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mfbukowski

Humanism and the Ideal Perfected Human

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

The church is categorically sexist.I read that article when it was released originally, and have seen numerous discussions of it since. Many women have considered that article as inadequate. But, again, it is not an opinion contest...the church is sexist by definition.

Humanism does allow for division of labor and role-making, atleast on personal scales. But I do not think codified and institutionalised roles as the church dictates (that's the authoritarian angle again) are consistent with humanism. 

Categorically sexist whether women members agree or not.

Time to crush the advenurists for moral incorrectness.

I will not respond further to this derail and I encourage others not to do so as well.

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How about putting it this way: authoritarianism is not consistent with humanism. Humanism, once adopted, will very likely subvert it. So believers who are attracted to the authority of the church will naturally be pitted against the humanistic believers who may be more attracted to the personal revelation aspect.

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2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

The church is categorically sexist.I read that article when it was released originally, and have seen numerous discussions of it since. Many women have considered that article as inadequate. But, again, it is not an opinion contest...the church is sexist by definition.

Humanism does allow for division of labor and role-making, atleast on personal scales. But I do not think codified and institutionalised roles as the church dictates (that's the authoritarian angle again) are consistent with humanism. 

Gosh darn that sexist god didn't give me the opportunity to give birth or breast-feed my babies. (He also gave women all the pretty hair, but I guess pretty is sexist these days, but what would I know - I don't have any). On a more serious note, I guess Yeshua was sexist for picking all male apostles, but now I see He must have been wrong "by definition." Ya know... I wish I had God all figured out, but I don't. I love Him, and He loves me, and I don't believe He will lead me astray. I invite you to consider that your definitions come from the world - not from God. I can't reach there to help you. For that you have to be willing to accept scripture as authority, but it seems that worldly definitions are more important for you. I have enjoyed conversing with you, Meadowchik. Prayer is good for the soul, which is where I believe God communicates with us. I recommend it. Cheers.

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58 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

How about putting it this way: authoritarianism is not consistent with humanism. Humanism, once adopted, will very likely subvert it. So believers who are attracted to the authority of the church will naturally be pitted against the humanistic believers who may be more attracted to the personal revelation aspect.

There is no incompatibility

Even Hitchens follows his conscience, as do those who think the church is sexist and those who think the church is not sexist. We have freedom from the thought police. That's it I'm done with this derail.  Women can be found on both sides of the fence and its up to them as a group I suppose to make their own self determinations.

As a man I support my wife.

We are of One mind on these issues as we should be. It's up to all to do the same, regardless of which side of the fence the couple comes down on. I fully support sister Eubank.

No more. What we see here is more Moore shouting down of the opposition. That is not compatible with freedom of speech. I will not reply to it. This comes up now in every thread. It is not the topic for this thread.

Edited by mfbukowski

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He also gave women all the pretty hair, but I guess pretty is sexist these days....”

If you feel comfortable calling the hair of men in comparable situations to the women “pretty hair”, not really. 

There are some guys out there with definitely pretty hair in my view. 

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On 9/1/2019 at 6:12 PM, 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?

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:

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/

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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.

;)

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?

You'll have quite a mountain still to climb to convince members of humanism.  Mormons typically eschew the very value of humanism--that humans can reason their way to solutions in life.  Mormonism suggest the ultimate solution will not be found in human reasoning, but will only be found in divine help.  Indeed humans who think they can rely on humanism for their ultimate best and betterment will be those who are too proud for redemption.   

I think you have some hefty barriers to defeat to defeat the position of your co-religionists on this.  I see how you're trying to add a slight twist here or there in order to make the two sound cooperative, but I don't know it really works.  

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5 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

There is no incompatibility

Even Hitchens follows his conscience, as do those who think the church is sexist and those who think the church is not sexist. We have freedom from the thought police. That's it I'm done with this derail.  Women can be found on both sides of the fence and its up to them as a group I suppose to make their own self determinations.

As a man I support my wife.

We are of One mind on these issues as we should be. It's up to all to do the same, regardless of which side of the fence the couple comes down on. I fully support sister Eubank.

No more.

I complied with your request to avoid what you called a derail. You brought it back to sexism.

To get back on topic and to a response to what I said, how can authoritarianism be consistent with humanism?

