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mfbukowski

The Pragmatic, Secular Atonement

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On 5/18/2019 at 2:02 PM, mfbukowski said:

We confuse the facts for the Truths.  How can the Eucharist be the God of Abraham Issac and Jacob?   That fact is troubling until you realize that the Truth behind it is in a tribal language I do not speak.  

And the God of Progression is in the tribal language you do not speak.  ;)

But both are TRUE in their respective languages.

What is needed is a true and living language capable of changing words and receiving more Truth.   Know where I  can find such a church?  ;)  ;)

One that makes mistakes and then fixes them.  ;)

I think that would require a church whose members are able to access the Truth independent of any language, tribal or otherwise.  Good luck finding it and let me know when you do!   

Fantastic post, btw.  

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1 hour ago, Spammer said:

I think that would require a church whose members are able to access the Truth independent of any language, tribal or otherwise.  Good luck finding it and let me know when you do!   

Fantastic post, btw.  

Thanks. The way you receive it is by direct personal revelation of what is unspeakable. 

And I have felt that both as a Catholic and LDS but never as an atheist, except in matters of conscience. But even then the experience of knowing something was wrong was ineffable 

It's what's in your gut, the hunch you can't put into words

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Thanks. The way you receive it is by direct personal revelation of what is unspeakable. 

And I have felt that both as a Catholic and LDS but never as an atheist, except in matters of conscience. But even then the experience of knowing something was wrong was ineffable 

It's what's in your gut, the hunch you can't put into words

Yep.  Because of our subjective filter, it makes sense to me that God would appoint an infallible human agency protected from error (someone able through the Holy Spirit to speak to the Truth beyond language while using language), else how can we have any confidence that our subjective truth aligns with the objective Truth?  But identifying that infallible source is just as subjective a process as seeking out the Truth individually, without recourse to the infallible arbiter. It all boils down to lived experience and testimony.  Round and round it goes.  

Edited by Spammer

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32 minutes ago, Spammer said:

Yep.  Because of our subjective filter, it makes sense to me that God would appoint an infallible human agency protected from error (someone able through the Holy Spirit to speak to the Truth beyond language while using language), else how can we have any confidence that our subjective truth aligns with the objective Truth?  But identifying that infallible source is just as subjective a process as seeking out the Truth individually, without recourse to the infallible arbiter. It all boils down to lived experience and testimony.  Round and round it goes.  

The kingdom of God is within

Follow your OWN heart.  It's the only real choice that makes sense in these matters 

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5 hours ago, Spammer said:

Everything depends on the God you posit, the definition you use.

In my spiritual tradition, by definition, God just is.  "I Am." There is God and then there is everything else in existence that isn't God.  God is uncreated and everything that isn’t God (matter, time, space) is created out of nothing. Only God is uncreated and there can only be one God without God ceasing to be God. That is non-negotiable without changing the definition.

Thus, asking whether God’s nature can be acquired is like asking whether God can make square circles; a rock too big for Him to lift; will to destroy his own works of justice (Alma 42:22); or make something created (human beings) to be uncreated (God); something can’t be simultaneously created and uncreated.  All of these are logical impossibilities.  God can’t do the logically impossible; nonsense is still nonsense, even if we speak it about God. That’s the only sense in which it can be said that God is ‘limited.’

I don't see how this addresses my question. My question rhetorically pointed out the internal contradiction of your definition--which describes God explicitly as unlimited and implicitly as limited.. From where I sit, it is your definition that is squaring circles. Your definition is, itself, logically impossible--even though, with God, all things are possible. ;)

Quote

It limits God's atonement in the sense described above: God can't do the logically impossible.  Jesus is one with the Father because Father and Son, along with the Holy Spirit, share the one uncreated divine nature.  We can never be what Jesus is: the uncreated assuming human flesh. Jesus = God.  We are creatures. We are joined to God, we don't become God.  Divinized human  God. Through the Incarnation of Christ, human beings can be made perfectly and entirely at one with God in the manner proper to creatures - by partaking in the divine nature through the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:4). All things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26) - except the logically impossible. We can partake of the divine nature, but we remain created beings.  We will acquire divine attributes but will not be divine like Jesus is divine. We will be lower-case ‘gods,’ not God. God cannot make human beings to be what He Himself is: uncreated. See above. 

