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Let Me Ask You Few Q's As A Skeptic


solomarineris

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I cannot fathom how I once got baptized into LDS faith but I did and believed in it.

As the years slowly passed I figured out things.

I am reading your posts and thinking, why are they not able to use the same logic and deduce;

A- There's really nothing out there that we can sense beyond our bodily perceptions.

B- Why do we believe other peoples experiences when nothing of that sort ever happens to you?

C-Why miraculous things always so conveniently happen when you are not around to witness them?

D-Why an average person (like young Joseph Smith in his time) will not arise and lead the Church as it happened in the past?

Instead of relying in spiritual payoffs which are so precarious and futile, I (unfortunately) have to put my faith in my SUV to get out of a calamity, A GPS, to guide me in Utah's harsh deserts, a phone which I can use in emergency since no prayer got me out of any trouble. The fact is that none of us are any more special than anybody else, why should God save me and let hundred others starve and let them die by incredibly asinine ways.

Why should I not get any any answers in spiritual matters? when I get most of other answers in conventional ways?

Why should I be punished for not believing into something that I've never seen or experienced?

How do you people confront with reality and still believe what you believe?

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I cannot fathom how I once got baptized into LDS faith but I did and believed in it.

As the years slowly passed I figured out things.

I am reading your posts and thinking, why are they not able to use the same logic and deduce;

A- There's really nothing out there that we can sense beyond our bodily perceptions.

B- Why do we believe other peoples experiences when nothing of that sort ever happens to you?

C-Why miraculous things always so conveniently happen when you are not around to witness them?

D-Why an average person (like young Joseph Smith in his time) will not arise and lead the Church as it happened in the past?

Instead of relying in spiritual payoffs which are so precarious and futile, I (unfortunately) have to put my faith in my SUV to get out of a calamity, A GPS, to guide me in Utah's harsh deserts, a phone which I can use in emergency since no prayer got me out of any trouble. The fact is that none of us are any more special than anybody else, why should God save me and let hundred others starve and let them die by incredibly asinine ways.

Why should I not get any any answers in spiritual matters? when I get most of other answers in conventional ways?

Why should I be punished for not believing into something that I've never seen or experienced?

How do you people confront with reality and still believe what you believe?

Actually we can experience without perception --- or, we can at least set out perceptions to one side

for a liitle while, and then later pick them back up again, to think, and feel and ponder.

For this reason, I do not base my faith upon my perceptions. I use my perceptions to reflect upon my

faith -- to get me through life -- to avoid dangers and appreciate good things.

Thinking back upon my own Latter Day Saint baptism, and the person I was then, I must admit that I

have changed or discarded a great many beliefs since that good day.

Spending some years in a Christian seminary "cured" me of my Christianity -- and spending many years

as an unpaid volunteer educator overseas "cured" me of much of my old, provincial world-view.

If discarded beliefs were dollars, I could reture.

Uncle "hey! I am retired! -- and never got a cent for any of those many beliefs I threw away" Dale

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Do you believe in God at all, or is it just the Church that you struggle with?

If you believe in God, why do you? How do you know he is? If not, why not? How do you know he doesn't exist?

You must have faith in something you can't see either way. :P

It's the same with the church and it's doctrines. However, you can receive a personal witness from God, as I have and as I believe that you once did. If you search your heart, you'll remember

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A- There's really nothing out there that we can sense beyond our bodily perceptions.

My experience has been different. There have been other things that I have sensed beyond my physical senses.

B- Why do we believe other peoples experiences when nothing of that sort ever happens to you?

They do happen to me. And when I listen to other people's experiences, I sometimes (not always) get confirmation on my own in the same way that they are telling the truth.

C-Why miraculous things always so conveniently happen when you are not around to witness them?

Because I'm not omnipresent. But some miraculous things do happen when I'm around.

D-Why an average person (like young Joseph Smith in his time) will not arise and lead the Church as it happened in the past?

They have. The presidents of the Church have all started off as normal people.

Instead of relying in spiritual payoffs which are so precarious and futile, I (unfortunately) have to put my faith in my SUV to get out of a calamity, A GPS, to guide me in Utah's harsh deserts, a phone which I can use in emergency since no prayer got me out of any trouble. The fact is that none of us are any more special than anybody else, why should God save me and let hundred others starve and let them die by incredibly asinine ways.

