The Instigator
ReformedArsenal
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points

Mormonism is not a part of Christianity

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/30/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,403 times Debate No: 14526
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (23)
Votes (3)

 

ReformedArsenal

Pro

I have seen multiple debates where ASB has argued something from the perspective of Mormonism. Repeatedly he calls himself a Christian, and that is not accurate. As a part of the LDS Church, he is not a Christian.

ASB has chosen not to accept the debate, so I will open it to anyone who wishes to take me up on it.

Round 1 is for Greetings and definitions
Round 2 is for Opening Arguments
Round 3 is for Rebuttals
Round 4 is for Closing Arguments

Definitions:

Mormon - An adherant to the teachings of the Mormon Church/Church of Jesus Christ of Later Days Saints
Mormonism - The Religion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints
Christian - An adherant to the teachings of Christianity
Christianity - Historical Orthodox Christianity adhearing to the teachings of Jesus Christ
The Bible - The 66 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament

I will leave the opening arguments to Round 2 and look forward to this debate with ASB.

Danielle

Con

Introduction

I'd like to thank my opponent for the opportunity to debate such an interesting subject. I'm not Mormon (or even Christian) but this seemed like an interesting challenge. I'm sure defining Christian/Christianity will be the main focus of our debate, and while I accept Pro's presented definitions, they're ambiguous enough for a great discussion. As per Pro's request, I'll allow him to make the opening arguments in Round 2. Thanks again for the opportunity and good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
ReformedArsenal

Pro

I would like to keep this relatively simple. So I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

To open, I would like to pose a question. Does a religion have the inherent right and ability to define itself? I would argue that it does. Whether it defines itself through means of Holy Scriptures, ceremonies, deeply held convictions and beliefs, or through requirements on morals and action... a religion has the inherent right to define itself.

Christianity is commonly defined by 4 major things. In protestant circles it is called the Wesleyan (After John Wesley) Quadrilateral. It defines itself by means of Scripture, Reason, Experience, and Tradition. My argument shall focus on Scripture and Tradition.

First, Scripture:

Scripture teaches many things about Jesus Christ. It teaches that he was the Savior of the World, the Jewish Messiah, and ultimately it teaches that he was an uncreated being who was coequal and coeternal with God Himself (Hereafter: The Father). We see in the opening verses of the Gospel attributed to John that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) Later we see that "The Word became flesh and dwelt among them." (John 1:14) There can be no mistake that Jesus was both fully God and fully man when we look at the pages of Scripture. From the Apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians where Christ does not consider equality with God to be something to be grasped (because he already has it)... to the closing pages of Revelation where Christ stands as the worthy Lamb who sits on God's very throne. Christ is clearly seen as coeternal and coequal in the Scriptures.

Second, Tradition:

The first four ecumenical councils of the Church were held in Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon. These councils are nearly universally held as uniquely authoritative by all major branches of the Christian Church.

The unison cry of the first council against the Arian heresy was that Christ was FULLY God, coequal and coeternal. He was not some semi-divine created being, as the Arians taught.

The second council clearly taught that Christ was also fully human. That he was not simply a phantasm of a man who only seemed human, rather he was fully human as well as fully divine.

The councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon convened to discuss how it was possible that this dual nature existed. And the end result was a formulation known as the symbol of unity, and it exclaimed that Christ's dual natures were eternally existent and did not mingle with each other. That his divinity did not impinge on his humanity, and his humanity did not taint his divinity.

These four councils are considered definitive of early Christianity. The entire Church at the time met together to define what it meant to be a Christian. And for them, the primary "non-negotiable" fact of the Christian faith was the fully divinity and humanity of Christ. They went so far as to exile those who did not believe in the divinity of Christ not only from the Church, but from the very empire of Rome.

You may be asking what this has to do with Mormonism, and I will answer your question. Mormonism denies the core doctrine that Christ is fully divine. Not only does this scream out in conflict against the early Christian definition of what being a Christian meant, but it cries out against the very Bible itself. Against the very words of Christ who said "Before Moses was... I AM" (defining himself as the eternal and omnipotent God of the Old Testament). Mormonism teaches that Christ BECAME divine through obedience to The Father, but there was a point at which he was not divine. This is untenable to Orthodox Christian teaching.

If Mormonism sets itself outside of the boundaries that have been created by the religion itself, it cannot claim to be a part of that religion. To do so would be like a person saying "I'm a Minnesota Viking" but refusing to play football, or "I'm a ballerina" but refusing to dance. The simple truth is this: Minnesota Vikings play football, ballerinas dance, and Christians believe in the Coeternalaity and Coequality of Christ to the Father. Mormons do not believe this, and therefore cannot be Christians.
Danielle

Con

Introduction

Many thanks once again to my opponent for beginning this interesting debate.

