Why Should Your Tradition Be Trusted? [2015 ITT]

Why Should Your Tradition Be Trusted? [2015 ITT] April 15, 2015

This is part of the 2015 Ideological Turing Test series, where Christians and non-Christians test how well they understand one another.  In this first round, Christians answer the prompts honestly, and atheists try to answer them as they expect the Christians to.  Your job is to see if you can spot the difference.  You can find all posts about the 2015 Ideological Turing Test here.

turing mask christian 

Below are answers to the question: Why, in a world of many splintered sects, should *your* tradition be trusted?

You can make your guesses about whether each entry was written by an honest Christian or a shamming non-Christian here.

Just make sure you fill out the quiz before you look at the comments!  They’re open for speculation and discussion of the clues you think you’ve spotted.

Each contestant’s entry is followed by their bio, hidden by rot13.


1) Catholicism is connected directly to Jesus through Peter. It also boasts the most impressive intellectual apparatus as a religion (the Jews have probably produced more great thinkers), and has maintained its massive following in the world by the grace of God, manifested in felicitous and various leadership throughout history, despite some famous and catastrophic errors. It is unique in that it was instituted on a mass scale by an institution (the Roman Empire) attempting to reform itself, rather than through a schismatic break.

Tehzcl aba-gurvfg. Nzrevpna fgenvtug juvgr pvfznyr. 24, whfg cnffrq zrqvna naahny vapbzr sbe gur pbhagel. Jbb!


2) My tradition has neither added to the deposit of faith handed down to the Apostles, as the Roman Catholics have, nor subtracted from it like the Protestants. Also, beauty is more central to our epistemology than to that of other traditions, and we’ve survived centuries of minority status, first under Islam and then under Communist atheism, in relatively good shape.

Envfrq va gur Puevfgvna genqvgvba — Rnfgrea Begubqbk — gung V fgvyy orybat gb. Znyr, 23, envfrq fcrnxvat n aba-Ratyvfu ynathntr ng ubzr.


3) I think that’s a very misleading question – at the end of the day my tradition agrees with the essentials of the Nicene Creed, as do Roman Catholics, as do all the other protestants. We differ on nonessentials sure but we all have the essentials the same.

Rinatryvpny cerfolgrevna, cuvybfbcul CuQ fghqrag.


4) Liberal, mainline Protestant traditions don’t exactly proselytize with vigor, but I think it should be trusted precisely because it doesn’t ask to be trusted. As with the question on sin, judging how close one is, or a religious tradition is, to God is fraught with deception. Many religions claim a mantle of Truth, but ultimately, one has to rely on one’s own moral, ethical, spiritual, and logical reasoning abilities.

Yrsgvfg, Ngurvfg, Fpvragvfg, Wrjvfu


5) Widespread primary source support with solid historiographical backing (Gospels + Paul’s letters). Many other factions/traditions appeal to ‘once upon a time,’ or fail to provide significant eyewitness details plus an unbroken line of succession/transmission of ideas. Historically speaking, 2000 years isn’t that long. We have other ancient documents from that time period that are reliable, and the Gospels + Paul’s letters pass historiographic tests swimmingly.

Znyr, 27, Cu.Q., Puevfgvna, pbyyrtr cebsrffbe.


6) The Catholic tradition can trace its roots back to the very founding of the Christian faith- there is an unbroken line who have been burdened with keeping the original traditions alive which have remained intact for thousands of years. Plus, the pope is the direct intermediary between God and humanity, and this position has been occupied since the first bishop of Rome, Peter, who was the first leader of the Christian faith after Jesus.

V’z n tenqhngr fghqrag va ratvarrevat jub pbzrf sebz n Puevfgvna onpxtebhaq. Nobhg 5 lrnef ntb V unq n ‘qrpbairefvba’, naq zl pheerag cuvybfbcul vf orggre qrfpevorq nf n uhznavfg.


7) I’ve grown up in my sect (Episcopalian!) my whole life, and accept I’d probably be something else if I’d been born somewhere else. The point isn’t the specific theological claims that any sect makes. I think we are doing our best to create a loving community that encourages people to develop their relationship with God in a positive way. That’s all I can really ask for.

Zvq 20’f, fgenvtug juvgr urgrebfrkhny znyr ngurvfg, zbgure’f na Rcvfpbcnyvna, sngure’f na ngurvfg, yvir va Jnfuvatgba QP, cbyvgvpny betnavmre, ovt byr areq


Go on and make your guesses!  Which of these were written in earnest, and which were someone’s best approximation of how someone across the religious divide would answer?

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