Somewhat like you, I believe that God is unlimited (though in a relative sense rather than absolute), and that God cannot do ungodly things, else wise he ceases to be God.

However, to me, THE most Godly thing the Father can do is enable His children to become even as He is. Divine love demands no less. The pattern of His creations nearly screams it.

Said another way, it would be ungodly for Him NOT to enable His children to become as He is, and would thus make Him cease to be God.

But, as always, to each their own.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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1 hour ago, Wade Englund said:

I don't see how this addresses my question. My question rhetorically pointed out the internal contradiction of your definition--which describes God explicitly as unlimited and implicitly as limited.. From where I sit, it is your definition that is squaring circles. Your definition is, itself, logically impossible--even though, with God, all things are possible. ;)

It's squaring circles only if you superimpose a definition of unlimited that we don’t use. Definitions are word games. We define unlimited to mean unlimited ability to do the intrinsically possible.  It's all semantics.  If you want to call it limited, fine by me.  It's only an issue if you insist that what we really mean by unlimited is that God is absolutely unlimited (we don't).  We call God unlimited, despite the implicit limits, and really only see the need to bring up the latter when people want to play word games seeking to undermine the orthodox definition of God.  And they are word games.  It’s all word games, including our orthodox formulations. The difference is, we believe the ideas underlying our formulations are divinely inspired! :)

So...saying that God cannot do the logically impossible does not constrain his omnipotence - if you go with our definition of ‘unlimited’ and ‘omnipotence.’ If you want to discuss contradictions in our definitions, you have to start with the definitions we use, as we define them.

1 hour ago, Wade Englund said:

Somewhat like you, I believe that God is unlimited (though in a relative sense rather than absolute), and that God cannot do ungodly things, else wise he ceases to be God.

 However, to me, THE most Godly thing the Father can do is enable His children to become even as He is. Divine love demands no less. The pattern of His creations nearly screams it.

Said another way, it would be ungodly for Him NOT to enable His children to become as He is, and would thus make Him cease to be God.

But, as always, to each their own.

If God and man are measured on the same scale, then what you say above would be correct. But what you say is only a problem for us if you first start with the LDS definition, the truth of which is unprovable. Indeed, to each their own.

Starting with our definition, equally unprovable, only God is uncreated and cannot make something he created to be uncreated. There's no issue with either God’s omnipotence or his godliness, if you go with the definitions we actually use when we describe our own teaching.   

Edited by Spammer

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6 hours ago, Spammer said:

It’s an internal contradiction only if you superimpose a definition of unlimited that we don’t use. It’s a common misunderstanding among those who aren’t orthodox. You’re thinking we mean the unlimited ability to anything whatsoever; we mean the unlimited ability do anything whatsoever that isn’t a logical impossibility. If you want to call such a God limited, fine. It’s all semantics. Theologically speaking, is you want to discuss what we mean by unlimited you have to start with the actual definition we use. Our tradition doesn’t define God’s omnipotence the way you describe. If we did, then you’d be correct in pointing out the contradiction.

That makes sense. to me now.

Quote

If God and man are measured on the same scale, then what you say above would be correct. But your view is only true if you start with the LDS definition, the truth of which is unprovable. 

It isn't so much the same scale as it is the same path (to use Christ's word), and that path includes several points of transcendence (deaths and rebirths and quickenings--again, using Christ's words),  not the least of which is the resurrection--the truth of which is celebrated each Easter.. 

Quote

Starting with our definition, equally unprovable, God is the only uncreated and cannot make something he created to be uncreated. That’s a logical impossibility and God has unlimited ability to do the intrinsically possible. There is no issue with either God’s omnipotence or his godliness if you start with the definitions we actually use.

I see now what you are saying, and it makes sense. 

Where things can get interesting is in  distinguishing the part from the whole when it comes to creation or uncreated, and may expose more overlap in our beliefs than may be supposed.

By this I mean that the members of my faith believe that there is an aspect of our souls that is uncreated (we call it "intelligence," which has to do with the "breath of life"), whereas our physical bodies are created. Isn't this similar to your belief that the "God" portion of Jesus was uncreated, but his mortal body, and ultimately his resurrected body, were created? If so, then can you see how we can become even as God, as we both understand it?

