Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Polemics as a Religious Phenomenon: A Roman Catholic and an Emic-Etic Approach to a Religious Polemic

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Polemics as a Religious Phenomenon: A Roman Catholic and an Emic-Etic Approach to a Religious Polemic

Article excerpt

Abstract

Society today manifests a plurality of religious traditions. The interest of this paper is in the negative effect of this religious phenomenon, sometimes violent, through religious polemics and how this can be contained. The paper presents and analyzes a religious polemical material against the Roman Catholic Church. A summary of the polemic is first given. Then a possible response of the Roman Catholic Church is provided. Finally, discussing an academic perspective of an emic-etic approach, the paper suggests that this may be a better method of addressing religious polemics. The article thus attempts to provide an academic methodology towards 'Interfaith-Inter-religious Dialogue' in a pluralist society.

Keywords: plurality, religious traditions, polemics, apologetics, interfaith-interreligious dialogue, emic-etic approach

INTRODUCTION

Bauman (1998) notes that the bane of postmodernity is freedom to choose from a myriad of alternatives that ultimately lead to fundamentalism. To him, fundamentalism is a postmodern form of religion. It promises to liberate its converts from the agonies of choice by choosing for them and thus sparing them the dread of risk-taking.

A characteristic of fundamentalist postmodern religion thus is plurality of religious traditions, each competing against the other to win and retain converts. A strategy these religions use to do this is by religious polemics. Polemic is a strong statement of opinion, especially a negative opinion, which one uses to advance one's point of view (Wehmeier, 2005, p. 1121). Religious polemics would therefore be an attitude, skill and practice of making a strong negative statement or opinion of a religious nature aimed at discrediting the belief patterns of a religious tradition other than one's own. Any religion would therefore respond, often polemically too, to such attacks. Some of these attacks may turn violent. It is therefore necessary to find an appropriate methodology to deal with polemics in a civilized society.

LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

In general terms, polemics has been understood in this paper as the art or practice of arguing passionately and strongly for or against something. Nevertheless, the author has limited himself to a particular article arguing against the basic doctrines of the Catholic Church. As such, this study aims only at providing a framework of identifying a polemic and how best the church can respond to it. Possibly, within the postmodern era, there are other indirect arguments rendered against the Christian (or church) doctrine that have not been considered here. As such, further research could also extend to such areas in future studies on polemics.

DISCUSSION

The Polemical Article: A review of its Key Accusations of Roman Catholicism

Under what it refers to as subtitle, the author claims that the article is excerpted from a speech at Friendship Baptist Church in Warwick, Rhode Island, Tuesday evening, November 9, 1999, entitled The False Prophet: He Has Been Selected. Apart from this information, one can not provide precise bibliographical and biographical data from the article. The article is not paged. It uses parenthetical method of citation and photographs as illustrations. It provides scriptural quotations but does not acknowledge which version of the Bible it uses.

Contents

With no clear introduction and conclusion, the following subheadings can be identified from the article: You Are Now on the Cutting Edge; Human Sacrifice; The Pure Heart and Soul of Witchcraft; Practical Fruits; Symbols That Prove I Really Did Establish Magic Witchcraftin the Traditional Roman Catholic Church and Time for Black Magic Witchcraft.

Summary Notes on the Article

The article argues that the Roman Catholic Church has been practicing witchcraftthrough the words and symbols it uses, especially in the Mass and the 'Twisted Cross' used by the Popes. The two popes, John Paul II and Paul VI practice Black Magic Satanism, while the Traditional Roman Catholic Church is 'practice of powerful White Magic Satanism. …

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