mitchellmckain wrote:Emery asks what are we to say to the fact that people are not getting consistent answers when they pray to God about which doctrine is right? Well I think it is perfectly clear that it means that these just are not as important or uniformly right as some people are making them out to be. It IS the effect on our lives, as Scott says, that really signifies and not winning some theological debate and if some people make the right changes in their lives with different theological answers then that is exactly what God wants.
GT3 wrote:Me: Agnostic, Atheist, Humanist, Cultural Mormon
I am an atheist (and a Mormon who lives just north of Salt Lake City; I attend for the sake of family).
GT3 wrote:mitchellmckain wrote:Emery asks what are we to say to the fact that people are not getting consistent answers when they pray to God about which doctrine is right? Well I think it is perfectly clear that it means that these just are not as important or uniformly right as some people are making them out to be. It IS the effect on our lives, as Scott says, that really signifies and not winning some theological debate and if some people make the right changes in their lives with different theological answers then that is exactly what God wants.
I take your comment to mean that it is the utility of the belief, and not the validity of that belief that truly matters.
GT3 wrote:I can see the clear benefits of the beliefs of my family and friends in their lives, but I can also see the harms.
GT3 wrote:They generally lead good moral lives, enjoy a strong community, enjoy strong families, good health, etc. They also generally waste significant amounts of time and money on things that do not benefit themselves or others, experience guilt for not living up the the lofty standard they feel they should meet, annoy friends and neighbors who are not members by trying to convert them (harming those potential or real relationships), and suffer emotionally when anyone close to them comes to a theological disagreement with them (i.e. my atheism).
Is it possible to enjoy all of the benefits found in the belief system (morality, community, family, health, etc) without the baggage that also harms (wasted time/money, unnecessary guilt, harm to relationships, emotional distress)? If so shouldn't that be the goal?
GT3 wrote:I think that Emery and Scott both brought up and emphasized different points pertinent to the whole conversion conversation, with Emery emphasizing how we establish what is true, and Scott emphasizing the benefits and utility of belief and conversion. I respect the view that the utility of belief or world-view matters most, even if that means being potentially wrong; however, I would argue that utility and truth can both be achieved... but not by accepting unsupported claims.
GT3 wrote:If we are to convert (or deconvert) it should be based on the strength or weakness of the pertinent evidence. But even if we dismiss the truth claims of a belief system we don't find tenable, we can still examine and perhaps selectively adopt the philosophies of living that might be of value or provide utility.
mitchellmckain wrote:GT3 wrote:Me: Agnostic, Atheist, Humanist, Cultural Mormon
I am an atheist (and a Mormon who lives just north of Salt Lake City; I attend for the sake of family). I can see the clear benefits of the beliefs of my family and friends in their lives, but I can also see the harms.
Cultural Mormon? LOL only in Utah. Anyway greetings to my fellow Utahn. I love Utah and would not like to live anywhere else. That is a reason, at least, for me to appreciate the Mormons, because I have to give credit where credit is due.
tonyenglish7 wrote:Christianity is not what is called a Fideistic faith. (Faith without evidence). Mormonism is based upon the same basis that a snake oil salesman works. They tell you to pray for a warm burning bosom. If it doesn't happen, you need to pray harder. If that doesn't work, something is wrong with you. But once you have the experience, you are now accepted into the community...
[Faith in Jesus] ... is not based upon blind Fideistic faith, it is based upon all the evidence, along with the first hand testimony of the Holy Spirit.
But remember, there is an objective real world out there. There are spiritual counterfeits and false gospels. It is not about good deeds. But when someone does encounter the real objectively true God, their life is changed. They love the things of God as part of their new nature. The Holy Spirit teaches them directly as well. The social gospel lacks this offensive feature, that you must be born again to enter into the relationship with the Father. It is easy to go out and do what is considered good works without preaching the foundations of the Christian message, which is offensive to the philosophers and a stumbling block to the religious.
...Joseph Smith can easily shown to have been a fraud. (Very interesting subject). But the historicity and evidence for the Christian faith stands the test.
