I’ve been thinking for the past couple of days about what makes discussing religion with people of other faiths so difficult. And I say this coming from a former Latter Day Saint perspective (which, really, is the sum of my religious knowledge and experience thus far). I imagine that the same problem can be found in many/some/all faiths, but I don’t know about those, so I can’t really speak of them. One of the troubles I’ve had when trying to explain why I no longer attend the Mormon church to a Mormon is the hidden assumptions in the premises of the Church.
I don’t say that to imply that the Church is being sinister; I don’t think that it is. But when you hear a Mormon describe the Church, it sounds completely logical. And the Mormon will think that it really is. But embedded in the logic are hidden assumptions that, should you take them away, make the logic a little less solid, make the footing a little less sure.
For example, talking about the Trinity. The LDS Church believes that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three distinct people, with three distinct physical bodies. So, when talking about the Trinity, a Mormon may not understand why someone could believe in anything else because, after all, it doesn’t make sense that Jesus could talk to and about his Father but still be the same person.
The hidden assumption there is that the Godhead each has a physical body. And the human understanding of what that physical body must entail. (The LDS Church teaches that they each have a perfect, exalted body) But if you don’t realize that you need to discuss the attributes of what makes up the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, two parties to a conversation may walk away thinking that the other is bonkers… but neither is–each is just working with different assumptions.