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Author Topic: Protestantism: More Like Islam than Like Catholicism  (Read 5023 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 20, 2011, 09:52:24 AM »

CT Podcast: Protestantism: A Very Short Introduction, by Mark Noll. Noll suggests that Protestantism, in "form", is closer to Judaism or Islam, than to Catholicism or Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2011, 07:40:13 PM »

Is it really closer to Judaism?  I've not had chance to listen to the podcast, so I don't know.  However, the Jews most certainly have an oral law, and still develop the rules and such.  It seems fairly similar to Catholicism, from my point of view (at least Orthodox Judaism).  Conservative Judaism seems somewhat similar to Orthodoxy, if you were to draw comparisons between a particular type of Judaism and a particular Christian communion.  Reform Judaism seems kind of like Anglicanism/Episcopalianism.  Karaite Judaism is like Protestantism.
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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2011, 07:47:21 PM »

Islam too has loads of extra-scriptural tradition. It's not a very meaningful comparison.
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2011, 07:51:15 PM »

If one considers the Latter Day Saints to be Protestants, then I can see the comparison between Mormons and Muslims.

Both sects begin with M.
Both believe in polygamy, or used to.
Both have extra books.
Both believe that Christ was a prophet, but not God.
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2011, 08:07:55 PM »

If one considers the Latter Day Saints to be Protestants, then I can see the comparison between Mormons and Muslims.

Both sects begin with M.
Both believe in polygamy, or used to.
Both have extra books.
Both believe that Christ was a prophet, but not God.

Both have a history of violent campaigns against their enemies, at least in their first few decades of existence.
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2011, 09:44:39 PM »

Elephants are dogs.
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2011, 09:58:09 PM »

While some Protestants have some major similarities with Islam that neither Orthodox or Catholics have - such as a book as the focal point of their religion, and decentralization around charismatic figures, their actual theology doesn't look anything like Islam.

I don't see the similarities with Judaism, and I don't think I've ever heard anyone make that claim before. In fact I've known several, both Protestant and otherwise, who claim Orthodoxy has the most in common with Judaism.
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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2011, 12:58:28 AM »

Elephants are dogs.
Would you care to explain what you mean by that statement? Thank you.
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2011, 01:10:39 AM »

If one considers the Latter Day Saints to be Protestants, then I can see the comparison between Mormons and Muslims.

Both sects begin with M.
Both believe in polygamy, or used to.
Both have extra books.
Both believe that Christ was a prophet, but not God.

Try on Shi'ism and it's continuing tradition through the Imams and the similarities get even closer

( Cheesy to the 'both sects begin with M' bit)
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2011, 03:19:35 AM »

I consider JWs closest to Islam.

Both deny Christ's divinity.
Both make use of a name to gain oneself significance and historicity.
Followers of both accuse Christians of being pagans.
Both have the form of a cult.
Followers of both are addicted to playing with words and telling lies to save faces.
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2011, 06:48:44 AM »

Elephants are dogs.
Would you care to explain what you mean by that statement? Thank you.

Dogs are cheetahs.
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2011, 06:53:37 AM »

If one considers the Latter Day Saints to be Protestants, then I can see the comparison between Mormons and Muslims.

Both sects begin with M.
Both believe in polygamy, or used to.
Both have extra books.
Both believe that Christ was a prophet, but not God.


Except that Mormons do believe that Christ was God. They seem to however believe that Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three separate Gods.
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2011, 09:26:09 AM »

If one considers the Latter Day Saints to be Protestants, then I can see the comparison between Mormons and Muslims.

Both sects begin with M.
Both believe in polygamy, or used to.
Both have extra books.
Both believe that Christ was a prophet, but not God.


Except that Mormons do believe that Christ was God. They seem to however believe that Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three separate Gods.
Not "seem". They do. It come out in a very friendly conversation with a Mormon missionary.
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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2011, 09:39:36 AM »

If one considers the Latter Day Saints to be Protestants, then I can see the comparison between Mormons and Muslims.

Both sects begin with M.
Both believe in polygamy, or used to.
Both have extra books.
Both believe that Christ was a prophet, but not God.

