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RevTestament

Do we need meaning? Does the Church provide that meaning?

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23 hours ago, The Nehor said:

God does not use punishment as a coercive force to compel compliance. Sometimes suffering comes to wake people up and stir them up to repentance. When he gives up he often kills them. We can see that as retributive but I doubt God sees the transition to the Spirit World as punishment. It is more that your turn is over.

As to the plagues of Egypt I have my doubts about those. The story of Exodus appears to be a mashing of multiple plague stories. There are arguably three. One where only the firstborn of Pharaoh dies, one where all the firstborn of Egypt (man and animal) die, and one where the whole multiple plagues play out. I am guessing the first or second is the original story. It is quicker and more decisive.God’s destruction in other cases of punishment is quicker. Sodom and Gomorrah, the destruction amongst the Nephites, the promised two in the field of the Second Coming. The plague litany seems to me like dramatic embellishment. The problem is if all the plagues were as complete as described how did Egypt survive at all? All the crops and animals destroyed? Why did they not starve?

More tellingly the New Testament and the Book of Mormon never mention the plagues except for one reference to a plague on the Firstborn in the New Testament. It also mentions the Egyptian pursuit and the crossing of the Sea. The rest just talk about delivering the people from Egypt. Even the Old Testament says little after it happens and there are lots of plagues in the camp of Israel while they wander in the wilderness but they are never (that I remember) compared to the Egyptian plagues other then references to Passover. The book of Joshua talks about the plagues once and one Psalm recounts them but that is pretty much it. Seems to me that it is likely the whole extended torture of Egypt thing was a late addition. I am not wedded to the idea and if I am wrong my faith will not be shaken.

It does make for one hell of a story though and I enjoy it. I just doubt it happened that way (I also doubt some of the mass killings in Israel’s camp and some of the stories of murder attached to the Torah) and I will not use it to create my conception of God. God does kill but not to force obedience or compliance and He will not rule that way when He comes.

I luv ya man, but ya don't know what ya speak. I never said that God will force men to follow, so don't put words in my mouth. I say the opposite like you do. That would violate our free agency. You don't even realize that man has been living the plagues of Egypt since Adam. This is not to force man to accept God, but He does show us signs in His battle against Satan because He loves us, and wants to teach us to follow Him. I will take up the Song of Moses from this point to the end, because it is quite obvious from here on out:

When the seventh seal is opened there is silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. At the start of the seventh seal an angel servant with a golden censer walketh the seven steps to the altar, and stands at the altar before the throne; "and there was given unto him much incense [that he die not: Lev. 16:13], that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth. At the specified time the silence will be broken: "and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake." Revelation 8:5.
In the song of Moses: "And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go? Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now. Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die. He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses: And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field." Exodus 9:13-21.
"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." Revelation 14:13

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(cont)

"And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound." Revelation 8:6. In Revelation the first four trumpets sound during the period of the reign of the image of the beast. When the first trumpet sounds comes hail and fire mingled with blood. A third part of the trees are burnt up. All green grass is burnt up. Revelation 8:7. In the song of Moses: "And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail." Exodus 9:23-26.
"And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and a third part of the sea became blood." Revelation 8:8. A great church will burn with fire, and be cast into the sea of peoples. We can know this is a church because when our Lord speaks of His holy mountain, he is speaking of His church. In the song of Moses: "And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron...." Exodus 9:27. "And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up." Exodus 9:31-32.
"And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter." Revelation 8:10-11. This is a great religious leader who leads away a third of men. 
In the song of Moses: "And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD. And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast: And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field: And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers' fathers have seen, since the day they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh. And Pharaoh's servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?" Exodus 10:1-7.

"And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars." Revelation 8:12. This represents a third - those who seek to hold the rod. Through Zechariah our Lord prophesied: "...smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn my hand upon the little ones [after the Lord our shepherd is crucified the Lord turns to the little ones, his lambs - not those who raise themselves up]. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God." Zechariah 13:7-9. For the refiner takes the rough ore of the earth, and carefully refines it in the fire until he can see his reflection in the pure, precious metal. In the song of Moses: "And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go? And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD. And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you." Exodus 10:8-10. "Not so: go now ye that are men and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence." Exodus 10:11.

Then an angel flies through heaven announcing the last three angels to sound with three woes by saying "...Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!" Revelation 8:13.
The tables are turned when the fifth angel sounds: "And he opened the bottomless pit." Revelation 9:2. Locusts arise from the smoke of the pit which are commanded to hurt only men "which have not the seal of God in their foreheads." Revelation 9:4. In the song of Moses we find: "And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thy hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left." Exodus 10:12. "And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt." Exodus 10:14-15.

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(cont)

Revelation continues with the second woe:
And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates [peoples of Babylonia]. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk. Revelation 9: 13-20.
In the song of Moses: "And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thy hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings." Exodus 10:21-23.

"But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets." Revelation 10:7. This angel stands on the sea and the earth, and has been revealed as one holding the keys of Adam, returning to finish the mystery from the little book. The remaining people shall know the power of the Lord. They will be given one last chance to harken unto His word. At the last of the second woe two great prophets shall prophesy concerning the very last days and the fullness of the gospel. "AND there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months." Revelation 11:1-2. In the song of Moses: "And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you. And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God. Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither." Exodus 10:24-26.

In the law of Revelation: "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth." "And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt [being forbidden and akin to spiritual name of Rome, which is Babylon], where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half [same period Jesus' body was lifeless]... And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them." Revelation 11:3-12. In this day the holiest things of the Holy of Holies will be revealed, but the great day of at-one-ment is not yet fulfilled. In the song of Moses: "But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go." Exodus 10:27. 
Then "the second woe is past; and behold, the third woe cometh quickly." Revelation 11:14.
 

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(cont)

"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come... And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." Revelation 11:15-19. In the song of Moses: "And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die. And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more." Exodus 10:28-29. "So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen." Matthew 20:16. "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.  Daniel 12:12.

In the song of Moses: " And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether. Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold. And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of the people. And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts." Exodus 11:1-5. "Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying...they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house." Exodus 12:3. "Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it." Exodus 12:5-7. The LORD sayeth: "For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this self-same day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generation by an ordinance forever." Exodus 12:12-7.

"And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut to pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it." "In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." Zechariah 12: 3, 8-10.

"And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." Revelation 15:2-3. In Revelation 15 & 16 seven angels clothed in linen pour out seven plagues on the earth and sea. A noisome and grievous sore falls upon all those with the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. Every living soul in the sea dies as in the blood of a dead man. Of these I say no more.

"And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and thy lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." Revelation 20:4-5.

