prisonchaplain

Would you want it? (What if Evangelicals accepted the Church?)

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What if . . . the National Association of Evangelicals (or National Council of Churches, etc.) declared that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was both Christian and sufficiently orthodox? Would you really want this? You'd be labeled Christian and would probably see criticisms and protests die down. However, would that make it harder to highlight modern revelation and doctrinal differences? Would there be a greater danger of the faithful leaving the church due to interfaith marriages? Could the church eventually be swallowed up by the larger faith tradition that embraced it? Thoughts? 

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I think LDS folks don't mind not being considered "orthodox" or not sharing a common baptism.  For example, the church will never accept the baptism from another church, simply based on the doctrine of authority.   But, where feathers are ruffled, is in the accusation that the LDS Jesus is different, or insufficient, or even evil.    We fully accept your belief and commitment to Jesus Christ, and encourage it.  So, no, I think the common ground is in the belief in Jesus Christ.  Beyond that, we can be different.

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I think that on the whole, people would be happy. A big problem would arise if the recognition came with some sort of expectation of reciprocity. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will never (there's that word) accept the baptisms of other churches as authoritative. To do so would be tantamount to denying our foundational claims to restored divine authority.

It's actually for this precise reason, among others, that I do not expect any other Christian churches or communities ever to accept Latter-day Saints as fellow Christians in full fellowship. Which in a sense is too bad, but I don't really see how it can be any other way.

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9 minutes ago, Vort said:

I don't really see how it can be any other way.

No, I don't either. It's like when they talk about Catholic-Protestant unity. Will Baptists suddenly accept the authority of the Pope? Of course not. Will Catholics suddenly reject the authority of the Pope? Of course not. Ain't gonna happen. 

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1 hour ago, prisonchaplain said:

What if . . . the National Association of Evangelicals (or National Council of Churches, etc.) declared that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was both Christian and sufficiently orthodox? Would you really want this? You'd be labeled Christian and would probably see criticisms and protests die down. However, would that make it harder to highlight modern revelation and doctrinal differences? Would there be a greater danger of the faithful leaving the church due to interfaith marriages? Could the church eventually be swallowed up by the larger faith tradition that embraced it? Thoughts? 

What if . . . the National Association of Evangelicals (or National Council of Churches, etc.) declared that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was both Christian and sufficiently orthodox? Would you really want this?

Might I make a distinction. If the declaration was simply an understanding that although we have different doctrinal underpinnings that would be fully welcomed. If the declaration were a statement that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was accepted and similar to modern Christianity and orthodox teachings, then I am not sure it we would really want this type of declaration -- if that makes sense.

Our doctrinal underpinnings clash with the teachings of orthodox or modern Christianity (i.e Trinity vs Godhead). The distinction would have to be understood while being accepted as Christians -- as we are. I simple would appreciate the same respect and understanding that although different, and we disagree, I can still consider you a Christian PC.

You'd be labeled Christian and would probably see criticisms and protests die down.

In light of the Church already being Christian the label wouldn't change or solidify what is already clear and plain. The criticism and protests dying down would be welcomed.

However, would that make it harder to highlight modern revelation and doctrinal differences?

Yes and no. People would still be able to receive the Spirit from the Lord in recognizing truths being taught, and at the same time in some ways it would be difficult if people only saw the Church as another modern Christian sect.

Would there be a greater danger of the faithful leaving the church due to interfaith marriages?

I would say with members of the Church the statistics would remain the same. If National Association of Evangelicals (or National Council of Churches, etc.) accepted this it would probably increase the membership of our Church. Potentially, anti-Church sentiments would decline. Christians who otherwise would have avoided the Church will be more willing to hear and listen. They would be willing to read the Book of Mormon because now it would be seen as another Testament of Jesus Christ by the NCOE/NCOC, if we are truly "labeled" or "accepted" as Christians.

Could the church eventually be swallowed up by the larger faith tradition that embraced it? Thoughts? 

No. If the Church was simply another Christian church/sect then yes it would be easily swallowed up by the greater mass. Look at the RLDS church as an example. As the Church is a living Church, Jesus Christ is the head, and he speaks to his prophets the Church would probably grow exponentially. It would be more likely that without the opposition President Hinckley's words would be more understood:

"“Let me say that we appreciate the truth in all churches and the good which they do. We say to the people, in effect, you bring with you all the good that you have, and then let us see if we can add to it. That is the spirit of this work. That is the essence of our missionary service”

As we are accepted more as Christian we offer to all and to every other Christian to come with all the good you have and let us increase the knowledge you already have.

