The Instigator
KeytarHero
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
JaxsonRaine
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points

Mormons Are Christians

Do you like this debate?NoYes+6
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
JaxsonRaine
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/30/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,125 times Debate No: 20758
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (41)
Votes (3)

 

KeytarHero

Con

I wish to offer a challenge to JaxsonRaine, a competent debater and knowledgeable about the subject matter. He has been in no less than three debates regarding this, and I have decided I'd like to take a crack at debating it with him.

Definitions (if he wishes, he may offer an alternate definition):

Mormon -- an individual member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; Joseph Smith was the founding member of this church and they accept The Book of Mormon as an additional testament of Jesus Christ (and recognize The Pearl of Great Price and Doctrines and Covenants as Mormon Canon)

Christian
-- literally "Christ-like," or a follower of Christ; a Christian accepts the Bible as the inspired, infallible word of God and accepts the teachings of Christ, living their lives by the example He set.

In this debate, we will examine some of the claims made by Christians and Mormons, and see if Mormonism can fit into the scope of orthodox Christianity.

I look forward to Pro's response.
JaxsonRaine

Pro

I thank Con for the challenge. I only have one small correction to make to the definitions.

Mormons accept the Bible as the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly.[1] This is an understandable idea, as there are small contradictions in the Bible, as well as disagreement on exact translations from version to version. If Con disputes this idea, I will provide one instance each of contradiction within the Bible and disagreement between translations.


[1] http://www.lds.org...
Debate Round No. 1
KeytarHero

Con

I would like to thank Pro for accepting the challenge.

I have heard that Mormons accept the Bible as the word of God, "as far as it is translated correctly." The problem is, in all my discussions in person with Mormon missionaries, I have never been able to get one to point out any verse in the Bible was has been mistranslated in such a way as to require a revision in the Book of Mormon, an alleged, later gospel of Jesus.

Now, no theologian worth his weight in gold-pressed latinum will disagree with the assertion that there are contradictions and inaccuracies in the Bible as we have it today. But the Christian contention is that the Bible, in its original texts, are infallible. After all, God directly inspired the Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16). But any alleged contradiction or inaccuracy results from either not reading the verse in its context, or a number was written down incorrectly. No inaccuracy in the Bible changes a particular theological doctrine from Christianity. As an example, 2 Kings 8:26 gives the age of King Ahaziah as twenty-two, whereas 2 Chronicles 22:2 says forty-two. The later number cannot be correct, or he would have been older than his father. This is obviously a copyist error, but it does not alter the inerrancy of the original.

That being said, my argument largely consists of two parts: Mormons do not accept necessary beliefs held by all orthodox denominations, and there is no reason to put faith in the Book of Mormon.

Mormons reject core Christian doctrines

The doctrine of the Trinity is one that immediately springs to mind. It is near impossible to really claim that Jesus was not God. First, we are told all over the Bible that there is only one God (e.g. Isaiah 43:10). If there is only one God, then Jesus could not have been another god. As C. S. Lewis has famously postulated, Jesus was either a lunatic, on par with a man who believed himself to be a poached egg, He was the Devil of Hell, or He was who He said He was. [1] Jesus did not claim to be another God; He claimed to be the real deal, the one, true God (John 8:58, cf Exodus 3:14). Even the Jews knew He was claiming to be God, because they picked up rocks to stone Him for blasphemy (John 8:59). He even forgave men their sins, and the Jews questioned "who can forgive sins, but God alone?" (Mark 2:7).

The Holy Spirit like wise is God, even being called God in the Scriptures (Acts 5:3-4). If you believe there is only one God, yet Jesus was God and the Holy Spirit was God, either you must conclude that there are multiple gods, in which case the Bible is unreliable because it lies when it says there is only one God, or you must conclude that God exists as a Trinity, not three separate gods but three persons who exists as one God, a Trinity. C. S. Lewis compared it to a cube, which exists as a cube but as six individual squares. [2] Of course, no natural object can be a perfect analogy for the Trinity because it simply doesn't exist in nature.

But here's the deal: It doesn't matter whether the doctrine of the Trinity is true or not, if you don't accept it, you are not in the realm of orthodox Christianity. While the word "Trinity" does not appear in the Scriptures, the concept of it does. Jesus is God. The Holy Spirit is God. There is only one God so they are not separate, but one Being. If we look at the Nicene Creed, which was adopted in 325, revised in 381, we see here that Christians believed in a Trinity and have all throughout history. [3] The fact of the matter is, if you reject this doctrine, whether you're right or wrong, you are not a Christian.

There is no reason to put faith in the Book of Mormon.