Both have extra books that were revealed by an angelic visit, even.
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« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2011, 10:08:14 AM »

In our Islam class, our professor tried to say that the Protestants were like the Wahhabis and the Roman Catholics were like the Shi'a. Although there are not too many similarities, I think the comparison works well for beginners.
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« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2011, 11:05:13 AM »

Elephants are dogs.
Would you care to explain what you mean by that statement? Thank you*.

You have to be kidding?

Aren't you some syllogtologistiker?

I'll help, just once.

Elephants are mammals.
Dog are mammals.
Therefore, elephants are dogs.

Now let us know which form of the syllogism this is and if it is one of the smart ones and how it relates to discussion at hand.

Feel free to use wikipedia or google to help.

*This is why you are no centipede, I won't be cryptic, gadfly.
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« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2011, 11:17:02 AM »

/\ Undistributed middle.
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« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2011, 04:46:21 PM »

Elephants are dogs.
Would you care to explain what you mean by that statement? Thank you*.

You have to be kidding?

Aren't you some syllogtologistiker?

I'll help, just once.

Elephants are mammals.
Dog are mammals.
Therefore, elephants are dogs.

Now let us know which form of the syllogism this is and if it is one of the smart ones and how it relates to discussion at hand.

Feel free to use wikipedia or google to help.

*This is why you are no centipede, I won't be cryptic, gadfly.
Yeah kind of like the "All A's are C's are C's. Therefore A's are B's." thingy.
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« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2011, 04:55:39 PM »

If one considers the Latter Day Saints to be Protestants, then I can see the comparison between Mormons and Muslims.

Both sects begin with M.
Both believe in polygamy, or used to.
Both have extra books.
Both believe that Christ was a prophet, but not God.


Except that Mormons do believe that Christ was God. They seem to however believe that Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three separate Gods.
Not "seem". They do. It come out in a very friendly conversation with a Mormon missionary.

Not only do Mormons believe that the members of the Trinity are Gods, but also they believe that we all are gods and will rule our own planets. I think the Orthodox idea of theosis appeals to Mormons as I know several Mormon converts to Orthodoxy.

BTW: What do elephants and dogs have to do with the topic at hand?
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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2011, 06:28:28 PM »


Not only do Mormons believe that the members of the Trinity are Gods, but also they believe that we all are gods and will rule our own planets. I think the Orthodox idea of theosis appeals to Mormons as I know several Mormon converts to Orthodoxy.

Might I suggest that it's the word "deification" that gets their attention. Then the truth draws them in. I came from a Evangelical Protestant background. "Deification" definitely got my attention. But then I discovered that it's the original version of John Wesley's doctrine of Entire Sanctification. That was one key that drew me in and held me long enough to find out the rest of the truth.
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« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2011, 06:36:32 PM »

BTW: What do elephants and dogs have to do with the topic at hand?

Really?

[redacted rant]
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« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2011, 06:54:40 PM »

BTW: What do elephants and dogs have to do with the topic at hand?

Really?

[redacted rant]

Is it the elephant in this room?

Are the dogs the one eating the scraps that fall from the table?

Still this has little to do with the OP, unless you are saying that protestants are like the dogs in the parable.
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« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2011, 07:02:21 PM »

BTW: What do elephants and dogs have to do with the topic at hand?

Really?

[redacted rant]

Is it the elephant in this room?

Are the dogs the one eating the scraps that fall from the table?

Still this has little to do with the OP, unless you are saying that protestants are like the dogs in the parable.

The comparison of Protestants to Muslims is like comparing elephants to dogs. Basically. Entirely relevant to the OP.
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« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2011, 07:08:48 PM »


Not only do Mormons believe that the members of the Trinity are Gods, but also they believe that we all are gods and will rule our own planets. I think the Orthodox idea of theosis appeals to Mormons as I know several Mormon converts to Orthodoxy.

Might I suggest that it's the word "deification" that gets their attention. Then the truth draws them in. I came from a Evangelical Protestant background. "Deification" definitely got my attention. But then I discovered that it's the original version of John Wesley's doctrine of Entire Sanctification. That was one key that drew me in and held me long enough to find out the rest of the truth.

