Islam, Mormonism, Atheism and Paganism
John C. Rankin
(April 7, 2014)
The theological and political agenda of the TEI is summed up in the interpretive power of Genesis 1-2 and the nature of prepartisan.org. Both of these can be accessed directly as they point to designated pages on the main teii.org website. A central assumption is the power of the proactive, to define what is good, to live in the light.
Yet too, there are belief systems in history that disagree with the Bible on its own exegetical terms, and with important questions posed. The power to love hard questions is first a hospitality the Gospel extends to all people, thus receiving and seeking to answer any and all such questions. Then reciprocally, and consistent with love of God and love of neighbor, including the Golden Rule (“treat others as you wish to be treated”), the Gospel poses questions of such belief systems. All in pursuit of the truth on any given matter.
Historically, non-biblical beliefs can be subsumed under 1) Islam, 2) Mormonism, 3) the deeply varied territory of pagan religions, and 4) atheism. So, in the articles on this page, I will seek to represent each of these belief systems honestly for how they understand themselves, and then, being accountable to the questions they pose of a biblical faith, to likewise hold them accountable to salient questions. Islam, Mormonism and atheism are each proselytizing religions, whereas paganism is a mixed reality.
Now, Islam is huge (1.2 to 1.5 billion), but Mormonism is quite modest (about 14 million, or about 1 percent as large), and many people view Mormonism as a cult like Jehovah’s Witnesses, even though Mormons call themselves Christian. My concern is simple – Islam and Mormonism are birds of a feather. First, both started with a singular man who claimed that God delivered him (through an angel) a final and post-biblical revelation that changes the nature of the Bible. And second, both these men claimed the revelations came only to their internal persons – thus, no checks and balances public reality that characterizes divine revelation across the pages of the Bible.
The TEI is deeply interested in advancing religious, political and economic liberty for all people equally, which means checks and balances on religious and political power. Hence, Islam and Mormonism deserve focus.