It's fine to put some faith in those material things; however, they can be unreliable themselves at times. I find that a combination of relying on the material things we have been given, coupled by spiritual faith, gives me the best chance of succeeding.

Why should I not get any any answers in spiritual matters? when I get most of other answers in conventional ways?

Most other answers, perhaps, but not all. And certainly not answers to the most important or meaningful questions.

Why should I be punished for not believing into something that I've never seen or experienced?

That's between you and God. I can't comment for Him on that, because I'm not familiar with what you've seen or experienced (or not).

How do you people confront with reality and still believe what you believe?

Because what I believe has been consistent with reality, for the most part. I am still learning and progressing in my spirituality, and it becomes more consistent and more things get resolved as time goes on. The path of the gospel works.

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I am in a similar boat except I dont agree 100% on all your points. Humans do seem to have some kind of sensors other than the main ones, however I dont agree with the spirit feeling, I can relate that much more easily to people getting caught up in the moment.

As for spiritual experiences I have been at events plenty of times where people have said they felt the spirit and it was recounted many times over the years, so I find most experiences are not 'supernatural' but fairly normal and everyone has them all the time, its called being human and religion has nothing to do with it. Obviously there are a few amazing ones like Jesus appearing to people and people being thrown into walls by evil spirits etc.. in that case you have to decide if the person is telling the truth or perhaps they are not but it was because of to many drugs, or there is always the possibility of aliens or a real Jesus who did appear.

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I, too, have experienced things beyond my senses, some of which

cannot possibly be explained by being caught away in the spirit of

the moment, some of which have been in situations that could

be considered being caught away in the spirit of the moment, and

some of which I have consciously looked for.

Bernard

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Hello Solomarineris...

It is because of some of the things I sensed "out there" through the years that have enhanced my testimony of the gospel, of prayers being answered, and that I am on the right path...

I don't know how to answer your questions because I am a person who has experienced a healing after a priesthood blessing... a very dramatic and abrupt change physically in relation to a heart problem that I had suffered for years and which had become so serious that I literally ran to the cardiologist... That was almost three years ago, and the condition that drove me to the doctor is no more...

My other experiences have been in answer to prayers, some really specific in-my-face couldn't be coincidence answers that left me humbled and amazed... and with a testimony that prayers are heard and answered.

One experience I'll share with you happened the night my mother died... my hubby and I were bringing my mom and dad in our van up here to Oregon for a visit to get them out of the August heat of So Cal... it had been 100+ for weeks. We made our stop for the night just north of San Fran. Mom had heart problems and wore a pace maker. But at age 80 she still mowed the lawns with a hand mower. Anyway that night she said she felt very tired and was going to turn in early. About 11:00 PM my dad called our room and said my mom had cried out and he couldn't wake her up... I ran next door and as I held her I could hear the ambulance coming, and I looked into her eyes and I saw the light go out of them. At the hospital, we were told she had had a massive heart attack. The local bishop and came down to talk with us. As I was sitting by myself (I was an inactive member at this time) in the hospital "chapel" waiting for the coroner to arrive, I was wondering how in the world I was going to deal with everything... coroner, funeral home, getting dad back home, funeral... all the time grieving for my dear mom... as I sat, my mind was opened and I saw my mom... just her head to her shoulders... she looked somehow younger... she was gazing upward, and the expression on her face was absolutely joyous... the look in her eyes was focused ahead and the expression is something I'll always remember as "joy." This lasted about 10 seconds or so and then the picture closed... but I was left with a sense of peace and confidence... so I went out and made the phone call to my sister... she told me the next day that when we had finished talking, she ran outside and fell down in the grass and just cried... suddenly she had this feeling come over her and as she sat up she heard mom's voice saying "I'm all right... I'm really all right" and she felt as though she were being hugged and comforted.

Both my sis and I, almost 2,000 miles apart, were given a "gift" to know that our dear mom was indeed all right... both of us were blessed... and we will never forget it. I stayed with my dad for a month and attended Church for the first time in 30+ years... I had been feeling the need to return to Church and these events just confirmed it... and when I got home I walked into our chapel on a Fast Sunday and stood and bore my testimony... and I've never looked back... that was 12 years ago and I'm still TBM...

The Garden Girl

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I cannot fathom how I once got baptized into LDS faith but I did and believed in it.

As the years slowly passed I figured out things.

I am reading your posts and thinking, why are they not able to use the same logic and deduce;

A- There's really nothing out there that we can sense beyond our bodily perceptions.