When they asked for the definition of THEOSIS, then they realized that Orthodoxy is right worship and correct teachings.
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« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2011, 07:10:05 PM »

BTW: What do elephants and dogs have to do with the topic at hand?

Really?

[redacted rant]

Is it the elephant in this room?

Are the dogs the one eating the scraps that fall from the table?

Still this has little to do with the OP, unless you are saying that protestants are like the dogs in the parable.

The comparison of Protestants to Muslims is like comparing elephants to dogs. Basically. Entirely relevant to the OP.

Thanks for that explanation. I was thinking of the elephant in this room.

Yes, the book makes a silly comparison which is neither helpful nor educational.
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« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2011, 08:07:18 PM »


When they asked for the definition of THEOSIS, then they realized that Orthodoxy is right worship and correct teachings.
I'm certainly not doubting you. It's interesting how different two similar experiences can be! Where did they come across the word in the first place?
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« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2011, 09:18:13 PM »


When they asked for the definition of THEOSIS, then they realized that Orthodoxy is right worship and correct teachings.
I'm certainly not doubting you. It's interesting how different two similar experiences can be! Where did they come across the word in the first place?

There have been several articles on Orthodoxy in Christianity Today that have gained a lot of attention.

Sometimes Mormon converts will encounter Orthodox Christians when they are serving as missionaries. If we ask questions in a gentle manner, they may be led to investigate Orthodoxy. I have read several convert stories on various forums and websites where Mormons search the web, lurk at Orthodox forums, and then finally contact a priest often with the encouragement of the forum members. This is a wonderful way to evangelize. However, our squabbles about tollhouses can scare them away.
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« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2011, 10:50:31 PM »

Having been both a mainline Protestant and a Roman Catholic at points in my life, I don't really see it. Organizationally maybe in some ways (but then only when contrasted against the absolute, centralized authority of the Roman Pope, which of course is not the linchpin of world Christianity anyway), but then that's like saying that Ethiopian food and Chinese food are the same because traditionally eating them doesn't involve Western silverware. I don't think the comparison holds up at all, unless you make a point of considering non-Trinitarians as Protestants (something which the vast majority of Protestants would not and do not do), which is really stretching to make more of this comparison than can rightfully be made.

Maybe also in the way that some hold to Biblical inerrancy, but I would consider that a minority in Protestantism overall (strangely, I can remember some people in the church of my youth who held to "sola scriptura" and did not hold to Biblical inerrancy...so I guess the Bible contains everything you need to follow to lead a Christian life, unless you think it's wrong, in which case forget it? I'm still not sure how that works out). Just because the Biblical inerrancy crowd happen to usually be louder than the more liberal Protestant groups doesn't mean that they are indicative of all or even most of Protestantism. From what I can see, most of Protestantism here in the global North is a wishy-washy mess, and Islam, while very much a mess (in the sense of being a hodge-podge of heresies and mangled apocryphal and OT accounts) is not at all wishy-washy about what it holds as true.
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« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2011, 12:46:51 AM »

Having been both a mainline Protestant and a Roman Catholic at points in my life, I don't really see it. Organizationally maybe in some ways (but then only when contrasted against the absolute, centralized authority of the Roman Pope, which of course is not the linchpin of world Christianity anyway), but then that's like saying that Ethiopian food and Chinese food are the same because traditionally eating them doesn't involve Western silverware. I don't think the comparison holds up at all, unless you make a point of considering non-Trinitarians as Protestants (something which the vast majority of Protestants would not and do not do), which is really stretching to make more of this comparison than can rightfully be made.

Maybe also in the way that some hold to Biblical inerrancy, but I would consider that a minority in Protestantism overall (strangely, I can remember some people in the church of my youth who held to "sola scriptura" and did not hold to Biblical inerrancy...so I guess the Bible contains everything you need to follow to lead a Christian life, unless you think it's wrong, in which case forget it? I'm still not sure how that works out). Just because the Biblical inerrancy crowd happen to usually be louder than the more liberal Protestant groups doesn't mean that they are indicative of all or even most of Protestantism. From what I can see, most of Protestantism here in the global North is a wishy-washy mess, and Islam, while very much a mess (in the sense of being a hodge-podge of heresies and mangled apocryphal and OT accounts) is not at all wishy-washy about what it holds as true.

