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Kevin Christensen

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About Kevin Christensen

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    Separates Water & Dry Land
  • Birthday 04/28/1954

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    Bethel Park, PA

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  1. No YHWH in the New Testament -Implications

    From my perspective, of course, there is this: https://www.theway.org.uk/back/431Barker.pdf Which is a much less detailed exloration than this: http://www.margaretbarker.com/Publications/GreatAngel.htm FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  2. Why do we worship?

    I got some insight on the "Why we worship?" question from reading a book by Ninian Smart called "Worldviews" drawing on The Idea of the Holy by Rudolf Otto. I quote from Smart in my essay on "A Model of Mormon Spiritual Experience". Conveniently here: http://oneclimbs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/model_of_experience.pdf So the architecture of the great Gothic cathedrals, with immensity and majesty and the imposing organ music are all designed to inspire the sense of the numinous, which itself leads to the act of worship in response. C. S. Lewis makes Aslan a lion in order to create some of the this sense, of something beautiful, powerful, awe-inspiring, and potentially terrible. In the DeMille version of the The Ten Commandments, it is Moses being told, "Take off the shoes from thy feet, for the ground upon which thou standest is Holy Ground"... that is a moment depicting the human encounter with the numinous. There are different kinds of religious experience, of course (my essay delves into that), but the act of worship is, I think, the natural human response to encountering the Holy, what Otto and Smart called the "numinous." FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  3. Peopling of the Americas by Boat, Not Land

    There was this, aptly titled "Before Adam" https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1101&index=7 Originally delivered at BYU in the remoteness of 1980, and it happened to be a huge influence on my thinking at the time. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  4. How can one trust the Holy Ghost

    For those inclined to go beyond sound bites: https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/curse-ham-race-and-slavery-early-judaism-christianity-and-islam-noahs-curse-biblical FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  5. How can one trust the Holy Ghost

    The passage in Acts is a good one. I even quote it my study of Biblical Keys for Discerning True and False Prophets. https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Biblical_Keys_for_Discerning_True_and_False_Prophets Paul also says that the fruit of the spirit love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Galatians 5:22-25), which, I notice, includes quite a lot of feeling. And it happens that the LDS do not just rely on "feelings" with or without quotes. For instance " Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart." (D&C 8:2) There is much much more: http://oneclimbs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/model_of_experience.pdf And one of the most telling and accurate observations Joseph Smith made as a youth was "for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible," something that is is as true today as it was then. And there is this kind of thing: http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/TextAndContext.pdf And this: http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/SecretTradition.pdf FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  6. How can one trust the Holy Ghost

    Here again is the perennial problem of how a person can possibly have faith in the absence of absolute certainty, and, as it happens in the absence of self-reflection on the irony. It helps me, at least, to unpack the problem, and to actually read the scriptures, to remove the beams from my own eye based on the notion that doing such a thing will allow me to see clearly. First of all there is the definition of "doctrine". Jesus bluntly offered a much more limited definition of doctrine, and at the same time explained that building one's foundation on more or less than that is like building on sand rather than rock. See 3 Nephi 11: 31-41. And consider that it is expressly not Jesus's doctrine to "to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away." Prophets... are they sock puppets, with no minds or personality, just a single input, God's will and word, and a single output, God's will and word, or, are they something other than sock puppets? Alma, for instance: Alma is not a sock puppet, with but one input and one output, but a human being, who has received some revelations and has some opinions, the one not excluding the other. Hence, the blunt statement of "the authority of my servants" in D&C 1 Thomas Kuhn observes that "anomaly emerges against a background of expectation," so one profitable question seems to me that, when a person runs up against something they did not expect, that it helps to consider what we should expect. And there is the influence of paradigmatic examples. If my "go-to" story about Brigham Young happens to be Adam God and racism, it also happens that such a story has become paradigmatic, definitive, establishing the method, background expectations, problem field, and standard of solution. The thing about metaphors like this is that they structure all of my subsequent perceptions and experience of perception, influencing what I select and how I subjectively and emotionally and rationally experience and interpret what comes. That is why Derrida found it useful to find the ruling metaphors underlying an argument. I recognize that the there are some noble ideals underneath all of the frustration and pain, but it is all too short a distance from being an idealist (I am one by temperament, an INFP) to being an ideologue. Nibley talked about this in "The Unsolved Loyalty Problem." How to have faith in the presence of imperfection if it happens that imperfections contain the only significant and decisive information required for all decisions? All of this is why I think the single most enlightening passage I have ever read on debates about faith came from a book on art, Betty Edwards's Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: To insist on perfection in others is to simultaneously make imperfection, and only that, significant and decisive. Jesus also tells us that we will be judged in the same way we judge others. And that is not him being cruel, but offering an observation on what our lives become. He is being descriptive, not prescriptive. The demand for absolute certainty and security removes all certainty and security. How can I possibly have faith in science and progress in science if I can so easily find evidence of great scientists having been wrong about this or that? Is it reasonable to apply that standard to Brigham Young, ignoring all that is remarkable, notable, and plainly inspired, in favor of what is personally disillusioning? Compare Position 2 of the Perry Scheme: And position 8: FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  7. Why argue the bible is infallible?