If you had studied the science of perception, you would know that there are sensations out there that our 5 senses don't perceive, but that other organisms do. This leaves the door open for sensing systems in our bodies that we do not fully understand at the present time.

B- Why do we believe other peoples experiences when nothing of that sort ever happens to you?

Because that is the way of things. There are more experiences available than any one person can experience. So you get some. I get some. There is no reason for me to say yours didn't happen just because they didn't happen to me. And vice versa.

C-Why miraculous things always so conveniently happen when you are not around to witness them? But other people are. And not everyone gets to witness a miracle. And there are lots of people who witness miracles who don't know they have.

D-Why an average person (like young Joseph Smith in his time) will not arise and lead the Church as it happened in the past?

How would you expect that to happen?

Instead of relying in spiritual payoffs which are so precarious and futile, I (unfortunately) have to put my faith in my SUV to get out of a calamity, A GPS, to guide me in Utah's harsh deserts, a phone which I can use in emergency since no prayer got me out of any trouble. The fact is that none of us are any more special than anybody else, why should God save me and let hundred others starve and let them die by incredibly asinine ways.

The answer to this is you don't understand the process. You are where you need to be and so is everyone else. Ever read the poem "Richard Cory?"

Why should I not get any any answers in spiritual matters? when I get most of other answers in conventional ways?

You are getting answers, but you just don't recognize the answers you are given.

Why should I be punished for not believing into something that I've never seen or experienced?

You aren't going to be punished. You just won't receive the blessing of developing faith.

How do you people confront with reality and still believe what you believe?

Reality doesn't conflict with what I believe.

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A- There's really nothing out there that we can sense beyond our bodily perceptions.

Is torturing small children for the fun of it right, or wrong?

I hope you'll say that it's wrong.

If you do answer that it's wrong, I wonder which bodily perception tells you that. Do you deduce that it's wrong via your sense of smell? Is the wrongness of torturing small children a color or a shape that you see? Can you feel this ethical idea with your hands? Does the wrongness of torturing small children for entertainment taste like sugar, or is it more like a spice? When you hear the wrongness of torturing small children for your amusement, does it sound more like Bach, or Beethoven, or Jimmy Buffet?

Incidentally, the truth of the proposition represented by the English sentence "There's really nothing out there that we can sense beyond our bodily perceptions" cannot be smelled, tasted, heard, touched, or seen.

B- Why do we believe other peoples experiences when nothing of that sort ever happens to you?

Who says that nothing of that sort ever happens to me?

By the way, have you ever been to Antarctica? (I haven't. That's why I believe that all those who claim to have been there are liars.) Have you ever been into space? (No? When are you going to join the Flat Earth Society?) Have you ever been a woman?

C-Why miraculous things always so conveniently happen when you are not around to witness them?

First of all, I don't think major miracles are all that common. But, since you didn't ask: Why, yes, I have been present when a miracle occurred. Not a huge one, perhaps, but it certainly impressed me.

D-Why an average person (like young Joseph Smith in his time) will not arise and lead the Church as it happened in the past?

Last thing I noticed, we're not led by demigods.

How do you people confront with reality and still believe what you believe?

Let me guess: Is it because we're inferior and irrational? (What do I get if I'm right?)

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I cannot fathom how I once got baptized into LDS faith but I did and believed in it.

As the years slowly passed I figured out things.

I am reading your posts and thinking, why are they not able to use the same logic and deduce;

A- There's really nothing out there that we can sense beyond our bodily perceptions.

B- Why do we believe other peoples experiences when nothing of that sort ever happens to you?

C-Why miraculous things always so conveniently happen when you are not around to witness them?

D-Why an average person (like young Joseph Smith in his time) will not arise and lead the Church as it happened in the past?

Instead of relying in spiritual payoffs which are so precarious and futile, I (unfortunately) have to put my faith in my SUV to get out of a calamity, A GPS, to guide me in Utah's harsh deserts, a phone which I can use in emergency since no prayer got me out of any trouble. The fact is that none of us are any more special than anybody else, why should God save me and let hundred others starve and let them die by incredibly asinine ways.

Why should I not get any any answers in spiritual matters? when I get most of other answers in conventional ways?

Why should I be punished for not believing into something that I've never seen or experienced?

How do you people confront with reality and still believe what you believe?

I sense a great deal of saddness and resentment in you. I hope you find whatever lesson it is you need at this point in your life. I think when we feel distant from the Lord it is becuase we willingly withdraw from Him.