"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea." Revelation 20:7-8 (see also Ezekiel 38). This is a battle for heaven like unto the battle in which Satan was cast out of heaven with his followers before the world was, and after the man child was born. Revelation 12:7-9. Then this world shall cease to be. "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Matthew 19:28. John saith "and I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." Revelation 21:1. Isaiah saith: "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." Isaiah 65:17. The earth shall be reborn in its spiritual and celestial glory as a new heaven in which Jesus shall reign for His kingdom is not of this world. But a new world is created, and there is a new beginning. The branches of His holy office and calling as the Son shall bear fruit. He shall receive the fullness of His inheritance as our God and Father. All power, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and, blessings be to Him. "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." Ephesians 1:18. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. Isaiah 9:6-7. "For thy maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called." Isaiah 54:5. So it is, and so shall it be, worlds without end. "Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." Revelation 16:15. Amen.

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." Revelation 21:8.

Edited by RevTestament

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6 hours ago, RevTestament said:

I luv ya man, but ya don't know what ya speak. I never said that God will force men to follow, so don't put words in my mouth. I say the opposite like you do. That would violate our free agency. You don't even realize that man has been living the plagues of Egypt since Adam. This is not to force man to accept God, but He does show us signs in His battle against Satan because He loves us, and wants to teach us to follow Him. I will take up the Song of Moses from this point to the end, because it is quite obvious from here on out:

When the seventh seal is opened there is silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. At the start of the seventh seal an angel servant with a golden censer walketh the seven steps to the altar, and stands at the altar before the throne; "and there was given unto him much incense [that he die not: Lev. 16:13], that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth. At the specified time the silence will be broken: "and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake." Revelation 8:5.
In the song of Moses: "And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go? Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now. Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die. He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses: And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field." Exodus 9:13-21.
"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." Revelation 14:13

Forcing and coercing are not the same thing.

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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

Forcing and coercing are not the same thing.

God neither forced nor coerced the Egyptians to convert. They never converted as far as we know, but they did get punished.

Isaiah 13:11

11 And I will apunish the bworld for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the chaughtiness of the dterrible.

The whole idea of hell is punishment. I guess one could look at punishment as being excluded, but Yeshua seemed to attach a notion of torment to it.

Edited by RevTestament

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6 hours ago, RevTestament said:

God neither forced nor coerced the Egyptians to convert. They never converted as far as we know, but they did get punished.

Isaiah 13:11

11 And I will apunish the bworld for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the chaughtiness of the dterrible.

The whole idea of hell is punishment. I guess one could look at punishment as being excluded, but Yeshua seemed to attach a notion of torment to it.

Hell was created as a mercy. The torment is heaven would be worse. Those few damned for all time were given a place that would mitigate their torment as much as could be allowed considering their state by setting a place of filthiness. Giving this place was an act of God’s mercy for those who will allow Him to do nothing else for them.

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16 hours ago, RevTestament said:

I understand your issues with spiritual authority. Man certainly has faults exercising it. But to abandon it is a dangerous proposition. That is one of the points of this thread. Without spiritual authority man goes rudderless. Group think seems to take over, and we end up with mass genocide - the fascist movement of the Nazis, and on the opposing side the communist movements in Russia, China, etc. When people do not value each other as individuals, and do not follow the command of God to love each other, things go far astray. "Right" becomes whatever the group wants. That has never worked to date. We live in a system that has worked very well. Yet people don't realize it is because of the Judeo-Christian value system that we have been so blessed. 

Isaiah 61:7

7  For your shame ye shall have adouble; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess bthe double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.

Christ has never failed man. Man has failed Christ. Men go astray. It is not his fault. The second He goes silent, it seems, men start going astray. They kowtow to the pressures of society, to personal or selfish things, etc.

Thanks for your input.

I think the inherent problems with spiritual authority run deep and they are made manifest in all sorts of ways in groups and movements, be they secular or religious. When a person essentially says to us "I have answers you need for your life," without meeting the standard of verification, they are crossing a personal boundary. That person is prioritizing their perspective over ours. They are, to use your allusion, insisting upon their own rudder, when we may very well be able to develop or already have our own.  Such a situation between people can very easily be group think.

It is, in my opinion, a blunder to conclude that with all that is changing in human civilisation, and with all that has already changed, that human beings will rely on the same systems that have served them in the past. People relied on migrating animals for untold millenia, people relied on beasts of burden for centuries, people relied heavily on horses until the mass production of motor vehicles. 

Yet I do agree that people do very much find resonance in religious participation and in other ideological groups. There is incredible incentive in collectivized thought for a movement, but also individual incentive in being a member of a cohesive group. I don't think religion itself is going away soon, regardless of its theoretical merit or otherwise, but the religions as we know them have no guarantees of longevity, much like others of the past that are mostly forgotten.

I understand the perspective that Judeo-Christian and other religions' values have immeasurably impacted modern civilisation in positive ways. I'm not sure that this is an argument for it having an exclusive ability to maintain civility, however.  Just as many religions put forward the value of the individual, there are secular movements which do the same, as there are non-theistic arguments that make a strong case for it. In other words, I do believe we need meaning, but I do not think we require religion in order to have a healthy construct of meaning. Furthermore, as it is, we as human beings still need a non-religious way to cope with human differences. We need a secular standard of common values, a standard that can be agreed-upon, and ideally, one that can be verified.

There are indeed cases where peoples' values seem to fall apart when they leave their religions. There are also cases where people leave religions to adhere to what they consider better values. I would say that, given the near-universality of religious belief throughout human history, it would be premature to claim that people cannot live without it, especially if we base that decision on bad starts that seem to have begun with an abandonment of religion. As a reflection, just as a prevailing religious culture may enhance the societal value of individual worth, a prevailiing religious culture may make transitioning outside of religion more difficult.

So, the question of religions' longevity is an interesting one and it's hard to imagine a world in which it is not asked. But it is probably safe to say that the religions of the now will be very changed or replaced by new ones, and that they, new and old, can also themselves instigate or be vulnerable to the dangerous influences of fascist movements. Therefore, I think it is the best interest of humanity and its religions alike to continue to develop robust secular frameworks that value the individual. Kindness may sound simple and basic, but I think it is rather a big deal. It's simplicity makes it so universally applicable and in my opinion it provides a very fine basis for civility.

 

Edited by Meadowchik

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On 8/22/2019 at 5:28 AM, Meadowchik said:

I'm not sure what you're saying. Can we use an example?

The church says that God rejects gay marriage.  Therefore, the church is rejecting the God (if any) who accepts gay marriage.

Now I am not sure when you're saying.  What would a God be if not the true God? A false God, I would suppose, therefore not really a true God.  So no there would be no God who would accept gay marriage if the true God doesn't accept it.

