While the Catholic Answers forums were down, I decided to go over and check out a Protestant message board, to try and gain some perspective. As my girlfriend (and hopefully soon to be fiance) is a Presbyterian, it is important to me to try and understand Protestantism as much as possible. It is also important to my girlfriend that I do as much research into Protestantism as possible, to see if it might be the Truth after all. I’m actually hoping that, once I do gain a better understanding of Protestantism, that I’ll be able to use the inconsistencies that I find to help show my girlfriend that Catholicism is the Truth.
Anyways, to begin with I went and checked out the Westminster Confession of Faith. In there, there is a clause on the Pope, and it names him as the Antichrist. Then it lists some references from the Bible to “prove” this claim. So I went and googled a Protestant message board, and after an introductory thread, I listed this claim and then attempted to refute it, purely from the Bible. I actually think I was quite successful in doing so. I then asked the question, (paraphrasing myself) “how can the Presbyterian Church continue to have this clause in there when I have shown that it is clearly false?” Now while some people disagreed with me, they actually didn’t really give me any evidence why I was wrong.
I also started two other threads, one on Mary (trying to understand the Protestant position on Mary), and one on Peter, the rock. In this thread I was trying to show that Peter was the rock, but at the same time I was trying to say that that, in and of itself, does not prove the Papacy. Indeed (as I argued), many Protestant scholars believe that Peter is the rock. I again argued only from the Bible, and I quoted one Protestant scholar on the subject.
Since then I haven’t been banned exactly, but the moderators are taking steps to try and change my behaviour. Several months ago I tried another Protestant forum and got banned within about a week, so this time I really tried to be careful to be polite, and I was sure that I complied with the rules of the forums.
But something occurred to me. If the situation were reversed, and there was a Protestant who came to this board and said some similar things to me, then (so long as he was polite), there wouldn’t be any problem. Indeed, if I saw somebody on these boards trying to refute a particular canon of the catechism (I hope my terminology is correct here), then I would take it upon myself as a challenge to show where he was wrong. I certainly wouldn’t see it as a problem in any way. Indeed, it’s only natural that somebody in the Protestant faith would have questions about apparent inconsistencies in the Catholic faith!
And so my conclusion from this is that the two Protestant boards that I have visited are both paranoid about Catholics. Why don’t they take it as a challenge to show where I am wrong? And indeed, why can’t they show that I am wrong? We had a really interesting discussion about Peter, but nobody could convincingly show that - from the text - there is any way in which Peter could not be the rock. Now I can only wonder if somebody of a different faith, perhaps JW or Mormon, would receive a similar response that I did.
What do people (both Catholics and Protestants) think about this? If you want to check out my posts (the ones that remain), they are at this address (my user name there is atreyu). Also, if you see anywhere in there that I’ve been impolite, please point it out to me! I always strive to be polite but sometimes it is really difficult!
Thanks and God bless, sorry about the long read