Thursday, June 2, 2011

Do I hate Protestants?

The short answer: no. In fact, I've taught/ will teach children that it's perfectly okay to hate things and it's okay not to like people but you can't hate people. Like you can hate broccoli and you can hate having a broken arm (because that's not fun) or hate chicken pox or colds, but you can only not like your teacher. Hating her totally dismisses some of the good things about her.

So no, I don't hate Protestants. In fact there are very few Protestants that I dislike. A lot of my friends are Protestants and I've learned a lot about faith through their eyes. But I do hate many things surrounding Protestantism. Here are some illustrations:

I hate the theology. It seems for lack of a better phrase, backwards. I mentioned earlier that I don't believe there is any such thing as sola-scriptura. At some point, you will find any dogma comes from a particular person's interpretation. Take the Mennonites, for example. They dress simply and live with very little technology. This is a life-style that's come from Biblical interpretation. It's based on a teaching about Biblical passages. Or Jehovah's witnesses who don't believe in blood transfusions because of Biblical passages found in the OT. No one would dispute that it's there and it's scripture. They would, however, disagree about what that passage means so that means they are following something or somebody.

I also hate the fact that there are contradictions. People tell me that they follow the Bible, and interpret the book of Genesis as being a scientifically accurate depiction of the beginning of the cosmos. (Creationism) But as I pointed out to a friend of mine, his wife doesn't cover her head, 1 Corinthians clearly says that women should cover their head and men should not. Why interpret the Bible literally in Genesis but not in 1 Corinthians? Who decided that and why? I can give you my own thoughts about why (not socially normal), but I think I've made my point about things not making sense.

Then there is the fact that Protestants try to beat me at my own game. I've heard people try to tell me things about my own faith that aren't true like the worship of Mary. They haven't any facts to back this up with only what they have been told since it's unlikely they've ever spoken to a Catholic let alone attended a Mass of any kind. The funny thing about it is I've tried to explain that that's not true and one of two things happen 1) they ignore what I'm saying like I'm an idiot and move onto another topic or 2) they keep telling me I'm wrong. I don't go around saying crazy stuff about crackers and grape juice because I know why there is crackers and grape juice at a Protestant communion service. I've been to a number of different denominational services and I have asked. This is far more than any Protestant whose tried to argue about the Church's use of wine has ever given me the courtesy of. I respect the reasoning behind crackers and grape juice even if I think it's inaccurate, so when discussing it I don't dismiss the theology but rather explain the theology surrounding the use of wine and wafers. To me that's the best way to handle a theological argument with someone who has more knowledge then you, argue for your position and not try to argue against theirs. But again, that's often not what's happening.

In that same vein, I don't believe in using Biblical passages to refute other Biblical passages. I admit in the past, for lack of better evangelizing strategies, I've done this myself. This is against Church teachings. You can't say the Bible is infalliable and then use it against itself. That's just trying to win the argument. You're not here to win a theological debate; you're here trying to save my soul. Keep that in mind. Again, I say the best way to get your point across is to offer your belief with scriptural support.

In that same vein using colloquial phrases to "win me over" actually drives me nuts. "Well, I follow the Bible." "I believe in the what the Bible teaches." etc. Are not sound arguments. I also follow the Bible and believe in the Bible, I just interpret it differently.

But these things I can live with. I can tolerate it but still not accept it. There are things that I find disgusting and totally unacceptable.

Fear mongering: I've been to the campus quad and seen a sign that read "people going to hell" followed by a list which included...Catholics. *dripping with sarcasm* Thanks, I really needed someone to scare me sh*tless so that I would convert. But I should warn you you may be going to hell too.

Bashing from the Pulpit: As I've said Catholics believe that are brothers and sister in Christ have some of the truth. We don't say anything negative about Protestants or their theology from our pulpits, our Bible study classes, etc. ever. We don't agree with it and we've said that, but we believe it to be misguided, confusing, etc. We don't shout down from pulpits, college quads, etc saying it's evil. But that's what I've heard from Protestant pulpits. We teach our faith at our churches; we don't waste our time trying to teach our young what's wrong with somebody else's.

Now this may sound contradictory coming from a person whose basically just stated what they feel is wrong about another person's faith. I'm not a theologian. I don't teach publicly. My goal is to evangelize that is tell the truth about things. I do so out of love not out of hate or disgust. The opposite of love is apathy. If I truly didn't care, I wouldn't bother. I tell the harsh realities of things and my personal biases and why. If I was out to be intentionally mean, I wouldn't say anything at all. Protestant evangelizes have never told me their personal biases or why they are trying to evangelize me. Never. We all have things we don't agree with. That doesn't make us hateful. It makes us human, which is to say we have an opinion.

My strategy is to talk about Protestant dogma, what the definition of the dogma is, and why Catholics don't believe in it. It's not to Protestant "bash" or to resort to juvenile tactics of "you're wrong and I'm right." It's simply doing what I've been doing (explaining Catholic dogma and why Protestants don't agree) and using the same style with Protestant dogma. Anyone is welcome to refute my arguments.

However, there is a policy which I will make a page for that you should read before trying to debate with me. In other words, depending on how you phrase your argument you're comment may be discarded.

So now that we've aired out all the dirty laundry. Let's pick a topic. How about one I've already mentioned? Eternal Security.

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!