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mfbukowski

Humanism and the Ideal Perfected Human

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We often hear about the evils of "Humanism" and yet we worship a being who is a perfected, exalted Human.

We are losing members to one form of "humanism" or another, and yet I wonder if the alleged differences are simply semantic, or real, substantive areas of direct conceptual conflict.

So where are the problem areas and legitimate differences between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and humanism?

I propose to first look at the assumptions and "precepts" of humanism while comparing and contrasting our beliefs as members of the church, while raising the question of how relevant these differences are.

Instantly when we look at the issues we are confronted with the "existence of God" and that is indeed I think THE major difference.  That seems obvious- humanists - at least those who organize themselves under that title- ARE atheists.  Period, end of story?

I think not.

I would like to look for and contrast the difference between the idea that "God exists" (He does- I am not questioning that at any time) and how the FUNCTION of the belief that God exists compares to believing that there ARE "Ideal Humanist Characteristics" that we can in principle emulate.

What characteristics would a perfectly idealized humanist have?   To a humanist, what characteristics would an "Ideal Human(ist)" posses?   If I want to be an Ideal Human(ist) what would my life look like? 

My thesis is that the differences would be few, if any. 

The "Ideal Humanist" looks an awful lot like Jesus Christ, the Ideal Human

My assumptions about the Church of Jesus Christ's doctrine:

Assumption 1- I am assuming that our beliefs include that we are materialists who believe that all spirit is matter and therefore nothing "exists" that is NOT matter.  D&C 131 says:

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7 There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All aspirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by bpurer eyes;

8 We cannot asee it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all bmatter.

 

Assumption 2- I am assuming that our beliefs include the belief in the scientific method, in its own sphere of knowledge and within the contexts in which it functions, and that what we call "miracles" are based on scientific principles/natural processes that we simply just do not understand yet.   An analogy would be taking a functioning cell phone back to the 15 hundreds and being accused of "witchcraft" or producing miracles in which pictures move and talk.  Of course these are not miracles, but are natural principles as yet undiscovered in these earlier times.

Similarly what we now see as "miracles" are manifestations of natural science which we do not yet understand.  Talmadge put it succinctly thusly:

https://ldschurchquotes.com/talmage-on-miracles/

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“Miracles cannot be in contravention of natural law, but are wrought through the operation of laws not universally or commonly recognized

Assumption 3: I am also assuming that because we have ongoing revelation, our prophets can make changes to doctrine if and when necessary, as they have in the past with polygamy, Black people and the priesthood, and ongoing tweaks as needed.  I think that is one of the most unique aspects of our beliefs, that they can be changed through discussion and revelation.  I know of no other church so enabled by its own doctrine, that doctrine can change according to what is revealed.

So those are my main assumptions about LDS doctrine.

Let's now look at The Amsterdam Declaration as revised in 2002, and see what humanists believe

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Amsterdam Declaration 2002

Humanism is the outcome of a long tradition of free thought that has inspired many of the world’s great thinkers and creative artists and gave rise to science itself.

The fundamentals of modern Humanism are as follows:

Humanism is ethical. It affirms the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others. Humanists have a duty of care to all of humanity including future generations. Humanists believe that morality is an intrinsic part of human nature based on understanding and a concern for others, needing no external sanction.

Humanism is rational.It seeks to use science creatively, not destructively. Humanists believe that the solutions to the world’s problems lie in human thought and action rather than divine intervention. Humanism advocates the application of the methods of science and free inquiry to the problems of human welfare. But Humanists also believe that the application of science and technology must be tempered by human values. Science gives us the means but human values must propose the ends.

Humanism supports democracy and human rights.Humanism aims at the fullest possible development of every human being. It holds that democracy and human development are matters of right. The principles of democracy and human rights can be applied to many human relationships and are not restricted to methods of government.

Humanism insists that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility. Humanism ventures to build a world on the idea of the free person responsible to society, and recognises our dependence on and responsibility for the natural world. Humanism is undogmatic, imposing no creed upon its adherents. It is thus committed to education free from indoctrination.

Humanism is a response to the widespread demand for an alternative to dogmatic religion. The world’s major religions claim to be based on revelations fixed for all time, and many seek to impose their world-views on all of humanity. Humanism recognises that reliable knowledge of the world and ourselves arises through a continuing process of observation, evaluation and revision.

