My brother converted to Mormonism a while back, and I told him I was surprised that he didn't research more before he made his decision. I thought he would have investigated information against LDS theology in order to make a more informed decision. But, ah, the complications of a faith question.
Ever since Kevin started reading and sharing from Crossing the Tiber, as we've considered conversion, I have been thinking, "We really better read what the 'other side' says about some of this stuff." In some ways, we already know because we've been on the "other side" the entire time we've been followers of Jesus. But I want more in-depth consideration of, say, what exactly we're talking about when we discuss "sola fide".
Voila!--- today I finally found some "good" stuff (as in---not hostile, and not "the-Pope-is-the-anti-Christ") detailing problems with Catholic theology. I began to read some of the information on this particular website and have listed it over to the left under "Links". It's from the Christian Research Institute. I respect CRI and if I could get my brain around some of the crucial issues, I'd be in a good place. Truth be told, Kevin set up the "Links" section of this new little blog of ours. Because not only can I not grasp the topic of justification, I also cannot grasp how to edit our blog very well - ARGH! I do NOT need two things in one day to make me feel dumb.
Since we are providing a link to CRI's site, we're also including a link to Steve Ray's --"Defenders of the Catholic Faith". As Rich said, he looks just a little bit like Indiana Jones in his photo. He's the author of Tiber, and he's got a brain on 'im. For kicks the other night, I looked up what he had to say about purgatory and it was the first time I wasn't impressed - I think I already blogged about that. But everything else I've read of his has been helpful. Not the least of which would be this oh-so talked-about Tiber.
After today's reading of CRI stuff, I'm discouraged. I'm an impressionable gal, I guess - and I have two really smart groups of people on both sides making convincing arguments. I believe both. So what makes the decision? The Mormons would tell me to wait for a burning in my bosom, but that proves faulty just a little too often. If the decision is purely "feeling" I'm going to convert - then about five years from now, I might just switch again and become an Orthodox Jew. Then, if the feeling changes, perhaps I'll try a little agnosticism. Okay, I'm getting snotty. Let's see if I can list the major stuff my overloaded brain took away from today's reading:
1) Catholic theology bites itself in the butt. It's emphasis on sacraments and tradition ends up overshadowing it's otherwise right-on theology and tremendous history. This provides the answer to my question of the last two weeks: "Why so much nominalism?" Because certainly this butt-biting leads to many of its members having a hard time getting to know Jesus, pure and simple.
2) I read the best definition and explanation for a cult EVER! And the Catholic church is not a cult. I now know, though, more about who considers it so and why.
3) The Vatican II decision, or whatever it's called, about who gets to go to heaven is freaking me out a little. I need to really read up on this one. It was outlined in the CRI article I read today, but I need more. Background: Julie attended a seminar led by a nun in a hospital and gathered from some of what the nun said that the Catholic church no longer believes Jesus is the only way. Hm. Totally contrary to all we've been reading, but Julie brought it up and I asked Kristi about it last night. She said her understanding of the church's position is that they acknowledge what they know from scripture about Jesus and salvation, but also that God's grace is bigger than we understand. He can save who he chooses to save. No argument. Dandy. But this decision outlined by Protestant CRI makes it sound MUCH more ---what's the word?---well, can't think of it, but freakin' scary!
Perhaps tomorrow I'll take a break from the reading and do some listening to God. Not sure I'd dare blog the outcome of that, but ya never know.