Plea for humility in what we think of another group

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Mar 5 2019 2:18 PM

In a different thread, a statement was made that took me a long time to understand why it bothered me so much. It bothers me because I have a tendency to make the same mistake and be blind to it. But in this case, the flaw was clearly displayed ... In my case, I tend to do it to Calvinists, because he is the one theologian that I find impossible to read - and as a result have gaps I don't even know are gaps in my understanding.

irrelevant who wrote:
while you may think my understanding of them is flawed, it's actually based on arguments I've heard certain Protestant-to-Catholics make and they, themselves, are getting this from Catholic apologists on the internet.

Reasons to assume that the information "Irrelevant" is using is flawed:

  • the sample, Protestant-to-Catholic converts, providing the information are not "native speakers" of the faith; they are still learning the Catholic world view. As such they have an advantage of being able to speak the language of the Protestant world view but the disadvantage of being able to speak only in broad strokes without the nuances
  • apologists of any set of beliefs are not typical representatives of the beliefs - they have simplified and added certitude to create assertions useful in argumentation and evangelization; the "internet" aspect adds another level of unreliability because anyone can post and appear legitimate - their actual status within the Catholic community is untested. [Yes, I am thinking of a particular flat-earther Catholic apologist Embarrassed]
  • American Catholicism is not typical of Catholicism ... when the British forbade seminaries in Ireland, the Irish seminarians went to France where they were "infected" by the Jansenist heresy. Ireland then sent excess priests to America which still carried a taint of the heresy.
  • The sources are a handful out of 1.285 billion Catholics, all from the same rite despite the nearly 30 rites that are Catholic, all from the same country despite the 232 territories and countries in which the Catholic Church is active

So if I am ever caught saying "Calvinists believe ...." rather than "I read in NNNN that Calvinists believe ..." or "NNNN said that Calvinists believe ..." figuratively slap some sense into me. I now know better. And thank you "irrelevant" for forcing me to think this through.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 5 2019 2:46 PM

MJ. Smith:
So if I am ever caught saying "Calvinists believe ...." rather than "I read in NNNN that Calvinists believe ..." or "NNNN said that Calvinists believe ..." figuratively slap some sense into me. I now know better. And thank you "irrelevant" for forcing me to think this through.

Good advice for us as as we interact here on the forums with anyone who thinks differently than we do. Having an attitude of humility is key. Lord help us all, not only here but in all of our interactions with others.

Using adventure and community to challenge young people to continually say "yes" to God

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J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 5 2019 2:49 PM

Irrelevant?

 

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George | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 5 2019 3:12 PM

Bruce Dunning:
Having an attitude of humility is key.

We don't need humility if we have Logos 8.2 or higher (Obadiah 12:4; Rev 35:8)

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 5 2019 3:50 PM

J. Remington Bowling:
Irrelevant?

You are not irrelevant ... but who wrote the quote was irrelevant to my post and I didn't want to appear to be attacking anyone when my point was in recognizing a tendency in myself that is shared with others.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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George | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 5 2019 4:06 PM

MJ. Smith:
recognizing a tendency in myself

We all have that tendency.  Many of us (including myself) are too many times unwilling to recognize it. Too many times I was willing to teach before I was willing to learn.

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Jeremy White | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 5 2019 4:29 PM

I find a great way to combat the tendency is to remember that chagrin we feel when someone labels/judges/pigeonholes us based on the words or actions of someone else who is apparently representative of a group we have an affinity with (truly or at least in their eyes).

For instance, can we determine the beliefs of *all* US citizens or any other country by the words or actions of their politicians who are also citizens? This is just one example.

For those of us who value truth and think MJ's word choice is excellent - it says something that is true - so and so says such and such -without introducing an inductive logical fallacy ... ALL people in that group believe the same. 

A song I wrote and recorded : He Who Sits Upon The Throne

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Steve Maling | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 5 2019 4:46 PM

Big Smile

Big Smile7

Thank you, MJ, for pondering your disquiet, and then posting it for the rest of us to profit thereby.

Signed, ”A Calvinist” (of sorts)

Edit: who obviously should’t try to append emoticons!

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Puddin’ | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 6 2019 12:03 AM

Very good thread topic.  I realize I’m still a newbie on here, so I try to walk carefully, but I will say that I have been aghast at how some “Christians” treat others in the name of Christ...including myself at times.

While I do believe there are certain soteriological demands clearly meted out in Scripture, there’s also always a thought in the back of my mind, “What if you’re wrong and they’re right.”

I have heard it said that more people will be lost in the name of religion than was ever lost in the barrooms, etc.  Not sure if that’s true, but I think the point should be taken (remember, 9/11 happened in the name of “holiness”).

I find that I am farrr less inclined to consider another’s points if they’re spewing vitriol and throwing around charges of supposed “heresy,” cult, etc.  And, yes, I have been guilty...and it always bothers me when I have done so.  

My ramblings.

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Mike Pettit | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 6 2019 12:38 AM

Firstly you should not generally be making statements about other groups in the first place as this is theological discussion.

Secondly comments about how Christians should behave is in itself a theological question, to try to enforce a particular philosophy beyond obeying set rules is in itself a theological position that is being disguised as something else.

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Puddin’ | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 6 2019 12:49 AM

Oh brother...never mind 🙄.

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Martin Hall | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 6 2019 1:49 AM

Thank you for bringing this up MJ. I have been increasingly concerned as of late (past 2-3 years) of the oneness of the body of Christ represented here on earth. I think one of the main themes I see taught by Paul is the unity that should be displayed in the church. I have been fortunate enough here in Toledo, OH to be part of a group of Pastors that get together on a monthly basis, just for worship, prayer, and encouragement. It's unlike anything else that I have experienced and we range across a whole host of denominations, and there are over 80 of us that get together. I really think that the church as a whole needs to value the unity of the Christ's visible body here on earth, because once we do, Christ will really more attractive to those we get to influence in our communities. 

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