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Tolerance of Ignorance . . . or


Mark Beesley

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We have succeeded in acquiring a testimony where many of them have tried and failed. Or, alternately, they did obtain a testimony and then desired to turn away from that knowledge again in order to return to sin. In either case it's a combination of envy/sour grapes.

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Personally I think it stems from modern culture... people are easily offended if anyone is "too sure of themselves" or "their principles." The statement "I believe" is an expression that gives non-believers an out. I mean if anyone says "I know" then immediately you have people who for whatever reasons feel inferior. They assume that by stating "I know" we are demanding that others should know or at least believe what we say. It also cuts off all argument, if a person says "I know" then no manner of argument critics can come up with will ever be effective. It is like they hit a brick wall, and have no way of overcoming that statement through "proof texts" or "logic" or reasoning. You either know or you do not know... But if one says "I believe" then that gives the non-believers a "comfort zone" in which they can leave the question unresolved. Korihor recognized this and tried to overcome the testimony of Alma by saying:

(Alma 30:13-16) "O ye that are bound down under a foolish and a vain hope, why do ye yoke yourselves with such foolish things? Why do ye look for a Christ? For no man can know of anything which is to come. Behold, these things which ye call prophecies, which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers. How do ye know of their surety? Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ. Ye look forward and say that ye see a remission of your sins. But behold, it is the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead you away into a belief of things which are not so."
Seems like he had a problem with people "knowing" and tried to denigrate it to "believing" only. Alma was pretty sure of himself and explained how he "knew" of these things:
(Alma 5:45-48) "And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety? Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me. And moreover, I say unto you that it has thus been revealed unto me, that the words which have been spoken by our fathers are true, even so according to the spirit of prophecy which is in me, which is also by the manifestation of the Spirit of God. I say unto you, that I know of myself that whatsoever I shall say unto you, concerning that which is to come, is true; and I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name."
Alma was pretty sure of himself, just as all the prophets and witnesses of the Lord has throughout the scriptures. Chapter 32 of Alma explains how that a desire to believe can grow into a sure knowledge if we neglect not the tree. If we deny not the spirit of revelation and of prophecy. The problem is everyone is at different levels of belief or unbelief... some are at a Pre-K level of testimony, others are doing Post-doctorate work. Some refuse to believe for whatever reason, but none have a right to say "you cannot know" just because they have never experienced that knowledge. Some have to acquire patience before they can say they "know."
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Some refuse to believe for whatever reason, but none have a right to say "you cannot know" just because they have never experienced that knowledge. Some have to acquire patience before they can say they "know."

I'd like to know who's advanced that argument?

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They may not be bothered. They may not actually care. They may be simply baffled as well.

I don't know how you could say that someone who started a whole thread on the topic was 'not bothered by LDS beliefs on the subject and didn't actually care' about it. Especially when they then got so incredible mad when LDS would not agree with him.

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Truthseeker7 was a horribly rude and inconsiderate person. I stopped reading that person's posts after a while because they were so inconsiderate and nasty. Nevertheless, was truthseeker7's argument that people could not know because they didn't know? I'm honestly asking. I didn't read all their posts, so I just don't know if truthseeker7 offered that as an argument.

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Truthseeker7 was a horribly rude and inconsiderate person. I stopped reading that person's posts after a while because they were so inconsiderate and nasty. Nevertheless, was truthseeker7's argument that people could not know because they didn't know? I'm honestly asking. I didn't read all their posts, so I just don't know if truthseeker7 offered that as an argument.

He was proposing that what you see isn't necessarily true in reality. Base on such as Schroedinger's equation and other quantum states of physics. That's why when I saw Volgadons assertion of a sock puppet and Lightbearers quote you allude to I started laughing. Just couldn't resist the 2 cents worth.

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I'd like to know who's advanced that argument?

Just about every atheist on this board. (Of course they do not say it was because they had never experienced it, but that was the real reason.)
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Just about every atheist on this board. (Of course they do not say it was because they had never experienced it, but that was the real reason.)