God Bless.

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Well, nothing I can say here could be any better expressed than it already has. I think the challenges you presented are a spoke screen for deeper concerns. All of your points are, as established, without much merit. Dig deeper and give us a more sensible reason for your rejection of religion.

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Is torturing small children for the fun of it right, or wrong?

I hope you'll say that it's wrong.

If you do answer that it's wrong, I wonder which bodily perception tells you that. Do you deduce that it's wrong via your sense of smell? Is the wrongness of torturing small children a color or a shape that you see? Can you feel this ethical idea with your hands? Does the wrongness of torturing small children for entertainment taste like sugar, or is it more like a spice? When you hear the wrongness of torturing small children for your amusement, does it sound more like Bach, or Beethoven, or Jimmy Buffet?

Well DP

You are out of line here, was there anything violent in nature I've written? Your anology so is so absurd, it travels well beyond any understanding that you can only dechiper your own anology.

Suppose that I carry a .38special in my purse 24/7, is that mean that I have a lethal weapon and will kill an innocent being? We all have that power of "doing wrong", most of us choose not to do, not because there is a God, nor because we will be punished.

Yes, DP, my MIND tells me that! If I didn't have a mind I wouldn't be writing to you, like all of you (like it or not), I process all the information through my senses, so far my senses served me well.

Incidentally, the truth of the proposition represented by the English sentence "There's really nothing out there that we can sense beyond our bodily perceptions" cannot be smelled, tasted, heard, touched, or seen.

Who says that nothing of that sort ever happens to me?

Did it? Then prove it! Right now! Like say you were one of your travels in Europe or in Asia, or I went to Utah go to Moab. Here I have pictures, you have plane tickets, lots of information which can be verified.

Until then I don't want want to hear your "Who says that nothing of that sort ever happens to me?"

By the way, have you ever been to Antarctica? (I haven't. That's why I believe that all those who claim to have been there are liars.) Have you ever been into space? (No? When are you going to join the Flat Earth Society?) Have you ever been a woman?

I'm not sorry to say but the absurdity of your anologies know no bounds. The reason that we know Antarctica is there is because we have pictures, we have live satellite feeds, which show the place.

On the other hand you fail to show what you claim to exist.

Here I am, send me email attachment of any picture or evidence I can follow and discern, until then you have nothing to prove.

First of all, I don't think major miracles are all that common. But, since you didn't ask: Why, yes, I have been present when a miracle occurred. Not a huge one, perhaps, but it certainly impressed me.

Last thing I noticed, we're not led by demigods.

Let me guess: Is it because we're inferior and irrational? (What do I get if I'm right?)

DCP

Why don't you shed this inferiority complex at once? A man in stature should be far more confident.

Do not make assumptions of persons, just because they have a different opinion.

As I've said; miracles happen often when I cannot verify them, in retrospect I do have enough experiences of my own which could be qualified as "Miracles".

There was a time in Church history we were led by "Demigods" as you put it, deny it if you like but I know the history.

PS: If you were coming with this resume of trying to prove me that you can convince me of miracles or senses beyond our understandings, I wouldn't give you a Job.

Because my business of "life" on this planet does not run on empty promises.

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I cannot fathom how I once got baptized into LDS faith but I did and believed in it.

Why did you belive it?

As the years slowly passed I figured out things.

I am reading your posts and thinking, why are they not able to use the same logic and deduce;

Deductive reasoning led you out of the church? could you please provide some documentation to back up hat assertion? Formulas? Theorums?

A- There's really nothing out there that we can sense beyond our bodily perceptions.

I think DCP hit the nail on the head on this one.

I think this is a very narrow way of looking at life. If during 1200ad., I were to tell an english man that there are two connected land masses in the western ocean that are bigger than Africa and Europe combined I would suppose that he wouldn't belive me. After all both N. and S. America are beyond his sensory perceptions. Problem is, Im right.

Currently, Im also incapable of detecting blackholes with my bodily senses but I believe they are real.

B- Why do we believe other peoples experiences when nothing of that sort ever happens to you?
Actualy, I do believe many of such experiences because similiar things have happended to me. Funny, thing is they wouldnt hof happended to me unless I had taken that first leap of faith. Kinda like, Joseph not recieveing the 1st vision unless he had offered that first audible prayer, believeing that he would be answered someway.

