Christian; I could just say I am a Christian because I worship a water bottle.

I will layout some examples of how LDS are more Christian then mainstream, using the Bible. Many places in the New Testament you can read about missionaries. Why would there be no missionaries in the true Christian church? Also LDS believe all will be resurrected, but placed in different degrees of heaven depending on worthiness. It speaks of that in the following scriptures.

2 Cor 12:12 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven."

1 Cor 15 40:41 40There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

John 14 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

As far as LDS having unique things every Christian religion has unique things. Catholics have the Pope. Protestant believe in salvation by grace alone. Those things are never mentioned in the bible. I have never read anything in the bible about a pope. I have read about prophets and apostles which LDS have. I also have read many times in the bible about work and grace will get you into heaven. Not that grace is sufficient alone.

Furthermore, I am not using semantics. I am using the true definition of Christian as Christ would want it. Also I am going off the definition that all people without a slant for their religion would use for Christian.
SusanBrei

Con

Your argument is entirely about semantics, because you are arguing the meaning of a word in common usage. Your argument hinges on the notion that you are privy to the TRUE meaning of the word "christianity", while people who useit in a way you do not agree with are using it in a FALSE and completely unfounded manner. Without using the holy bible or the book of mormon (I am an atheist, and do not accept these books as a form of truthproof), please prove that one particular meaning is Truth, and the next a falsehood or misconception.

Language is merely a system of sounds and symbols that human beings utilize to communicate ideas. The word "christianity", as it is written or spoken, brings forth a set of ideas in those who read or hear it. In the average citizen of the United States, the word primarily provokes images of Evangelicals, traditional Protestantism, and Catholicism... all of which share a common book and belief system. In a very, very small number of people, the definition includes faiths such as Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses or Christian Scientists. Given that the majority of English speakers do not place the LDS in their definition of christianity- instead requiring more specific language to evoke those images- I would argue that the "true" definition (that which the majority of people understand it to be) is the one you are arguing against. The LDS, in the minds of Americans, are simply too unique to be considered "christian".

This definition of "christianity", from the Princeton Dictionary, reflects this idea:

1) a monotheistic system of beliefs and practices based on the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus as embodied in the New Testament and emphasizing the role of Jesus as savior
2) Christendom: the collective body of Christians throughout the world and history (found predominantly in Europe and the Americas and Australia); "for a thousand years the Roman Catholic Church was the principal church of Christendom"

While you may argue the second definition includes Mormonism, the first would not. In the minds of most Americans, Christians are members of the system of Christianity, which according to the above definition, makes no mention of the Book of Mormon.

Furthermore, the following definition of Mormonism from the Princeton Dictionary reveals American thought on the matter:

1) The doctrines and practices of the Mormon Church based on the Book of Mormon
2) Mormonism comprises the religious, institutional, and cultural elements of the early Latter Day Saint movement and its modern denominations deriving from the leadership of Brigham Young and/or the religious innovations introduced by founder Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1840s Nauvoo, Illinois.

Now, even these respectful definitions make no mention of Christ or Christianity. Yes, that may reveal an ingrained bias against the LDS church. Yes, that may not seem fair from your point of view. Yes, it is true that Mormons respect the teachings of Jesus Christ. Still, I would argue that words have no "true" meaning, that they merely communicate ideas, and that expecting the word "christian" to include the LDS is idealistic and wishful in nature.
Debate Round No. 2
tyler90az

Pro

I am trying to prove the meaning of a word. There is clearly one definition for Christian and that is a Follower of Jesus Christ. Off course my argument hinges on the true meaning of Christian. That is after all what we're debating about. The debate title is "Latter-day Saints are Christian."

Followers of Jesus Christ=Christian, Latter-day Saints=Followers of Jesus Christ therefore Latter-day Saints=Chris
tian

The true definition of Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. To take the Holy Bible out of a debate about what the word Christian means is ridiculous. That's like taking the word Christ out of the debate, when the word is CHRISTian. I used the bible to establish the clear definition of Christian. This is one of the main prongs of my argument.

"In the average citizen of the United States, the word primarily provokes images of Evangelicals, traditional Protestantism, and Catholicism... all of which share a common book and belief system."

Let's look at how these three Christian denominations share a common belief system.

Protestantism: Grace alone is sufficient to receive eternal life. Protestantism is also a movement against the Catholic Church in the 16th century.

The Bible would be the authoritative word of what Christian means. Per Protestantism and Evangelism who believe the Bible to be absolute authority. According to their belief that the Bible is the only true word we are Christians.

^ "Protestantism." Encyclop�dia Britannica. 2010. Encyclop�dia Britannica Online. 15 Nov. 2010 <http://www.britannica.com...;.

Evangelicals: A movement which began in 1730s. Evangelism is a branch off of Protestantism.

^ Bebbington, D. W. (2008). Evangelicals in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s, London: Unwin, 1.