I touched on this in my introduction. The Bible is reliable, whereas the Book of Mormon is not. While there have been error in translations, they have never been so bad as to completely change Christian theology. For example: If you received the following letter, would you assume you could collect some money?: #OU HAVE WON $10 MILLION. Let's say you receive another letter that says, Y#U HAVE WON $10 MILLION. Would you not be even more sure with the second letter? This is what the errors in translation amount to. The entire message still comes through. [4]

We have more manuscript evidence, and more reliable manuscript evidence, for the Old and New Testaments than any ancient work, more than 14,000 copies of the New Testament (plus we have the writings of early church fathers to substantiate the texts), and over 10,000 for the Old. [5]

How convenient, then, that the angel Moroni would ask Joseph Smith to give them to him to keep them safe in Heaven since Smith was apparently to be persecuted (this seems even odder, considering that God allowed the Old and New Testaments to remain on Earth, even though Jesus told the Jews there would be much persecution ahead) (Joseph Smith -- History 1:60). We have absolutely no way to verify the Book of Mormon. Yet there is overwhelming evidence that the Old and New Testaments have, in fact, not changed ever since they were first delivered to us by God through His prophets and apostles.

I look forward to Pro's response on the matter.

[1] Lewis, Clive Staples, Mere Christianity, HarperCollins Books, p. 52
[2] ibid, pp. 161-162
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] Geisler, Norman L., The Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Books, p. 79.
[5] ibid, pp. 531-532, 548-549
JaxsonRaine

Pro

Contradictions - Con and I agree that there are translation/copyist errors, but there are some that do have significance to doctrine, even to the character of God. As an example, can God be seen?

Exodus 24:10 - "and they saw the God of Israel ; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself."

John 1:18 - "No one has seen God at any time ; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him"

Naturally, the Bible in its original form was probably perfect(I don't know if any individual writers made typos or not), but since there are errors, the view of the Bible being infallible needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Current discrepancies and errors have varying effects on doctrine, with larger effects such as the example I provided here.


Trinity - When considering whether or not someone is a follower of Christ, it is important to always make the distinction between scripture and dogma. One doesn't have to agree with any other group on any topic to be Christian. One only has to agree with the Bible.

There is only one God. However, there is a problem in the understanding of this issue. The Bible refers to three different beings, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, yet it calls each of them God. We know that they are separate beings, as Christ is the Son of God[1](and nobody can be their own Son). The Father's voice was heard at Christ's baptism[2], and the Father couldn't speak from a different location unless He were in a different location.

Seeing as there is a seemingly discrepancy in having three beings, and only one God, it has been left up to interpretation to determine what is meant by this. Mormons believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct personages, yet together they make up the 'Godhead', or God[3]. Mormons further believe that the Hebrew 'Elohim' is indicitave of this, as the ending -im indicates plurality[4].

While this view contradicts traditional Christian dogma, it does not contradict the Bible. Mormons, like other Christians, believe in only one God. They simply have a different way of resolving the perceived conflict of '3 yet 1'. The idea isn't as conflicting with traditional Christian dogma as it first appears, as Con himself said "three persons who exist as one God", as that would be an apt description of the Mormon belief as well.

Con ends his argument about the Trinity with an appeal to popular belief, and an appeal to tradition. Because the majority of Christians have accepted the concept of Trinity since 325AD, doesn't mean it is a requirement to be Christian. In this instance, Con is using the Nicene Creed as an extra-biblical requirement to be a Christian. It would be similar to Mormons saying Christians must believe in the Book of Mormon, but they don't do that.


Book of Mormon - Con's argument about letters indicating you have won money are irrelevant. I have already shown one example of a Biblical error that relates to the nature of God - can God be seen?

Con then argues to the lack of evidence for the Gold plates. As having the original manuscript is being presented as a requirement for scripture to be true, I ask Con to provide original manuscripts for all books of the Bible.

Con also argues to other evidences, and I assert that lack of evidence doesn't suffice as evidence to the contrary. Before we discovered x-rays, there was no evidence that a type of light existed that we couldn't see. Before we discovered anything, there was lack of evidence for that thing.

In addition, there are actually evidences to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. There were many claims made by Joseph Smith(through the text of the Book of Mormon) that were ridiculous notions, but have since been shown to be true.

One example is the practice of inscribing important information on metal plates, and even the practice of binding those plates into metallic books. In 1820, the idea was ridiculous, and Mormons were persecuted for that belief. However, in the last 100 years, we have discovered many examples of religious metallic plates and books[5].


Conclusion - When the distinction between scripture and dogma is made, it is clear that Mormons are Christians. They believe the Bible to be the word of God, they believe Jesus to be the Son of God, and they strive to follow his teachings.[6]



[1]http://www.biblestudytools.com...
[2]http://www.biblestudytools.com...
[3]http://www.lds.org...
[4]http://www.biblestudytools.com...
[5]http://www.templestudy.com...
[6]http://www.lds.org...
Debate Round No. 2
KeytarHero

Con

Contradictions

Here is why I don't think we can trust Mormon interpretations of the Scriptures -- they do the work of atheists. They actually look for contradictions because it makes supporting their Book of Mormon and other "canon" documents easier. To them, like with atheists, the Bible is guilty until proven innocent when a genuine Christian would set out to defend the Scriptures as reliable (and they are reliable). It's a wonder the Mormons accept the Bible at all. If you can't trust it in one thing, how can you trust it in anything else?

Usually when there's a contradiction, the error is not in the texts but in our understanding. Remember that in 393, the Council of Hippo established the Biblical doctrine as canonical and they certainly didn't see any contradiction in the gospel of John. There are a couple of explanations we can offer to why John 1:18 says "no one has seen God at any time."