Humanism values artistic creativity and imagination and recognises the transforming power of art. Humanism affirms the importance of literature, music, and the visual and performing arts for personal development and fulfilment.

Humanism is a lifestance aiming at the maximum possible fulfilment through the cultivation of ethical and creative living and offers an ethical and rational means of addressing the challenges of our times. Humanism can be a way of life for everyone everywhere.

Our primary task is to make human beings aware in the simplest terms of what Humanism can mean to them and what it commits them to. By utilising free inquiry, the power of science and creative imagination for the furtherance of peace and in the service of compassion, we have confidence that we have the means to solve the problems that confront us all. We call upon all who share this conviction to associate themselves with us in this endeavour.

IHEU Congress 2002

 

We know the characteristics of our Heavenly Father, and know that he is also a "Human" who is infinitely exalted beyond our human abilities.  We are often called "gods in embryo" to illustrate our relation to Him.

Our Father really is our Ideal to be emulated- and Christ his son is the messenger - the Word to us- to whom we can perhaps even relate easier since he actually lived here in this world with us.

But let's do a thought experiment and compare Jesus with what Humanists might see as a "Perfect Human" and compare the similarities and differences

I will re-copy the above, here below, paragraph by paragraph and briefly summarize how Christ compares to the Humanist ideal.

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Humanism is the outcome of a long tradition of free thought that has inspired many of the world’s great thinkers and creative artists and gave rise to science itself.

Well Judeo-Christian values are also obviously from a long tradition that has inspired many.  No difference, imo.

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The fundamentals of modern Humanism are as follows:

Humanism is ethical. It affirms the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others. Humanists have a duty of care to all of humanity including future generations. Humanists believe that morality is an intrinsic part of human nature based on understanding and a concern for others, needing no external sanction.

 

We of course affirm human agency and the rights of all to their freedom compatible with the rights of others.  We see all humanity as our brothers and sisters.  Our care for future generations extends to prohibitions against abortion- so perhaps that makes us even more "humanist" than the Humanists.  We also believe that morality is an intrinsic part of treating others as you would want to be treated, both a Christian principle and common sense, an idea which has arguably evolved as a necessity in a "civilized" society.   In fact I would argue that we DEFINE civilization by adhering to that principle.  To me, no difference except perhaps semantics.  Jesus taught these same principles.

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Humanism is rational.It seeks to use science creatively, not destructively. Humanists believe that the solutions to the world’s problems lie in human thought and action rather than divine intervention. Humanism advocates the application of the methods of science and free inquiry to the problems of human welfare. But Humanists also believe that the application of science and technology must be tempered by human values. Science gives us the means but human values must propose the ends.

We define "rational" as using both the emotions as well as logic- and so apparently do the Humanists since ethics cannot be based on science.  There is no scientific evidence to show why murder is "wrong" for example, nor any scientific evidence for the human ethics that Humanism espouses for that matter, so I agree with them again- within the context I am putting their beliefs.  Again they assert "tempering science with human values".  They nail it.  No difference.  They have just defined "rationality" to include "human values".  Jesus I am certain would be fine with these ideas, and himself tempered science with human values in his parables about the natural world tempered with spiritual ideas.   And arguably in applying the mud to the eyes of the blind man, one might argue that there was advanced science going on there.

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Humanism supports democracy and human rights.Humanism aims at the fullest possible development of every human being. It holds that democracy and human development are matters of right. The principles of democracy and human rights can be applied to many human relationships and are not restricted to methods of government.

No difference.  Jesus taught to render to Caesar, and to our brothers and sisters. He taught the fullest possible development of human beings- to become like him and become One with his Father and himself- John 17.

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Humanism insists that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility. Humanism ventures to build a world on the idea of the free person responsible to society, and recognises our dependence on and responsibility for the natural world. Humanism is undogmatic, imposing no creed upon its adherents. It is thus committed to education free from indoctrination.

We have no "creeds" by design. We contrast ourselves with "Creedal Christians".  Every principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ needs to be verified by personal revelation and made "our own" in, I would argue, the way the Humanists themselves receive their personal ethical knowledge.  Of course liberty must be balanced by responsibility, and of course we are dependent on the natural world!  Are there a few Mormon farmers in Utah who might be experts on this?  ;)  No difference except semantics.   Jesus taught it all.