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2 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

What if . . . the National Association of Evangelicals (or National Council of Churches, etc.) declared that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was both Christian and sufficiently orthodox? Would you really want this? You'd be labeled Christian and would probably see criticisms and protests die down. However, would that make it harder to highlight modern revelation and doctrinal differences? Would there be a greater danger of the faithful leaving the church due to interfaith marriages? Could the church eventually be swallowed up by the larger faith tradition that embraced it? Thoughts? 

I don't need to be accepted as Orthodox by the NCC (or any other Protestant or Catholic organization). We disagree doctrinally, and that's okay. What I wish Evangelicals would quit doing is denying my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It took me years to get over the defensiveness that would well up in me when someone told me they were Evangelical. I have been told, in the most extreme and gleeful detail since I joined the church when I was 8, how I and my family were going to burn in Hell. I have been mocked, derided, and in one extreme case even threatened by Evangelicals. When I have tried to share my sincere faith in Christ with them, not out of hope of converting them, just to show them that we have some things in common, best case I have been dismissed out of hand (oh you don't believe in the real Christ) or once again threatened with hellfire and damnation. It's taken me many years and the influence of better Evangelicals then the ones I mentioned to not immediately avoid anyone who says they are Evangelical like the plague. If they (and I say this meaning generally there are obviously many exceptions) would just quit treating me like a demon with a pentagram carved into my forehead, or you know act like actual Christians towards me, that would be nice.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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8 minutes ago, Midwest LDS said:

I don't need to be accepted as Orthodox by the NCC (or any other Protestant or Catholic organization). We disagree doctrinally, and that's okay. What I wish Evangelicals would quit doing is denying my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It took me years to get over the defensiveness that would well up in me when someone told me they were Evangelical. I have been told, in the most extreme and gleeful detail since I joined the church when I was 8, how I and my family were going to burn in Hell. I have been mocked, derided, and in one extreme case even threatened by Evangelicals. When I have tried to share my sincere faith in Christ with them, not out of hope of converting them, just to show them that we have some things in common, best case I have been dismissed out of hand (oh you don't believe in the real Christ) or once again threatened with hellfire and damnation. It's taken me many years and the influence of better Evangelicals then the ones I mentioned to not immediately avoid anyone who says they are Evangelical like the plague. If they (and I say this meaning generally there are obviously many exceptions) would just quit treating me like a demon with a pentagram carved into my forehead, or you know act like actual Christians towards me, that would be nice.

I'm sorry that's happened to you my friend. 

While I don't think any LDS would go as far as the treatment you've received, I've heard LDS make jokes about Evangelicals and Catholics. So while I'm not justifying the treatment you've received, and I know you don't want to hear this now-I think we're all a little guilty of being insensitive. 

And for the record, you know 100% that if anyone threatened you in front of me, I'd come to your defense and beat the use-your-imagination out of them. So again, I'm not justifying their offensive treatment of you. 

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3 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

What if . . . the National Association of Evangelicals (or National Council of Churches, etc.) declared that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was both Christian and sufficiently orthodox? Would you really want this? You'd be labeled Christian and would probably see criticisms and protests die down. However, would that make it harder to highlight modern revelation and doctrinal differences? Would there be a greater danger of the faithful leaving the church due to interfaith marriages? Could the church eventually be swallowed up by the larger faith tradition that embraced it? Thoughts? 

A Christian is a disciple of Christ.  And yes, I am thrilled when anyone acknowledges another relationship.  This includes Evangelical Christians and LDS Christians acknowledging each other.

I don't think that means anyone has to "same difference" and shrug off the variety and richness that is the different Christian traditions.  In fact, it makes me horribly sad when different Protestants do this even within other Protestant groups.  I feel such is a tragic watering down.  

Edited by Jane_Doe

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12 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

I'm sorry that's happened to you my friend. 

While I don't think any LDS would go as far as the treatment you've received, I've heard LDS make jokes about Evangelicals and Catholics. So while I'm not justifying the treatment you've received, and I know you don't want to hear this now-I think we're all a little guilty of being insensitive. 