Thanks, -Wade Engluynd-

Edited by Wade Englund

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22 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Thanks. The way you receive it is by direct personal revelation of what is unspeakable. 

And I have felt that both as a Catholic and LDS but never as an atheist, except in matters of conscience. But even then the experience of knowing something was wrong was ineffable 

It's what's in your gut, the hunch you can't put into words

The way I look at direct personal revelation and spiritual experience these days is through the lens of an agnostic skeptic.  However, that hasn't stopped me from having these experiences, as I've had a number of them in spite of my not believing that these experiences come from some divine source.  Now just work with me for a minute here.  There have been a couple interesting podcasts lately on the subject of the placebo effect and scientific studies on that topic.  Did you know that the placebo effect works even for those patients that know that they are getting a placebo pill?  They know they are getting the sugar pill, but they still experience a positive effect?   

https://www.npr.org/2019/04/29/718227789/all-the-worlds-a-stage-including-the-doctor-s-office

https://gimletmedia.com/shows/science-vs/5whgzd/placebo-can-the-mind-cure-you

So there is a whole lot about what our minds and bodies can do that we are just beginning to learn about and I have no doubt that we'll learn more as we proceed forward.  This idea that our intuition can be pointing us in the correct direction in spite of what our rational mind and the executive functioning part of our brain may be able to conceive is a very interesting thing to consider.  

Conversely we need to also recognize that our hunches and what we feel in our gut can also lead us astray and can be a manifestation of our biases and fears, rather than an impulse to make a good decision to benefit us and those around us.  

I believe that seeking to understand our emotions and practicing critical thinking skills along with educating ourselves about the way our biases and prejudices influence our thinking, are tools that really require a life long practice in order to take advantage of the good elements of our human nature and these intuitions, while at the same time mitigating the negative aspects as best we can.  

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21 hours ago, Spammer said:

Yep.  Because of our subjective filter, it makes sense to me that God would appoint an infallible human agency protected from error (someone able through the Holy Spirit to speak to the Truth beyond language while using language), else how can we have any confidence that our subjective truth aligns with the objective Truth?  But identifying that infallible source is just as subjective a process as seeking out the Truth individually, without recourse to the infallible arbiter. It all boils down to lived experience and testimony.  Round and round it goes.  

But how is this different from confirmation bias?  How does this make use of the talents (God given) that we are endowed with, the collective learning of our species and the evolved ability we have to us logic and reasoning to determine better outcomes.  Couldn't this method you've described be used by any tribe to justify their particular view of reality, even the most extreme groups with seriously detrimental behaviors.  

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43 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

The way I look at direct personal revelation and spiritual experience these days is through the lens of an agnostic skeptic.  However, that hasn't stopped me from having these experiences, as I've had a number of them in spite of my not believing that these experiences come from some divine source.  Now just work with me for a minute here.  There have been a couple interesting podcasts lately on the subject of the placebo effect and scientific studies on that topic.  Did you know that the placebo effect works even for those patients that know that they are getting a placebo pill?  They know they are getting the sugar pill, but they still experience a positive effect?   

https://www.npr.org/2019/04/29/718227789/all-the-worlds-a-stage-including-the-doctor-s-office

https://gimletmedia.com/shows/science-vs/5whgzd/placebo-can-the-mind-cure-you

So there is a whole lot about what our minds and bodies can do that we are just beginning to learn about and I have no doubt that we'll learn more as we proceed forward.  This idea that our intuition can be pointing us in the correct direction in spite of what our rational mind and the executive functioning part of our brain may be able to conceive is a very interesting thing to consider.  

Conversely we need to also recognize that our hunches and what we feel in our gut can also lead us astray and can be a manifestation of our biases and fears, rather than an impulse to make a good decision to benefit us and those around us.  

I believe that seeking to understand our emotions and practicing critical thinking skills along with educating ourselves about the way our biases and prejudices influence our thinking, are tools that really require a life long practice in order to take advantage of the good elements of our human nature and these intuitions, while at the same time mitigating the negative aspects as best we can.  

Good points. Placebo effect is completely healing by faith, that's why it doesn't matter if they know it is fake, the mind needs a trigger. Same reason Joseph first needed plates. Taves.