 

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1 hour ago, Ahab said:

Now I am not sure when you're saying.  What would a God be if not the true God? A false God, I would suppose, therefore not really a true God.  So no there would be no God who would accept gay marriage if the true God doesn't accept it.

 

The church saying God rejects it does no mean God rejects it. 

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7 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

The church saying God rejects it does no mean God rejects it. 

If everyone in the Church said God rejected that, though?

It would be impressive to see that many people in agreement but you're right it still wouldn't necessarily mean that God rejects it.  God rejects only what God rejects, and God's rejection isn't dependent upon how many people agree with him, or how many don't, either.

I don't suppose it would suit your purposes if I told you that God has told me that he abhors abominations and that people of the same sex having sexual relations of a particular kind with each other is an abomination of how they should act with each other, so I see no good reason to tell you that now.

 

Edited by Ahab

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15 minutes ago, Ahab said:

If everyone in the Church said God rejected that, though?

It would be impressive to see that many people in agreement but you're right it still wouldn't necessarily mean that God rejects it.  God rejects only what God rejects, and God's rejection isn't dependent upon how many people agree with him, or how many don't, either.

I don't suppose it would suit your purposes if I told you that God has told me that he abhors abominations and that people of the same sex having sexual relations of a particular kind with each other is an abomination of how they should act with each other, so I see no good reason to tell you that now.

 

Well that's the core of it, isn't it, Ahab? You think God told you X, but you cannot verify that for anyone else, can you? So what would you be doing, if you went around saying that God told you X and that you speak for God to them? What if your representation of God hurt them and led them away from God? That's an enormous responsibility, isn't it? What obligation would you have to be sure you were correct if you decided to do all that?

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4 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Well that's the core of it, isn't it, Ahab? You think God told you X, but you cannot verify that for anyone else, can you? So what would you be doing, if you went around saying that God told you X and that you speak for God to them?

I would not say that I speak for God to them.  I would simply share with them what God had told me, leaving them to find out from God for themselves.  I would understand if they didn't want to just take my word for what God said.  But that wouldn't stop me from telling them what God had told me, either, if I felt God wanted me to share my knowledge of things with them.

4 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

What if your representation of God hurt them and led them away from God?

From my point of view what I would be telling them was what God had told me, and no counsel from God, correctly understood, can lead people away from God.

4 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

That's an enormous responsibility, isn't it? What obligation would you have to be sure you were correct if you decided to do all that?

I would just need to be sure that God had told me what I was saying God had told me.  Otherwise I would be in big trouble with God for misrepresenting him.  As would you, or anyone else.

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16 hours ago, Ahab said:

I would not say that I speak for God to them.  I would simply share with them what God had told me, leaving them to find out from God for themselves.  I would understand if they didn't want to just take my word for what God said.  But that wouldn't stop me from telling them what God had told me, either, if I felt God wanted me to share my knowledge of things with them.

I think your refusal to "say that I speak for God to them" is good, and I agree with that. This is why I have a fundamental issue with people who make those claims.

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From my point of view what I would be telling them was what God had told me, and no counsel from God, correctly understood, can lead people away from God.

 

Well, yes, that would work nicely, in theory.

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I would just need to be sure that God had told me what I was saying God had told me.  Otherwise I would be in big trouble with God for misrepresenting him.  As would you, or anyone else.

There's the rub. How can you be sure? How can you be so sure that you would stake the well-being of another person on it?

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On 8/23/2019 at 2:22 AM, Meadowchik said:

I think the inherent problems with spiritual authority run deep and they are made manifest in all sorts of ways in groups and movements, be they secular or religious. When a person essentially says to us "I have answers you need for your life," without meeting the standard of verification, they are crossing a personal boundary. That person is prioritizing their perspective over ours. They are, to use your allusion, insisting upon their own rudder, when we may very well be able to develop or already have our own.  Such a situation between people can very easily be group think.

One sees this in raising children all the time. I suspect there is a strong strain of this thinking within the Church, and historically in other churches as well - it is a somewhat natural tendency for parents I think. I tried to teach my children my value system, not because it is what I thought they needed for their life, but in general why I believe it was best for society and happiness. In other words I tried to teach them why I adopted my value system, while not insisting that they adopt it for the same reasons. Did I cross a personal boundary? I don't think modern school teachers teach many values this way. A lot of my value system is informed by my religious belief. So in the public realm it is more a case as to whether others see value in my life or my belief system, and inquire about it, rather than me thrusting mine on others. But either way I don't call that group think, which is not informed by a belief system. What I call group think is merely what a group thinks is "right" regardless of outside value systems.

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It is, in my opinion, a blunder to conclude that with all that is changing in human civilisation, and with all that has already changed, that human beings will rely on the same systems that have served them in the past. People relied on migrating animals for untold millenia, people relied on beasts of burden for centuries, people relied heavily on horses until the mass production of motor vehicles. 

I do believe the Judeo-Christian value system will change a bit. I don't believe it is a blunder to believe that it will continue. I know it will. However, that is probably a pointless debate.

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Yet I do agree that people do very much find resonance in religious participation and in other ideological groups. There is incredible incentive in collectivized thought for a movement, but also individual incentive in being a member of a cohesive group. I don't think religion itself is going away soon, regardless of its theoretical merit or otherwise, but the religions as we know them have no guarantees of longevity, much like others of the past that are mostly forgotten.

I understand the perspective that Judeo-Christian and other religions' values have immeasurably impacted modern civilisation in positive ways. I'm not sure that this is an argument for it having an exclusive ability to maintain civility, however.  Just as many religions put forward the value of the individual, there are secular movements which do the same, as there are non-theistic arguments that make a strong case for it. In other words, I do believe we need meaning, but I do not think we require religion in order to have a healthy construct of meaning. Furthermore, as it is, we as human beings still need a non-religious way to cope with human differences. We need a secular standard of common values, a standard that can be agreed-upon, and ideally, one that can be verified.

I can't think of one that has ever been one I feel worthy of emulation. That is part of the point of this thread - that the Judeo-Christian principles of non-force in personal realms, has led to the most technically advanced, richest society the world has ever known. The United States for instance has advanced so greatly, I pose, exactly because it was founded on those ideals, which has drawn the best minds from all over the world to it. Where people have for the most part learned to work together for diverse reasons, and been able to pursue their own happiness. Perhaps you can name some secular system which has accomplished that much, but I cannot think of one. Marxism claimed to be one, but I have never seen a truly communist government system work near as well. They were all really dictatorships with imposed group think, which persecuted anyone who would not adopt it. I don't know of anyone who flowed to those communist countries because they were so wonderful to live in. Mostly, they all flowed out as soon as they could - often to the United States - and brought their talent with them. Imposed secular group think is no fun.

