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JuliaRomonov15's picture
Joined: 2015/05/21

Let’s cut straight to the heart of this issue with missionaries. It has been my experience, although I do not wish to generalize, the missionaries have 2 problems. First problem, is that most are very young, and of the ones that are not young, lack experience. The second problem is, they pride themselves on obtaining their information purely through sources they deem credible, but not from first-hand experience. Thus, they are often unfamiliar with common arguments, and they lack insight into everyday problems. Because of this, it is hard for me to take them seriously, and although I try to keep an open mind I cannot accept their arguments.


I was sitting in church a few weeks ago when I encountered a preacher who was raising money to build a new church in another town. He originally hailed from North Carolina, and was attempting to find commonality in the lives of his congregation. One thing he said, struck me as being very odd. He said that when he was in college, he discovered that in other parts of the country the majority of Christians were not Baptists. He also said that not every church was preaching the gospel as it was intended and that this was the reason why social views were different depending on geographical location. He did not however, imply which social views were the correct ones. I suppose we were already supposed to know that. As I observed the children's choir, I noticed they were singing a song, about being saved from sin, and bearing their iniquities before him. It struck me odd that children between ages 4 to 13 would have committed sins egregious enough to warrant repentance. I am of the impression, after going there a few times, that the people of that congregation believe this they do simply because it was what they were taught as children. I would like very much to know if they've ever set foot into another church worth had a serious conversation with nonbeliever. After all, they cannot depend on people like me, apostates, to just waltz through their door and engage them in conversation.


Another time about as recent, I set foot into a Mormon church, to observe a service. People attend the church at almost daily basis and there's almost always something going on, but I did not understand why there would be so many people on Saturday. As it would happen, I had accidentally walked into somebody's baptism. I was invited to stay and take up refreshments, and I spoke to the missionaries at the church. There is one lead missionary I don't understand his rank who was of the typical age for most missionaries, but as is typical of Mormon churches, there was a legion of young missionaries little older than myself. I wish to know how someone as old as me feels comfortable with spreading enlightenment, particularly if they wish to do so through an organization.


Actually, there's something quite disturbing about the practice of Mormon testimony. As it would happen, the Mormons have a practice " of bearing one's testimony". This is where one, is supposed to share one's experiences and anecdotal encounters supporting belief. Typically though, this practice is highly biased, not only because there is no conflicting testimony, but because it is the heart rather than the head that they use to determine correct dogma. I wonder if they would hold to it that God is always with them and is willing to do tedious things like find one's car keys, if they clearly understood how often important prayers go unanswered. Mormons who've prayed to revive loved ones, or for the things they needed, or just for guidance and support, have been rebuffed, but I am glad to know that it is possible for God to find your car keys. Maybe if they would talk to someone who isn't a Mormon they would sound less like a narcissist.


That brings me to my actual point. To these missionaries know anyhow? So you believe the correct things, that's great, but why do you believe? Other religions, the same anecdotes as you do, and have testimony that “proves” that they are correct. So, how does the Catholic, using religious experiences and stories, out faith a Muslim who utilizes religious experiences and stories? Let's see who's head explodes first. How does one believe something that grand based on the experiences one has not had for themselves? Moreover, how can one maintain irrational beliefs if he has had experiences that seem to conflict the goodness or morality of the doctrine. That's how I know most of them have never spoken to a homosexual, a burn victim, an infidel, a heretic, a prisoner, a foreigner, a feminist, a scientist, a teacher other than their own, or a teenager other than their own. One cannot believe in hell if he has spoken to a burn victim, to wish that pain, or to carry out against another, is immoral. Even the worst man was ever lived does not deserve eternal punishment particularly not that severe. To concretize this, how long could you torture a dictator? Even I myself cannot do any harm to anyone matter how much they deserve it for perhaps a few hours at a time. What being could do and it for eternity? I know that they have not spoken to heretic or infidel because they do not know the basic arguments for other sects, nor do they have anything to support their own idea of the divine rather than personal experiences that have nothing to do with the topic at hand. Matter how many times you pray for your car keys or your wallet and find them you cannot prove St. Peter. I know they have not spoken to a foreigner, because they do not understand how their own culture is different when it's respective elements are imported to other lands. I submit to you that a Lutheran in Pennsylvania is not the same as a Lutheran from Germany. Nor have they critically examined elements of a foreign culture to see how their own can be improved. I know they have not spoken to a feminist because she would have explained the definition of the word adequately, and to their surprise they would have had to classify themselves as a feminist. Not that they would not waste time on petty issues like whether or not a woman wears a skirt to a Mormon church or whether she chooses to wear pants. I know that they have not spoken to a teenager because they would've found commonality that cannot be dismissed simply as immaturity. Sometimes people can be good, believe something different then you do, and also be young. This is not a phase. I know they have not spoken to the teacher other than the ones they have been assigned to because it is the responsibility to submit arguments despite the fact that the student seems to believe otherwise. He would also explain the value of education to such an extent that they would've had personal knowledge not contained in holy book. And I definitely know that they have not spoken to a homosexual because in inane and asinine argument that there is a singular solitary gay lifestyle. Nor would they assume us of confusing the young when we extent resources to confused teenagers. If they do not learn the basics about gender and sexuality by the time they leave high school the stupid arguments that abound today will never cease.


While I do not agree with any religious doctrine, I must confess not every religious leader is an idiot. However the ones who pose these arguments demonstrate that they have not had the necessary life experiences to understand otherwise. So when I engage them in dialogue I usually expect to be taken seriously and have my testimony internalized as succinctly as more favorable testimony. Much to my chagrin these people have become emotionally attached to these arguments even when necessary life experiences demonstrate otherwise. As such while I am happy that the majority of the country is composed of reasonable people who are willing to talk and live in such a way that others can live as they choose, is not always possible for good arguments to win even when there's no cost to them or if there's nothing to gain from being right. It would be one thing if there was one true path and heard the world if we do not follow it. As such there are many different ways people can be happy and does nothing for us to disrupt their peace. 



I believe that is possible in a world of critical examination. If I am wrong, or my arguments fail their noble purpose, I wish to be made unretarted. But I will give as good as I'm given, as such rudeness is returned with rudeness and commonality is returned with camaraderie. But as these arguments are personable, I wish testimony to be backed with testimony. That can happen only if people seek out the opposing side and admit when they do not have an answer.

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Joined: 1998/07/13
Very good post and very well

Very good post and very well thought out.

Jason Minton
PostPoems Admin