It is important to find the real, objective, actual true God. Good intentions are not enough, the offer of grace and mercy is really there. Don't cling to the subjective point of view in the hope of mitigating your fair judgment. Seek the truth....
You say that Christianity is not a 'Fideistic faith', so what is the evidence that you hold up to support or justify faith? You failed to mention it in your post (more assuming than presenting). I agree that a subjective view is insufficient to justify faith for various reasons that have been fairly well covered in the podcast. If evidence is objective rather than subjective, then it should be something that can be demonstrated. You should be able to present it and achieve the conversion of this atheist (or at least the beginning of a conversion), if not then I would argue with your claims of objectivity.
Believing Mormons would argue with your claims about their faith. They would claim that it is objectively true in much the same way that you have stated that your brand of Christianity is true. Observing from the sidelines I see your "testifying" about your faith to be much the same as a Mormon "testifying" about his. Claims of objective, verifiable truth are worlds apart from demonstrations of objective verifiable truth. I would agree that the evidence for Mormonism doesn't stack up, but I would say the same about Christianity as a whole.
Please specify what you mean by objective, and what the nature of your evidence for the Christian faith is. Obviously we don't have enough time or room in this discussion to cover all individual claims of evidence, so it would probably be better to discuss at a higher level what types and degrees of evidence are necessary to justify belief and conversion. I would also ask if you favor belief or unbelief as the most appropriate default before examining the various claims.
mitchellmckain wrote:I can also see some of the harms both in the Mormonism of Utah and in many practices of Christianity too, BUT I think that it is very foolish to blame religion rather than the weaknesses and errors of human beings that are the real source of these problems. One thing more than any other in this question of religion that must be dispensed with is the incredible naivety of the twin claims that either a belief in God or a disbelief in God is the solution to human problems. It is just plain nonsense either way.
mitchellmckain wrote:Yet it is easily demonstrable that one can know things to be true even though there is absolutely no way in which you can prove them to be true. So to say that you can only accept things as true if you can prove them is absurd. Rather we can ONLY say that we cannot expect OTHERS to believe these things when we cannot prove them. In other words, when there is no objective evidence one way or another then we just have to accept a diversity of thought and opinions as not only natural but also good. As my professor put it once, "there is more than one way to skin a cat", and so it is not only reasonable to let people find their own way to do things, but it is scientifically observable that this is part of the way that life works in the natural world. Imposing our own order on the world is part of what life is, and so I firmly believe that restricting ourselves to only what is objectively provable is a step towards the extinction of our own species.
mitchellmckain wrote:Psychologists have demonstrated that belief plays a role in perception and thus our access to reality is fundamentally and unavoidably subjective. It is the objective which is the abstraction that we construct communally particularly with the technique of science. The value of science is enormous of that there is doubt, but science is not life. Life is fundamentally subjective by its very nature. In science we seek the truth where what we want to be the case is of no relevance. But what we want can never be taken out of the process of living itself. What we want and desire and hope for is a crucial ingredient in the living of our lives.
mitchellmckain wrote:Of course I think it would be enormously helpful for the religious to acknowledge their limitations with regards to objectivity, but I also think that it would be enormously helpful for the non-religious to acknowledge the limitations of science with regards to living ones life.
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.
Surely the evidence for the resurrection is no stronger than the evidence for the gold plates. Sincere eye witness accounts from honest people, a sudden explosion in the number of believers and evidence that the converts were devout enough to die for their faith.
tonyenglish7 wrote:Scomsjw,Surely the evidence for the resurrection is no stronger than the evidence for the gold plates. Sincere eye witness accounts from honest people, a sudden explosion in the number of believers and evidence that the converts were devout enough to die for their faith.
None of the early Christians recanted or changed religions. This is not the case with Mormonism. Several of the top so called witness either were excommunicated or joined other religions and even accused Joseph Smith of fraud over the book of the commandments. (Because of the actual changes they tried to hide when they went back and added in the priesthood). There is no comparison to the early church fathers whatsoever.
Really? Our information about all of Jesus' disciples, much less all of his original followers, is that detailed?
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