I also pose that what you think of as secular values are themselves informed by a Judeo Christian background. Do not steal. Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Segments of this society which have abandoned their Judeo Christian roots have always just fallen apart. My guess is that even Buddhism is informed by Biblical values. 

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There are indeed cases where peoples' values seem to fall apart when they leave their religions. There are also cases where people leave religions to adhere to what they consider better values. I would say that, given the near-universality of religious belief throughout human history, it would be premature to claim that people cannot live without it, especially if we base that decision on bad starts that seem to have begun with an abandonment of religion. As a reflection, just as a prevailing religious culture may enhance the societal value of individual worth, a prevailiing religious culture may make transitioning outside of religion more difficult.

Again, I cannot think of an example of a purely secular society worthy of emulation. I think that is probably because once religious values are discarded, only selfish values rise to the top, and no society can be formed based on such values. It is more like see girl, want girl. There is nothing to stop it.

Quote

So, the question of religions' longevity is an interesting one and it's hard to imagine a world in which it is not asked. But it is probably safe to say that the religions of the now will be very changed or replaced by new ones, and that they, new and old, can also themselves instigate or be vulnerable to the dangerous influences of fascist movements. Therefore, I think it is the best interest of humanity and its religions alike to continue to develop robust secular frameworks that value the individual. Kindness may sound simple and basic, but I think it is rather a big deal. It's simplicity makes it so universally applicable and in my opinion it provides a very fine basis for civility.

It is safe to say that Christianity will change. I think the Christianity of today was misinformed by man, and that is partly why it is failing currently. So, you are somewhat correct to feel somewhat disillusioned by it. However, based upon history, I don't believe a secularist framework is the way to go. If history is any precedent, it is doomed to failure, and I pose that anyone you try to start will be informed by Judeo Christian values. Once people decide there is no reason to follow them, because they do not believe in God, then it will unravel, like they have countless times before. You are certainly welcomed to try, but don't be like antifa, trying to impose it on a whole society based on a Judeo Christian ethic. Take it to some uninhabited island.... Now you might be talkin. Maybe even I will visit.... :)  Or maybe you can apply to become a citizen of Cuba...

Edited by RevTestament

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On 8/23/2019 at 12:16 AM, The Nehor said:

Hell was created as a mercy. The torment is heaven would be worse. Those few damned for all time were given a place that would mitigate their torment as much as could be allowed considering their state by setting a place of filthiness. Giving this place was an act of God’s mercy for those who will allow Him to do nothing else for them.

I don't see Hell as permanent or "for all time", so disagree at least in that aspect. Before the final judgment hell will give up the dead to be judged in their resurrected bodies. While standing before the individual who brought them out of that torment, it will be quite difficult to deny Him, and not repent. D&C 76. But they will be consigned to the telestial glory. 

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1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

One sees this in raising children all the time. I suspect there is a strong strain of this thinking within the Church, and historically in other churches as well - it is a somewhat natural tendency for parents I think. I tried to teach my children my value system, not because it is what I thought they needed for their life, but in general why I believe it was best for society and happiness. In other words I tried to teach them why I adopted my value system, while not insisting that they adopt it for the same reasons. Did I cross a personal boundary? I don't think modern school teachers teach many values this way. A lot of my value system is informed by my religious belief. So in the public realm it is more a case as to whether others see value in my life or my belief system, and inquire about it, rather than me thrusting mine on others. But either way I don't call that group think, which is not informed by a belief system. What I call group think is merely what a group thinks is "right" regardless of outside value systems.

One does see this in some variations of parenthood, but the manner you actually describe is fundamentally different: "This is what I think is best as your parent" contrasts starkly against "because God said." As far as schools teaching values along with the epistemological basis for them, I do see this in my kids' schools, including public schools in the US, Switzerland, France, and the UK, and even an unschooling secular co-op in Texas. All of them have been capable of saying, "these are our values" for xyz reasons, without using "because God said," even the Alsacien public schools where religious instruction is permitted. "Because God said," which to reiterate is not the way you described the parenting scenario, cna be extremely prone to group think, especially when part of a system that emphasizes loyalty and/obedience to its leader(s), the ostensible representatives of God.

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I do believe the Judeo-Christian value system will change a bit. I don't believe it is a blunder to believe that it will continue. I know it will. However, that is probably a pointless debate.

I agree that it may continue, though most likely changed, yet it is not destined to continue. There's no way to "know" it will in any verifiable way, I assume you are referring to spiritual experiences, is that correct?

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I can't think of one that has ever been one I feel worthy of emulation. That is part of the point of this thread - that the Judeo-Christian principles of non-force in personal realms, has led to the most technically advanced, richest society the world has ever known. The United States for instance has advanced so greatly, I pose, exactly because it was founded on those ideals, which has drawn the best minds from all over the world to it. Where people have for the most part learned to work together for diverse reasons, and been able to pursue their own happiness. Perhaps you can name some secular system which has accomplished that much, but I cannot think of one. Marxism claimed to be one, but I have never seen a truly communist government system work near as well. They were all really dictatorships with imposed group think, which persecuted anyone who would not adopt it. I don't know of anyone who flowed to those communist countries because they were so wonderful to live in. Mostly, they all flowed out as soon as they could - often to the United States - and brought their talent with them. Imposed secular group think is no fun.

First, as incredibly important were the values of individual freedom established in America, its success was also heavily influenced if not completely dependent on other factors beyond the control of people. How many other vast continents lost up to ninety percent of their populations just when massive civilisations are turning up, looking to colonize?

(I think at this point it might be appropriate to point out that the US does not nor ever has had a monopoly on the best minds.)

Second, there are already countries that do operate on a system of secular values. I understand the belief that they are simply benefitting from the values of Judeo-Christian traditions, which leads to the next point: do those values originate in the Judeo-Christian tradition?

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I also pose that what you think of as secular values are themselves informed by a Judeo Christian background. Do not steal. Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Segments of this society which have abandoned their Judeo Christian roots have always just fallen apart. My guess is that even Buddhism is informed by Biblical values.

I think there is reason to believe that the value of the individual predates both Judaism and Christianity. Trace the idea of the Golden Rule throughout history, and there is evidence of it that reaches as far back as 2000 BC Egypt. Leviticus and its version of the Golden Rule dates back as far as 1400 BC, roughly. Even further, reciprocity is not exclusive to humans, but is also observed in monkeys and apes. (I was able to witness this myself over this past summer while visiting a sanctuary for barbary macaques.)

It may just be that the concept of reciprocity gave human beings an evolutionary advantaged and made our existence possible. It in all probability has coexisted with us all along.

Quote

 

Again, I cannot think of an example of a purely secular society worthy of emulation. I think that is probably because once religious values are discarded, only selfish values rise to the top, and no society can be formed based on such values. It is more like see girl, want girl. There is nothing to stop it.