Um, what? Huh Protestants of any kind generally tend to cling to Sola Scriptura (which is Bible inerrancy) like gum in hair. The ones who don't also tend be non-Trinitarian or have other strange ideas (like Universalism) which also aren't orthodox, and also aren't considered Christian, as you stated above. I grew up Protestant in more than one denomination; I have not seen this "majority" you speak of. Unless you're talking about Christians who tend to be Christians in name only, which is the other extreme of Protestantism- they're the ones who couldn't give a care about Jesus, until X issue comes along and then all of a sudden they're like, "I'm a Christian, I go to church and I agree with this issue!". Yeah, serious Protestants reject those people. The wishy-washy-ness in Protestanism results from the constantly new creations of denominations, from people who hold true what they believe so much so that they are willing to split off and build another denomination. Which makes Protestantism divided, not "wishy-washy".
As for Islam not being "wishy-washy"..... as I recall, they are also divided. Islam is not made up of a single denomination. Tongue And I have met some Muslims who did not hold to what they really believed, including one who was willing to disobey his religion by marrying me (I didn't marry him, btw).  So, no, they're not 'more serious' than Protestants are.

I guess this looks more like an argument for how P & I are the same rather than how they are different... which isn't what I was intending, but oh well.

Also, I'm not advocating for Sola Scriptura, just so we're clear on that.
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« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2011, 02:06:29 AM »

I have not seen this "majority" you speak of. Unless you're talking about Christians who tend to be Christians in name only, which is the other extreme of Protestantism- they're the ones who couldn't give a care about Jesus, until X issue comes along and then all of a sudden they're like, "I'm a Christian, I go to church and I agree with this issue!". Yeah, serious Protestants reject those people. The wishy-washy-ness in Protestanism results from the constantly new creations of denominations, from people who hold true what they believe so much so that they are willing to split off and build another denomination.

What you've written here is essentially what Protestantism is, not some sort of subset of Protestantism while the rest of Protestantism is incredibly serious about its doctrinal positions with well-developed theology and all that. While in the days of the reformation and shortly afterward people really were that serious, since the infiltration of the mainline denominations by the spirit of revivalism, there is in reality very little to separate or distinguish, say, a Presbyterian from an Episcopalian (at least in the USA; I know that certain Protestant denominations in Africa and other places are still quite serious about doctrine, like the African Anglicans who broke communion with the West when gays and women started being ordained). Most Protestantism in the USA except for classical Anglicanism (to the extent that it even still exists) is basically pietism on steroids. You know, doctrine just divides people, it's all about your personal relationship with Jesus, we're all members of the "invisible church" (even if we have completely different ideas about what it means to be a Christian), etc.

Quote
Which makes Protestantism divided, not "wishy-washy".


I can see the distinction you're drawing, and I respectfully disagree. Or, rather, the things they are fairly consistent on are generally things they don't really understand or have any sort of agreed upon theology behind (e.g., Protestant sects that baptize infants but somehow also believe that baptism doesn't actually do anything), which I would still call "wishy-washy" because you can't get a straight answer out of anyone as to why they do what they do. Practices and the theology behind them change as often as the church changes pastors. Maybe that's not the correct use of the term "wishy-washy", but if you can think of the antonym consistent, pastristically-informed, and serious faith , then feel free to substitute that in for "wishy-washy". (Actually, I already know the antonym for that, it is "Protestant", but it doesn't make sense to say "Protestantism is very Protestant".)

Quote
As for Islam not being "wishy-washy"..... as I recall, they are also divided. Islam is not made up of a single denomination. Tongue And I have met some Muslims who did not hold to what they really believed, including one who was willing to disobey his religion by marrying me (I didn't marry him, btw).  So, no, they're not 'more serious' than Protestants are.

