I'm going to answer this from the Traditional Orthodox side
Originally posted by autowrench
Does Christianity forbid asking hard questions about its doctrines?
Not if it's a new question. All Dogma is essentially apophatic, in that the best way to express a divine mystery is by defining what it is not (i.e.
Christ is NOT created). Many of the early heresies caused horrible rifts in the Church that in those days, often turned violent. When the Church
democratically affirms a Dogma to stand outside of that is to be directing your own perception against the Body of Christ. As for secular questions, a
good Christian should have a relationship with God and let the scoffers scoff. Apologetics are alright, but I've never met anyone who was argued into
the faith, especially in this day and age of the relativity of information.
Does Christianity forbid questioning of its leaders and their doctrine or behavior?
As an Orthodox Christian, I have an obligation to stand up to any Priest or Bishop who corrupts the faith by teaching or action. At the Council of
Florence, when the Byzantine Emperors wanted to sell the Church off to the Latins for protection against the tide of Islam, one Bishop had the courage
to stand up against the Council, St. Mark of Ephesus. When the other Bishops returned home, they were defrocked by the people
and run out of
Do Christian organizations whose primary focus is fundraising, and who may even resort to deception in order to line the pockets of their leaders? Is
it not true that some of these leaders live in luxury, while the one paying them live in poverty?
Yup, but that isn't all of Christianity, especially not Orthodoxy. Even among the Evangelicals, you have people like Billy Graham who disclose all of
their financial dealings.
Do Christians not target young people, the elderly, and others who might be vulnerable to exploitation?
Again, some. Most converts to Orthodoxy I've met are young College graduates, especially ex-Evangelicals who ran into theological problems when
How can Christians be so sure they're right and everyone else is wrong? Isn't that arrogant? Isn't that evidence of a large ego?
A Christian with an ego is no Christian at all. The particularist claims amount to this: there are plenty of moral teachers (the Golden Rule isn't
unique to Christ), but only one of them is the God who so loved the World, He sent His Word to become incarnate, and took on our human nature and all
of the suffering we've ever experienced as a race (sin and it's consequences) and destroyed it so that he can bring us back to Him. This is a God
who intimately knows His creation. Christ did not come to make good men bad like the other religious leaders, He came to make dead men live. That is
why He is superior.
Is Christianity is intolerant of other beliefs?
To some extent. Anything that ties you to the world or your ego, such as idolatry and hedonism, is wrong and will ultimately separate you from God
which no compassionate Christian would wish on another. Judaism misses the point of the OT that God is salvation (YAH-shuah) and is waiting for an
earthly Messiah who can only save in an earthly sense (I have other objections, but that's the heart of it, and I'm running out of room). Islam is
an inherently violent religion (and thank God, most Muslims are better people than their Prophet) and at it's heart has a God who is entirely
unrelatable to, because he is not simply One (unity) but a singularity (as opposed to the Trinity) and therefor cannot truly be loving because love
cannot exist in a singularity. Paganism is spiritually dangerous and usually just ego stoking, because it isn't a passed on tradition, but rather a
modern "re-invention" in the participants image. Occultism is much the same except inherently dangerous. There's no such thing as Hinduism. Some of
the schools of religion of the Indus valley are simply fables, others demonic mystery religions, others relatively benign philosophy, and some very
good spiritual food, but not complete.
Buddhism contains exceptional moral teachings and is the philosophy I direct all of my atheist friends to, hoping it will open them up to the
spiritual truth that the "impersonal force" leaves you hungry and that Truth is a person.
to be continued, I need room to address Taoism..