It is not for us to say who, in the deepest sense, is or is not close to the spirit of Christ. We do not see into men's hearts. We cannot judge, and are indeed forbidden to judge. It would be wicked arrogance for us to say that any man is, or is not, a Christian in this refined sense -- C.S. Lewis

Scripture

First and foremost, it is widely disputed whether or not the Bible actually supports trinitarianism:

- If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I (John 14:28)

- No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Mark 13:32)

- I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7:56).

I could give more examples, but the point here is this: Pro's statement that "Christ is clearly seen as coeternal and coequal in the Scriptures" is simply not true. There are various Christian groups that don't believe God and Jesus are one in the same, including but not limited to Jehovah's Witness, Christadelphians, Christian Unitarians, Oneness Pentecostals, United Church of God, etc.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia says, "The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not taught [explicitly] in the Old Testament" [1] and likewise Encyclopedia Encarta states, "The doctrine is not taught explicitly in the New Testament, where the word God almost invariably refers to the Father [2]. Encylopedia Britannica notes, "Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament... The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies" [3]. Additionally, the Anchor Bible Series - which is a biblical scholar project with over 1,000 theologian contributors writes, "One does not find in the NT the trinitarian paradox of the coexistence of the Father, Son, and Spirit within a divine unity" [4].

Further, throughout the Bible Jesus talks about his faith in God (Hebrews 2:17-18), worships God (John 4:22), says he is a servant of God (Acts 3:13), has reverant submission or fear of God (Hebrews 5:7), etc. Philippians 2:6 even points out Jesus did not think being "equal with God" was graspable. So once again, there is a major debate among scholars and Christians alike regarding the exact context of scripture. It would be irresponsible to accept Pro's opinion as the be-all and end-all of the discussion.

Tradition

Pro brings up the Ecumenical Councils of the Church and mentions that they are nearly universally held as uniquely authoritative by all major branches of the Christian Church. First, not all branches of Christianity accept these councils irrefutably. For example, the Nestorian Church accepts as ecumenical only the first two, while the Oriental Orthodoxy Church the first three. The Assyrian Church of the East only accepts the First Council of Nicaea. Some fundamental Protestants reject ALL councils [5]. As such, supporting all of these councils is not a necessary condition to being a "Christian."

Moreover, Pro's interpretation of tradition in Wesley's Quadrilateral is flawed. "When Wesley speaks of tradition, he does not merely refer to ancient Church Tradition and the writings of the great theologians and Church Fathers of days past, but also of the immediate and present theological influences which contribute to a person's understanding of God and of Christian theology. Tradition may include such influences as the beliefs, values, and instruction of one's family and upbringing. It may also include the various beliefs and values which one encounters and which have an effect on one's understanding of Scripture... Tradition forms a lens through which we view and interpret the Bible" [6].

In other words, tradition has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with automatically revering the councils as Pro has falsely alluded to. Instead, the Wesleyan concept refers to using your own reasoning and experiences to form your own meaningful understanding of religious text.

CON's Arguments and Conclusion

The terms Christian or Christians occur only three times in the New Testament in Acts and Peter. In each of these cases, the term simply refers to those who follow Christ - which fully applies to Mormons. Obviously there are doctrinal differences between Mormons and other Christians, however definitions and assumptions about Christianity as a whole based on the specific beliefs of one denomination or group of denominations are not very helpful.

Since the Bible provides minimal standards for "Christian," we look to the dictionary which defines Christian as one who professes belief in Jesus as Christ, or follows religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus [7]. Not only are Mormons followers of Christ, but they believe that complete salvation is possible only through the life, death, resurrection, doctrines, and ordinances of Jesus Christ and in no other way. They believe Jesus is the divine Redeemer and Son of God who atoned for the sins of all mankind and ensured our universal resurrection [8].

Pro cannot say that only trinitarians are Christian. The bishops who voted against that creed at the Council of Nicea were still Christian. The people who followed Christ and lived before Nicea were still Christian. Furthermore, the Ecumenical councils weren't even held until centuries after Christ lived and died! That means the New Testament Saints themselves could not have passed this test considering they lived centuries prior to the council's existence. I think it's pretty obvious therefore that the highly disputed canon and philosophy interpreted at those meetings certainly cannot be sole distinguishing factors of the blanket term "Christian."

Going back to Wesleyan standards, there is plenty of scripture in the Bible supporting Mormon beliefs. Ironically, Mormons use the Bible specifically and not the council's interpretations of scripture as the basis of their dogma. The idea that Mormons aren't Christian because they don't accept what was said at the councils is flawed. Not only did Pro use defying tradition out of context regarding Wesleyan use, but the rationale is specifically selective against Mormons. The fact is that Christendom has never been unanimous on the issues of canon and the Bible.