And for the record, you know 100% that if anyone threatened you in front of me, I'd come to your defense and beat the use-your-imagination out of them. So again, I'm not justifying their offensive treatment of you. 

Oh I understand (and don't worry we were teenagers and I don't know that person anymore so they could be a much better person now). My guess is my experience is common where one particular religious group heavily outnumbers another.

And you are right, many LDS have made similar mistakes. You would not believe my shock and horror when I heard over the pulpit at General Conference that some LDS families wouldn't let their kids play with non members. My family and I had been shunned and my sisters had lost friends in the exact same way by Evangelicals in our neighborhood growing up. It's unfortunately human nature to react strongly against an "other" in their presence.

But my point stands, it would be nice for the Evangelicals in my neck of the woods to start acting like Christians. I know many good Evangelicals now, but there are still plenty that seem to take glee in making our lives miserable, at least here in the Midwest.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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@prisonchaplain , so good to see you’re still actively provoking thought in a peaceful and meaningful way. I always loved your contributions last time I was here 11 years or so ago. I hope you’re well friend.

 

To your question: It saddens me when people of any faith invent a subjective set of criteria by which they determine who is a “real” Christian or not. Let’s see what God’s word has to say, since you mentioned orthodoxy:

 

Acts 11:26

...the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

 

Being Christian—according to the New Testament—means being Christ’s disciple. Okay, but what does that mean? Let’s see what the Savior himself had to say:

 

Luke 14:33

So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Paraphrase: Forfeiting all we used to value in order to follow Christ.

 

John 8:31

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

Paraphrase: Living according to Christ’s teachings/commandments. Speaking of his commandments...

 

John 13:34-35

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Paraphrase: Love everyone as Christ loves, including loving and forgiving our enemies (see the commandment explained further in the essential passage of Luke 6:27-38 to start).

 

John 13:34-35 is the only place in the New Testament I’m aware of where Christ gives a litmus test as it were whereby anyone paying attention can discern if you truly are his disciple: love as he loved (to ingest the full implications of that command, we can begin by reviewing 1 John 4:19 and Luke 23:33-34).

 

Militant or yelling-in-your-face anti-Mormons always sadden me because they are not showing themselves to be Christ’s disciples in a loving way. (yes, yes, I know we’re not “Mormons” anymore but I’ve yet to find a suitable and succinct substitute for “anti-Mormon”)

 

In other words, they resort to un-Christian behavior in order to make sure the world knows LDS are not Christian. I don’t care what sect, denomination or splinter group you come from: if you treat others with Christ-like love, you’re a Christian according to Christ himself. To argue otherwise is to put yourself in opposition to Christ’s own teachings.

 

Lastly, let me include this gem:

 

1 John 4:20

If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar...

 

I say all that not to condemn or accuse but rather to remind ourselves that it isn’t priesthood authority or temple ordinances or anything else similar that “makes you” a Christian: it’s whether we truly believe this:

 

1 John 4:8

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

Edited by CrimsonKairos
(font was originally very large for some reason)

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9 hours ago, Midwest LDS said:

But my point stands, it would be nice for the Evangelicals in my neck of the woods to start acting like Christian

Oh Amen to that my friend. 

I know I've said it before on this forum, but miserable and angry believers do much, much, much more damage to their faith than miserable and angry atheists do. 

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Guest Mores
13 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

What if . . . the National Association of Evangelicals (or National Council of Churches, etc.) declared that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was both Christian and sufficiently orthodox? Would you really want this? You'd be labeled Christian and would probably see criticisms and protests die down. However, would that make it harder to highlight modern revelation and doctrinal differences? Would there be a greater danger of the faithful leaving the church due to interfaith marriages? Could the church eventually be swallowed up by the larger faith tradition that embraced it? Thoughts? 

I really like what @bytebear said.

But to answer your question:  Would we want this?  I certainly would appreciate not being called an evil cult, and it would be "nice" to be included in the larger community.  There is the "doctrinal acceptance" and the "social acceptance".  Recognizing the separation of faiths means one would never expect doctrinal acceptance.  It is tempting to think the social acceptance would be good.  But... I don't know if I would "want" it because it would probably destroy the faith.