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Humanism is a response to the widespread demand for an alternative to dogmatic religion. The world’s major religions claim to be based on revelations fixed for all time, and many seek to impose their world-views on all of humanity. Humanism recognises that reliable knowledge of the world and ourselves arises through a continuing process of observation, evaluation and revision.

 

I love this one.  WE are a response to widespread demand for an alternative to dogmatic religion!  It is why I am here!!  Howso?  We can and must get our own testimonies of each principle- as in fact the Humanists acquire their own knowledge of every principle in this document the same way!!

We do not impose anything on anyone.  We invite to "come and see".  Our revelations can change over time- and do, and have historically!  And just as the Humanist does, we "study the best books" and continually grow through observation and revision of our thoughts, "organizing our own worlds from matter unorganized" as Heavenly Father, our Ideal Humanist did before us!

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Humanism values artistic creativity and imagination and recognises the transforming power of art. Humanism affirms the importance of literature, music, and the visual and performing arts for personal development and fulfilment.

 

"Seek ye out of the best books"....

Quote

 

Humanism is a lifestance aiming at the maximum possible fulfilment through the cultivation of ethical and creative living and offers an ethical and rational means of addressing the challenges of our times. Humanism can be a way of life for everyone everywhere.

 

 

 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a lifestance aiming at the maximum possible fulfilment through the cultivation of ethical and creative living and offers an ethical and rational means of addressing the challenges of our times.  The gospel can be a way of life for everyone everywhere.

;)

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Our primary task is to make human beings aware in the simplest terms of what Humanism can mean to them and what it commits them to. By utilising free inquiry, the power of science and creative imagination for the furtherance of peace and in the service of compassion, we have confidence that we have the means to solve the problems that confront us all. We call upon all who share this conviction to associate themselves with us in this endeavour.

Substitute "the gospel" for Humanism in this paragraph, and nothing changes.  ""Our primary task is to make human beings aware in the simplest terms of what the gospel can mean to them and what it commits them to. By utilising free inquiry, the power of science and creative imagination for the furtherance of peace and in the service of compassion, we have confidence that we have the means to solve the problems that confront us all. We call upon all who share this conviction to associate themselves with us in this endeavour.""

Totally agree and these are principles Jesus taught.

So where's the beef with Humanism?

Edited by mfbukowski
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The problem is that both religion and humanism have to deal with what they are given, the natural man, which is supposedly an enemy to God and the monkey wrench in Humanism. How do we make a " good ' society ? Satan said he could do it by forcing everyone to be righteous. God said it could be done by sacrifice and the atonement but not all would make it. That pesky agency getting in the way again.  

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I think the natural man for humanism is one which embraces herd instincts, survival of the herd etc. which in turn fosters altruistic acts.  

I do not see humanism being compatible with Mormonism because of the rigid patriarchal structure within the church which is oppressive to women, as well as many rigid doctrines such as those around the LGBTQ community, and of course all of the superstitious beliefs around everything from the creation mythology to the flood, and teachings of a future apocalypse...  

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47 minutes ago, changed said:

I do not see humanism being compatible with Mormonism because of the rigid patriarchal structure within the church which is oppressive to women, as well as many rigid doctrines such as those around the LGBTQ community, and of course all of the superstitious beliefs around everything from the creation mythology to the flood, and teachings of a future apocalypse...  

Women who are strong members do not find the church oppressive. Ask my wife and all the active sisters in our Stake.

And she also affirms the Proclamation, regarding LGBTQ issues

I am talking about LDS people who accept LDS values and humanists who accept Humanist values,  not those who do not.

Of course some Humanists believe in AOC's global warming apocalypse in 10 years, and in fact your "superstitious myth" might very well be caused by global warming or nuclear war, both superstitious beliefs too if one wants to see them that way.

You need to understand symbols. Religion uses them. So do humanists.

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2 hours ago, strappinglad said:

The problem is that both religion and humanism have to deal with what they are given, the natural man, which is supposedly an enemy to God and the monkey wrench in Humanism. How do we make a " good ' society ? Satan said he could do it by forcing everyone to be righteous. God said it could be done by sacrifice and the atonement but not all would make it. That pesky agency getting in the way again.  

Yes, I suppose that is a problem for both outlooks, and another similarity as you point out. :)

Improvement of mankind always has do deal with those who want to stay the way they are

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5 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Women who are strong members do not find the church oppressive. Ask my wife and all the active sisters in our Stake.