I bring that up often 

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5 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Good points. Placebo effect is completely healing by faith, that's why it doesn't matter if they know it is fake, the mind needs a trigger. Same reason Joseph first needed plates. Taves.

I bring that up often 

Yes, but knowing this is a trick of our body/mind changes how we look at things that we feel and the intuitions people have.  They aren't all positive, and trusting your gut can lead to negative outcomes.  Could you see a scenario where church members could have a discussion and consider their spiritual experiences in terms where we recognize the good and bad impressions that people get and how we can use those impressions as part of the decision making process, but not be compelled to always just trust your gut?  

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18 hours ago, Wade Englund said:

That makes sense. to me now.

It isn't so much the same scale as it is the same path (to use Christ's word), and that path includes several points of transcendence (deaths and rebirths and quickenings--again, using Christ's words),  not the least of which is the resurrection--the truth of which is celebrated each Easter.. 

I see now what you are saying, and it makes sense. 

Where things can get interesting is in  distinguishing the part from the whole when it comes to creation or uncreated, and may expose more overlap in our beliefs than may be supposed.

By this I mean that the members of my faith believe that there is an aspect of our souls that is uncreated (we call it "intelligence," which has to do with the "breath of life"), whereas our physical bodies are created. Isn't this similar to your belief that the "God" portion of Jesus was uncreated, but his mortal body, and ultimately his resurrected body, were created? If so, then can you see how we can become even as God, as we both understand it?

Thanks, -Wade Engluynd-

For what it's worth, if for some reason I could no longer be LDS, I would probably be Orthodox

 To me the only thing that separates us is semantics. But that can be a huge stumbling block. 

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8 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Yes, but knowing this is a trick of our body/mind changes how we look at things that we feel and the intuitions people have.  They aren't all positive, and trusting your gut can lead to negative outcomes.  Could you see a scenario where church members could have a discussion and consider their spiritual experiences in terms where we recognize the good and bad impressions that people get and how we can use those impressions as part of the decision making process, but not be compelled to always just trust your gut?  

Of course!!

 Every time I talk to you!! ;) :)😆

 

 

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Of course!!

 Every time I talk to you!! ;) :)😆

 

 

Ha!  You got me there.  Oh how I wish I could have such candid conversations at church.  I just don't see the average member having the kind of maturity for a conversation like this without feeling like they are under attack from ideas that threaten their testimony.  In some instances its discussions like this that push people towards more fundamentalist thinking as a reaction to the cognitive dissonance they experience.  

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Cognitive dissonance is valuable in our quest for a workable framework for our lives.  For many of us, that framework becomes the Gospel.  It may not always have been.  But as life experience percolates to the surface, some choose to take the Gospel, and table the imperfections until more wisdom is available.

Your idea here makes a lot of sense.  We should be able to discuss these things without taking offense (or intentionally giving offense.)  

13 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

In some instances its discussions like this that push people towards more fundamentalist thinking as a reaction to the cognitive dissonance they experience.  

I believe this cognitive dissonance from Bernard Gui’s thread “Where Will This Lead” pertains to this discussion.  (I hope I’m not out of line copying and posting it here):

”...our (Sacrament) speaker gave perhaps the best sermon I have ever heard and felt on repentance. He said at first he worried that his words might not be appropriate, but then he came to the conclusion that what he had to say was what the Lord wanted him to say. He told his story...

A life-long member, seminary graduate, returned missionary young man who had made some very poor choices and ended up in many years of inactivity, moral degradation, addiction, depression, homelessness, self-loathing, and despondency. At a point when he was making the decision whether or not to live any longer, he thought of his father. He called him and asked if they could meet. They agreed and at that visit in their home, his father gave him a blessing during which the slate was wiped clean. Embraced by his parents, from that moment he began to take the steps that would restore his spirit, mind, and body through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Now three years later, he is sealed to a sister from our ward who had earlier suffered at the hands of an abusive ex-husband. They and their little baby boy are now a healthy and whole loving family. God be praised!

There were many tearful eyes in the congregation, and some wept openly. We did not know of his journey, only that he had come as a great blessing into the life of our friend. I am sure many were thinking of loved ones they fear have slipped forever away from the path into forbidden areas from which there will be no return. Or perhaps there were those who are having similar feelings of uselessness and despair themselves. As the Spirit bore witness, we were given the hope that “Where will this lead?” does not necessarily have be to tragedy, but rather to deliverance, and redemption, and joy. It is possible for all of us.