In order to properly under Scripture, it must be understood in light of itself. If the Scriptures have truly been inspired by God, they cannot err since God is perfect. But one of the most important ways is in context. You can make the Bible say whatever you want by taking verses out of context. In John 1, the apostle is speaking of Jesus, the second person of the Trinity. He refers to Jesus as "the Word." When he refers to Jesus, he refers to the Word (the Second Person of the Trinity) and when he refers to God, he refers to the Father (the First Person of the Trinity). Therefore, God was seen in Exodus (and other sightings), but not the Father. They were seeing the Word before his fleshly incarnation that the entirety of John 1 speaks about. [1] Also notice that there's no indication they actually saw God. In fact, by the context in Exodus 24, only the ground underneath God's feet was described, and even "under God's feet" was probably a poetic device employed to describe what they were seeing; if we read a few verses down, God was represented by a cloud on the mountain.

There's also another explanation. Remember that God once told Moses that if he saw His face, He would die (Exodus 33:20). He said "no man may see Me and live." So Moses could only see God's backside. So in John, when John said "no one has seen God at any time," he could also have meant that no one has seen God's face, because no one can see Him and live.

There are plausible explanations, but like atheists, to Mormons the Bible (God's Word) is guilty until proven innocent.

Trinity

It seems to me, then, that Mormons are a polytheistic religion. Pro claims that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are separate beings, yet he didn't answer my claims about them being separate gods. The Bible says there is only one God, and Jesus was quite clear that He is God, and the Holy Spirit was called God (not a god) in the Scriptures. So either they're three persons but the same God, or they're three separate gods. If they're three separate gods, then the Bible cannot be trusted.

While it's true no human can be their own son, Jesus can be God's Son. There are three Persons in the Trinity, the Son being the second. In fact, Jesus wasn't God's Son as we understand procreation. God came to Earth through the virgin Mary. He was a part of humanity because he was conceived through a woman, but he was kept from Adam's sin because He was not conceived by a man, but by the Holy Spirit. God came to Earth, He didn't procreate with Mary to conceive a son.

In fact, bringing in the usage of "Elohim" actually helps lend support for the doctrine of the Trinity. It is true that the word "Elohim" is plural, but the verb that accompanies it is always singular. One God, but three Persons. [2]

I would ask Pro to please elaborate on the Mormon teaching of the "Godhead." Traditionally, the Godhead refers to the Trinity. Yet Pro doesn't seem to believe that God exists as three Persons, or as three separate gods. I may be misunderstanding, so please elaborate a bit more.

Now, the problem with Pro's argument is that just about anyone can be considered a Christian, using his loose definition of the term. If you don't have to accept traditional Christian doctrines to be a Christian, then Jehovah's Witnesses (who use a very bad translation of the Bible to prove their doctrines), Muslims (who accept the Bible but also accept the Qu'ran, which supercedes the Bible when they conflict), or just about any religious person can be considered a Christian. Even atheists who believe we can learn a lot from Jesus could be considered Christians. The Mormons set out to find contradictions in the Scriptures, but if you can't trust the Bible in one thing (even a minor issue), how can you trust it in the larger things?

Book of Mormon

The example of the letters is not irrelevant. It was meant to illustrate how any errors in the translations still get the true meaning of the words across. Those who allege major errors in the translations simply haven't done their research.

I never said the original manuscripts were a requirement, just that we have reliable manuscript evidence (which is more than we can say for the Book of Mormon), and for the New Testament alone most of the manuscripts date back to the second and third centuries, merely a hundred years or so after the originals. However, Joseph Smith was allegedly given the golden plates to translate in 1838, which is almost 2,000 years after the events they depict (Joseph Smith -- History, 1:2).

It is true that the argument from silence is usually a fallacy, however in this case I don't believe it is. We're talking about a supernatural revelation here. There's no way to prove Joseph Smith was reading golden plates, but there is ample evidence that the Old and New Testaments are reliable, and they have been used by Jews and Christians ever since they were first written and passed around.

In fact, supernatural evidence was used to support the ministries of Jesus and the apostles. When John the Baptist sent his disciples to Jesus to see if He was really the Messiah, Jesus pointed to His miracles -- the blind see, the dead are raised, lepers are healed, etc. (Luke 7:22). In fact, Jesus proved His own resurrection through "many infallible proofs" (Acts 1:1-3). In light of everything, it seems odd that Moroni would ask for the plates back so that the Book of Mormon couldn't be authenticated.

The claim of Joseph Smith regarding the inscriptions on the golden plates does not authenticate the Book of Mormon, especially since we don't have the golden plates to verify them. The knowledge of golden plates was irrelevant to Joseph Smith's claims. Smith, himself, did not claim knowledge that inscribing texts on golden plates, or plates of any metal, was a common practice. As far as he knew, those could have been the only metal plates with religious texts in existence. If he had spoken of them as happening more often, then the argument could hold weight. This is telling, because in every instance that an ancient detail was describe in the Bible (such as the existence of the Hittites) was called into question, archaeology has consistently proven it correct. However, the Book of Mormon makes many claims that are disproven through archaeology and history (such as the existence of several animals, technologies, and plants that were not in America at the time these events supposedly occurred).