And she also affirms the Proclamation, regarding LGBTQ issues

I am talking about LDS people who accept LDS values and humanists who accept Humanist values,  not those who do not.

There are many faithful women in the church who find it oppressive to them as women. (I wasn't one of them, I was a complementarian.)  

9 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

We often hear about the evils of "Humanism" and yet we worship a being who is a perfected, exalted Human.

We are losing members to one form of "humanism" or another, and yet I wonder if the alleged differences are simply semantic, or real, substantive areas of direct conceptual conflict.

So where are the problem areas and legitimate differences between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and humanism?

Of course there are differences. For instance, the thoughts of one man--currently Russel M. Nelson--mean everything to the church, and next-to-nothing to humanism.

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2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

................................

Of course there are differences. For instance, the thoughts of one man--currently Russel M. Nelson--mean everything to the church, and next-to-nothing to humanism.

Of course humanists would presumably believe that good, secular leadership is always needed in society -- and would presumably prefer that these be democratically selected leaders.  The problem is that a single, strong executive might be dictatorial or even bonkers.  Then what?

Also, note this:

Quote

Amsterdam Declaration 2002

Humanism is the outcome of a long tradition of free thought that has inspired many of the world’s great thinkers and creative artists and gave rise to science itself.

As I pointed out to Scott Lloyd, how can we speak of inspiration of secular thinkers unless we are giving it a very broad meaning?  Even within LDS theology, we speak of the constant gift of the Holy Ghost -- constantly accompanying us in every endeavor and thought:  Unless we grieve it.  Are we all then inspired in all our decisions, just like the prophet, the only difference being that his decisions are for the whole Church, while ours are only for ourselves and our families -- or specific calling.  Are all of us receiving revelations every day all day long?   Or is that too broad a statement?

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Of course humanists would presumably believe that good, secular leadership is always needed in society -- and would presumably prefer that these be democratically selected leaders.  The problem is that a single, strong executive might be dictatorial or even bonkers.  Then what?

Definitely a problem. It is a problem I see with an authoritarian religion, too.

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

As I pointed out to Scott Lloyd, how can we speak of inspiration of secular thinkers unless we are giving it a very broad meaning?  Even within LDS theology, we speak of the constant gift of the Holy Ghost -- constantly accompanying us in every endeavor and thought:  Unless we grieve it.  Are we all then inspired in all our decisions, just like the prophet, the only difference being that his decisions are for the whole Church, while ours are only for ourselves and our families -- or specific calling.  Are all of us receiving revelations every day all day long?   Or is that too broad a statement?

I prefer the more democratic distribution of inspiration in more democratic systems. I prefer that the economy of ideas can help produce better ideas, whatever their source.

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Hi there, nice post, thanks for sharing.  Since I consider myself a Mormon but also an Agnostic Humanist, I’m in your target audience.  

I think that you’re correct that there is much humanism has in common with Mormonism.  Your assumption #3 is one clear exception as humanists certainly would not accept appeals to divine authority or the idea that prophets have access to a higher power.  Arguments must instead be based on rational thought and traditions from past prophets and revelation from current ones would not meet the requirements for rational decision making.  

Another issue that might be challenging to overcome is how superstitious Mormons are.  At least from my experience the way members have been trained to interpret their emotional feelings as communication from an external divine source of knowledge creates quite the challenge for reasoning things out in a way that humanists would be comfortable with.  It kind of stops the conversation when someone appeals to the spirit as the reason for making a decision rather than a well reasoned argument.  I see this as primarily a communication roadblock, but not a trivial one.  

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14 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

So where's the beef with Humanism?

I think the beef is with is the form of humanism, such as any form that lacks submission to, personal covenants with, and a community modeled after another Human. Or those that model themselves only after a thesis of perfection and submit, covenant and commune around that common idea and not a common human relationship.

Edited by CV75

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6 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

There are many faithful women in the church who find it oppressive to them as women. (I wasn't one of them, I was a complementarian.)  

Of course there are differences. For instance, the thoughts of one man--currently Russel M. Nelson--mean everything to the church, and next-to-nothing to humanism.

You missed the point.

This is about abstract ideas not individuals. This is about the idea of the ideal human, not individual teachers.

Of course they are not going to listen to Pres N

Did you think I was saying that?

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

Definitely a problem. It is a problem I see with an authoritarian religion, too.

