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Clash of the Worldviews: The Fundamental Problem


David T

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"for the [apologists] of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible."

Let me preface by saying there have been some absolutely stimulating and mind-expanding conversations here. I have learned much, and have even had firmly held positions able to be changed by some of the goings-on here. There are some great minds here who I have great respect for, even though I don't always agree with them, even about some seemingly key fundamental things!

It seems that a huge amount of arguing is done on the board (of the John Cleese variety), based on complete inability to comprehends the other's Basic Worldview, resulting in lots of very useless talking past each other. This generally happens without the participants realizing they're doing it. They're arguing a detail (or term) of doctrine from the basis of their own Worldview's interpretation of a scriptures, against someone else arguing against that doctrine with the foundation of another worldview's interpretation of the same scripture. It doesn't get anywhere, and usually denigrates into accusations of ignoring what's being said. Mainly because the words means something completely different.

This doesn't just happen between LDS and Non-LDS. It happens within LDS to LDS discussions as well! Perhaps just as much, if not more here.

An example of one key worldview difference that tends to effect everything in LDS-Non-LDS discussions:

WORLDVIEW A - LDS (generally) work forward from the worldview that the essence of Man was not initially created ex nihilo by God. They do not tend to focus on the Creator/Creature dichotomy, and view the relationship with God more in social and familiar terms. This effects everything, especially the right of a Human to have Agency, and the declaration of what is Just. In an LDS worldview, not all natural Laws were created by God.

An example of one key worldview difference that tends to have ramifications in inter-LDS dialogue:

WORLDVIEW A1: There are members who, while viewing the canon of scripture as the expression of the word of God, acknowledge they do not believe they are literally God's Words (and this includes the first-person narratives in the D&C and modern revelation). A view that the scriptures are written expressions of flawed humans trying to the best of their ability to express revealed divine knowledge in the most useful way to the people of their own culture. In these members, this conclusion is generally based on sincere studying "out of the best books", which include modern secular scholarship and science in additional to the scriptures and the words of prophets, combined with practical and obedient gospel living and serving, and prayerful pondering. They affirm that Jesus is the Christ, their Savior, and sustain President Monson as a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and hold valid temple recommends.

WORLDVIEW A2: There are also those members who view the canon of scripture as literally the words of God, historically accurate in all regards (except for where modern Prophets, or apostles or seventies even, have specifically singled out events or specific elements as figurative). A view that the scriptures are written expressions of flawed humans especially empowered by God to express detailed historically accurate narratives that were intended to be of use to all people, of all times. In these members, this conclusion is generally based on sincere studying "out of the best books", which generally means the scriptures and books written by General Authorities, combined with practical and obedient gospel living and serving, and prayerful pondering. They affirm that Jesus is the Christ, their Savior, and sustain President Monson as a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and hold valid temple recommends.

And there are varities that mix and mingle those two. This isn't meant to be a firm dichotomy, just an example for illustrative purposes.

However, there are those in A1 who look down at those in A2, and view them as willfully ignorant blind followers.

Anf there are those in A2 who look down at those in A1, and view them faithless unbelieving intellectualist apostates.

And then those making up both A1 and A2 go into battle against an Evangelical who disagrees with A, and there are divisions and clashes amongst themselves just as much as there are cross-religion. The House is Divided, and it all comes out a mess.

What's the solution? Many are suggestions are generously offered, which generally come off as being useless in this context. Because generally, everyone involved thinks they're doing (or at least trying very hard to do) just those things suggested:

"You need to take a look and read what the Bible really says."

"You need to use scriptures in their proper context."

"You need to pray with real sincerity"

"You need to have more faith."

"You need to trust in Jesus."

"You need to stop obeying false teachings, and rely on the Word of God"

"You need to do more research"

"you need to stop avoiding the issue."

"You need to stop misrepresenting us."

Do those who suggest such things really think that the reason others disagree with them is because they aren't truly doing those things? Are you so certain?

I'm going to assume that everyone participating feels, to some level of confidence, that They Are Right. Otherwise, they'd probably believe something else. I also assume that most people here are quite sincere in their participation here, whether it's to help develop their own faith, to correct others who have misinformation, or to genuinely help others find True Salvation.

So what causes the anger? What causes the name-calling and contention? What causes the justified retaliation in kind to such expressions? All here feel they are participating for the Greater Good. Yes, I know there are other boards that are far worse than this. I don't participate there. But this board has such great participants, and such great things have happened here, I'd hate for it to become what others are.

So what's the problem? What's going on? Please help me to understand why we each think that our behavior is the exception to the rule. I'm not innocent. I've failed, and offer an apology to any I may have offended by my poor choice of words or tone now or in the past, but I'm trying very hard to be civil, and to understand as much as I can the varying viewpoints. Without blaming outside forces (blatant trolls and drive-bys, whose threads could easily die a swift and unresponded to death when reported).

Is there anything that's willing to be done? Would it help if more admitted when their point wasn't as convincing as they at first thought, and that it actually is possible to see this a different way? Or are we all happy with the great mess so many of these otherwise very interesting topics turn into?

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"Bashing" always works if you understand who your audience is and what your goals are. It's almost never the one you are bashing with and innoculation rather than conversion is often the goal.

With all due respect, I rarely see bashing have any positive effect on these boards. Opponents leaving in frustration does not equal victory or 'working' - unless the desired effect is frustration and anger. Then, of course, I'd say it would always work.

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With all due respect, I rarely see bashing have any positive effect on these boards. Opponents leaving in frustration does not equal victory or 'working' - unless the desired effect is frustration and anger. Then, of course, I'd say it would always work.

I agree. Bashing is when you have been defeated in your assertions and can no longer argue it's points. The person has been frustrated and pursues this agenda to try to gain back a tactical advantage. It's a sign that the basher can no longer negotiate, and has been defeated in discussion whether they think so or not. It's the same principle when a person raises their fist in physical anger when they ran out of ideas.

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With all due respect, I rarely see bashing have any positive effect on these boards. Opponents leaving in frustration does not equal victory or 'working' - unless the desired effect is frustration and anger. Then, of course, I'd say it would always work.

I see questions answered; particularly how to respond to criticism and also better equipped to make life's necessary judgements as we are required to do. Even Jesus "bashed", but perhaps your version of bashing is different than mine.

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I see questions answered; particularly how to respond to criticism and also better equipped to make life's necessary judgements as we are required to do. Even Jesus "bashed", but perhaps your version of bashing is different than mine.

Actually I've never seen you bash anyone compared to a few others.

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With all due respect, I rarely see bashing have any positive effect on these boards. Opponents leaving in frustration does not equal victory or 'working' - unless the desired effect is frustration and anger. Then, of course, I'd say it would always work.

I think both you, nack, and bcspace are right to a point.

When we look to the life of the Savior as an example, we can easily see that the confrontational incident with the moneychangers was an exceptional act rather that representative of the Savior's primary emotional response: compassion. We also have no record of the moneychangers being converted while we have multiple accounts of those who were shown mercy and love turning toward discipleship. In this sense, forcefully overturning tables, so to speak appears to be a completely ineffective approach.

On the other hand, and I think this might be what bcspace was hinting at, we don't know the impact of those overturned tables on the other temple-goers. Were there some present that day, lurking in the shadows of center stage, who saw the Lord's reaction to a den of thieves and were awakened to an understanding of His message? We don't know.

It is worth reiterating that even if there were some whose hearts were turned as the Lord chased the money changers from the temple, this was not His typical behavior and was reserved for a particularly vile desecration of that which was holy. It was not a reaction to a mere discussion over doctrinal disputes.

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