It is safe to say that Christianity will change. I think the Christianity of today was misinformed by man, and that is partly why it is failing currently. So, you are somewhat correct to feel somewhat disillusioned by it. However, based upon history, I don't believe a secularist framework is the way to go. If history is any precedent, it is doomed to failure, and I pose that anyone you try to start will be informed by Judeo Christian values. Once people decide there is no reason to follow them, because they do not believe in God, then it will unravel, like they have countless times before. You are certainly welcomed to try, but don't be like antifa, trying to impose it on a whole society based on a Judeo Christian ethic. Take it to some uninhabited island.... Now you might be talkin. Maybe even I will visit.... :)  Or maybe you can apply to become a citizen of Cuba...

 

I would argue that the reason various religious traditions over time have prevailed may just be (in some significant part) a function of their preservation of some level of reciprocity. Human beings are social and therefore social stability conserved by reciprocity is crucial, both as a moving force and also as what is being moved. 

So perhaps the historical precedent for reciprocity as a secular value is already in front of us. Religions survive when they adopt it as a central tenet. Various cultures are able to interact successfully because they share the value in common.

Is it so hard to believe in being kind for no other reason than that is the way we want to be treated? Must it be more mystical or scary than that? 

And Cuba? I don't need to live in Cuba to help build a world that values kindness. The world is made and unmade with this value constantly, everywhere. I rejoice in the opportunity to practice it on a daily basis with other people regardless of belief or unbelief. It may be simple, but it feels pretty divine and meaningful to me.

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2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

One does see this in some variations of parenthood, but the manner you actually describe is fundamentally different: "This is what I think is best as your parent" contrasts starkly against "because God said." As far as schools teaching values along with the epistemological basis for them, I do see this in my kids' schools, including public schools in the US, Switzerland, France, and the UK, and even an unschooling secular co-op in Texas. All of them have been capable of saying, "these are our values" for xyz reasons, without using "because God said," even the Alsacien public schools where religious instruction is permitted. "Because God said," which to reiterate is not the way you described the parenting scenario, cna be extremely prone to group think, especially when part of a system that emphasizes loyalty and/obedience to its leader(s), the ostensible representatives of God.

I believe public schools have largely given up teaching a Judeo-Christian ethic. Interestingly, under Obama they seemed to switch to an Islamic ethic, which is the ultimate "because God said." I would love to see schools teach some kind of societal values for x, y, and z reasons, but I have to say they are failing there in the US at least. Colleges have become bastions of Leftist thought, which seem to spurn the ideals of free speech. They are teaching a value system, but it is often not one I would ascribe to. It is certainly not anything balanced. Can one speak up for a different value system without being scorned?

I believe there have been representatives of God, and I believe it is up to the individual who to believe. Those who insist it is because "God said" aren't particularly persuasive to me. One of my points for making this thread is to discuss this. I believe the Church of Jesus Christ LDS is God's true Church in the sense that it has His authorized priesthood, and a correct gospel message, but I personally believe it is not perfect, and can improve some things. It is my opinion that it has become a little too authoritarian. I believe members should try to follow the leaders to the best of their ability, but that doesn't mean never questioning them. Our Lord has never said never question your leaders. In fact He told us that we shall know them by their fruits. That means personally judging them as to whether they speak truth for God, or something else. Giving this lip service and then casting out any who disagree with some point of interpretation doesn't seem to sit right with me. So basically this thread is a call for Church culture to change a little bit, rather than being some all in or all out, child of the devil mentality. 

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I agree that it may continue, though most likely changed, yet it is not destined to continue. There's no way to "know" it will in any verifiable way, I assume you are referring to spiritual experiences, is that correct?

I believe in scripture which shows the future course of the world, and has shown the past course. I don't have reason to doubt it's veracity for future events. I believe it also shows who the true power behind things is. When that comes through dozens of prophets as a coherent picture, it builds a strong case. So it is beyond my "spiritual experiences." 

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First, as incredibly important were the values of individual freedom established in America, its success was also heavily influenced if not completely dependent on other factors beyond the control of people. How many other vast continents lost up to ninety percent of their populations just when massive civilisations are turning up, looking to colonize?

Well, I am speaking of Western society as well. The Judeo-Christian ethic in Europe has resulted in its relative socio-economic rise. Most people there have the same comforts of life I have, and most of the same freedoms as well.

(I think at this point it might be appropriate to point out that the US does not nor ever has had a monopoly on the best minds.)

True, but many came to the US to escape oppression and totalitarian regimes which obviously the US has benefited from - they could have stayed in Europe or eastern countries. 

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Second, there are already countries that do operate on a system of secular values. I understand the belief that they are simply benefitting from the values of Judeo-Christian traditions, which leads to the next point: do those values originate in the Judeo-Christian tradition?

I think there is reason to believe that the value of the individual predates both Judaism and Christianity. Trace the idea of the Golden Rule throughout history, and there is evidence of it that reaches as far back as 2000 BC Egypt. Leviticus and its version of the Golden Rule dates back as far as 1400 BC, roughly. Even further, reciprocity is not exclusive to humans, but is also observed in monkeys and apes. (I was able to witness this myself over this past summer while visiting a sanctuary for barbary macaques.)

I believe the golden rule is a central tenet of God's law, and probably arose in Sumeria under Adam. Early Sumeria was a mostly peaceful society for hundreds of years, until an outsider got the idea of conquering all the cities, and the first empire came into being. We don't know a lot about the earliest Sumerian society but we do know they began to trade, and have economies. People began to specialize. This required a spirit of cooperation beyond the families of hunter-gatherer society. Its writing was a huge advancement. Incidentally, I believe this occurred about the time that our modern scripture shows Adam began to write and teach writing, so I think I can reasonably argue that the golden rule predates Moses or 2000 BC Egypt, although we don't have it in so many words. We have evidence for it. Yes, there are animal societies which cooperate in beneficial group behavior, but that is not quite the same as putting others first or in an equal footing as oneself. That is mostly seen in parental behavior. 

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It may just be that the concept of reciprocity gave human beings an evolutionary advantaged and made our existence possible. It in all probability has coexisted with us all along.

I do believe in evolution, and don't see Adam as the first homo sapien. I can also agree that homo sapiens advanced through certain degrees of reciprocity. But in modern culture, that doesn't seem to result in a particularly desirable culture without everyone buying into the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Certainly, the US is far from practicing that universally, but I believe it has done so to a remarkably successful degree.

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I would argue that the reason various religious traditions over time have prevailed may just be (in some significant part) a function of their preservation of some level of reciprocity. Human beings are social and therefore social stability conserved by reciprocity is crucial, both as a moving force and also as what is being moved. 