I'd like to hear how you know that that's the real reason people are skeptical about whether some knowledge claims are justified. Just to be clear, I'm not an atheist. I'm an active Mormon. Nonetheless I have some worries about certain sorts of knowledge claims, and those worries, so far as I can tell, have nothing to do with anyone's non-experience of religious experiences.

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I'd like to hear how you know that that's the real reason people are skeptical about whether some knowledge claims are justified. Just to be clear, I'm not an atheist. I'm an active Mormon. Nonetheless I have some worries about certain sorts of knowledge claims, and those worries, so far as I can tell, have nothing to do with anyone's non-experience of religious experiences.

Isn't it obvious that they have not received such knowledge from their very denial of other's experiences? Why would someone else's knowledge claim worry you? Or perhaps you think Alma and everyone else who ever said they "know" is a liar?
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Why would someone else's knowledge claim worry you?

Because maybe like Socrates that person goes around spreading their "knowledge" and thus corrupt the youth and make fools out of the educated men?

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EbedAssociation.png

The closest analogy I can offer is trying to explain to a blind person what color is and how I know for certain that a particular color is red. Only when the blind are able to see can they understand.

The good news is that Moroni 10:4-5 provides a corrective procedure which anyone and everyone may have.

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Why are the believers so touchy today? It sounds as if you are the ones who might be threatened, rather than the other way around.

I offer you this video as a token of peace from one of my all time favorite albums.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMytHN6odD4

Pet Sounds > Sgt. Peppers

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Why does the testimony of LDS Christians bother some people? . . . . This attitude of non-Knowers baffles me. Why do they care? Does our claim of knowledge threaten them? How? Do they think they are doing us a favor, and if so, what favor? What do they think they are saving us from if there really is no God?

I think the explanation can be found--in most cases (not all)--in two factors: 1) Envy--they are fully aware of the effectiveness of the "Mormon way" in producing success-oriented lives. Indeed, they covet that success; however, they lack the strength to live "Mormonism." 2) Guilt--they understand that working to acquire a strong testimony is their responsibility and that no one else can do it for them. Consequently, they feel a certain degree of guilt. To assuage that guilt, they lash out (a form of catharsis) at those who "know" the Church is true.

Perhaps my explanation is too simplistic; still, I feel it rings true.

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Isn't it obvious that they have not received such knowledge from their very denial of other's experiences?

I'm perfectly happy granting that many people that object to certain sorts of knowledge claims have not has experiences of the sort that people that do make those knowledge claims have had. But, this is the point, their arguments don't depend on whether they have had a certain sort of experience or not. Their arguments are about concepts, implications and so on. Whether their arguments are good ones or not is not going to depend on whether they've had the sorts of experiences you've had.

Why would someone else's knowledge claim worry you?

It's sort of funny, I originally included a bit about what I meant by my use of a form of 'worry' because I thought you might get the wrong idea, but then I went back and ommitted it to keep from being so wordy. I don't mean 'worry' in the sense that I'm bothered about such things, or that I'm annoyed or whatever. By 'worry' I just mean that there are what appear to be conceptual difficulties with the view that knowledge obtains in certain situations.

Or perhaps you think Alma and everyone else who ever said they "know" is a liar?

No, I don't think that. First of all, and I've addressed this many times on this thread, not all mistakes of fact are lies. People can sincerely and without bad intentions believe false things and make claims that happen to be false. In fact, I'm quite confident that everyone is guilty of this. I might see something that appears to be a black cat and say "Lo! Thar's a black cat!". But, suppose what crossed my path was actually just a rare all black raccoon. My statement would be false. But that doesn't mean that I lied. I was merely mistaken.

So, look, even if it were true (and it isn't) that I thought that everyone who ever said "I know X" was mistaken and they actually didn't know that X was the case, that wouldn't commit me to the view that every that says "I know X" is a liar.