Thanks to this good brother for sharing his story of repentance, and thanks be to God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”

It seems to me that this young man had an experience with truth he tested by the practical consequences of his belief.  That is the definition of pragmatic from Merriam- Webster.  The speaker came through some secular experiences that revealed which behavior he needed to eliminate to remove the dissonance from his mind and life.  Stepping out on that limb of faith, he found a pragmatic Atonement revealed by his secular experience.  It appears he has found a way of living now that works for him.  Sounds like you have one that works for you also.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/13/2019 at 7:50 AM, mfbukowski said:

It is not a question of starting out with God because these people already have, and ended up rejecting it mistakenly.

 The answer is giving them a good reason to come back to God in a way that depends upon nothing but reason.

I found the nature of Truth by doubting it all, rejecting it all, and then seeing truth in a new way. In a sense, while looking for "TRVTH" emblazoned on a Greek temple pediment, I found good old pragmatic common sense truth in my heart, and found out how and why that is as valid as anything.

 I know it works because that's the way I came back to God, and found the overall best paradigm for putting it all together.

Can a lasting conversion be obtained through reason alone?.

Edited by Meerkat

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7 hours ago, Meerkat said:

Cognitive dissonance is valuable in our quest for a workable framework for our lives.  For many of us, that framework becomes the Gospel.  It may not always have been.  But as life experience percolates to the surface, some choose to take the Gospel, and table the imperfections until more wisdom is available.

Your idea here makes a lot of sense.  We should be able to discuss these things without taking offense (or intentionally giving offense.)  

I believe this cognitive dissonance from Bernard Gui’s thread “Where Will This Lead” pertains to this discussion.  (I hope I’m not out of line copying and posting it here):

”...our (Sacrament) speaker gave perhaps the best sermon I have ever heard and felt on repentance. He said at first he worried that his words might not be appropriate, but then he came to the conclusion that what he had to say was what the Lord wanted him to say. He told his story...

A life-long member, seminary graduate, returned missionary young man who had made some very poor choices and ended up in many years of inactivity, moral degradation, addiction, depression, homelessness, self-loathing, and despondency. At a point when he was making the decision whether or not to live any longer, he thought of his father. He called him and asked if they could meet. They agreed and at that visit in their home, his father gave him a blessing during which the slate was wiped clean. Embraced by his parents, from that moment he began to take the steps that would restore his spirit, mind, and body through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Now three years later, he is sealed to a sister from our ward who had earlier suffered at the hands of an abusive ex-husband. They and their little baby boy are now a healthy and whole loving family. God be praised!

There were many tearful eyes in the congregation, and some wept openly. We did not know of his journey, only that he had come as a great blessing into the life of our friend. I am sure many were thinking of loved ones they fear have slipped forever away from the path into forbidden areas from which there will be no return. Or perhaps there were those who are having similar feelings of uselessness and despair themselves. As the Spirit bore witness, we were given the hope that “Where will this lead?” does not necessarily have be to tragedy, but rather to deliverance, and redemption, and joy. It is possible for all of us.

Thanks to this good brother for sharing his story of repentance, and thanks be to God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”

It seems to me that this young man had an experience with truth he tested by the practical consequences of his belief.  That is the definition of pragmatic from Merriam- Webster.  The speaker came through some secular experiences that revealed which behavior he needed to eliminate to remove the dissonance from his mind and life.  Stepping out on that limb of faith, he found a pragmatic Atonement revealed by his secular experience.  It appears he has found a way of living now that works for him.  Sounds like you have one that works for you also.

I agree that finding a workable framework is a quest we are all on with this life journey.  I think that it changes throughout our lives, whether or not we are aware of the change, and I also am convinced that change is the only way that we can grow. 

One of the quotes of Joseph Smith that I've been thinking about recently is this idea of the truth being manifest through our proving of contraries.  I think there is a truism here, but that it lies in the wrestle between different perspectives.  Its only by seeing the different perspectives and really attempting to understand them, that we can find truth.  And from my experience these truths are not going to tell us which side is correct, that would just get us back to the binary proposition in the first place.  The truth lies somewhere else, somewhere in the wrestle.  Its not a static truth either, but a contextual truth.  And its not the ultimate truth, but just another truth like another step on a path, there will always be greater truths to be discovered, and those likely will be manifest by more proving of contraries, as this process needs to repeat itself over and over again.  