I don't know if this is a mainstream belief or not, but I'd been told a long time ago that the Lord specifically placed some enmity between the Israelites and the Egyptians so that there was NOT mixing of faiths.

In the same vein, I believe there is a purpose in maintaining enmity between the Latter-day Saints and mainstream Christians.  How many times are we told that we are to be a "peculiar people"?  Yet at the same time, we're supposed to "live in the world, but be not of the world", and we are to love our neighbor and do missionary work.  So, the balancing act is a difficult one.  How do we have "just enough enmity" to separate us, yet stay connected enough to try us and to feed His sheep?  Tightrope indeed.

Edited by Mores

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13 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

What if . . . the National Association of Evangelicals (or National Council of Churches, etc.) declared that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was both Christian and sufficiently orthodox? Would you really want this? You'd be labeled Christian and would probably see criticisms and protests die down. However, would that make it harder to highlight modern revelation and doctrinal differences? Would there be a greater danger of the faithful leaving the church due to interfaith marriages? Could the church eventually be swallowed up by the larger faith tradition that embraced it? Thoughts? 

I think it would be great for improving interfaith relationships. I see acknowledging the name of Christ as a unifying force as an advancement of His work in this fallen world.  I don't see where any faith's individual doctrine or our missionary efforts in particular would be compromised (there are plenty of evangelical denominations that have preserved their own traditions over the years).

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17 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

What if . . . the National Association of Evangelicals (or National Council of Churches, etc.) declared that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was both Christian and sufficiently orthodox? Would you really want this? You'd be labeled Christian and would probably see criticisms and protests die down. However, would that make it harder to highlight modern revelation and doctrinal differences? Would there be a greater danger of the faithful leaving the church due to interfaith marriages? Could the church eventually be swallowed up by the larger faith tradition that embraced it? Thoughts? 

I would welcome it and rejoice.  I need all the friends I can get!!!  Especially when it comes to my religious beliefs.  For many years I thought Evangelicals were my spiritual enemies - I would consider such a thing a great miracle (of Biblical proportions) and something that from past experiences I would have thought impossible.   It is my understanding that Liberty University is sponsored by Evangelicals (correct me if I am wrong).  BYU (the University of our Church) played Liberty in football this season and following the game both teams knelt together on the field for prayer.  This is an example to the world.

Thanks for your post and interest!!!!!

 

The Traveler

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18 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

What if . . . the National Association of Evangelicals (or National Council of Churches, etc.) declared that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was both Christian and sufficiently orthodox? Would you really want this? You'd be labeled Christian and would probably see criticisms and protests die down. However, would that make it harder to highlight modern revelation and doctrinal differences? Would there be a greater danger of the faithful leaving the church due to interfaith marriages? Could the church eventually be swallowed up by the larger faith tradition that embraced it? Thoughts? 

There are many that feel that the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are trying to do just this, or have this as an end result.  They want to mesh more directly in with Christianity.

At the same time, they seem to want to have their cake and eat it too.  They want to be accepted as Christians by the community at large, but also be separate.

Personally speaking, I think ALL Christians should accept ALL OTHER Christians as such.  The Lord never said that we should be separate and argue amongst ourselves who was right or wrong and judge each other on who would go the heaven or hell, but that we should be one or united.

I think the Christian way is to accept those who claim to be Christian as Christian.  Rather than hate filled speeches to decry other religions, we should point out how others are trying to follow the Lord as per their best understanding in the Bible.

To me, a great signal of a gospel preacher to avoid is where they try to take up  the mantle of judgment from the Lord and usurp his power by judging others by proclaiming other fellow Christians as non-Christian or not following the Lord.  They put themselves over the Lord in ability to judge and make judgments, rather than leave it up to Lord and do as he said (we are not to judge for that same judgment we pass we too will be judged, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves).

In short, I'd find it acceptable if they did that, but would hope that they would do that with ANY Christian rather than say this person is or is not Christian.

Every religion and church has it's own peculiar beliefs to it, and they still hold them independently in many ways.  The hardcores of those churches will cling to these specific ideas while those who are not so hardcore to these doctrines will many times float around from church to church as specific doctrines are not as big of a deal to them (For example, the ideas of the Baptists who do not feel works are necessary at all and the Bible is the origin of all faith and also believe if baptism does occur it is by immersion, to the Methodist who feel tradition and the bible are more of that same backing and that baptism is necessary to show faith as well as it is acceptable to sprinkle in baptism rather than just immersion).