I prefer the more democratic distribution of inspiration in more democratic systems. I prefer that the economy of ideas can help produce better ideas, whatever their source.

Inspiration of the quorum of the 12, and the body of the apostles is supposed to be universal. Presumably, if the President received a revelation from the Lord, he presents it to the quorum which in turn prays for inspiration, and then it is on its way to becoming a Church doctrine or policy - or maybe scripture.

However, we also have scripture which tells us whatever a priesthood holder states(or at least others besides the President) through the inspiration of the spirit is scripture. It seems the authority is not so centralized as the Church has presumed in certain areas.

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3 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

You missed the point.

This is about abstract ideas not individuals. This is about the idea of the ideal human, not individual teachers.

Of course they are not going to listen to Pres N

Did you think I was saying that?

What did I miss? That one system is deeply affected by the thoughts of one man, but the other is negligibly so, (also not at all determined by the thoughts of ANY one person) makes them two fundamentally different systems.

The exclusion of females in some aspects of the church isn't just anecdotal, it is part of its ideal, right? This is also a major, fundamental difference from humanism.

I am talking about fundamental systemic differences.

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Of course humanists would presumably believe that good, secular leadership is always needed in society -- and would presumably prefer that these be democratically selected leaders.  The problem is that a single, strong executive might be dictatorial or even bonkers.  Then what?

Also, note this:

As I pointed out to Scott Lloyd, how can we speak of inspiration of secular thinkers unless we are giving it a very broad meaning?  Even within LDS theology, we speak of the constant gift of the Holy Ghost -- constantly accompanying us in every endeavor and thought:  Unless we grieve it.  Are we all then inspired in all our decisions, just like the prophet, the only difference being that his decisions are for the whole Church, while ours are only for ourselves and our families -- or specific calling.  Are all of us receiving revelations every day all day long?   Or is that too broad a statement?

There is a lot in philosophy about the function of intuition, also in cognitive science. Plug that in here- that's what they are talking about. It parallels the Holy Ghost closely.

Our brain connects the dots of our perceptions and creates our world through "intuition". That implies constant "inspiration" just to survive. But of course one must be aware first of intuition before one can believe in religious experience, that's why James was a psychologist.

Consciousness itself cannot exist without this notion of connecting the dots

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6 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

There are many faithful women in the church who find it oppressive to them as women. (I wasn't one of them, I was a complementarian.)  

Note I said strong members.

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15 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

So where's the beef with Humanism?

I think the beef has to do with instances where there's some sort of negative backlash against people who don't fall within the circle of accepted super-humanness.  Christ is all about forgiveness, tolerance, turning the other cheek, inviting but not forcing to follow.   Master-race white nationalists, and genocidal pogrom-enacters are example of the other end of the spectrum.

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15 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Note I said strong members.

We define "strong" very differently.

I do not believe a loving God wants anyone to live below their capabilities....  Others consider it to be "faithful" to demote themselves... 

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2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Definitely a problem. It is a problem I see with an authoritarian religion, too.

I prefer the more democratic distribution of inspiration in more democratic systems. I prefer that the economy of ideas can help produce better ideas, whatever their source.

How is this relevant to the concept of an Ideal Human?

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2 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Hi there, nice post, thanks for sharing.  Since I consider myself a Mormon but also an Agnostic Humanist, I’m in your target audience.  

I think that you’re correct that there is much humanism has in common with Mormonism.  Your assumption #3 is one clear exception as humanists certainly would not accept appeals to divine authority or the idea that prophets have access to a higher power.  Arguments must instead be based on rational thought and traditions from past prophets and revelation from current ones would not meet the requirements for rational decision making.  

Another issue that might be challenging to overcome is how superstitious Mormons are.  At least from my experience the way members have been trained to interpret their emotional feelings as communication from an external divine source of knowledge creates quite the challenge for reasoning things out in a way that humanists would be comfortable with.  It kind of stops the conversation when someone appeals to the spirit as the reason for making a decision rather than a well reasoned argument.  I see this as primarily a communication roadblock, but not a trivial one.  

Howdy, good to see you again!

Let's revisit assumption 3 to make it easy to give my reply some context

Quote

Assumption 3: I am also assuming that because we have ongoing revelation, our prophets can make changes to doctrine if and when necessary, as they have in the past with polygamy, Black people and the priesthood, and ongoing tweaks as needed.  I think that is one of the most unique aspects of our beliefs, that they can be changed through discussion and revelation.  I know of no other church so enabled by its own doctrine, that doctrine can change according to what is revealed.