Conclusion

It is unfortunate, but convenient, the golden plates are no longer around to substantiate any of their claims, yet ample evidence exists for the Bible, that it has not been severely mistranslated through the years. Mormons reject core Christian doctrines, and accept religious texts that have no proof as to their authenticity (unlike the Old and New Testaments). It is clear that Mormonism is not a sect of Christianity.

[1] http://carm.org...;
[2] http://www.answersingenesis.org...
JaxsonRaine

Pro

I will begin this round addressing Con's remarks.

Contradictions - Con makes an unsupported claim that Mormons actively look for contradictions in the Bible, but as this is unsupported, it cannot be considered a trait of Mormonism. As I pointed out before, Mormons believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly. Con has admitted that there are errors in the Bible, the only argument is as to the scope of the errors. However, it is impossible to claim that something with errors is error-free, and Con asserts that the Bible, having errors, is still error-free as to doctrine.

Can God Be Seen?

Con states that 'there are a couple of explanations we can offer'... and this is the core of the resolution. The Bible can be interpreted to have different meanings. Con can claim that John 1:18 is referring to the Father only, but I can claim it refers to God. Furthermore, if the Trinity is one being, then seeing the Son would be seeing the Father.

The same applies to Exodus. Con can claim that it was only a figurative representation, and I can claim that it is a literal statement. The fact is, it says 'They saw the God of Israel', so it is impossible for Con to state that it couldn't possibly mean that they saw God. As I said, this is the issue at the core of the resolution. Being Christian doesn't mean agreeing to what others think the Bible means, it means being a follower of Christ and pursuing the truth and discipleship yourself.

Furthermore, in Genesis 32:30, Jacob states that he has seen God face to face and lived, while Exodus 33:20 states that 'no man can see me, and live'. Any assertion that these sightings are only of the Son is just a matter of interpretation. This also counter's Con's assertion that perhaps it refers only to seeing God's face, as Jacob saw God face to face.

Concluding this point, Con says 'there are plausible explanations'. This is true, there are different ways to interpret the scriptures, and no group has the sole right of interpretation. Con's assertion that to Mormons the Bible is guilty until proven innocent, is not only unfounded, but nothing more than libel, as I have provided the official Mormon declaration that they believe the Bible.


Trinity - Con misrepresents the Mormon position. Mormons believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, together, are God. They only believe in one God, so they are absolutely not a polytheistic religion. Just as with the concept of the Trinity, there are three characters, and one God. Disagreeing with the interpretation does mean that Mormons don't believe in the Bible.

Con seems to believe that the concept of the Trinity is the only possible 'Christian' interpretation, but I assert that it is only one possible explanation, and all attempts at understanding scripture should be considered equal. Otherwise, there could only be one possible true religion, and possibly no true religion at all. Since we don't look at whether or not a denomination's interpretation is correct to call them Christian, we shouldn't look at whether or not Mormon theology is 'correct' to call them Christians. They have just as much right to disagree as to the meaning of the Bible as do Catholics and Protestants.

As to the word 'Elohim', the word supports the idea of Trinity just as well as it supports the Mormon theology of the Godhead. One Godhead would be treated with singular verbs. Consider the following sentence: "The board meets today at 3." Speaking of a board of directors, 'the board' is treated as a singular, and the corresponding verb is singular as well. He meets, she meets. Compared to the plural 'we meet, they meet'. Similarly, God is treated with singular verbs.

I did provide a link to the Mormon belief of God, or the Godhead.[1] Mormons believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct, separate personages, who together are God. It is only important that they believe in only one God, and that fits with the teachings of the Bible.


Can Anyone be Christian?

First, I will point out the problem with Con saying my argument would support Muslims as Christians. Muslims do not believe in the Bible as written. They do not believe that Jesus is God, that he died and resurrected. They believe he was a promised prophet. This does not parallel Mormon beliefs in the Bible and the Mormon belief that Jesus is the Son of God and savior of mankind.

Similarly, atheists would not be considered Christians in this sense either. They would have to believe in what Christ taught, including the gospel, Christ as God and Son of God, and his death and resurrection.

If someone uses, however, a different translation of the Bible, who are we to denounce them for it? Which version of the Bible is the correct one? This isn't the issue. The issue is intent and sincerity in following Christ, not whether a person is correct.

I would ask Con to cease repeating that Mormons actively seek contradictions in the Scriptures. Mormons believe in the Bible, but are sincere seekers of truth. As such, when they come across contradictory scriptures, they strive to find the real meaning behind it. Con's question about trusting the Bible would apply to himself. If you can't trust the Bible in a minor thing(the age of King Ahaziah, to take an example from Con's argument), how can you trust it in bigger things?

Book of Mormon
-
Just as we don't have original letters for the Bible, we don't have original transcripts(the Golden Plates) of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon also has transcripts from different versions and different languages from the time it was first written, so there is no difference except for Con's double standard. The time period is irrelevant, as neither set of scripture is supported by original manuscripts.