First you take the leap of faith, then that faith is strenthended, or even turned into knowledge, once you land on the other side of the fog and realize that there really is land there and that you haven't fallen of a cliff.

C-Why miraculous things always so conveniently happen when you are not around to witness them?

I have seen and experienced miraculous things in my life, especially during my mission. But again, I had to belive such things could happen first.

belief ------->knowledge :P

knowledge---->belief(very rare).

D-Why an average person (like young Joseph Smith in his time) will not arise and lead the Church as it happened in the past?

Gordon B. Hinkley seems pretty "average" to me. He doesn't have a post graduate degree(that I know of). He graduated from U of U, not Harvard. Not wealthy, that I recall.

But Im sure your questian revolves more around the Elder Nelson's of the Church. God chooses who He will choose, and Im sure every professional position and status Elder Oaks, Eyring, Uchtdorf, Bednar and Nelson ever attained was in preparation for the un-average work they have to do at this time.

Instead of relying in spiritual payoffs which are so precarious and futile,

God's blessings are real, just as real as His withholding of blessings. Leaving your "dish right side up" is not futile, its how I have every thing I posses.

That being said, a blessing is not a spiritual payoff for we cannot get the Lord in our debt. He blesses the faithful saint as well as the pron star. He loves everyone.

The best motive to serve God is out of love. When you realize what His Son did for you on the cross and at Gethsemene, and have that atonement give you a new heart, you can't help but want to please and obey Him. He is awesome.

I (unfortunately) have to put my faith in my SUV to get out of a calamity, A GPS, to guide me in Utah's harsh deserts, a phone which I can use in emergency since no prayer got me out of any trouble.
God gave you that SUV and that phone.
The fact is that none of us are any more special than anybody else

aint that the truth.

why should God save me and let hundred others starve and let them die by incredibly asinine ways.
Dunno. But I do know that this life is but a micro-second in the eternal perspective of things. Anything we suffer or enjoy here are like dandolines. They get blown away as fast as they grow.

Our troubles and joys come as fast as they go, we just lack persepective to see it that way.

Why should I not get any any answers in spiritual matters?

...because you are literally a son of God. He loves you. He knows you by name and even knows how many hairs are on your head. He wants you to return to His presence and eventually be as He is.

when I get most of other answers in conventional ways?

...problem is Gods,powers,dominions, glories and eternal lives are any thing but conventional in this fallen world.

Why should I be punished for not believing into something that I've never seen or experienced?
Who said you would be punished for not believeing what you have not experienced?

You and I will only be punished for our sins, unless we hold fast to the atonement and repent.

How do you people confront with reality and still believe what you believe?

Actually, I believe what I believe because it is synonymous with reality. Show me a latter-day saint that lives his religion and allows himself to be guided by the Spirit and dedicates his life to the exaltation of himself, his family and the entire human race and I will show you the most pragmatic and level headed realist that walks the face of the earth.

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I am reading your posts and thinking, why are they not able to use the same logic and deduce;

A- There's really nothing out there that we can sense beyond our bodily perceptions.

B- Why do we believe other peoples experiences when nothing of that sort ever happens to you?

C-Why miraculous things always so conveniently happen when you are not around to witness them?

D-Why an average person (like young Joseph Smith in his time) will not arise and lead the Church as it happened in the past?

These are honest questions, and these are my honest answers:

A-"Bodily perception" doesn't adequately explain the feeling I had when I first was taught "the gospel." I wasn't looking for anything spiritual-it just bonked me on the head out of nowhere. I can't explain that through science.

B-Because I am open minded. But I don't believe everything I hear either (in or outside the church.)

C-miraculous things happen in my own life as well.

D-President Hinkley is an average person in many ways--just a lot older than Joseph Smith was. God has called people of all different ages to important leadership roles.

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Why did you belive it?

Because it sounded very plausible, this was in 1970's Europe, the story was akin to magic, a feel good story.

Until then nobody told me God&Jesus had physical bodies. The courage of JS coming forth with revolutionary ideas had great impact on me.

Deductive reasoning led you out of the church? could you please provide some documentation to back up hat assertion? Formulas? Theorums?

Comeon, HerAmun....are you asking me documentation? Even in early 80's you could get your hands into any information you wanted to, for me Tanner's book "Shadow or reality" did it. I mean this was not someone elses history, it was Church's own records which failed to inform the investigator.