The reason I included this "assumption" was to parallel the fact that Humanism (and it is one of the tenets quoted here) changes with the times, NOT to make the point about revelation, but I can see now that the way I worded it could lead to your interpretation.

Good point!

I was phrasing the idea in terms that members would understand- as "ongoing revelation"= changing, adjustable revelation as opposed to dogma.

But I think the Humanist point is flawed in this area since they in fact DO have unchanging assumptions just as we do- the fact that humans should have "human rights" for example for them is an unchanging dogma but they do not recognize it as such

So when I wrote assumption 3- that is what I was thinking but I see how it can be misinterpreted.

But for purposes of this discussion to define "revelation" better- I would use the word that the Humanists actually use as has been pointed out- they use the word "inspiration"

So if I had used that word in assumption 3, it would have been much better.  So if more comes of these ideas than this post that is one tweak that is definitely needed.

So I could edit the assumption or just change it here.   I will draft it here and see if that works better then perhaps change it in the OP.

The new assumption 3:

Quote

 

Assumption 3: I am also assuming that because we have inspiration which allows us to change doctrine as needed ongoing revelation, our prophets can make changes to doctrine if and when necessary, as they have  as has happened in the past with polygamy, Black people and the priesthood, and ongoing tweaks as needed, we can see that as "changeable doctrine".  I think that is one of the most unique aspects of our beliefs, that they can be changed through discussion and revelation.  I know of no other church so enabled by its own doctrine, that doctrine can change according to what is revealed.  Of course it could be argued that Humanists tend not to see their dogmas as "Dogma" however, as an example I would use the unchanging belief that humans should have human rights.   I think that is an unchangeable dogma for Humanists, even though they eschew unchangeable Dogma supposedly.

 

Thanks for the suggestion- it was a good one!

Regarding your use of the word "superstition", I see those folks as simply fundamentalist and pull in Kevin's Perry Scheme to explain that.

We see that in Humanism as much as the church with some of the wacko new atheist comments we see here and elsewhere, comparing God to Santa Claus in the sky etc.

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2 hours ago, CV75 said:

I think the beef is with is the form of humanism, such as any form that lacks submission to, personal covenants with, and a community modeled after another Human. Or those that model themselves only after a thesis of perfection and submit, covenant and commune around that common idea and not a common human relationship.

Not sure I understand this, considering also that Christ is/was Human and is our model.  We are taught to emulate him right?

I think Humanists clearly submit to rules like "Humans should have rights" and all the other points they clearly state in the quoted portions of their various manifestos etc.

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1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

Inspiration of the quorum of the 12, and the body of the apostles is supposed to be universal. Presumably, if the President received a revelation from the Lord, he presents it to the quorum which in turn prays for inspiration, and then it is on its way to becoming a Church doctrine or policy - or maybe scripture.

However, we also have scripture which tells us whatever a priesthood holder states(or at least others besides the President) through the inspiration of the spirit is scripture. It seems the authority is not so centralized as the Church has presumed in certain areas.

Not to mention that we can vote with our feet any time we like.   It kind of cracks me up to hear of people LEAVING the church complaining about how their lives are so oppressed and restricted.

If they were oppressed and restricted- how CAN they leave?   It's ridiculous!.  They are living a contradiction to their own arguments.  We see that kind of thing right here on this thread!

And here they are complaining about being oppressed while the fact that they can complain about the rules shows they are NOT oppressed!  And back they go to church every Sunday for more oppression I suppose.

Absurd.

Edited by mfbukowski
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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

What did I miss? That one system is deeply affected by the thoughts of one man, but the other is negligibly so, (also not at all determined by the thoughts of ANY one person) makes them two fundamentally different systems.

The exclusion of females in some aspects of the church isn't just anecdotal, it is part of its ideal, right? This is also a major, fundamental difference from humanism.

I am talking about fundamental systemic differences.

So now you are comparing the numbers of people who have contributed to Humanism - all those on each side since perhaps the 16th century who contributed to the Restoration and the evolution of what is now Humanism?

The number of contributors to an idea is irrelevant to its validity.   You really want to take this back to Jesus Christ as the "thoughts of one man"?   So the theory of relativity is not valid because it was largely put forward from the ideas of one man?