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3 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

You'll have quite a mountain still to climb to convince members of humanism.  Mormons typically eschew the very value of humanism--that humans can reason their way to solutions in life.  Mormonism suggest the ultimate solution will not be found in human reasoning, but will only be found in divine help.  Indeed humans who think they can rely on humanism for their ultimate best and betterment will be those who are too proud for redemption.   

I think you have some hefty barriers to defeat to defeat the position of your co-religionists on this.  I see how you're trying to add a slight twist here or there in order to make the two sound cooperative, but I don't know it really works.  

So Christ has a human nature and a divine nature, not one Divine Human nature? And they are incompatible 

If Saints believe that then they are following sectarian Doctrine and there's not much I can do to help them.

They should be Catholics or Protestants but not Latter-day Saints. I am simply elaborating on what has clearly been taught repeatedly, from the days of the first vision 

 

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14 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

You brought it back to sexism

I was replying to an earlier post of yours. No more.

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17 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

So Christ has a human nature and a divine nature, not one Divine Human nature? And they are incompatible 

If Saints believe that then they are following sectarian Doctrine and there's not much I can do to help them.

They should be Catholics or Protestants but not Latter-day Saints. I am simply elaborating on what has clearly been taught repeatedly, from the days of the first vision 

 

Oh no.  I don't think so.  But being a divine human puts Christ and God in a place outside of our human experience, for Mormons, and thus have all the answers--the very answers that humans on their own can't acquire.  That is at odds with humanism.  As I said, Mormons can't see that humans can find the answer without divine help, else they'll be considered too proud--those condemned in scripture as not needing God at all.  

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23 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

I was replying to an earlier post of yours. No more.

Why? I was letting it go. Anyways, it is let go.

Now for this:

Authoritarianism is not consistent with humanism. Humanism, once adopted, will very likely subvert it. So believers who are attracted to the authority of the church will naturally be pitted against the humanistic believers who may be more attracted to the personal revelation aspect. 

So how is authoritarianism, in your view, consistent with humanism?

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18 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Oh no.  I don't think so.  But being a divine human puts Christ and God in a place outside of our human experience, for Mormons, and thus have all the answers--the very answers that humans on their own can't acquire.  That is at odds with humanism.  As I said, Mormons can't see that humans can find the answer without divine help, else they'll be considered too proud--those condemned in scripture as not needing God at all.  

As has been insisted to me on several occasions, including recently on this board, if there are secular answers, there's no reason for the church. I don't agree, but it seems to be a common insistence.

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18 hours ago, s.calloway said:

Of course God is loving. In the P of GP, Enoch beholds God weeping over his creation? But he is not loving in the New Age sense, where anything and everything is okay by him. "It's all good!" the New Age God says. "Each to his own without judgement!"

The God of the scriptures, or as he is portrayed in the scriptures, says, "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated. And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated."

Because he loves us, God sets out the conditions for exaltation. But he cannot dispense with those conditions because of his love for us, the way an indulgent parent might do, since he is bound by the same laws we are.

 

We might disagree on what constitutes love, but I agree, the laws of the universe govern all - including God... the laws, not God, are the real rulers of the universe.

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43 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Oh no.  I don't think so.  But being a divine human puts Christ and God in a place outside of our human experience, for Mormons, and thus have all the answers--the very answers that humans on their own can't acquire.  That is at odds with humanism.  As I said, Mormons can't see that humans can find the answer without divine help, else they'll be considered too proud--those condemned in scripture as not needing God at all.  

Where did I indicate that we don't need God?  He is our father and we can grow up to be like Him.  Caterpillars turn into butterflies

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30 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Why? I was letting it go. Anyways, it is let go.

Now for this:

Authoritarianism is not consistent with humanism. Humanism, once adopted, will very likely subvert it. So believers who are attracted to the authority of the church will naturally be pitted against the humanistic believers who may be more attracted to the personal revelation aspect. 

So how is authoritarianism, in your view, consistent with humanism?

What does that have to do with anything?  It is a completely vague statement- any organization has hierarchy and "authority".  There are presidents of humanist nations and organizations.

This is another irrelevant line in which you are making a false dichotomy- I never said that authoritarianism is compatible with humanism.

Now you are just trolling. 

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On 9/1/2019 at 6:12 PM, 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?

