Thursday, October 10, 2013

Because We're All Wrong

Image source.

Slacktivist nails it with this post, Are Mormons Christian? A series of unhelpful questions.

"Is Mormon doctrine orthodox, accurate and correct?" he asks, then answers no, of course not, because Mormons are human and all human thinking has some errors.

Next, "Do Mormons have a proper understanding of salvation?" Again the answer is no, because no one does. And oh my goodness, this:
Most Mormons, to their credit, do not subscribe to the one theory of “salvation” about which I can say with confident certainty, “This is wholly and utterly wrong.” That certainly wrong theory is the notion that our salvation is dependent on our possessing a correct and proper understanding of the mechanics of salvation.

Oh dear goodness, this. How many times have I heard that some person or group of people (usually Catholics?) are "not real Christians [or not really saved] because they believe we can be saved by [some belief that differs from 'the right answer']."

Which seriously makes no sense. We're saved by having the correct understanding of how exactly we're saved? I thought it was the grace of God or something like that.

And from there of course Slactivist goes on to say Jesus loves everyone, and shouldn't we be loving Jesus by helping others rather than arguing about who's in and who's out? Amen to all of that. Go read the whole post.

And now, here's my story about the question "Are Mormons Christian?"

In college I had many acquaintances who were Mormon, plus a couple of close friends. And, you know, back then, I knew the "right answer" was that Mormons are not Christians and that it's all bad and whatnot. I talked with my Mormon friends a lot, to try to find where the difference was between their beliefs and mine- the difference that supposedly made them so dangerous and wrong. But where was the difference? They talked about Jesus and sin and all the same stuff I believed.

Yeah, if you talked about some details about their beliefs, there were things I thought were weird, but those were just details.

But, I was told by those Christians I considered "real Christians", the important difference was that Mormons think Jesus was created by God the Father, or something like that? Not sure on the exact details, but since it was an error about Jesus, it disqualified them from being Christians.

Okay... and since I was a good Christian at the time, I believed in that "right answer," even though I wondered what difference it made. The exact details of where Jesus came from and whether he's equal to God the Father- like, how does that actually affect one's life on a personal level? Was my Mormon friend's relationship with God somehow completely fake because of a line in a creed about the Trinity, which nobody understands anyway?


And much later, I realized how wrong I was about God. I had subconsciously believed he was white, and male, and American, and more or less the same as the people in my church growing up.

And yet I had believed I was right and was therefore going to heaven, and people of other religions were wrong and were therefore going to hell.


Yeah, like I'm gonna get into a heaven based on understanding who God is. Yeah right. Like I'm gonna get in, thinking he's American, but Muslims aren't getting in.

Dude we're all wrong.

No one can understand God. And I can tell you I am 100% sure I'm wrong about God. I mean, how could I not be? How could any person not be?

And sure, some people's beliefs are closer to the truth than others, but who's to say where the line is?

This reminds me of all those gospel presentations I heard growing up. "Getting into heaven can't be based on doing good. Sure, some people are better than others, but who's to say where the line is? And therefore the only standard that makes sense is you have to be PERFECT, and no one is."

Unfortunately we run into the same problem if getting into heaven is based on being right about God. We're human. We can't be right about God.

But maybe we're saved by his grace, somehow. Even those in the "wrong" religions. And perhaps I should count myself among them.


  1. Brilliant. I, too, was raised thinking I believed "the only right way" and that everyone else was going to hell, because some tiny detail of their faith was different than mine. It's been hard to break out of that mold of thinking, but so encouraging to know there are people like you writing about it!

  2. Well, it does seem like it's a good thing to have some basic set of core beliefs that define what a thing (such as orthodox Christianity) is and is not. This is the only way to protect that thing from eventually becoming so altered as to be unrecognizable as itself, or so vague as to make it impossible to say what does, or does not, constitute that thing. Along those lines I'd have to say that LDS beliefs are not orthodox. It's my understanding, for instance, that what they mean by "the Father God" is something entirely different from what I mean when I say "the Father God." So I would say Mormons are Christians (followers of Christ) but not orthodox Christians.

    But whether that means Mormons are "saved" or not is an entirely different matter, and I don't think it's either helpful or humble to think we have the power or right to determine that. In any event, I think that the question is not, "are Group X people saved?" but "is such or such individual saved?" And that's between the individual and God.