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I think the explanation can be found--in most cases (not all)--in two factors: 1) Envy--they are fully aware of the effectiveness of the "Mormon way" in producing success-oriented lives. Indeed, they covet that success; however, they lack the strength to live "Mormonism." 2) Guilt--they understand that working to acquire a strong testimony is their responsibility and that no one else can do it for them. Consequently, they feel a certain degree of guilt. To assuage that guilt, they lash out (a form of catharsis) at those who "know" the Church is true.

Perhaps my explanation is too simplistic; still, I feel it rings true.

This is interesting because (1) I happen to live the "Mormon way", (2) I understand that strengthening my belief in Mormonism is my responsibility and I engage in that process quite regularly, and yet, as an active Mormon I am somewhat skeptical of certain sorts of knowledge claims. Basically, I don't really think your theory is a good one.

Also, it's interesting that some of the discussion in this thread goes about by assuming certain answers to the questions asked by Beesely in his original post

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I can't speak for others, but for me personally, claims of knowledge despite any actual (not perceived) evidence does not so much threaten me as it baffles me. I am not attempting to do anyone favors. I am attempting to understand what it is that drives some people to claim absolute knowledge for those things for which there is no evidence outside their own, intangible experiences and have no basis in observable, empiricial evidence or logical, reasonable fact.

Non-empirical evidence can be just as certain as empirical evidence to the one to which it comes, especially when it touches the spirit. That kind of experience leaves an indelible mark on the receiver. The results of that experience is itself the evidence of such an experience. The experience itself being for the edification of the receiver there is no need for empirical evidence to show to others as it was not meant for others in the first place.

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Thanks for all of your comments. I will only respond to one poster specifically 'cause I like liberals. smile.gif

Per my response to an earlier poll, I am a non-believer, not a non-knower.

The way I was using the term non-Knower was as a person who does not know. So, I think if you are a non-believer, it is safe to say you are a non-Knower, i.e. you don't know if God exists. That's all I meant by that term.

See, I have the ability to admit that I could possibly be incorrect regarding my belief that there is no god. It doesn't look as if the same can be said for those who are adamant in their "knowledge" that god exists.

I can certainly admit that I could be incorrect about some things I believe, but there is a bright line between things I believe and things I know. My arrogance may at times cause me to foolishly claim knowledge about something I don't really know; however, the knowledge I have that God exists does not fall within that set. But I try to guard against that.

For example, I can say with confidence that I know that God exists, that He loves me, that He has forgiven me of sins I have committed, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is true. Because of the knowledge I have of these things, I might be tempted to say that I know that President Monson is a a true prophet, but I don't know that -- I believe it deduced from things I know. It may be that one day I will receive the same witness about President Monson, but today I cannot say that I know.

I can't speak for others, but for me personally, claims of knowledge despite any actual (not perceived) evidence does not so much threaten me as it baffles me.

And I can understand a person being baffled, particularly when we are unwilling to share how we know in an open forum such as this. What I find curious about some (not you) is how vociferously loud their objections are to claims of knowledge such as I dare to make.

I am not attempting to do anyone favors. I am attempting to understand what it is that drives some people to claim absolute knowledge for those things for which there is no evidence outside their own, intangible experiences and have no basis in observable, empiricial evidence or logical, reasonable fact.

Now, this is one of the things that I find curious. Certainly, the ultimate basis for my knowledge is not evidence you can test. But to say that there is no evidence outside our subjective experiences is hyperbole. Evidence is not proof; it is simply something that tends to lend support for the truth of a fact. There is, in my estimation, empirical evidence for the existence of God, the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, and the divinity for the Book of Mormon. Admittedly, the fact that I know the truth of these things may color how I view the evidence, but it does not make evidence cease to exist for all other purposes.

Why are the believers so touchy today? It sounds as if you are the ones who might be threatened, rather than the other way around.

I don't know why the believers are touchy. We Knowers aren't. biggrin.gif

Have a nice day.

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