Haven't read the full thread, but I know Chauncey Riddle was one of the big anti-humanist voices back in the 70's and 80's. When I took his epistemology class he made us all read the various humanist manifestos (not the most recent) and then discussed why he felt they were so incompatible. Alas I lost my notes and the class was around 25 years ago. There's obvious problems with the first (prior to WWII) manifesto. However to me even the later ones seemed problematic in various ways.

That's not to deny a lot of overlap - any system attempting a kind of utopian social ethic will have a lot of overlap I suspect. The classic manifesto in 1973 certainly takes a very negative view of religion and "false theologies of hope." I think they had a far too naive a view of science and its limits as well. 

The main issue to me seems to be pushing people away from even seeking after God. The very idea of salvation is seen as harmful. Thus the key problems for a Mormon are, I think, epistemological in nature rather than political or ethical. I'd probably say that there's a distinctly individualistic element that runs through the manifestos up through the 70's that's a kind of Lockean stance I personally find problematic. That then manifests itself in the various ethical claims which end up being tied to individualism. Particularly with regards to sexuality or politics. Often the manifestos read like a kind of Libertarian alternative to the Communist Manifesto.

I should add I've not read the latest take on the humanist manifesto, so I can't comment there.

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4 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Like all moral issues, sexism is in the eye of the beholder. I just posted an article from a prominent sister, RS general presidency, who showed that the church is not sexist, you dismissed it as inadequate1

I think it depends upon what one means by sexism. By the straightforward sense it seems undeniable it's sexist. Leadership and power is simply not distributed equitably whether in terms of dualistic organizations or by effacing the male/female roles. That doesn't mean it wasn't inspired although I think one can quite legitimately ask what Joseph was heading towards with the Relief Society in Nauvoo. However with the rise of correlation and the professionalization of services in the early 20th century it seems clear any non-sexist organizations were lost. And one can always dispute how unsexist the Relief Society was even in the 1890's even if it was extremely progressive for the era.

The problem is that even if one acknowledges a certain type of sexism it doesn't mean that it wasn't given by God. The assumption that the ideal should be here now often seems a questionable assumption.

2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

How about putting it this way: authoritarianism is not consistent with humanism. Humanism, once adopted, will very likely subvert it. 

Some might say that authoritarianism is an intrinsic consequence of humanism that is implemented. That is the ideal goals towards which humanism aims and the principles which it thinks will lead to those ends are intrinsically in tension. At best humanism has a tendency towards elite control of the masses even as it says it is for democratic control. The question is whether the stated democratic principles and in tension with other principles. (Here thinking of the manifest from the 70's) That is despite having a strong quasi-libertarian thrust due to Lockean individualism there's an inherent problem between their democratic tendencies and their individualistic tendencies. 

Edited by clarkgoble
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18 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I think it depends upon what one means by sexism. By the straightforward sense it seems undeniable it's sexist. Leadership and power is simply not distributed equitably whether in terms of dualistic organizations or by effacing the male/female roles. That doesn't mean it wasn't inspired although I think one can quite legitimately ask what Joseph was heading towards with the Relief Society in Nauvoo. However with the rise of correlation and the professionalization of services in the early 20th century it seems clear any non-sexist organizations were lost. And one can always dispute how unsexist the Relief Society was even in the 1890's even if it was extremely progressive for the era.

The problem is that even if one acknowledges a certain type of sexism it doesn't mean that it wasn't given by God. The assumption that the ideal should be here now often seems a questionable assumption.

Some might say that authoritarianism is an intrinsic consequence of humanism that is implemented. That is the ideal goals towards which humanism aims and the principles which it thinks will lead to those ends are intrinsically in tension. At best humanism has a tendency towards elite control of the masses even as it says it is for democratic control. The question is whether the stated democratic principles and in tension with other principles. (Here thinking of the manifest from the 70's) That is despite having a strong quasi-libertarian thrust due to Lockean individualism there's an inherent problem between their democratic tendencies and their individualistic tendencies. 

Well said! 

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32 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

What does that have to do with anything?  It is a completely vague statement- any organization has hierarchy and "authority".  There are presidents of humanist nations and organizations.

This is another irrelevant line in which you are making a false dichotomy- I never said that authoritarianism is compatible with humanism.

Now you are just trolling.

