"This is the generation of the great LEVIATHAN, or rather, to speak more reverently of that mortal god, to which we own under the immortal God, our peace and defense." -Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan
No matter how much I bash Roman Catholics, to be honest, I’m quite happy to tolerate them in the same way that I tolerate Charismatics/Pentecostals.
I think, for example, Pentecostals are mistaken about a lot of their spiritual experiences and practices, I think the Prosperity Gospel is dangerous, liable to abuse and has been abused numerous times.
However I don’t discount them as genuine believers of Christ and that whatever their theological errors or mistakes, they’re trying to make their way through this world into the next and obey God just as I am to the best of their ability and their conscience and I can respect that. I can, and have, tried to understand them sympathetically, to study the forces and factors which both enables and pushes them towards their theological stances. When I know or interact with them I outline why I disagree with them and where I think their mistaken, I also try to identify what I think they got correct, what their legitimate theological insights and concerns are, and try to learn from them. Sometimes I even defend their Prosperity Gospel to a fault.
It’s only when Pentecostals goes, “Bah! spiritually dead bookish mainline Protestants compared to us filled with the Holy Spirit true believers” that the guns come out. But so far no Pentecostal or Charismatic has said that to me so I’m pretty happy to make peace with them and be sympathetic.
I would treat Roman Catholics the same way too. I think their invocation of the saints is mistaken, their sacramental and clerical system is dangerous, liable to abuse and has been abused numerous times.
However I also don’t discount them as genuine believers in Christ and that their erroneous beliefs and practices are simply on par to that of the charismatic/Pentecostal. They are also likewise trying to make their way through life, trying to obey God to the best of their abilities and their conscience and I can also respect that. I also try to understand their position and also the empirical forces and factors which leads them to become Roman Catholics, and I dare say I probably have a better command of the Roman Catholic Church than the average Roman Catholic.
However, the reason why I keep bashing Roman Catholics and not Pentecostals is because the Roman Catholic company I keep online tend to blame the Protestants for everything and keep exalting their denomination as somehow qualitatively superior to Protestantism. When you begin moral and theological posturing I retaliate, with a vengeance. I am happy to treat the Roman Catholic like how I treat the Pentecostal, I can disagree civilly, outline why I think they are mistaken, identify what I think they got correct and what their legitimate core concerns are, etc. But the moment they begin with the whole theologically and morally superior crap, I take absolutely no prisoners. I can engage a proposition like, “I believe the Bishop of Rome is the Successor of a Petrine See”, but say something like, “With the Pope you get doctrinal unity not like you doctrinally chaotic Protestants” and you’re asking for it.
I guess this is simply because I am part of the Anglophone world and the Anglophone world converts to the Roman Catholic Church tends to be particular reactionary to their Protestant past and particularly obnoxious. Thus my arguments tends to get particularly biting and savage at times.