Con states that we can prove the Old and New Testaments to be true, but not the Book of Mormon(after all, the Book of Mormon came from supernatural revelation... as did the Bible). If this were true, there would be no reason for anyone to not believe in the Bible. The Bible cannot be proven to be factual and accurate any more than the Book of Mormon. It can only be proven to be consistent with itself since a couple hundred years after the time period about which it writes. This however, is circular logic, trying to prove something with itself. Again, a double standard.

The same applies to Con's statement about the plates being taken back. If God would give us the Golden Plates to prove the authenticity, wouldn't He give us the original manuscripts the Bible is based on?

The claim of inscribing on metal.

Joseph did claim that this was a common practice. The book of Mormon speaks of other sets of metal books[2]. The fact is, a claim that was ridiculous at the time, which has been shown to have been a relatively common practice, is evidence(although not undeniable proof) of Joseph's claim.

Con goes on to claim that archaeology has disproven the Book of Mormon, but again, lack of evidence isn't evidence to the contrary. Archaeology used to think that there was no iron worked in the Americas at the time, but we know the Olmecs made iron ore beads. Archaeology used to think that copper wasn't smelted in the Americas at the time, but we know it to be true. The Book of Mormon refers to Barley, and we now know that there was a member of the barley family at the time in the Americas which also has edible seeds. Many things that were at one point 'disproven' have now been proven. This is why lack of evidence doesn't work as proof of absense.

Conclusion

Mormon beliefs line up with biblical scriptures. The only issue Con has is that Mormons don't agree with 'traditional dogma', but I have shown traditional dogma to be only one possible interpretation of the meaning of scriptures. As such, Mormons can, and should be considered Christian.


[1] http://www.lds.org...;
[2]http://www.lds.org...
Debate Round No. 3
KeytarHero

Con

Once again, I would like to thank Pro for stepping up to the plate to debate this topic.

Contradictions

I still fail to see how Mormons can claim they believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly, especially since there is overwhelming evidence that the Bible we have today is unchanged doctrinally, and there is no proof that the Book of Mormon was even really given to Joseph Smith.

I never admitted there are errors in the Bible, only that there are errors in the translations. The originals texts are inerrant, but because humans aren't perfect and God did not inspire the translating and copying processes, some minor errors crept in. However, due to the overwhelming manuscript evidence that we have, we know to within a 99.99% accuracy what the original texts said.

Perhaps it was unfair to claim that Mormons seek out contradictions. However, as to Pro's rejection of the explanations, this does show that the Scriptures are not as respected by Mormons as they are by orthodox Christians. For example, I gave Pro two reasonable explanations, yet the Mormons would apparently reject them and claim that the Scriptures which were literally "God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16), cannot be trusted. If there are plausible explanations as to an apparent contradiction, there is no need to reject the explanations out of hand and assume it's an unresolvable contradiction, especially if you claim to respect the book.

I agree that being a Christian means following Christ. But Christ constantly taught from the Scriptures. He didn't believe in them insofar as they were translated correctly, He taught from them authoritatively, trusting in the Scriptures, despite the fact that a lot of the Old Testament in Jesus' day was more than a thousand years old.

But as you see, Pro has taken the verse in Exodus out of context. Reading it in context, it's pretty clear it is not a contradiction of the verse in John 1. Also, he has taken Genesis 32 out of context. If we read the passage in its context, we see that Jacob was wrestling with a Man, not with God in all His glory. In fact, he was wrestling with the Angel of the Lord, (Hosea 12:4, 5). [1]

Trinity

I am still unclear on the Mormon position on the Trinity. I did read the link Pro provided. How can there be one God if there are three persons in the Godhead? Either the three persons are not God, and therefore none of them have the ability to create the universe and humankind, or they are all three gods and Mormonism is a polytheistic religion. Is "God" simply a title, like "mayor?" How can there be three persons in the Godhead, if they are not all the same? If they are a Godhead, it would make sense that they are all gods, or are the same God (although in three distinct personalities). Why would anyone be allowed in the Godhead who was not a god? In fact, the link that Pro provided indicates that the Holy Spirit is a God, so that would seem to indicate that it is another god. Or is the Holy Spirit the only god in the Godhead?

Adding on to the evidence of the word "Elohim" being plural with singular verbs, we also see in the book of Genesis that God says "let Us make man in Our image..." (Genesis 1:26). We also see Jesus (the Son) talking to God (the Father) in the New Testament. They are the same God but different Persons within the Trinity. They have all existed as a Trinity from before the universe began. Elohim was a plural Hebrew word used to describe God as a singular entity.

Can Anyone be Christian?

Actually, the Muslims believe a similar philosophy about the Bible to Mormons. Mormons believe the Bible to be the word of God, insofar as it is translated correctly. So do the Muslims. [2] The only difference is they can actually tell you what parts of the Bible they believe are intact, and which parts they believe have been corrupted. Using that philosophy, Muslims should also be considered Christians.

Also, they don't believe that Jesus is God, but they do only believe in one God, Allah. But then again, Mormons don't believe Jesus is God, just that he's a member of the Godhead (again, does this make him another god, or just a person within the Godhead, and how is this any different from the Trinity)?

Pro makes a fallacy by using my argument against me, because I have explained myself. We can trust the Bible in all things because we know to within a 99.99% accuracy what the original texts said, and any errors in the translation are well known nor do they change the meaning of any of the passages.