I thought you said they were compatible:

  2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

How about putting it this way: authoritarianism is not consistent with humanism. Humanism, once adopted, will very likely subvert it. So believers who are attracted to the authority of the church will naturally be pitted against the humanistic believers who may be more attracted to the personal revelation aspect.

You: "There is no incompatibility

Even Hitchens follows his conscience, as do those who think the church is sexist and those who think the church is not sexist. We have freedom from the thought police. That's it I'm done with this derail.  Women can be found on both sides of the fence and its up to them as a group I suppose to make their own self determinations...."

Okay, so I suppose you really did completely ignore that reply (that you quoted) and didn't even partially respond to it like it seemed you did.

Anyways, neither authority nor hierarchy are authoritarianism, which is a very as specific type of government. The church is more authoritarian in nature, not democratic, like some, for example. I think that poses a problem for those who embrace Mormonism if they want to embrace humanism, perhaps an impossible problem.

 

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32 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Some might say that authoritarianism is an intrinsic consequence of humanism that is implemented. That is the ideal goals towards which humanism aims and the principles which it thinks will lead to those ends are intrinsically in tension. At best humanism has a tendency towards elite control of the masses even as it says it is for democratic control. The question is whether the stated democratic principles and in tension with other principles. (Here thinking of the manifest from the 70's) That is despite having a strong quasi-libertarian thrust due to Lockean individualism there's an inherent problem between their democratic tendencies and their individualistic tendencies. 

So are you suggesting that humanism is, for all practical purposes, authoritarian-bent?

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30 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

So are you suggesting that humanism is, for all practical purposes, authoritarian-bent?

No. I think it’s just naive about the tensions inherent to its stated principles. In practice what they want is clearly a parliamentary style rule by elite where democracy is just choosing between competing elites perceiving themselves as a meritocracy. The problem with that is when populism comes up against this self perceived meritocracy as we saw with Trump and Brexit.

They don’t perceive this as authoritarian. It’s just that they can’t fathom people thinking differently from what the elite want. I think the last 20 years shows the problem with secularism of the humanist sort. The Middle East, much to their surprise, didn’t choose what was to them obvious. Ditto post recession rise of populism. And I think in practice it leads to new social norms with a quasi-authoritarian nature not that different from the Puritan religious standards they decry.

Edited by clarkgoble
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2 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

And I think in practice it leads to new social norms with a quasi-authoritarian nature not that different from the Puritan religious standards they decry.

No question imo

 

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6 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

They should be Catholics or Protestants but not Latter-day Saints. I am simply elaborating on what has clearly been taught repeatedly

If any of you realize that mfbukowski is right and you should be Catholic or Protestant, please come to me and I'll help with the choice ;) 

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6 hours ago, stemelbow said:

You'll have quite a mountain still to climb to convince members of humanism.  Mormons typically eschew the very value of humanism--that humans can reason their way to solutions in life.  Mormonism suggest the ultimate solution will not be found in human reasoning, but will only be found in divine help.  Indeed humans who think they can rely on humanism for their ultimate best and betterment will be those who are too proud for redemption.   

I think you have some hefty barriers to defeat to defeat the position of your co-religionists on this.  I see how you're trying to add a slight twist here or there in order to make the two sound cooperative, but I don't know it really works.  

 

5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

I complied with your request to avoid what you called a derail. You brought it back to sexism.

To get back on topic and to a response to what I said, how can authoritarianism be consistent with humanism?

At the surface level (epiphenomena), there are apparent differences between Mormonism and Humanism.  At a deeper lever, however, they jibe rather well.  Both are entirely foreign to normative Judeo-Christian-Muslim theology/philosophy.  Both Mormonism & Humanism are materialistic and naturalistic.  Each sees the miraculous and magical as an artifact of ignorance of the natural world and technology.  Richard Dawkins saw very advanced, natural beings on other worlds as "godlike."

Leadership must exist and is unavoidable.  All humans need it, from the time they are infants until the day they die.  We depend upon counsel and leadership from one another.  Indeed, it is non-sexist.  Sometimes the woman is boss.  Other times it is the man.  Depends on circumstances.