For the example from Bernard Gui, I'm always pleased to hear of stories where people turn their lives around.  How wonderful that is.  I however, don't like it when we give all the credit to a certain system as being the reason that person was able to turn their life around.  That sounds too much like a packaged sales pitch to me.  People all around the world are influenced by all kinds of frameworks for the good, and its wonderful to see.  I just think its going a little too far, and unfortunately this is part of the Mormon tradition that I think overreaches into an uncomfortable territory for me.  

 

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On 5/12/2019 at 9:18 AM, let’s roll said:

Seems to me your analogy is relatively sound, but if it’s meant to be shared with the secular world, I suspect that world will reject it because they reject the underlying premise, that there is a God from whom we need to seek forgiveness.

I’d invite you to consider that just as life eternal is to know God and Jesus Christ, all discussions of spiritual topics are more likely to be fruitful if the core of the discussions is the reality of God and Jesus Christ.  Taking them out of such discussions and trying to make spiritual things secular, in my mind, depletes those discussions of their potential power.

Btw, I have no desire to have the secular world acknowledge that my spiritual pursuits are rational.  Instead, knowing that all of God’s children will kneel and confess the divinity of God and Christ, my desire is to help them remember their divine nature and have their confession occur sooner rather than later.

Yeah I get your point, but no, I am trying to show nonbelievers that they already believe spiritual truths.

 But thanks for showing me that I need to be more explicit on that if that's not clear

Valuable principle.   I think I skipped your comment before because I could not put the answer into words.

Now I did.

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Meerkat said:

Can a lasting conversion be obtained through reason alone?.

Ex-Catholic turned atheist, student radical communist here.  :)

Through reason alone, I came up with a description of the kind of faith that would make sense, with contemporary philosophies backing it up.

 But I thought it could not exist.  Ridiculous idea.  Put it on the back burner for years.

Found the CoJCLDS.   Seemed to fit the bill to a T

Prayed about it.

God clobbered me big time that this was it.

So now 40 years later, former bishop, High council, temple worker for 15 years.

Been in the apologist world for 10 years or so now.

Does that count?  The biggest part was obviously getting clobbered by personal revelation.  But if the philosophy was not there, my totally skeptical way of seeing the world would have won out.

Edited by mfbukowski

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On 5/20/2019 at 12:16 PM, Wade Englund said:

I don't see how this addresses my question. My question rhetorically pointed out the internal contradiction of your definition--which describes God explicitly as unlimited and implicitly as limited.. From where I sit, it is your definition that is squaring circles. Your definition is, itself, logically impossible--even though, with God, all things are possible. ;)

Somewhat like you, I believe that God is unlimited (though in a relative sense rather than absolute), and that God cannot do ungodly things, else wise he ceases to be God.

However, to me, THE most Godly thing the Father can do is enable His children to become even as He is. Divine love demands no less. The pattern of His creations nearly screams it.

Said another way, it would be ungodly for Him NOT to enable His children to become as He is, and would thus make Him cease to be God.

But, as always, to each their own.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

William James makes the analogy of God being an infinitely perfect "Chess master" who can see- because of his intelligence alone- the entire world situation and yours too.

I was looking for a church that this kind of view fit with- and here it is! 

@hope_for_things  I have added italics to one part that fits perfectly with the Rorty quote below in my siggy.

