I was speaking to a Deacon and several members of the Catholic Student Society here in town and mentioned that I’ve read through several translations of the Bible, as well as other texts (apocryphal, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, Book of Mormon/Pearl of Great Price, Koran, etc) and was told that it was wrong of me to do so, since I was indulging in “evil things”.
From someone with an M.Div, I find this view quite strange and a little archaic. If I’m to engage in a discussion with someone from another faith, it would be logical to not only have a firm foundation in my beliefs and Scripture to support it, but to understand the scripture used by others to point out flaws, changes, and misrepresentations. For example, if I were to point out that Jesus is not in incarnate of Micheal the Archangel (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses believe) I must know where in the Scriptures it gives such information, and where in the NWTotHS it implies such. I must be able to show them the conclusion and where such an idea deviates.
But still, I’m quite taken aback. I plan on going through RCIA in this parish, and would hope that I would be joining a church that could support intellectual apologetics, because let’s be honest, “Hey, sinner, you know you’re going to Hell?” just doesn’t cut the mustard. It’s never worked, and to remain in that mindset will only lead to disaster.
So tell me, not just in the Catholic faith, but in Christianity in general, is this the common belief of your average believer. If so, we’ve got some MAJOR work to do.