Catholicism: Catholicism has a different type of communion. The religion also believes in the Holy See. We could go even deeper in how each Catholic Church is different, but we can all agree on that.
McBrien, Catholicism, 19-20.

Like I stated in my first post, Latter-day Saints may do different things then other religions. That is the norm though, every religion has their own set of beliefs. That is proved above with sources.

"This definition of "christianity", from the Princeton Dictionary, reflects this idea:"

May I please get a link for that definition? I am unable to locate the Princeton Dictionary. I did find all these though.

Christian
1
a : one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ b (1) : disciple 2 (2) : a member of one of the Churches of Christ separating from the Disciples of Christ in 1906 (3) : a member of the Christian denomination having part in the union of the United Church of Christ concluded in 1961
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

▸ noun: a religious person who believes Jesus is the Christ and who is a member of a Christian denomination
▸ adjective: relating to or characteristic of Christianity ("Christian rites")
▸ adjective: following the teachings or manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus Christ
http://www.onelook.com...

adjective
•of, relating to, or professing Christianity or its teachings:the Christian Church
•informal having or showing qualities associated with Christians, especially those of decency, kindness, and fairness.
noun
•a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.
http://oxforddictionaries.com...

1.A follower of and believer in Christ.
http://www.fact-archive.com...

adj.
1. Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
2. Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus's teachings.
3. Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.
4. Relating to or characteristic of Christianity or its adherents.
5. Showing a loving concern for others; humane.
n.
1. One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
2. One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

I could continue for days, the consensus definition in dictionaries is that Christian means follower of Jesus Christ.

Dictionary
a book containing a selection of the words of a language, usually arranged alphabetically, giving information about their meanings, pronunciations, etymologies, inflected forms, etc., expressed in either the same or another language; lexicon; glossary: a dictionary of English; a Japanese-English dictionary.

http://dictionary.reference.com...

9/10 times a dictionary says a Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. I was struggling to find a dictionary that didn't use that definition.

Now that we know the true definition of Christian, by anybody unbiased we can move on. Arguing that there isn't one clear definition for Christian, is like arguing that there isn't a clear definition for ceiling.

True
1.
being in accordance with the actual state or conditions; conforming to reality or fact; not false: a true story.
2.
real; genuine; authentic: true gold; true feelings.
http://dictionary.reference.com...

Definition
1.
the act of defining or making definite, distinct, or clear.
2.
the formal statement of the meaning or significance of a word, phrase, etc.
3.
the condition of being definite, distinct, or clearly outlined.
http://dictionary.reference.com...

"words have no "true" meaning"
Words do have true meaning or communication would be extremely difficult without true meanings. I would like if you would elaborate on your point more. Using that argument actually works against you though. If words have no true meaning and just communicate ideas. Then Latter-day Saints are Christian.

If word meanings are interpreted by individuals and I believe Latter-day Saints are Christian, then Latter-day Saints are Christian. We can wrap it up and give me the win if that is what you're arguing. If not elaborate more with sources please.

Closing
I have proved that the Bible and anybody who has done research (dictionaries and encyclopedis) knows that Christians are followers of Jesus Christ. Another issue I covered is that all religions have different beliefs from one another. I have provided many sources to prove this. My good opponent has provided very little sources and arguments contradict each other. With the above mentioned Latter-day Saints are indeed Christian.
SusanBrei

Con

Respectfully, you are arguing what SHOULD be true rather than what IS true. Using logic, and your broad definition of "christian" (one not shared by many people), you've come to the conclusion that those who do not include, think of, or in any way associate the LDS with the word are mistaken. The problem is, many of the definitions you've included in your final post give reference to those who follow "Christ's teachings" as a feature of a "christan". You would include the Book of Mormon here, but what do the majority of people consider the "teachings" of Jesus?

Here are random samples of mainstream thought:

A book entitled "The COMPLETE Sayings of Jesus", a book which makes no reference to the Book of Mormon:
http://www.sacred-texts.com...

A site which lists Sacred Texts for many religions, and places the texts of Christianity in a separate category from Mormonism:
http://www.sacred-texts.com...

Another link which speaks about Christian Texts. Again, no mention of the Book of Mormon:
http://www.religionfacts.com...

A message board I found on Google showing many do not consider Mormons to be Christian:
http://www.christianforums.com...

I could go on all day as well. Again, as an atheist, I have no stake in whether Mormons are considered Christian or not. Likewise, I do not feel that the bible is the divine word of god. In my view, language develops, evolves and changes over time. While you are recognizing that Mormons SHOULD be included in the Christian family, I am merely recognizing that, at this moment in history, the LDS are NOT included in that special little club by the majority of people. Someday, if the LDS church continues to grow and prosper, it may reach a tipping point in which the majority of people think of Mormons when they hear the word Christian. Dictionaries will read, "A person who follows the teachings of Jesus as found in the Holy Bible AND The Book of Mormon".