So perhaps the historical precedent for reciprocity as a secular value is already in front of us. Religions survive when they adopt it as a central tenet. Various cultures are able to interact successfully because they share the value in common.

I would have to largely agree with your comments here. People find happiness and fulfillment in learning to share, and to serve others. One doesn't have to be a Christian to understand that, but Christianity certainly embodies that ideal at its core. Our teacher embodied that completely, and set the example for us. The other type of leaders in the world lead through force, fear and coercion which often wins the day without the strong golden rule ethic permeating everyone.

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Is it so hard to believe in being kind for no other reason than that is the way we want to be treated? Must it be more mystical or scary than that? 

And Cuba? I don't need to live in Cuba to help build a world that values kindness. The world is made and unmade with this value constantly, everywhere. I rejoice in the opportunity to practice it on a daily basis with other people regardless of belief or unbelief. It may be simple, but it feels pretty divine and meaningful to me.

I certainly do not have a problem with someone who agrees with the foundations of the US constitution wanting to live in the US and trying to live a life of kindness. We certainly need more of that. The point is what system best embodies that ideal and is able to get people to buy into it? I think Christianity does. Just because people get corrupted through authority doesn't mean that we should give up on Christianity. Insistence on absolute authority has never worked well. Not even Christ does that. We have a free choice under His rule. That is why no society has been perfect. People make mistakes. People choose selfish paths. Not all of them choose to be kind like you. I find more meaning in Christian living. If everyone believed that their future depends upon their current life, which it does, things would be much different. But part of the "game" or "test" if you will is that we don't realize that(yet), and yet we choose right. This strength of spirit or will is what God chooses from. The earthly Church is supposed to reflect that ideal, but of course we are imperfect, and fall short of it. But that too does succeed in helping God know who to reward the most or if you want to say it differently, who to put in positions of responsibility. Maybe if "authority" were perceived more as responsibility people would get it better. All societies end up have positions of responsibility - even the ones who claimed to be communist. Should societies reward those who fill those positions of responsibility best? Should God do that? I pose if there is no God, that becomes problematic. History has shown there are always those people willing to quash that ideal, in order to put themselves in the seat. Satan's way of compulsion: force and fear win out.

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On 8/24/2019 at 3:14 AM, Meadowchik said:

How can you be sure? How can you be so sure that you would stake the well-being of another person on it?

Through the power of the Holy  Ghost.  He gives me that level of assurance.  Again, not that I expect others to rely or to be as sure as I am about what I tell them, which is why they should get their own testimony from the Holy Ghost, directly, but I have no problem with thinking and feeling that everyone should be able to get the same level of certainty that I have received directly from God and when they do I expect them to have received the same information as well as the same level of certainty that I have.

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On 8/26/2019 at 5:51 PM, Ahab said:

Through the power of the Holy  Ghost.  He gives me that level of assurance.  Again, not that I expect others to rely or to be as sure as I am about what I tell them, which is why they should get their own testimony from the Holy Ghost, directly, but I have no problem with thinking and feeling that everyone should be able to get the same level of certainty that I have received directly from God and when they do I expect them to have received the same information as well as the same level of certainty that I have.

So you expect that others should be able get the same spiritual confirmation that you have of the truth?

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On 8/24/2019 at 9:30 PM, RevTestament said:

I believe public schools have largely given up teaching a Judeo-Christian ethic. Interestingly, under Obama they seemed to switch to an Islamic ethic, which is the ultimate "because God said." I would love to see schools teach some kind of societal values for x, y, and z reasons, but I have to say they are failing there in the US at least. Colleges have become bastions of Leftist thought, which seem to spurn the ideals of free speech. They are teaching a value system, but it is often not one I would ascribe to. It is certainly not anything balanced. Can one speak up for a different value system without being scorned?

I believe there have been representatives of God, and I believe it is up to the individual who to believe. Those who insist it is because "God said" aren't particularly persuasive to me. One of my points for making this thread is to discuss this. I believe the Church of Jesus Christ LDS is God's true Church in the sense that it has His authorized priesthood, and a correct gospel message, but I personally believe it is not perfect, and can improve some things. It is my opinion that it has become a little too authoritarian. I believe members should try to follow the leaders to the best of their ability, but that doesn't mean never questioning them. Our Lord has never said never question your leaders. In fact He told us that we shall know them by their fruits. That means personally judging them as to whether they speak truth for God, or something else. Giving this lip service and then casting out any who disagree with some point of interpretation doesn't seem to sit right with me. So basically this thread is a call for Church culture to change a little bit, rather than being some all in or all out, child of the devil mentality. 

I believe in scripture which shows the future course of the world, and has shown the past course. I don't have reason to doubt it's veracity for future events. I believe it also shows who the true power behind things is. When that comes through dozens of prophets as a coherent picture, it builds a strong case. So it is beyond my "spiritual experiences." 

Well, I am speaking of Western society as well. The Judeo-Christian ethic in Europe has resulted in its relative socio-economic rise. Most people there have the same comforts of life I have, and most of the same freedoms as well.

(I think at this point it might be appropriate to point out that the US does not nor ever has had a monopoly on the best minds.)

True, but many came to the US to escape oppression and totalitarian regimes which obviously the US has benefited from - they could have stayed in Europe or eastern countries. 

I believe the golden rule is a central tenet of God's law, and probably arose in Sumeria under Adam. Early Sumeria was a mostly peaceful society for hundreds of years, until an outsider got the idea of conquering all the cities, and the first empire came into being. We don't know a lot about the earliest Sumerian society but we do know they began to trade, and have economies. People began to specialize. This required a spirit of cooperation beyond the families of hunter-gatherer society. Its writing was a huge advancement. Incidentally, I believe this occurred about the time that our modern scripture shows Adam began to write and teach writing, so I think I can reasonably argue that the golden rule predates Moses or 2000 BC Egypt, although we don't have it in so many words. We have evidence for it. Yes, there are animal societies which cooperate in beneficial group behavior, but that is not quite the same as putting others first or in an equal footing as oneself. That is mostly seen in parental behavior. 

So what you've essentially described here is an agreement and a secular explanation for the advancement of the principle of reciprocity into the Golden Rule. It seems to me that you understand that it naturally resulted.

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I do believe in evolution, and don't see Adam as the first homo sapien. I can also agree that homo sapiens advanced through certain degrees of reciprocity. But in modern culture, that doesn't seem to result in a particularly desirable culture without everyone buying into the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Certainly, the US is far from practicing that universally, but I believe it has done so to a remarkably successful degree.

