tonyenglish7 wrote:The evidence for the resurrection is strong. It explains the sudden explosion of a new religion whereas all its followers died for what they claimed was true, the resurrection. But in Mormonism, it is either a complete fraud or a true religion, there is no middle ground. The evidence is overwhelming that Joseph Smith was a gifted con man. He translated Egyptian funeral texts from the 2 nd century claiming they were the writings of Abraham as he was in Egypt some 2000 years earlier. He mistranslated the entire document. He plagiarized the KJV of the bible and put Peters words into the mouth of a Mormon character who supposedly preached hundreds of years prior. He even plagiarized some KJV errors into the BOM in the process. The history is full of complete evidence of fraud that would take the entire post to list. Suffice it to say that to any neutral third party who looks at the evidence, will see it was a fraud.
Even the top leaders of the church know it is a fraud as they buy up and hide any embarrassing documents that are discovered.
But the evidence for Christianity is founded first on the evidence for the existence of God which we have not even scratched the surface here as of yet. But we talk about the issue here on the forum.
It is a rational position to hold that knowledge and belief in God is properly basic similar to the belief that there are other minds and an external world. There is no way to prove those ideas but it is rational to hold them. In the same way, the knowledge and belief in God is rational given the contingent existence of yourself in the contingent existing world. It takes the study of materialism to teach this away in reality.
I have relatives who are Mormon and I have watched as they converted others and tried to convert me. What I noticed is they call any arguments against the facts of the church as from the enemy or of the "arm of the flesh". But if they think they have some positive evidence they tout it as true and supportive. They are taught to believe in spite of the evidence, yet to also cling to evidence for the church. It is sort of like the way cults trap a weak minded person. They tell them that because they are of God, their family members will attempt to talk them out of the cult, so when it happens it is evidence for the cult. But when someone agrees with them, it is also evidence for the cult. It is a no lose proposition.
Mormonism started as a project to sell a book. But as Joseph Smith learned more about human nature, he became a prophet and built his enterprise. In doing so he ended up denying the true nature of Jesus, of God and of the universe. (Panentheism). I knwo you don't need to have me prove that but Christianity is different. It started with a resurrection of a person who claimed to be God. It too is all or nothing...
Sorry for the lateness of my reply, I've had a busy week and ISP issues. First off, keep your gloves off, I'm not going to be offended by your comments on Mormonism. I don't believe, so you can't hurt me; besides I have a pretty thick skin.
Let us be quite clear, the evidence for the resurrection is very, very weak. It is far from the only explanation for the growth of a new religion. Believers dying for what they believe is no proof that their belief is accurate or reasonable (something you yourself bring up in later posts). Also, please don't be so brash as to say that "all" early Christians died for their belief in the resurrection, it makes you hard to take seriously, as clearly not "all" early Christians died for their beliefs.
You say that Mormonism is all true or all false, which in my view is a false dichotomy. Don't get me wrong, I don't accept the truth claims of the religion, but no religion is one thing or one claim. There are many good or "true" things about Mormonism despite the invalidity of their truth claims. The same goes for traditional Christianity. Neither is all "true" or all "false", but their truth claims both fail. The real difference is that Mormonism is far more recent and more easily examined. If Joseph Smith, and his claims had come along one or two thousand years before, you would have a similar degree of evidence for and against him and Mormonism that you have for Christianity. Personally my opinion of Joseph Smith isn't fully established, but I generally see him as a pious fraud who started to believe his own material.
The evidence for Christianity is NOT founded on the evidence for god. Even if we were able to establish with confidence that god did exist from the arguments made for god, it would not demonstrate Christianity. Christianity is a far different and more specific claim than the existence of God alone.
It is rational to accept the existence of other minds (i.e. people around us), but the entire nature of this podcast is to discuss the rationality of believing that a mind such as 'god' exists. I understand that you accept this, but I would argue with the rationality of it (clearly). And please don't bring up 'contingent' existences up unless you really want to dive back into a discussion of the Cosmological and/or Ontological arguments. We have already go through the rounds on those, and demonstrated the weaknesses of those arguments. If you would like to do so again, it should be in a new Post so we don't clutter this one.
You claim that Mormonism is setup as a 'no lose' proposition, since everything ends up proving it "correct". I agree that this is a real problem, but are you really different? Is there a form or reason or evidence that would shake you from belief? I can imagine many forms of evidence that could convince me of god. If you cannot, then perhaps your claims are just as "unfalsifiable" as Mormonism is for many faithful Mormons.