As relates to the positions held by both religions, I do generally find Muslims to be more serious than Protestants (I think "consistency" goes out the window with Islam, though, as the religion is inherently very inconsistent). I have never, ever seen a Muslim apologize for the offensive wars that foisted Islam upon the world outside Arabia, yet I know many, many Protestants (and Catholics, for that matter) who practically apologize preemptively to other religions for things that really don't even make sense to apologize for. I posted this just the other day in another thread, but I'll post it here again, as it's a perfect example of what I'm talking about (though it involves the RC and not Protestants, having been both I really do see them as two sides of the same coin, and I have heard Protestants make similar apologies to Jews, Muslims and others for not always being so willing sit in rocking chairs and sip lemonade with them in the past): The Vatican is wrong - Coptic Church

The point that HH Pope Shenouda III makes about how things must not be done for surface reasons is something that I would say to Protestant and Catholic alike. In the Catholic case, I think they run into problems in trying to be all things to all people (thereby diluting the gospel); in the Protestant case, it is basically impossible to do things seriously, for deep reasons, within the theological (ecclesiological, hermeneutical, etc.) framework of Protestantism, as divorced from Christian tradition (or even the concept of it, in most cases) as it is. Just as every Orthodox person here would agree that it is not possible to be Orthodox outside of the church (even if you hold very 'orthodox' positions personally), I would say that it is not possible to be a serious, committed Christian as such a descriptor would have been understood for the majority of the history of the faith while being Protestant (even if you are very serious and committed personally). The inherent incongruity of trying live either way within the faith system in which you live makes it essentially impossible. It is like when Muslims claim that they are better 'christians' than actual Christians due to the supposed honor given to Jesus Christ in their religion. It is not even remotely possible for that to be the case unless you radically reinvent what being "Christian" means.

In that way, I guess they are a lot like Protestants.

Hmmm. That's odd. Maybe my first post is quite off. Or it's bedtime. Probably both. Where's the "my head hurts" smiley?
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« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2011, 06:08:55 AM »

there is in reality very little to separate or distinguish, say, a Presbyterian from an Episcopalian (at least in the USA; I know that certain Protestant denominations in Africa and other places are still quite serious about doctrine, like the African Anglicans who broke communion with the West when gays and women started being ordained). Most Protestantism in the USA except for classical Anglicanism (to the extent that it even still exists) is basically pietism on steroids. You know, doctrine just divides people, it's all about your personal relationship with Jesus, we're all members of the "invisible church" (even if we have completely different ideas about what it means to be a Christian), etc.

Liberal Anglicanism / the Episcopal Church definitely isn't the same as Presbyterianism... its worship looks like Roman Catholic, but with a female priest, and there is no such thing as a common belief. Everyone can believe what he or she wants, as long as he or she is committed to liberalism. Often, the belief tends to be more liberal catholic, sometimes mixed with buddhist, yoga, or whatever influences. Definitely quite a difference from usual liberal protestantism.
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dzheremi
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« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2011, 11:46:36 AM »

I meant there is little to distinguish them in terms of doctrine, not in what their worship looks like. All that you wrote about liberal Anglicanism applies to Presbyterianism, except it doesn't look like Catholicism. Presbyterianism is similarly liberal in most places (like Anglicanism, there are pockets of conservatism, mostly outside of the West), with female pastors, doctrinal pluralism to the point of basically not having any cohesive doctrine keeping the congregation together, etc. After becoming displeased with the new pastor's way of running the church, my mother decided we would leave the Presbyterian church in which I was raised and go to a nearby Methodist church that many of her friends had already switched to. Notice how it is not about doctrine, these kinds of switches (I guarantee that the vast majority of people who made the switch had not become Arminians any more than they had been Calvinists before, even though those are the respective historical positions of the churches in question). How could it be when doctrine is not preached in the churches? It's all about "fellowship" (you know...food, and songs accompanied by lilting guitars) and finding whatever you believe through your personal reading of the Bible. That's essentially what modern Protestantism is in the USA: Social gatherings of individuals. You may subscribe or not subscribe to whatever particular doctrine you like, just make sure to bring a nice casserole or dessert for our potluck.

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