I would have to largely agree with your comments here. People find happiness and fulfillment in learning to share, and to serve others. One doesn't have to be a Christian to understand that, but Christianity certainly embodies that ideal at its core. Our teacher embodied that completely, and set the example for us. The other type of leaders in the world lead through force, fear and coercion which often wins the day without the strong golden rule ethic permeating everyone.

I certainly do not have a problem with someone who agrees with the foundations of the US constitution wanting to live in the US and trying to live a life of kindness. We certainly need more of that. The point is what system best embodies that ideal and is able to get people to buy into it? I think Christianity does. Just because people get corrupted through authority doesn't mean that we should give up on Christianity. Insistence on absolute authority has never worked well. Not even Christ does that. We have a free choice under His rule. That is why no society has been perfect. People make mistakes. People choose selfish paths. Not all of them choose to be kind like you. I find more meaning in Christian living. If everyone believed that their future depends upon their current life, which it does, things would be much different. But part of the "game" or "test" if you will is that we don't realize that(yet), and yet we choose right. This strength of spirit or will is what God chooses from. The earthly Church is supposed to reflect that ideal, but of course we are imperfect, and fall short of it. But that too does succeed in helping God know who to reward the most or if you want to say it differently, who to put in positions of responsibility. Maybe if "authority" were perceived more as responsibility people would get it better. All societies end up have positions of responsibility - even the ones who claimed to be communist. Should societies reward those who fill those positions of responsibility best? Should God do that? I pose if there is no God, that becomes problematic. History has shown there are always those people willing to quash that ideal, in order to put themselves in the seat. Satan's way of compulsion: force and fear win out.

 

Are you saying that Christianity provides that universal permeation of the Golden Rule? I don't think it necessarily provides it anymore than other well-connected groups can do. This is why schools and workplaces who focus on a positive, value-centered environment tend to have more enjoyable (and productive) environments. They share common goals and value the individual. I think that any group with too much unchecked power can syphon off that power for personal gain, even if only to justify its own existence. It's a problem inherent to any kind of centralised power, formal or not, and with or without belief in God.

Also, I would like to point out that a declining belief in the existence of God does not have to lead to moral complacency or decay. Could it be that there is a stereotpe that "those who leave belief become corrupt" because those who believe are taught that belief is the only salvation from corruption? Could the steretype that "non-believers don't have hope" be because believers are taught that the only hope is in their understanding of God?

I would say that the moral believer and moral atheist can find alliance and strength from each other. For the atheist, the notion that there may not be a God who provide a back-up plan, can put the importance of the struggle for good now in starker relief. The notion that there may not be another life after this can make this life more important. I would hope that believers and nonbelievers can continue to find ways to find hope, individually and also in joint efforts. I think many can agree that where there is life, there is hope and there is cause for kindness.

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

So you expect that others should be able get the same spiritual confirmation that you have of the truth?

Yes, based on the level of assurance I have regarding the concept that God is no respecter of persons and that if we ask God in faith for wisdom, James 1:5 style, he will manifest the truth to us through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Note that I'm talking about the same level of assurance, the same level of spiritual confirmation, line upon line and precept upon precept.  Not that God is going to  give someone the same level of knowledge that has taken me years to acquire.

Those new to the concept of receiving faith from God are spiritual babies who need spiritual milk before they are ready for the more meaty stuff, although what most people consider "deep" doctrine is pretty much just the basic stuff.

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6 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

So what you've essentially described here is an agreement and a secular explanation for the advancement of the principle of reciprocity into the Golden Rule. It seems to me that you understand that it naturally resulted.

I've admitted that there is reciprocity in nature, but that is different from the "Golden Rule," which is reciprocity+  - doing things because they are right with no guarantee of reciprocity at all. The Golden Rule is not a natural result. The natural man is mostly selfish.

6 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Are you saying that Christianity provides that universal permeation of the Golden Rule? I don't think it necessarily provides it anymore than other well-connected groups can do. This is why schools and workplaces who focus on a positive, value-centered environment tend to have more enjoyable (and productive) environments. They share common goals and value the individual. I think that any group with too much unchecked power can syphon off that power for personal gain, even if only to justify its own existence. It's a problem inherent to any kind of centralised power, formal or not, and with or without belief in God.

Also, I would like to point out that a declining belief in the existence of God does not have to lead to moral complacency or decay. Could it be that there is a stereotpe that "those who leave belief become corrupt" because those who believe are taught that belief is the only salvation from corruption? Could the steretype that "non-believers don't have hope" be because believers are taught that the only hope is in their understanding of God?

I would say that the moral believer and moral atheist can find alliance and strength from each other. For the atheist, the notion that there may not be a God who provide a back-up plan, can put the importance of the struggle for good now in starker relief. The notion that there may not be another life after this can make this life more important. I would hope that believers and nonbelievers can continue to find ways to find hope, individually and also in joint efforts. I think many can agree that where there is life, there is hope and there is cause for kindness.

I believe an atheist can act morally, but I proffer that morality is based upon the Judeo-Christian ethic. Without it, moral atheism falls apart. People buy into the argument that they can live a happy life, but then why do we have all the Hollywood stars looking for "spirituality?" Why the drug epidemic? Why the suicide epidemic? Again, clearly, the Judeo-Christian belief system and morality system has resulted in the most prosperous, technologically advanced societies the world has ever known, and yet people now believe they can jettison it. It will not end well.

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On 8/20/2019 at 10:21 AM, RevTestament said:

First, let me say that I can see this thread going far off base. I do not want it to become a political debate between the "right" and "left." I am going to raise a couple issues, but they certainly aren't the only ones that can be discussed under this broad umbrella. 

One of the things I see happening is that far left is encouraging youngsters to deconstruct or tear down the hierarchies that Judeo-Christian society has constructed over the last 5 centuries or so, and which I believe have blessed the United States so greatly.

1. They claim these hierarchies are fundamentally unfair. Thus professors complain about the "patriarchal order," and other societal structures.

2, Their solution seems to be a rather marxist solution to tear down those structures, and even invert them so that those on the bottom are at the top. My proposition is this is essentially a proposition of anarchy, and will leave people feeling like they have no purpose or meaning. They will generally feel lost and without direction or purpose unless they adopt the group idea to just tear down everything. This is manifesting itself in higher drug use and suicide rate.

Ok, I think some people won't like these particular people in this video, but they are talking about this here, and discuss potential solutions:

3. Can the Church do a better job in giving a message that meaning is there? and can be found within the Church?

I see this discussion occurring on this board between what I will call the conservatives and the liberals. I do not mean the Republicans and the Democrats. I mean those who like following the hierarchy to the letter, and those whom I tend to include myself more with, who see meaning outside of this hierarchy. 