And today of course, it is alot easier to investigate the truth of any matter

A- There's really nothing out there that we can sense beyond our bodily perceptions.

I think DCP hit the nail on the head on this one.

I think this is a very narrow way of looking at life. If during 1200ad., I were to tell an english man that there are two connected land masses in the western ocean that are bigger than Africa and Europe combined I would suppose that he wouldn't belive me. After all both N. and S. America are beyond his sensory perceptions. Problem is, Im right.

I will agree that it is a very narrow way of looking at things but you fail to grasp your asinine point of view

comparing a "Black Hole" to an "Intelligent Creator". Frankly I don't care wether a Black Hole exists or not

(I believe they do), but your equation to an "Intelligent Creator"?

Does black hole care that my life is hanging by a thread? The children in Africa starve? People fight each other in Middle East in the name of God?

No he doesn't, because a Black Hole does not have intelligence.

And someone called "Creator" we worship, stands by and let all these inequities pass by.

God's blessings are real, just as real as His withholding of blessings. Leaving your "dish right side up" is not futile, its how I have every thing I posses

That being said, a blessing is not a spiritual payoff for we cannot get the Lord in our debt. He blesses the faithful saint as well as the pron star. He loves everyone.

Really?

Think about how and why Mormons made it in Utah, it is the same reason how a tiny Nation of Switzerland being so diverse survived.

They defended themselves

As opposed to my clan, who put their faith & trust in God, handed their weapons to enemy in many cases and slaughtered mercilessly.

My grandmother survived, her husband killed, her sisters poisoned themselves refusing to give themselves up to murderers, the land had more churches per square mile than any other land on Earth (don't ask me where is this place).

Now I am supposed to be very happy that My Grandmother was saved from that carnage, my mother was born therefor I exist.

But that is a long story.

...because you are literally a son of God. He loves you. He knows you by name and even knows how many hairs are on your head. He wants you to return to His presence and eventually be as He is.

Thank you but I think I will pass on that. Reminds me one of those ancestors lament;

"We would not trust you again even if you would deliver paradise here on Earth."

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Solo, the Tanners should be ashamed for what they do....they push a religion as whacky as ours yet they write books that turn people away from God not Mormonism.

Reality can only be debated and it is a philosophical debate. That is why I think that debating religion is ultimately silly....we only know what we know. Our knowledge is socially constructed and our reality is based on our knowledge. All I can say is that it is a lonely and frightening world that would demand we not rely on anyone else's experiences.

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Because it sounded very plausible, this was in 1970's Europe, the story was akin to magic, a feel good story.

Until then nobody told me God&Jesus had physical bodies. The courage of JS coming forth with revolutionary ideas had great impact on me.

I submit that mere 'sounding of plausibility" can never sustain faith through the mists of darkness and spiritual droughts we will all face on our journey back to the Father. I realize plausibility is a good thing, but I'm afraid in and of itself is never sufficient to exercise enough faith in Christ to receive even a full forgiveness of sin, let alone have a testimony of the actual gospel itself.

Comeon, HerAmun....are you asking me documentation? Even in early 80's you could get your hands into any information you wanted to, for me Tanner's book "Shadow or reality" did it. I mean this was not someone elses history, it was Church's own records which failed to inform the investigator.

And today of course, it is alot easier to investigate the truth of any matter

With all due respect, the Tanner's have created what, to me, is the most obvious case of fraud akin to Ed Decker himself. They have criticized Ed for how outlandish some of his claims have been, and that he doesn't cite enough quotes from the Journal of Discourses, and etc.

The truth is, the Tanner's are as good of quote miners as you could ever hope to find. Context isn't in their vocabulary, unfortunately, nor is an adequate sense of what the Church actually teaches.

Your other queries have been adequately answered by others.

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Solo, the Tanners should be ashamed for what they do....

Well, one of those two has gone to to meet his great reward, so whether or not he should be feeling

shame, is perhaps by now a moot question.

they push a religion as whacky as ours yet they write books that turn people away from God

not Mormonism.

A debatable generalization -- but one containing perhaps a few grains of truth. Certainly the Tanners

seem to have been unwilling to turn their investigative methods and reporting upon the many problems

resident within Christianity. Somehow Paul comes out exempt from error, when relating experiences

similar to those in which JS is judged to be error-ridden (or worse).

But whether or not their books inevitably "turn people away from God" is an individual proposition, and

one perhaps best prefixed with an "I truly believe..."