I feel if one claims to be Christian and are trying to follow the teachings of our Lord from the Bible, they should be considered Christian, regardless of what the myriad differences between us or them or others are.

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19 hours ago, MormonGator said:

While I don't think any LDS would go as far as the treatment you've received, I've heard LDS make jokes about Evangelicals and Catholics. So while I'm not justifying the treatment you've received, and I know you don't want to hear this now-I think we're all a little guilty of being insensitive.

LDS may be tempted to feel a bit superior, but Evangelicals would easily be tempted to go for the spiritual jugular. I imagine that if I lived in a heavily LDS area I might fall victim to some insensitivity, and my gentile children might experience a few slights. However, I readily admit that Evangelicals could be far meaner (and might feel righteous in it) . . .

Edited by prisonchaplain

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15 hours ago, CrimsonKairos said:

@prisonchaplain ,

Militant or yelling-in-your-face anti-Mormons always sadden me because they are not showing themselves to be Christ’s disciples in a loving way. (yes, yes, I know we’re not “Mormons” anymore but I’ve yet to find a suitable and succinct substitute for “anti-Mormon”) In other words, they resort to un-Christian behavior in order to make sure the world knows LDS are not Christian. I don’t care what sect, denomination or splinter group you come from: if you treat others with Christ-like love, you’re a Christian according to Christ himself. To argue otherwise is to put yourself in opposition to Christ’s own teachings.

What is sad and sorry is that we're getting better because the culture has turned against us. Now that we are bigoted and hateful we've learned to be quieter, listen more, yes love more. Alas, now that we're no longer culturally favored I suspect our interfaith interactions have become more Christlike as well. Go figure.

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59 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

LDS may be tempted to feel a bit superior, but Evangelicals would easily be tempted to go for the spiritual jugular. I imagine that if I lived in a heavily LDS area I might fall victim to some insensitivity, and my gentile children might experience a few slights. However, I readily admit that Evangelicals could be far meaner (and might feel righteous in it) . . .

Does any of it matter anymore? After all, with atheism skyrocketing, church attendance plummeting...in a few years there won't be many of us left to bicker amongst each other. 


If religions were smarter they'd unite and defend against growing secularism. After that beast is contained, they can go back to hating each other. 

Edited by MormonGator

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14 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

If religions were smarter they'd unite and defend against growing secularism. After that beast is contained, they can go back to hating each other.

This is what the various churches of Joseph Smith's time tried to do:

For, notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased; yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.

I don't expect it would go over any better today. It's not enough simply to be against something, atheism or secularism or not being "converted" or anything else. One needs to offer a positive position that others can take. One needs to stand for something.

Edited by Vort

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5 minutes ago, Vort said:

This is what the various churches of Joseph Smith's time tried to do:

For, notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased; yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.

I don't expect it would go over any better today. It's not enough simply to be against something, atheism or secularism or not being "converted" or anything else. One needs to offer a positive position that others can take. One needs to stand for something.

I've noticed that churches can unite over things. They put differences aside during the gay marriage debates. 

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5 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

I've noticed that churches can unite over things. They put differences aside during the gay marriage debates. 

Again, that's uniting over a positive—the sanctity of marriage—rather than merely over a negative. I suppose that might be a wording issue, but I see it as more fundamental than just "we don't like this, so let's band together against it".

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14 hours ago, MormonGator said:

Does any of it matter anymore? After all, with atheism skyrocketing, church attendance plummeting...in a few years there won't be many of us left to bicker amongst each other. 


If religions were smarter they'd unite and defend against growing secularism. After that beast is contained, they can go back to hating each other. 

I agree, but that opportunity may have already passed them by.  I see so many of them acquiescing to the secularist ideas rather than stand against them that at this point there is very little difference between the secular world and some of the Christian religions other than that the Christian religions say they believe in the Lord, though they will also disavow the Bible, the New Testament, and call them myths and fables rather than actual scripture.

Still, if we all stood together today, I would say that we would probably be a nations (in the West, meaning North America and Western Europe) closer in our adherence to morality than we currently are.

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