Can you believe "the Church is true" if you see meaning outside of the current hierarchy or what it has taught? This is where I think I have run into "trouble" with my fellow Church members. I love the restored gospel, but I don't see eye to eye with all Church teachings from Brigham Young to some more modern brethren. If I bring up anything which challenges that paradigm, I seem to catch a lot of flack. Does this Church really leave room to grow in other directions than what the brethren have taught? Maybe, so long as one grows very quietly. I do enjoy the discussion on this board, because I feel it is discussion I cannot have "in the Church." I feel some - maybe most - are very comfortable with that hierarchy, and become very defensive if anyone challenges it. This sometimes manifests itself in attacks against those persons. This is where I have a bone to pick with the Church. Some who have come to this board intonating as much have been chased away. Church members are more than happy to discuss other ideas, but where the current Church hierarchy or paradigm is challenged, people can get defensive, caustic, or downright mean. I believe the Church needs to do better here, rather than have the knee-jerk reaction or charge of "apostasy."

I do believe the Church has started down a better path of a more discussion-oriented teaching. I don't believe it will cause as much feeling that if "I don't believe in this rigid interpretation of the scriptures" that I have no place in the Church. Or a feeling that then I can't believe that the Church is true. If that happens then people feel cast off on their own and as teenagers at least, that is a very precarious place to be. Some maintain that they are happy with that, that they made it through "their crisis." I believe maybe there shouldn't have been "a crisis" in the first place. 

This post is meant to be an invitation to those who feel the need to defend the brethren and those who are open to a looser paradigm, and want to be in the Church, but have felt "disenfranchised." However, I do not want it to become a discussion about accepting gay marriage or lgbtq issues or the November policy which I view as resolved. There are already plenty of threads on those issues, which can also involve debate on sin... etc. This is not a discussion about sin. This is a discussion more about hierarchical authority, and how it should be exercised in the best interests of the Church. 

Well, hopefully that is enough to get the ball rolling. Please be civil to all posters. Thank you.

 

I hope I get around to commenting on this video- I see it as relating directly to the church and presents in fairly concentrated form some of the most important philosophical points for the church that we can confront and must confront.

What is most important I think is what is NOT said but assumed that one understands philosophically

What is needed is a deconstruction of this video put into terms that the ordinary guy or woman can understand without philosophical training.   If we really understood what is being said, we would be a lot closer as a church into re-defining the Restoration into more 21st century terms.

But I am sure that most here have not even watched the video.  2 hours is a large chunk of time to donate on faith that there is something relevant here.

If you haven't watched it- I recommend you do.   It is important stuff.

I'll be back- Arnold S.

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On 8/20/2019 at 1:21 PM, RevTestament said:

First, let me say that I can see this thread going far off base. I do not want it to become a political debate between the "right" and "left." I am going to raise a couple issues, but they certainly aren't the only ones that can be discussed under this broad umbrella. 

One of the things I see happening is that far left is encouraging youngsters to deconstruct or tear down the hierarchies that Judeo-Christian society has constructed over the last 5 centuries or so, and which I believe have blessed the United States so greatly.

1. They claim these hierarchies are fundamentally unfair. Thus professors complain about the "patriarchal order," and other societal structures.

2, Their solution seems to be a rather marxist solution to tear down those structures, and even invert them so that those on the bottom are at the top. My proposition is this is essentially a proposition of anarchy, and will leave people feeling like they have no purpose or meaning. They will generally feel lost and without direction or purpose unless they adopt the group idea to just tear down everything. This is manifesting itself in higher drug use and suicide rate.

Ok, I think some people won't like these particular people in this video, but they are talking about this here, and discuss potential solutions:

3. Can the Church do a better job in giving a message that meaning is there? and can be found within the Church?

I see this discussion occurring on this board between what I will call the conservatives and the liberals. I do not mean the Republicans and the Democrats. I mean those who like following the hierarchy to the letter, and those whom I tend to include myself more with, who see meaning outside of this hierarchy. 

Can you believe "the Church is true" if you see meaning outside of the current hierarchy or what it has taught? This is where I think I have run into "trouble" with my fellow Church members. I love the restored gospel, but I don't see eye to eye with all Church teachings from Brigham Young to some more modern brethren. If I bring up anything which challenges that paradigm, I seem to catch a lot of flack. Does this Church really leave room to grow in other directions than what the brethren have taught? Maybe, so long as one grows very quietly. I do enjoy the discussion on this board, because I feel it is discussion I cannot have "in the Church." I feel some - maybe most - are very comfortable with that hierarchy, and become very defensive if anyone challenges it. This sometimes manifests itself in attacks against those persons. This is where I have a bone to pick with the Church. Some who have come to this board intonating as much have been chased away. Church members are more than happy to discuss other ideas, but where the current Church hierarchy or paradigm is challenged, people can get defensive, caustic, or downright mean. I believe the Church needs to do better here, rather than have the knee-jerk reaction or charge of "apostasy."

I do believe the Church has started down a better path of a more discussion-oriented teaching. I don't believe it will cause as much feeling that if "I don't believe in this rigid interpretation of the scriptures" that I have no place in the Church. Or a feeling that then I can't believe that the Church is true. If that happens then people feel cast off on their own and as teenagers at least, that is a very precarious place to be. Some maintain that they are happy with that, that they made it through "their crisis." I believe maybe there shouldn't have been "a crisis" in the first place. 

This post is meant to be an invitation to those who feel the need to defend the brethren and those who are open to a looser paradigm, and want to be in the Church, but have felt "disenfranchised." However, I do not want it to become a discussion about accepting gay marriage or lgbtq issues or the November policy which I view as resolved. There are already plenty of threads on those issues, which can also involve debate on sin... etc. This is not a discussion about sin. This is a discussion more about hierarchical authority, and how it should be exercised in the best interests of the Church. 

Well, hopefully that is enough to get the ball rolling. Please be civil to all posters. Thank you.

 

Excellent question. Peterson is a genius, truly. Rubin and Shapiro will get there, eventually.

If the GA's push too hard on encouraging traditional values and lifestyles (wife is the homemaker, husband the breadwinner, lots of kids, lots of callings, etc.), I imagine it alienates some people (MGTOW, MRA, Singles (both genders), LGBTQ, people with disabilities, etc.). 

The odd thing is - in each General Conference some GA's speak to those who are not able to accomplish lifestyles that are the gospel ideal. These talks sometimes don't stand out as much because they're given with a lot of humility, in my opinion.

As society continues to crumble and some argue for more of the sickness causing the crumbling, res ipsa loquitur, tabula in naufragio (we are left with but one option): 

The GA's won't likely call all of us away from Babylon which is now everywhere in the world; they will speak around it and imply it, directly and indirectly.  Whether we believe we can last a little longer or leave the crumbling and shrug (an inevitable result of white knighting), is up to us individually.

 

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