Pro concludes, "Christians believe in the Coeternalaity and Coequality of Christ to the Father. Mormons do not believe this, and therefore cannot be Christians." This is fallacious rasoning. There are innumerable differences between denominations, and just because they all don't fundamentally agree on everything 100% does not mean you can exclude one group in particular from being "Christian."

Pro's analogy is flawed. A better example is noting that one can be a football player without being a Minnesota Viking. They can play for the Jets and still hold the title of football player.

In conclusion, the contentions for Mormons not being Christian have been illogical or downright unreasonable. They are only based on conflicting denominational views which are trivial.

References

[1] New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) Volume XIV p.299
[2] Macquarrie, John. "Trinity," Microsoft Encarta Reference Library 2005. © 1993-2004 Microsoft Corporation.
[3] "Trinity" on Encyclopedia Britannica 2004 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD
[4] Bassler, Jouette. "God in the NT", The Anchor Bible Dictionary. Doubleday: New York ,1992. 2:1055.
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[8] http://www.lightplanet.com...

Debate Round No. 2
ReformedArsenal

Pro

ReformedArsenal forfeited this round.
Danielle

Con

My opponent has been online consistently but chose to forfeit the last round.

Please extend all of my arguments. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
ReformedArsenal

Pro

In all honesty, my new semester of courses just started and I have not (and will not) have enough time to finish this debate. My apologies to the readers for starting something I could not finish.

I urge the voters to vote for my opponent in conduct points, but to leave the remainder as a tie (since the debate is not being finished). Thank you.
Danielle

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for this opportunity to debate. Hopefully we can continue this discussion in the future :)

I'd also like to respectfully disagree with my opponent's suggestion. So far in this debate we've each presented a round of argumentation and had the opportunity to make a case and present sources. Why should the "sources" vote remain a tie when I have provided sources to back up my case and Pro has not? That seems a little unfair. The audience should have the opportunity to judge the debate so far as it's presented keeping our one round of arguments in mind. However I don't really mind either way.

Regardless, thanks again for the opportunity, good luck in classes and maybe we'll meet again.
Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
"Let me ask you - do you ever get to talk to women outside of the internet?"
I see a question mark here, so it seems perfectly reasonable to assume that it is a question. As it followed the first question, it must be the second question. <insert celebratory statement of logic here>

As for this "obsession" that you've been obsessing over... well, I think the irony should make my point clear enough right there.
Posted by ASB 6 years ago
ASB
this debate is obviously about me anyway.
This is why im still on... i think i just justified my reason for being here.
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
First of all, I only asked you one question: "why else comment on my debate?!"

I don't know what you are referring to as my "second question," so I don't know what you are saying yes to. As far as your question about why I care, I've already pointed out exactly why I care about your obsession and need to instigate me into conversation because you pathetically need my attention. Repeat: "because you're a weirdo and your obsession with me is making me uncomfortable to say the least."
Posted by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
I never comment because I need attention. I comment because I'm on the internet, and I have an opinion, and I'm going to express it no matter how many people will be annoyed by it, and consequently rant about said annoyance. That should answer your first question.

For your second question, my answer is in two parts. The first is a direct answer: yes. The second is merely another question in response: why do you care?
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
So why do you keep coming back here? You can't help yourself either I see :) Let me ask you - do you ever get to talk to women outside of the internet?

(you'll have to come back to this debate in order to answer - which you will - because you need my attention... otherwise you would stop commenting)
Posted by ASB 6 years ago
ASB
my eyes hurt again
Posted by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
I post where I want to post. I was moderately interested in this debate, and the Comments looked rather interesting. They gave me enough of a laugh, as irony always does, so it was well worth my time. And sincce when was the challenge to "ignore you"? The challenge was to never say your name. If you want to redefine the challenge, fine, but this begs the question, why do you care?
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
*** WHY DO YOU CARE ***

Why are you reading the comments? I'm positive this isn't a debate that interests you, and if it does, the comments certainly don't... mind your own fvcking business!!! TRRRRRYYYYY TO IGNORE ME lol failed my challenge I see. Miserably.
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
omg OB! SESSED!
Posted by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
Well, this is the strangest set of thirteen Comments I've ever seen on this site. For various reasons, it's also the most ironic.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by maninorange 6 years ago
maninorange
ReformedArsenalDanielleTied
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Vote Placed by Dakota-Hiltzman 6 years ago
Dakota-Hiltzman
ReformedArsenalDanielleTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: I'm a little disapointed with how this round ended. there was a key point that the Pro could have, and should have extended in this debate, as well as many scriptures the Pro could have used. ultimately though Con has an overwhelming victory.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
ReformedArsenalDanielleTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Clear win for Con,very effective response, however Pro likely would have challenged well if they did not forfeit.