Book of Mormon

Again, I don't have a double-standard when it comes to manuscript evidence (of which the Bible has overwhelming, and the Book of Mormon has none). The Book of Mormon may have been translated into many different languages and have different versions, but again it was first "given" in the early 1800's, almost two-thousand years after the events it allegedly describes. This is why it's unreliable: because almost two-thousand years have passed since the events supposedly take place. For the New Testament, we have manuscripts that date back to the second century, a mere one-hundred years after the events took place, plus we have the writings of the early church fathers who knew and learned from Jesus' own disciples to substantiate the writings that we have.

Trusting in the Bible is not circular logic, for the reasons already mentioned. The New Testament was composed in the first century A.D., and in most matters of archaeology, history, etc. it has been proven correct (it's only a matter of time until the matters that haven't are found). This is because the New Testament was actually written when the events were occurring. The Book of Mormon was not (at least there is not proof that it had).

The question regarding giving us the original manuscripts is misleading. God did give us the original manuscripts; He did not ask for them back. They have unfortunately been lost to time, but we do have the manuscripts which are as close as we can possibly get to having the originals.

Inscribing on metal

According to the passage given, Smith did not indicate it was a common practice. The entire Book of Mormon is unlikely to have happened and Smith was allegedly translating words inscribed on a plate of metal, so it does not seem unlikely that he would talk about another person in that same apocryphal book as performing the same act as Mormon and Moroni when they inscribed their message on the golden plates.

As for the examples from iron and barley, I think there's something to be said for the "lucky guess." After all, if the Book of Mormon claims there was barley but a "member of the barley family was discovered," that's not really the same thing. If I say, "Hey, I saw Mike at the store yesterday," but I really saw his brother Joe, then I wasn't recounting a true tale. But it's still largely irrelevant. Unless you find these cultures talked about in the Book of Mormon that were using these items, then it hasn't been proven correct.

Conclusion

I have adequately shown that since the Mormons don't agree with traditional Christian doctrines (in this case the Trinity), they cannot be considered Christians. They don't believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God, as Christians do. The Book of Mormon is an unreliable doctrine of the ancient world. The Mormons are a separate religion and whether or not they are correct, they cannot be considered an orthodox sect of Christianity.

Again, I would like to thank Pro for accepting this challenge and debating with me.

[1] http://www.biblegateway.com...
[2] http://www.islamicanswer.org...;

JaxsonRaine

Pro

Contradictions - Mormons can believe the Bible to be the word of God just as any other Christian can believe the Bible to be the word of God. Con admits to the errors in the translations, but says the original texts are inerrant(however, we don't have the original texts, so nobody can study them to learn from an inerrant version of the Bible).

I would point out that Con continues to use absence of evidence as evidence of absence. No, we cannot prove that the Book of Mormon was translated from plates, but nor can we prove that the Bible matches the original manuscripts, nor can we prove that those original manuscripts were written by who we think they were.

Con misunderstands my position as to the explanations for apparent contradictions in the Bible. He provided some possible explanations, and I provided another. All Christians are free to make sense of the Bible as they will. Con claims that Mormons reject the explanations, while at the same time rejecting my explanations as irrespectful.

Con continues to attack the belief of 'inasmuch as they are translated correctly', even though this is just a way of saying that Mormons believe the Bible(the original message), but some errors(as Con admitted) have crept in.

Jacob said he had seen God face to face, and lived, but Con says this refers to Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord. If that were the case, Jacob wouldn't have said "I have seen God", he would say "I have wrestled with the Angel of the Lord.". Con is taking it upon himself to say that the Bible isn't saying what it clearly says


Trinity - The traditional concept of the Trinity is three persons in one being(simplified). The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Spirit is God, all one God. The Mormon concept of the Godhead is that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Spirit is God, all one God. However, in Mormon theology, the three members of the Godhead are distinct beings. Just as you have a singular entity in a company, the board of directors, with multiple people in the board, Mormons believe that God is one God, with three members. It is only slightly different than the traditional view, but Con hasn't shown any scriptures that would show this belief to be contrary to the teachings of the Bible. Therefore, Mormon theology does fit with the Bible, and they are Christians.

Can Anyone be Christian? - When we speak of Christians, we accept that we are speaking of someone who believes in the Jesus Christ of the Bible, and accepts the teachings in the Bible. Muslims don't believe in many of the key concepts contained in the Bible, especially the concept of Christ as Son of God and savior, and the only way to the Father. Just because they believe Jesus was a prophet doesn't mean they are Christians. This parallel Con continues to push falls completely short. Mormons don't believe Jesus was a mortal, non-divine, prophet. They believe he is what the Bible says he is. Con hasn't pointed any Mormon beliefs about Christ that contradict the Bible, but alludes to the idea that Mormons pick and choose what they believe. This simply isn't true.

Mormons do believe Jesus is God, one of the three members of the Godhead. This assertion by Con simply isn't true, nor is it founded in any Mormon source.

