Anyone have apologist recommendations?

As I wrote yesterday, I was disappointed by the person I found on the online Mormon chat module, but I do still think its an excellent way to reach out to people who are curious about a particular religion.  I like reading blogs, but it would be nice to have dialogue with apologists, and, given that I am a student and can’t drive, my options are somewhat limited.

Does anyone know of other churches that offer chats with believers or apologists?  I may try the Mormon one again (some of the clever put-downs of trolls I’ve seen from apologists on the Art of Trolling website, suggest I got unlucky in the guy I picked), but I would enjoy talking to others, if such websites exist.

Please leave suggestions in the comments.

About Leah Libresco

Leah Anthony Libresco graduated from Yale in 2011. She works as a statistician for a school in Washington D.C. by day, and by night writes for Patheos about theology, philosophy, and math at www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked. She was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10845051786114528609 Julie Robison

    I'll admit I have never looked for websites, but I would really recommend talking to a Dominican or Franciscan priest or nun, especially the Dominicans, if you are looking for an intellectual outlet and engagement. Talking in person would be much better and they are very open to meeting and talking with anyone.I'm also surprised your reading list does not include the Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas. I know it is a hefty read (hefty as in long- it was made for beginners, although never finished since St. Thomas Aquinas died first), but if you are going to read apologetics, the Summa is one of the greatest philosophical and theological tracts one can grapple with, especially since this is where Aquinas has his five arguments for the existence of God.It is good and worth a serious read. The volumes are all question and answer format and truly brilliant: http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/aquinas/summa/index.htmBest of luck, and God speed! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10845051786114528609 Julie Robison

    Sorry, two more books suggestion: The Ball and the Cross by G. K. Chesteton and The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04746612189094458441 Lukas

    If you like, I'll do a point / counterpoint with you on whether atheism entails relativism, whether the teleological argument is valid, or whether there are any credible claims of modern miracles.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05377685250633624137 Tristyn Bloom

    I'm just gonna butt in and second Graham Greene, whom I adore. I've only read The Power and the Glory, and I don't know to what extent it would illuminate too much for you, but it's a phenomenal novel. It was incredibly powerful for me when I read it sophomore year and basically kick-started my obsession with "martyrdom theory", as it were (when is martyrdom selfish, etc).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02425971347341617089 Eldnar

    Hi Leah,I'm a bit of a lurker to your blog (and enjoy it).May I make a suggestion? I think you may find this interview interesting. It's pretty short and I think you may find her perspective unique even if you don't agree.http://apologetics315.blogspot.com/2010/12/apologist-interview-holly-ordway.htmlIf you find the interview reasonable maybe a little cross blogging open dialog can result and would be interesting. You said you want to chat with an apologist. She would be my vote. Let me know what you think of her interview.Have a great day!Eldnar

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10845051786114528609 Julie Robison

    1. 10 Julie points! :)2. Here is a blog you might find useful: http://iteadthomam.blogspot.com/3. Not to be rude, but I would probably stay clear of Mormons if I were you… especially since your boyfriend is Catholic, he is not going to agree with a lot of what members of the Church of Latter Day-Saints believe. Unless, I suppose, you're just looking for definitions of God? Have you been here before: http://www.catholic.com/library.asp ? You can ask questions here too!

  • Michael Haycock

    Leah:With all due respect, I would say that attempting a conversation of the type that you desire on the online Mormon Missionary Chat feature is at best hit-and-miss and at worst an exercise in futility. Besides the fact that everyone you’d encounter on such chats is 19 (or 21, if you find a female), LDS missionaries are not trained at all in the sort of dialogue that you propose – they are instead trained to act as expositors of principles fundamental to Mormon belief and practice to those who have little or no experience with it, and a large part of that includes a simplification of various concepts and helping people along the process of conversion. Their purpose is officially to “invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end”, not to provide epistemological arguments to about evidence for the existence of God. Moreover, Moroni probably has, at most, a high school education, and probably is from a developing country. Moroni is a name from the Book of Mormon, and very few American Saints would name their children that. The only one I’ve known was from Chile.That said, I would still invite you to pay more attention to Moroni's words, for you could detect more fundamental strands of Mormon reasoning about learning of the existence and nature of God than just an "extreme confidence" in the converting power of reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it.Consider the following:Moroni: Well, there is only one true church, but there are good things in several places, so people may feel something good when the go to one place or anotherMoroni: but we need to search for that place that has the fulnessMonths ago, you had a post on what you deemed the mutual exclusivity of conversion experiences in various faiths, quoting a Mormon story and a Catholic one. I responded with the LDS view on spiritual confirmations and experiences, explaining that we do not believe that someone must have the whole truth for God to manifest to them of the truth of one thing – thus, if there exists truth in other faith traditions, God will say so to the people in those traditions. However, given the ubiquitous admixture of truth and falsehood, it is possible that those feelings (God's answer) gets ascribed to untrue doctrines. On the other hand, we believe that the LDS Church has the fullness of the *Gospel* – the principles and ordinances necessary to obtain salvation. Even we don't have complete knowledge; God has withheld much of that. We would say that a rejection of Mormon beliefs would either stem from 1) rejection of properly understood LDS concepts, and thus conscious, willing rejection of divine truth or 2) rejection of an improperly understood LDS concept. If the concept is improperly understood, it is good that they reject it, but they should seek for a better understanding before doing so; all too often our whole faith is disregarded based on a horrendous misunderstanding of a fundamental principle. This is what Moroni's uneducated language is saying here and what I have said before. Also note that he does provide a relatively vague reason to prefer belief over unbelief – the ill-defined “blessings” he has experienced in his own life. Note that such ambiguous language is typical of Saints who have rarely had to express themselves about those things before. When I was a missionary, I myself encouraged other missionaries to be more specific in what they enumerated as benefits of belief, but this sort of specification was not commonplace.

  • Michael Haycock

    (continued from above)Therefore, I would say that the best thing you could do to understand the Mormon concepts that surround relations with God is NOT chat with a missionary online, but study our scriptures and unique interpretations of the Biblical text. Read the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price (available online, or I could easily procure copies for you) and examine how God deals with people in those texts; there, you will get a good idea of our thought process. Notice, though, that you will not find philosophical arguments in LDS doctrine. You will, however, find invitations, such as the one to act as if God exists, which you for some reason to reject without a second thought. I’d say this is flawed, given that it limits the range of acceptable evidence to a subset that may not include any sort of religious experience – by definition.In addition, I would be very willing to speak with you about these things. It would be a dialogue in the flesh and I, as a returned LDS missionary and lifelong member, would thus be able to point out to you several of the intricacies and nuances of LDS thought. You wouldn’t even have to leave campus!


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