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c. James’s Own Religious Views

Although James is somewhat vague regarding his own religious “over-beliefs,” they can be pieced together from various passages.  He believes there is more to reality than our natural world and that this unseen realm generates practical effects in this world.  If we call the supreme being “God,” then we have reason to think the interpersonal relationship between God and humans is dynamic and that God provides us with a guarantee that the moral values we strive to realize will somehow survive us.  James describes himself as a supernaturalist (rather than a materialist) of a sort less refined than idealists and as unable to subscribe to popular Christianity.  He is unwilling to assume that God is one or infinite, even contemplating the polytheistic notion that the divine is a collection of godlike selves (Varieties, pp. 384-386, 388-390, 392-393, 395-396).  In “The Dilemma of Determinism,” James depicts his image of God with a memorable analogy, comparing God to a master chess player engaged in a give-and-take with us novices.  We are free to make our own moves; yet the master knows all the moves we could possibly make, the odds of our choosing one over the others, and how best to respond to any move we choose to make.  This indicates two departures from the traditional Judeo-Christian concept of God, in that the master is interacting with us in time (rather than eternal) and does not know everything in the future, to the extent that it is freely chosen by us.  In “Reflex Action and Theism,” James subscribes to a theistic belief in a personal God with whom we can maintain interpersonal relations, who possesses the deepest power in reality (not necessarily omnipotent) and a mind (not omniscient).  We can love and respect God to the extent that we are committed to the pursuit of common values.  In “Is Life Worth Living?” James even suggests that God may derive strength and energy from our collaboration (Will, pp. 181-182, 116, 122, 141, 61).  Elsewhere, rejecting the Hegelian notion of God as an all-encompassing Absolute, he subscribes to a God that is finite in knowledge or in power or in both, one that acts in time and has a history and an environment, like us (Universe, pp. 269, 272; see Letters, vol. 2, pp. 213-215, for James’s responses to a 1904 questionnaire regarding his personal religious beliefs).

 

https://www.iep.utm.edu/james-o/

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

@hope_for_things  I have added italics to one part that fits perfectly with the Rorty quote below in my siggy.

One thing I like about reading the concepts for God that James had developed is you can see he's really thought through these things very carefully.  At the same time I recognize that he's influenced by his environment just like all of the rest of us are.  In that sense I really see God as the theological creation of humans as they attempt to articulate their experiences as filtered through evolved human brains.  

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17 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

For the example from Bernard Gui, I'm always pleased to hear of stories where people turn their lives around.  How wonderful that is.  I however, don't like it when we give all the credit to a certain system as being the reason that person was able to turn their life around.  That sounds too much like a packaged sales pitch to me.  People all around the world are influenced by all kinds of frameworks for the good, and its wonderful to see.  I just think its going a little too far, and unfortunately this is part of the Mormon tradition that I think overreaches into an uncomfortable territory for me.  

I get that, and agree that many frameworks influence for the good.  I often think of my wonderful Baptist neighbors, that if they don’t make it to Heaven, neither will I.  Yet they have let me know they believe Mormons are good people, just “deceived.”  Maybe that falls into the “overreach” category you are uncomfortable with in our church.  I think, as time goes by, the Church is taking a more ecumenical approach, recognizing that if the Elect don’t embrace the authority and sacred ordinances of the Church while here in mortality, many will embrace the Temple ordinances done for them when they are in the Spirit World.  The important thing, in my opinion, is how did we live and treat others? Did we love God?  Did we love our fellow man?  If we lived right, I think our understanding of what is true will come.

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7 minutes ago, Meerkat said:

I get that, and agree that many frameworks influence for the good.  I often think of my wonderful Baptist neighbors, that if they don’t make it to Heaven, neither will I.  Yet they have let me know they believe Mormons are good people, just “deceived.”  Maybe that falls into the “overreach” category you are uncomfortable with in our church.  I think, as time goes by, the Church is taking a more ecumenical approach, recognizing that if the Elect don’t embrace the authority and sacred ordinances of the Church while here in mortality, many will embrace the Temple ordinances done for them when they are in the Spirit World.  The important thing, in my opinion, is how did we live and treat others? Did we love God?  Did we love our fellow man?  If we lived right, I think our understanding of what is true will come.

I agree, we're seeing a much more ecumenical approach these days.  As examples, the way President Nelson is meeting with key leaders around the world like the Pope or the New Zealand president.  For the Pope, can you imagine when we used to have past church leaders preaching about the evils of Catholicism, and now we have a President shaking hands with and promoting the meeting as a sign of the legitimacy of our church.  Very different times these days.  

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3 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

One thing I like about reading the concepts for God that James had developed is you can see he's really thought through these things very carefully.  At the same time I recognize that he's influenced by his environment just like all of the rest of us are.  In that sense I really see God as the theological creation of humans as they attempt to articulate their experiences as filtered through evolved human brains.  