Con also claims that he knows the Bible to be 99.99% accurate, but again, with no source or support. Con doesn't even know if there ever was an original text, as he has never seen them. Many of his criticisms apply exactly the same to all other Christians and the Bible.

Book of Mormon - The Book of Mormon has manuscript evidence from the very first edition. In other words, one step removed from the source. To do better, we would have to have original manuscripts of the Bible, so at best the Bible would tie the Book of Mormon in this regard.

There is nothing inherently unreliable about a book being translated 2,000 years after it is written, if it is done by the power of God, this argument as well is simply unfounded. Just as with the Bible, all we have are claims of a knowledge of the original source.

Con goes on to say that some of the matters of history and archaeology relating to the Bible have been proven true, but that similar matters relating to the Book of Mormon are just lucky guesses. Con states that the matters relating to the Bible that haven't been proven true will in time, but the ones relating to the Book of Mormon that haven't been proven true are evidence that it is false. It is a complete double standard.

I ask, if God would keep the original for the Book of Mormon available for scrutiny, why not the originals for the Bible? Again, this is another double standard, which Con can't get out of by saying they have been lost to time. Certainly God had the power to preserve them if He wished.

Inscribing on Metal - In Con's previous round, he said this argument would have more weight if Joseph Smith referred to more than one example of this happening. I pointed out another example in the Book of Mormon, and Con has sidestepped the issue. No matter what else, Joseph Smith made a claim about a practice of inscription that has been verified as historically accurate.

Again, with iron and barley, Con calls them lucky guesses, but historical findings that support the Bible are evidence of its veracity. Another double standard.

As to barley, Con misunderstands. There is no single plant called 'barley'. Barley is a family of grasses, and one of these edible strains of Barley existed at the time. It would be like saying 'We ate an apple', and not distinguishing if it were Golden Delicious or Royal Gala. They are both still apples. The analogy to different people is misapplied.

Conclusion - Con hasn't shown any Mormon beliefs to be in contradiction to the teachings of the Bible. He has only shown them to be in contradiction with certain dogma, which are nothing more than man's interpretation of the Bible. If more than one church is allowed to be considered Christian, then who is right doesn't matter, as only one church could be right. As such, Mormons, fully believing in Christ and the Bible, are indeed Christians.

Con himself said they cannot be considered Christians "...since the Mormons don't agree with traditional Christian doctrines". Notice he didn't say they don't agree with the Bible. The most Con can accurately get out of that statement is that Mormons aren't Catholics or Protestants, or any other 'traditional' Christian sect.
Debate Round No. 4
41 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Angry_Bird 4 years ago
Angry_Bird
So what if "Mormons are Christians" or not? anyone can be a Mormon but not anyone can be a Christian
The real question is "is Mormonism Christian"
Simply look at the Doctrines of the Church
And you will see Mormonism does not teach Biblical Christianity. when we use the Bible as a rule/deciding factor, we clearly see Mormonism is NOT Christian
Posted by BennyW 4 years ago
BennyW
I am still unsure I understand the idea of the Godhead as presented here. Is it that they are a group collectively known as the Godhead? If this is the case then they are in fact three distinct entities, just connected for a common purpose. If they are one and three then it doesn't really seem different than the trinity, and contrary to pretty much every Mormon I have talked to has told me.
Posted by Knologist_Prime 4 years ago
Knologist_Prime
The Bible and Mormon Writings—A Study in Contrasts

Point 7-

Bible: Mosaic Law, including tithing, terminated by the death of Jesus. Contributions are to be voluntary, not under compulsion.—

2 Corinthians 9:7 "Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
Galatians 3:10-13,(Galatians 3:13) "Christ by purchase released us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse instead of us, because it is written: "Accursed is every man hanged upon a stake.""
(Galatians 3:24, 25) "Consequently the Law has become our tutor leading to Christ, that we might be declared righteous due to faith. 25 But now that the faith has arrived, we are no longer under a tutor."
(Ephesians 2:15) "By means of his flesh he abolished the enmity, the Law of commandments consisting in decrees, that he might create the two peoples[Christian Jews and Gentiles] in union with himself into one new man and make peace."

Doctrine and Covenants: "Verily it is . . . a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned (at his [the Lord's] coming)."—Doctrine and Covenants 64:23.

So if you are going to hold on to tithing which is part of the Law, then you gotta keep and observe the WHOLE Law and not pick at it like a buffet of only what you want. Where's the animal sacrifices? Where's the 12 tribes? Where's the priests and levites?

I like the Holy Scriptures better, Jesus, God's Son freed me from following the accursed Law. Because, that's what it did, accurse all humans failing to live up to that perfect Law of 633 requirements.
Posted by Knologist_Prime 4 years ago
Knologist_Prime
The Bible and Mormon Writings—A Study in Contrasts

Point 6-

Bible: Writers of the Bible were inspired to write God's thoughts.—
2 Peter 1:20, 21. "For YOU know this first, that no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation. 21 For prophecy was at no time brought by man's will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit."

The Book of Mormon: Its prophets are said to have written according to their own knowledge.—
1 Nephi 1:2, 3; (1) I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days. (2) Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians. (3) And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge."