I'm afraid society just isn't there yet.

In my personal life, I am a law student interested in the rights of transgender people. In many ways, your argument for the LDS being accepted under the Christian umbrella are similar to transgendered people wishing to be accepted under the umbrella of their desired sex. A male to female transsexual, for example, may argue that she SHOULD be seen as a "woman" because she has breasts, a surgically-constructed vagina which looks like the real thing, a lack of facial and body hair, and hips. She may feel that the dress and make-up she wears, the purse hanging from her shoulder, and the high heels that adorn her feet fit the definition of "woman" as well.

Unfortunately, the features which make her distinct from genetic women- things like extra height, broad shoulders, a deep voice, the lack of ovaries and the presence of a Y gene- will always separate her from the true meaning of "woman" in the minds of the majority of people. Unless she can hide who she way, she'll always be a "transwoman" or a "transsexual" to the majority of people.

Someday, transgendered people may overcome this hurdle to inclusion, and someday, Mormons may overcome theirs as well. Until that day, though, Mormons will continue to be too different to be thought of as christian. They'll continue to be "transchristian", so to speak.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tyler90az 5 years ago
tyler90az
Are Muslims followers of Jesus Christ?
Posted by larztheloser 5 years ago
larztheloser
Just throwing it out there ... under Pro's argument, Muslims are Christians - all they have, after all, is one extra book.
Posted by tyler90az 5 years ago
tyler90az
I actually made the debate because a minority of people believe that LDS are not Christian. Granted I live in the west and people in the west are generally more informed about the LDS Church. Reason is because our headquarters are in Utah.

You actually approached this debate in a puzzling way. I thought you would bring up we believe in a different Christ or something. Instead you pretty much said well his isn't debatable.

The fact is Christian is derived from Christ. Christian is therefore a follower of Jesus Christ.
Posted by SusanBrei 5 years ago
SusanBrei
Me thinks tyler90az doth simplify too much!

Seriously, you encountered the "faulty" definition of the word "christian" so often that you started this debate! When I explain what that definition is and why it exists, you do not prove that it DOESN'T exist, you still just attempt to prove that it SHOULDN'T exist.

Words have meaning. Sometimes, they have multiple meanings (at the same time!). Obviously, you and your camp feel "christian" means one thing, while a very large camp- large enough to for you to feel harrassed and slighted by their usage- feels that "christians" are people that believe EXCLUSIVELY in the words of the Old/New Testament. These people probably think the LDS are a cult, to be honest.

Me? I'm a Naturalistic Pantheist.

Here's a puzzler for you. Does that qualify or disqualify me from "atheism"? (Hint: It's the same debate)

(BTW, I'm from Utah, and I like Mormons. That's why I created a semantics argument rather than bringing stuff like this into the debate: http://carm.org...)
Posted by tyler90az 5 years ago
tyler90az
Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ bottom line. You never disproved that or that Latter-day Saints follow Jesus Christ. I clearly proved Latter-day Saints are Christians.
Posted by SusanBrei 5 years ago
SusanBrei
Surviving, I agree. It was semantics. It all depends on how narrow or broadly you want to construe the word "Christian". I took this debate on impulse. Looking back, I regret my decision. With this debate, it's too easy to merely vote your personal opinion concerning which of the two definitions offered "feel" right. Facts do not really matter here. You can go with the technical definition, or the definition that explains Pro's issue in the first place. Your pick.

Sadly, the debate probably attracts more LDS voters than non-LDS as well, which does not bode well for an atheist like me! Oh well, it was a fun exercise. Something to do aside from studying Constitutional Law and writing legal briefs.
Posted by SurvivingAMethodology 5 years ago
SurvivingAMethodology
This is really just an argument of semantics; there is no such thing as a "pure Christian" from a human perspective.

Mormons are philosophically Christian, but because they reject the Nicene Creed, which for hundreds of years stood as the definition of a Christian, they do not fit the definition of "Christian" in the traditional sense. So in one sense, Mormons are Christian, and in another, they are not.
Posted by ASB 5 years ago
ASB
Tyler preaches facts:
Christianity is one that believes in christ.
Susan says that since the US does not view Mormons as Christians then that is what they are not.

Susan's arguments do not make any sense whatsoever...
I think she realized that she lost after the third round when tyler dusted her
with the definition of christian.
Posted by ASB 5 years ago
ASB
definition of christian is:
Protestant, one that believes in christ... it is undeniable.
The LDS church believes in christ
Posted by gfootdale 5 years ago
gfootdale
Interesting debate! I would have wanted to participate :). I voted for Pro because I am a Latter Day Saint so i can completely understand where he was coming from and the sources he was using. Con wasn't so convincing as to sway my beliefs.

Great job by both!
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Vote Placed by SurvivingAMethodology 5 years ago
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tyler90azSusanBreiTied
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