We need to broaden our purview to include the Bible (a hard thing for Mormons sometimes):  Specific women have been prophets and judges in the Bible.  Some have been especially heroic.  However, it is true that an anthropological division of labor usually exists between men and women, but that is entirely natural, and has existed for thousands of years for the simple reason that it is practical.  In paleolithic times, for example, men went out to hunt, while the women remained in camp or cave, preparing food, taking care of the young and the old folks.  It was always an extended family or clan.  Never a nuclear family.

Men are built for hunting and warfare.  Women are not.  Women bear children and suckle them.  Men cannot.  Humanism and Mormonism are practical more than anything else.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

At the surface level (epiphenomena), there are apparent differences between Mormonism and Humanism.  At a deeper lever, however, they jibe rather well.  Both are entirely foreign to normative Judeo-Christian-Muslim theology/philosophy.  Both Mormonism & Humanism are materialistic and naturalistic.  Each sees the miraculous and magical as an artifact of ignorance of the natural world and technology.  Richard Dawkins saw very advanced, natural beings on other worlds as "godlike."

On an ontological level I think that correct. Epistemologically though I think there is a vast difference since knowledge of what gets called miracles is throughout Mormon thought. However secular humanism sees that not just as an ontological error if called supernatural but an epistemological error if people believe in the event. Put an other way the question isn't the nature of the event but it's reality. A secular humanist sees all "real" religious claims to simply be either deception by religion biasing judgments or basic errors in judgment.

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Leadership must exist and is unavoidable.  All humans need it, from the time they are infants until the day they die.  We depend upon counsel and leadership from one another.  Indeed, it is non-sexist.  Sometimes the woman is boss.  Other times it is the man.  Depends on circumstances.

As a practical matter for Mormons while we retain the older rhetoric the practical political stance within homes has become a kind of democratic consensus between husband and wife. There's really no "leadership" in the sense of one figure with a trump over the other the way there once was. Indeed men who "lead" that way rather than by persuasion are seen as deeply dysfunctional and out of tune spiritually. However you don't have to go back many decades to see the shift in practice. 

The problem with the ideal. you outline is that even when women lead they lead at the suffering of the male leader. They always have trump power and can thus always undermine the woman's leadership. That's in terms of formal power. Again, that might not be true in home leadership where there's really no formal power relationship. Within Church leadership though it most certainly is. Now where I differ somewhat with feminists is that they privilege formal power over informal and tend to neglect the latter. So I'd agree with you that in many cases you have informal power by women that let them accomplish a great deal. However it's also the case that with the rise of correlation and the transition from 19th century Mormon practice that informal lines of power for women became significantly constrained. Part of that was inevitable due to large societal sexist structures. So with the professionalizing of many practices such as building, fund raising and so forth, women without professional backgrounds couldn't do the necessary jobs. However that in turn was parasitic on the place of women in academia and related professional training. That really only shifted in the 70's and 80's. However by and large the changes instituted from around 1910 - 1950 in the Church haven't adjusted to the change in women's role and professional skills. That understandably is a thorn for many women.

I think that'll change and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Nelson and Oaks be the ones to change it. I think it's inevitably coming although exactly what the shape will be is unclear. A lot of Church structure is "arbitrary" in various strong ways. (Say Sunday School and Primary structure) It's not hard to see those changing. Likewise a lot of meeting structure is arbitrary. However judgement is the key power relation that many feminists understandably focus on. Even with Joseph's progressive treatment of the Nauvoo Relief Society it's hard to see those issues of judgement changing without a pretty major revelation. It's that power of judgment and command that ultimately is the focus and it's unarguable I think that the lack of equivalency entails a sexist structure. A divine mandated sexism but a sexism nonetheless.

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Men are built for hunting and warfare.  Women are not.  Women bear children and suckle them.  Men cannot.  Humanism and Mormonism are practical more than anything else.

However the days when men hunted and fought regularly are far behind us. The number of children has significantly reduced. Even a "large" Mormon family relative to our secular neighbors is 3-4 vs 0-2. Contrast this to the days when much of a woman's work was taking care of children when men (and often women too) had to do hard labor to produce food or money to eat. Again those days are alien to much of the world. (Even in much of the third world thankfully due to changes over the last 20 years) The problem is that structures that may have made sense in a lower technological survival economy don't make sense in today's economy of plenty. 

That's the problem in keeping the structures of the past. Again though, it's up to God to change things if he desires.

 

Edited by clarkgoble
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