Again, women who understand patriarchy do not have problems with the church.  Yes Humanism disagrees with patriarchy I suppose but we are also free as a self-determined community to make our own rules

A community which makes their own rules is the Humanist ideal and we confirm pretty darn well to those standards but you keep getting stuck on individuals.  

This is about ideas and their validity, not individuals. 

Edited by mfbukowski

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3 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Not to mention that we can vote with our feet any time we like.   It kind of cracks me up to hear of people LEAVING the church complaining about how their lives are so oppressed and restricted.

If they were oppressed and restricted- how CAN they leave?   It's ridiculous!.  They are living a contradiction to their own arguments

Well  to be fair Mark, there are different types of "restriction." I think shunning is a type of oppression, and I have felt a certain degree of ostracism - I don't think it is purposeful or intentional shunning by order of the leadership by any means, but it is the way people react to things. So, have I felt restricted? Yes, I have. I have felt restricted in what I can say - it better not question the materials.... Can I leave? Certainly, I can. I don't want to because I believe this Church has the only true gospel, but it doesn't always seem to act like it. Sometimes it lashes out or acts very defensively - imho.

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1 hour ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

I think the beef has to do with instances where there's some sort of negative backlash against people who don't fall within the circle of accepted super-humanness.  Christ is all about forgiveness, tolerance, turning the other cheek, inviting but not forcing to follow.   Master-race white nationalists, and genocidal pogrom-enacters are example of the other end of the spectrum.

Not sure what you mean.  So Humanists are against super-humanness ?

Humanists oppose white nationalism as does the church.  I am not sure I follow

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Hi Mark,

Intriguing topic. You've written about this before but it is nice to see you put it all together in one thread. I am neither LDS or humanist, obviously (but I'm also not a "standard" Catholic, either).

I'm really curious what a "standard" LDS would have to say about your ideas. And by labelling you "non-standard" LDS and others "standard" LDS I mean absolutely no disparagement to you or others. It's just that your view of Mormonism is one that I've never seen before :) 

I think the target audience here needs to be the standard LDS member so that their ideas about their own faith and humanism and they way they practice their own faith. While reading your posts I did a little thought experiment. Imagine a humanist who knows absolutely nothing about the LDS church. They read your post or a blog piece or an essay or whatever laying out your arguments and are very intrigued -- the ideas should be intriguing to a humanist. The next Sunday they go to church expecting what you have laid out. What they are going to see and experience is not going to be anything like what you just described.

They are going to see male leaders sitting in positions of power because they have been called of God and given authority through a ritual of laying on of hands. They are going to see boys blessing communion because of the same ritual. If it's testimony meeting, they are going to see members repeat over and over that they know something. If after the meeting they question the members on their epistemological views, they are going to be told that the source of their knowledge is not rational belief, is not reasoned argument, but is a wordless emotion based revelation from God. (tangent: it's been years since I've been to a testimony meeting, but I do remember that the phrase "I know X and Y with every fiber of my being" was used many times. Is "every fiber of my being" still in vogue?). Perhaps one of the songs sung is "Praise to the Man" -- I toss that out there because I know it's a pet peeve of yours :P 

Then our humanist heads to the next meetings and hears lessons about following a prophet who speaks for God. Other lessons quoting authority figures (again, all male and 90+% white) on what is true, sans rational argument. Or maybe he encounters a lively discussion about the evils of evolution or the world-wide flood of Noah. Or perhaps there is a more technical discussion concerning excommunications for apostasy -- that someone who believes and argues for ideas that run contrary to the hierarchy's ideas can be removed from the church for what they think and believe. Or maybe, in an effort to be more transparent with LDS history, there is a lesson on the translation of the Book of Mormon, including the seer stone and the hat.

Now, I don't have a problem with any of the above because I look at the LDS church as a religious organization, not a humanist one. But our imaginary humanist would probably return home, reread your essay, and wonder if he went to the wrong church or if you were being intentionally deceptive.

I know you are dealing with ideas here, but the experience of being around LDS folk is not humanist at all. You are going to have to make a huge change to the practices of the LDS faith if you want it to align with humanism. And I wonder if you went around making these arguments and advocating for changes in practices if you'd find yourself being reprimanded by the leaders for teaching something contrary to the faith ;) 

I'm not trying to say what LDS believe here -- I'm just pointing out the experience of an outsider to LDS practices. It certainly seems VERY contrary to humanism.

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