Welcome to the martinez forum, home of odd religious debates:) !
The SDMB is great. I love the pure KNOWLEDGE available from every viewpoint. amazing.
My questions have been answered very politly, and i consider myself a better man. Now i have one last (religious) theory to throw at you, as inoffensive as possible, and to me at least, explanatory.
Many new Protestant churches, usually made up of hard conservatives and just plain loonies, usually share a common dislike of the RCC. Why? they need to. A church that is starting up has to have members to survive. In order to have members, they need to give people a reason to believe they are right. therefore, they need to decrie other churches as anything from wrong to plain evil. The RCC is the largest single church in the world, and it is very influential and recognizable, making it a natural enemy of any new church. These people are not slamming the RCC for religious reasons, merely to gain support.
I don’t know how right this theory is, maybe im totally wrong about this. That is why i turn it over to my esteemed SDMB colleuges. enjoy :}
Uh, I don’t know that you’re totally wrong but I don’t think that you’re right.
Most fundamentalist denominations share certain characteristics, like the refusal to believe anyone has a handle on The Truth except them. To them, the pool of “true Christians” is very small because it only includes – well, them. Everyone else is out.
As a practical matter, I don’t think they “slam” the RCC to “gain support.” They gain support through being evangelical and enthusiastic, and the message they send is one of salvation through faith, not one slamming the RCC particularly. They tend to splinter off of other Protestant churches that they feel are too liberal or otherwise “wrong.” Yes, as a general matter, most fundamentalist Christians do not consider Catholics to be Christians. But then they don’t consider Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, or Unitarians to be Christians either. Shoot, some of them don’t consider Lutherans, Methodists, or Presbyterians to be Christians. (“You’re only Christian if you’re born again and saved,” is the party line.)
But such churches are so small and their doctine so removed from Catholicism that I doubt very much they percieve the RCC as a “threat.” They just think it’s wrong and unchristian – just like every one else except them.
I’ve always thought that their Heaven must be a very small and quiet place.
Perhaps I was unclear… You are right, these small churches do not slam the RCC particularly. any church that disagrees is met with dislike, and the RCC is merely one of many to them. What i was trying to say is that the method most new fundamentalist churches use to get support is to decrie the other churches as wrong. I was not trying to say they percieve the RCC as a threat, but because they (this also includes Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, etc.) have so many more members, are influential churches, and have (usually) the most doctrinal differences, they see these churches as the primary wrongdoers. Protestants suffer from this too, as you point out, Jodi. Just needed to clear the air…
A new sect, usually, splits from the old due to theological differences. Members of the new sect now believe that they are right and the old faith is wrong. They publicise just how wrong the old church is for two reasons-as part of thei proselytising(I ain’t spellchecked a post before, and I ain’t about to start) and attempto bring people what they see as religous truth, and secondly to establish an identity seperate from the old church. For a time, opions on Jesus were the only difference between Christians and Jews. Christians were often thought of as just another groups of Jews. These days, Christians have established a seperate identity. In the time between then and now, we find blood libel, Jews labeled as Christ killers, and the Spanish Inquisition.
Every once in a while, a sect splits for purely pragmatic reasons. Henry VIII wanted a divorce. The Pope would not grant him one. Rather than defy the church openly and cause himself all sorts of problems, Henry declares that the Roman Catholic church is in error. The Church of England is formed on this "discovery". Henry gets a divorce. In any similiar case, the new sect wans to appear as in the right rather than heretics. It is thus necessary to cast the old church as evil.