Yes just as Rorty's "causes" of perception which we can never perceive are.

Quote

To say that the world is out there, that it is not our creation, is to say, with common sense, that most things in space and time are the effects of causes which do not include human mental states.  To say that truth is not out there is simply to say that where there are no sentences, there is no truth, that sentences are elements of human languages, and that human languages are human creations

To say that God is out there, that He is not our creation, is to say, with common sense, that most things in space and time (immanent creatures included) are the effects of causes which do not include (earthly) human mental states.

The Man of Holiness is the "cause" of religious experience just as a reflection of certain light frequencies off of it's "cause" is perceived as "RED".

So what else is new?   Theology is a paradigm to describe experience just like any other theory or paradigm is.

That is what I have been trying to get across from day 1.  

On the other hand the idea that God is a human makes that circular.  If God is a human then God is a creation of Human Gods, and theology is an attempt to articulate their experiences as filtered through their "evolved"- meaning here "Exalted" human brains to our rasty little embryo brains in embryo brain language (ours!)

Think about THAT one.  I really mean it when I say that if God is Human, then Humanism becomes theology!   Are we creating a Human God or is a Human God creating us??

Pragmatically in our beliefs, what is the difference??  ;)  What difference does it make? 

If we believe that and make it our central idea in life, where is the evidence it is "incorrect"?

THAT is what I believe, and it fits LDS theology perfectly.  Council of Gods, going through the Fall was how "Father gained his knowledge" and the idea that God Himself might have a Father.  Throw in a dose of the Adam God theory and wow it gets very complicated but very consistent with what you said.  :)

Maybe we are finally starting to communicate. ;)

 

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21 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Yes just as Rorty's "causes" of perception which we can never perceive are.

To say that God is out there, that He is not our creation, is to say, with common sense, that most things in space and time (immanent creatures included) are the effects of causes which do not include (earthly) human mental states.

The Man of Holiness is the "cause" of religious experience just as a reflection of certain light frequencies off of it's "cause" is perceived as "RED".

So what else is new?   Theology is a paradigm to describe experience just like any other theory or paradigm is.

That is what I have been trying to get across from day 1.  

On the other hand the idea that God is a human makes that circular.  If God is a human then God is a creation of Human Gods, and theology is an attempt to articulate their experiences as filtered through their "evolved"- meaning here "Exalted" human brains to our rasty little embryo brains in embryo brain language (ours!)

Think about THAT one.  I really mean it when I say that if God is Human, then Humanism becomes theology!   Are we creating a Human God or is a Human God creating us??

Pragmatically in our beliefs, what is the difference??  ;)  What difference does it make? 

If we believe that and make it our central idea in life, where is the evidence it is "incorrect"?

THAT is what I believe, and it fits LDS theology perfectly.  Council of Gods, going through the Fall was how "Father gained his knowledge" and the idea that God Himself might have a Father.  Throw in a dose of the Adam God theory and wow it gets very complicated but very consistent with what you said.  :)

Maybe we are finally starting to communicate. ;)

I see what you're saying for sure.  A good portion of it is aligned with my way of thinking, I'm grateful for our exchanges because you've opened me up to a lot of thinking I wouldn't likely have encountered through other avenues, which I think is awesome.  Actually, I'm really grateful to have been born Mormon and to have grown up so orthodox in my thinking and to have experienced a crisis of faith and to have been wrestling with ideas like these over the past few years.  It have learned so much and I'm continuing to learn, and I honestly am glad for how these experiences have molded me in ways I couldn't have otherwise imagined.

I agree with you that theology is a paradigm to describe experience, and I like you point about God being a creation of us humans as mediated through language and imagination, and its an interesting point that in the Mormon tradition of God as an exalted human, that this whole idea becomes somewhat circular. 

Where I differ with you still is that I have a strong impulse to say that not all paradigms and beliefs are created equally, and some paradigms can arguably create much better outcomes for the average human and for the prospects of life as we know it.  And as you know, I'm not comfortable viewing religious paradigms through the same lens as scientific ones, even though I recognize that science isn't a perfect process, I see some significant differences and benefits to it in many contexts, especially over and above religious thought experiments and speculation about the nature of God.  Although these kinds of speculations about God can be quite enjoyable to participate in.  

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