Reality can only be debated and it is a philosophical debate. That is why I think that debating religion is ultimately silly....we only know what we know.

Yes and no -- some facts are debatable -- some alleged facts are debatable. It is personal faith that is

not so easily argued one way or another.

I once had a fellow ask me -- "How would the world appear any different, if gravity were simply a

misperception of your senses?" The question seemed to be absurd to me --- but I suppose the same

could be said about "religion" (or a great deal that nowadays passes for religion).

Certainly we should stop and reflect upon just what "reality" is, now and then. And it does not take any

special training in philosophy for any of us to occasionally mistrust or question our preceptions.

Our knowledge is socially constructed and our reality is based on our knowledge. All I can say is that

it is a lonely and frightening world that would demand we not rely on anyone else's experiences.

I tend to agree with that. I recall thinking much the same thing when I first read William James' classic

"Varieties of Religious Experience." At the very least we can quantify, tabulate and study what others

report as their "experiences." And maybe -- just maybe -- we can occasionally discern some patterns

worth our reflection, when confronted with the compiled testimonies of many people, in many different

times and different places/cultures.

All of which adds up to.... what?

If the OP wishes to walk away from metaphysics, based in part upon the fallibility of our senses and our

experiences, perhaps he ought to walk away from physics as well.

Uncle "How would the world appear any different, if gravity were a misperception of our senses?" Dale

.

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Solo, doesn't it shake your dependence on bodily senses and perceptions to know that there are sensory mechanisms that other living things have that we don't? Three of them are: 1. the vibrations not audible but discernible to elephants which help them locate each other over great distances. 2. Whatever it is that lets animals know an earthquake is coming and this happens before any seismic events are discernible even with sensitive instruments. 3. The directional mechanism which allows a bird to mirgrate to accurately return to their nesting area.

Think about this. We can only be aware of and measure sensory events which we have the sensory mechanism to detect and decode. We can measure hearing, even sounds out of our auditory range, BECAUSE we have the ability to hear and know there is something out there causing sounds, and BECAUSE we have a way to measure and display them in a way we can sense (in a visual dispaly) those sounds we cannot hear.

What kinds of sensory information is out there that we don't have the sensory mechanism to detect? We cannot even speculate. But it would irrational to say that there is nothing. What sensory information is out there that we may have the sensory ability to detect, but which is so little used we don't recognize it and don't utilize it?

Don't be so sure that everything that we can and need to know is detectable through taste, touch, hearing, vision and kinesthetics.

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Holding the Tanners to the same standard to which they hold the LDS Church would successfully annihilate anything they've ever written with great ease.

But whether or not their books inevitably "turn people away from God" is an individual proposition, and

one perhaps best prefixed with an "I truly believe..."

I don't believe inevitability was suggested, as many of us have read the Tanner's work. But we have seem some examples of people turned away from God by their work, etc.

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There is no rational basis for believing anything. To some people a black hole could be God because it exists. To Gandhi truth was God. Is truth intelligent? If only I exist, I could be God. Our perceptions could be all wrong. Hallucinations, phantom limbs, REM sleep, etc. - all those things have been documented in humans, so how do we know we are not experiencing one (or more) of those things? I disagree with DCP about universal morality. Morality is something we use to rationalize our behavioral choices (and "choices" and "free will" are also fragile concepts). You can be in a different stage of moral development (according to Kohlberg, for instance) than someone else, but still essentially doing the same thing: trying to rationalize your behavior or someone else's. It could be argued that we have a need for morality because it helps us maintain the illusion that we're in control of our environment (or ourselves, for that matter). I reject the concept of altruism, as well, if anyone is interested.

I would say that faith exists, and in that I agree with DCP and others. The tangible effects of faith have also been documented. Placebo effect... or people crashing planes into buildings. I would say that without faith you wouldn't even be able to perceive reality, as you have to trust your senses. And tangible evidence can influence your beliefs. To some people the BoM does the same thing the Tanners' book did to you. But not the others.

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There is no rational basis for believing anything.... Our perceptions could be all wrong....

There is a simple way to test your assertion.

Hold your breath for the next ten minutes.

Of course your perceptions may end up tricking you into thinking that you are holding your breath,

when, in reality, you are doing no such thing.

But at least you can attempt the experiment and report back to us on the results.

Uncle

"then again, perhaps you are but an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese,

a fragment of an underdone potato -- and I can safely ignore all that you have to say, anyway"

Dale

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