Answering Other Monotheists

Recently I was contacted on Facebook by a Mormon seeking to convert me. Her strategy seemed to be to get me to engage with the Book of Mormon and highlight beauty in that book and then use apologetics to dismiss any objections I have. Now Mormonism is an unreasonable faith for some relatively clear historical and philosophical reasons.

But, this raised a question for me. Mormons, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witness’s Zoroastrians, Some Buddhists, Some Daoists, and Deists all believe in one all powerful God. They would all agree with our theological arguments for the existence of God and agree mostly with our claims about his character. They all disagree either that the church’s teaching authority has been validly transmitted through history or that God genuinely interacted with our prophets and with the Church at all. Its relatively easy to show that Catholicism is the only candidate for a faith with which God is still interacting, but its another thing to prove that the events of Exodus are faithfully recorded in our scriptures.

How can we convince someone of our teaching authority and stay more confident of our own position in those debates.

When it comes to trying to convince someone of anything, establish your common ground first and then work up from there. A lot of time we think we are being convincing but we are not because we haven’t established a proper foundation. We think we are building a solid argument that rests on several well established elements, they see a teetering edifice with several of its main supports resting on open air. So make sure you agree on the foundations first then start building. If it ever looks like they are rejecting an obvious point, work backwards and try to figure out what bit of bedrock is missing, or what extra piece of bedrock they are using.

It works for shoring up your own certainty too. If you feel part of your belief is shaky, dig into it and find out what foundations it rests on. Worst case scenario, you find out you didn’t know them as well as you thought. Either way, you’ll walk out with a better understanding.

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What, exactly, is the importance of the Old Testament to our Catholic faith? This question was answered at considerable length in The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, published by the Pontifical Biblical Commission in 2001, over the signature of the Commission’s president, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/pcb_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20020212_popolo-ebraico_en.html

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Ok yeah that’s awesome advice! Thanks inquiry. So I think in my issue is that my faith that God exists is very secure, I also believe that God is almost certainly like the God of the Bible. None of my devils advocate arguments against the church stick but that’s not enough to prove that the church is correct.

I have trouble defending the idea that God would speak to prophets in history and specifically choose just one family/country/church. But then Jesus is so good and the theology is so gorgeous and resonant that it’s reassuring. In moments of spiritual desolation doubt comes and because I lean on emotion and intuition a lot those moments shake me a lot. There’s no replacement for the grace of the Spirit to give me or anyone else faith, but having some strong argument about the prophets and showing that the one God Truly does interact with the Catholic Church as we claim he does would ground my faith and ability to defend it.

God is infinite and far beyond our comprehension. It is fundamentally impossible for us to fully understand him. That means that, by definition, the Bible, the Prophets, the Saints, and the Church itself have problems adequately describing Him. Of course you are going to see things that don’t quite line up.

So there’s an important distinction here. The Church is not the best way because it is the most accurate, it is the most accurate because it is a major part of how God has chosen to reveal Himself to us. Proving it correct is a good goal, but focusing on its relationship with Christ may be what you need right now.

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Well right. I worship One God who is Love, Truth, the Way, the Life, Omnipotent…

There is no substitute for faith built on relationship. It would help me strengthen that relationship if these intellectual concerns (read: anxieties :wink: ) were more settled. I also feel guilty wrestling with these questions or afraid of sliding backward.

I know Jesus through his Spirit. His Spirit reaches me through my own (largely subjective) experiences, through the Sacraments (which can be doubted in moments of desolation), and through the teaching authority of the church like Scripture. The third is attractive because it can be argued over in an objective way. Scripture is beautiful and describes God in a way that matches my subjective experience with Him and seems philosophically probable. That is different than Scripture being historically reliable and a firm foundation for faith. I am aware its wrong to deny the clear graces I receive from the Spirit, and I will remember that consolation soon, but in the mean time I think God would want me to seek help to bolster my faith instead of letting myself stew in doubt.

Sorry this is wordy. Thank you all for your help. I know this isn’t a forum for Spiritual affirmation or advice so Im sorry this thread shifted a bit. <3

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