    If the Bible is complete, inerrant, and sufficient, then you don't need Priesthood, or Popes, or Cardinals or ongoing Revelation, and you can launch a Protestant Reformation confident that all you need is in hand. If on the other hand, the Bible is incomplete, has errors, and is not sufficient, then it's difficult to justify a Protestant Reformation. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  8. Moses Chapter 6

    I don't think so. Campbell's approach impressed me. And while I've never focused much attention on ancient genealogies, I have gathered some information here and their that suggests that they were not just passive, objective, and accurate record keeping, but had other purposes. Sometimes political, sometimes, as Campbell argues, esoteric. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  9. Moses Chapter 6

    Back when I lived in California in the 80s to early I had a discussion with LDS scientist David Bailey on the passage in Joseph Campbell's The Inner Reaches of Outer Space (35-39), wherein Campbell argued that the long lifespans provided a method of "artfully" concealing numbers related to the 26,000 year Precession of the equinoxes. Campbell saw this as the authors of Genesis pointing back to an older cosmology. For me, that older cosmology turns out, via Kolob (See Hamlet's Mill, page 73, for instance) , to be related to the Book of Abraham cosmology. I remember him pulling out a calculator to check the numbers and nodding in satisfaction. https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V24N03_123.pdf FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  10. I've just completed a 19,000 word essay on Taves's Revelatory Events that has been accepted and will appear in Interpreter at some point. The title is "Playing to an Audience". FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  11. Book of Moses Chapter 2, Plants created before the Sun?

    True.. although one of the nice things about the recent release of a set of new and different versions of the films, (several at once), with different stagings and readings of familiar material, is a timely and important reminder that it is a drama, and few slight changes in expression, silences, a tear, a whisper, can tell us something we had overlooked. I'm thinking of one version that highlights that Eve's choice was not just a naive blunder, but a sacrificial choice, made in a moment of clear awareness of the importance. But then, it also helps for me to read things like Cosmos and History, or The Power of Myth, or Nibley and Barker and John Welch and Ostler and others, that better prepare my mind for the seeds we get. When I do that sort of thing, changing my own awareness, I don't have to wait for the drama to change to show me new things. Best Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  12. Would you worship a God who commanded lying?

    If it happens that Love is the first and great commandment, the highest value, and all general principles and commandments derive from that, then in the Grand Scheme of Things, for one whose "knows the end from the beginning" and has an intimate and personal awareness of the real impact of actions and the interconnections between all actions and beings, not just in the moment, but through time (which is what I think the Atonement really is/was), then drawing lines and getting huffy about where they are and who might cross them why when misses the point. It's using letters to kill, and ignoring the spirit trying to give life. I think of the scene in Les Miserables, when the little nun who had never lied tells Javert, "Nope, no one in the next room" when of course, Jean Valjean is in the next room. For the nun, having Jean Valjean in the next room is an exceptional circumstance, not something that she deals with as a normal general principle. That lie is not at all the moral equivalent of, say, a large percentage of Trump's tweets, which are not about interconnection and consequence, but total self-interest. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  13. Book of Moses Chapter 2, Plants created before the Sun?

    One of Nibley's last published essays was "Abraham's Creation Drama" wherein he makes a case for reading the Abraham story as a dramatic text complete with stage directions. Seeing things that way means that fussing over differences in staging or presentation misses the point that we are watching drama, something artistically representative, a pedagogical tool, something designed to teach about creation and our place in it in a ritual setting. Not a scientific analysis. Margaret Barker's Temple Theology makes a similar point by showing how the Genesis account parallels the erection of the Desert Tabernacle. Day One, Holy of Holies, Day Two, the Veil, Basin representing the waters, Menorah representing lights in the heavens, bread offerings representing plant life, the sacrificed animal on the altar, and finally, the high priest, Adam. The way to create the world in six days is to create a model, a representation. And once we realize we are dealing with symbolic drama, rather than science texts, then the differences aren't differences in views of reality in conflict with science, but differences in teaching something about our place in the cosmos that science doesn't consider. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  14. Mormon 9:22–24 vs Mark 16: 15-18

    From Jeff Lindsay's abstract to his part 2. From the part 2 essay: Biblical Scholarship consists of schools and streams and paradigms. It's neither monolithic, nor demonstrably unchanging and infallible. It's diverse, complex, and a work in progress. Just as we all are. FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
  15. Mormon 9:22–24 vs Mark 16: 15-18

    Try this, from Jeff Lindsay: http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-book-of-mormon-versus-the-consensus-of-scholars-surprises-from-the-disputed-longer-ending-of-mark-part-2/ FWIW Kevin Christensen Canonsburg, PA
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