Jacob 7:26. (26) "And it came to pass that I, Jacob, began to be old; and the record of this people being kept on the other plates of Nephi, wherefore, I conclude this record, declaring that I have written according to the best of my knowledge, by saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days."

I'd think to be guided by God's holy spirit as to what to write down is way better that my own little imperfect pea-brain could ever do.
Posted by Knologist_Prime 4 years ago
Knologist_Prime
The Bible and Mormon Writings—A Study in Contrasts

Point 5-

Bible: New Jerusalem to be in heaven.—Revelation 21:2.

The Book of Mormon: New Jerusalem, earthly, to be built by men in Missouri, U.S.A.—3 Nephi 21:23, 24; Doctrine and Covenants 84:3, 4

Really? Missouri? Will it include water rides and roller coasters? That' not even spiritually and stuff.
Posted by Knologist_Prime 4 years ago
Knologist_Prime
The Bible and Mormon Writings—A Study in Contrasts

Point 4-

Bible: Jesus was begotten by holy spirit.—
Matthew 1:20. "But after he had thought these things over, look! Jehovah's angel appeared to him in a dream, saying: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife home, for that which has been begotten in her is by holy spirit.""

Journal of Discourses: Jesus was not begotten by holy spirit. He was begotten in the flesh by Adam's having intercourse with Mary.—Journal of Discourses, Volume I, pages 50-1.

What? I thought Adam died as punishment for sinning against God? Zombie love, perhaps? Nah!
Posted by Knologist_Prime 4 years ago
Knologist_Prime
The Bible and Mormon Writings—A Study in Contrasts

Point 3-

Bible: Jesus was born in Bethlehem.—Matthew 2:1-6.

The Book of Mormon: Jesus was to be born in Jerusalem.—Alma 7:10.

Can Jesus be born in 2 places at the same time? Which is it? Which one is correct?
Posted by Knologist_Prime 4 years ago
Knologist_Prime
The Bible and Mormon Writings—A Study in Contrasts

Point 2-

Bible: The soul dies.—Ezekiel 18:4 "Look! All the souls*1—to me they belong. As the soul of the father so likewise the soul of the son—to me they belong. The soul that is sinning—it itself will die*2."; Acts 3:23.

Footnotes
*1: The souls." Heb., han•nepha•shohth′; Gr., psy•khai′; Lat., a′ni•mae.
*2: Or, "The soul that is sinning is the one that will die." Heb., han•ne′phesh ha•cho•teʼth′ hiʼ tha•muth′.

The Book of Mormon: "The soul could never die."—Alma 42:9.

Which is it? Which one is correct? Where is the harmony of God's inspired thoughts?
Posted by Knologist_Prime 4 years ago
Knologist_Prime
The Bible and Mormon Writings—A Study in Contrasts

Point 1-

Bible: Although the exact site is unknown, the garden of Eden was probably in the Mesopotamian region by the Euphrates River.—Genesis 2:11-14.

Doctrine and Covenants: Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri, U.S.A.—Doctrine and Covenants 57, as explained by President J. F. Smith.

Which is it? Which one is correct?
Posted by Knologist_Prime 4 years ago
Knologist_Prime
KeytarHero:: So my scholarly reference materials from notable sources doesn't means anything to you, even though they are quoting from; The Encyclopedia of Religion, New Catholic Encyclopedia,
The Triune God by Jesuit Edmund Fortman, New Encyclopædia Britannica, A Short History of Christian Doctrine by Bernhard Lohse, New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Protestant theologian Karl Barth, Yale University professor E. Washburn Hopkins, Historian Arthur Weigall author of The Paganism in Our Christianity. And many, many more references...

The Bible teaches;
(1 Thessalonians 5:21) "Make sure of all things; hold fast to what is fine."
(Acts 17:11) "Now the latter were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so."
(Job 12:11) "Does not the ear itself test out words As the palate tastes food?"
(1 John 4:1) "Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world."

Why would I not use scholarly experts in their fields of language, history, and archeology that rely upon their own good reputations in presenting the facts of what they discover, you know, WHAT"S THERE, that show they came to the same conclusion irrespective of religious beliefs or backgrounds with nothing to prove or gain, except the notability of always doing honest research, but shows that their work is in harmony with what is not in the Bible, like the 'trinity'?

(Acts 18:28) "for with intensity he thoroughly proved the Jews to be wrong publicly, while he demonstrated by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ."
I like to follow Apollos example, that principle in being thorough in discussions and research.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by heart_of_the_matter 4 years ago
heart_of_the_matter
KeytarHeroJaxsonRaineTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: I thought it was a good debate. B/A - I am LDS and the debate didn't alter that. Ca - Pro did an excellent job and Con did pretty well, but was missing on a few points. S - Pro = good sources
Vote Placed by yoda878 4 years ago
yoda878
KeytarHeroJaxsonRaineTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: pro had more sources, made a better argument knew more about Mormons then Con.
Vote Placed by Ricky_Zahnd 4 years ago
Ricky_Zahnd
KeytarHeroJaxsonRaineTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con seems to attempt to define Christianity away and apart from a belief in christ as laid out in the bible, and the bible as holy word. These attempts fail in many ways and Pro succeeds in demonstrating that Mormons should be defined as Christians.