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"The Obligation To Do Apologetics"


Scott Lloyd

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Which itself seems to assume that religious belief deriving from reason is somehow eternally inferior? Not sure you'd go that far.

I'm not making any claims about which are superior or inferior. I am just claiming that not all religious beliefs are derived from reason.

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No. Neither did I promise to sustain and defend a particular Church, nor did I promise to sustain and defend particular claims which that Church may or may not be making.

I didn't say anything about a "Church" or particular "claims."

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If you argue it does so of necessity, I believe you argue incorrectly. I don't recall if that was the case when I read your paper before, maybe when I get the chance I'll cook up a response to highlight some of the potential holes in your argument.

I'm sure that there are plenty of holes in my argument.

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Daniel made the point that there is both good and bad apologetics. Apologetics, is a value-neutral term.

It really boils down to a problem of definitions in most cases. The definition seems to be that apologetics means "trying to stick up for the church and doing a crappy job of it," or "using empirical methods to prove the divine; an impossibility." Since I don't define "apologetics" in these ways I don't see the same problems others do. I don't believe all apologetics are created equal, however, not hardly.

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Then what was your point of bringing up my temple covenants?

I think there is some latitude in how such covenants are interpreted; some latitude which you seem reluctant to grant to others with whom you disagree, is all.

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Daniel made the point that there is both good and bad apologetics. Apologetics is a value-neutral term.

But I'd say that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" is a valid apologetic argument. It is a given that not every single point is going to be provable or even supportable by evidence. What good apologetics does is keep the question open so that an individual seeker may exercise faith and go to the Lord in prayer.

True.... assuming that prayer works and is a legitimate means to determining truth.

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I'm sure that there are plenty of holes in my argument.

I do think your apologetic against apologetics has some problems. If I ever get around to it I'll write up a response. It's low on the radar currently, though. :P

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I think there is some latitude in how such covenants are interpreted; some latitude which you seem reluctant to grant to others with whom you disagree, is all.

Hogwash. I'm fine with someone interpreting those covenants differently. I just don't care for someone who claims that I must be responsible in accepting their interpretations of those covenants.

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I do think your apologetic against apologetics has some problems. If I ever get around to it I'll write up a response. It's low on the radar currently, though. :P

My "apologetic against apologetics"???

How is my polemic against apologetics and apologetic?

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And to re-emphasize, I like you guys. I'm just saying if I fell out of a tree I would probably land closer to Maxwell than Midgley. Ha!

From what I remember about Elder Maxwell, I daresay he would agree with the Austin Farrer quote.

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Maybe you're forgetting that different children of God have different temperaments, expectations, and paths, and that ultimately, you may be closing the door on someone's path which to you seemed unnecessary or even dangerous bu to them was invaluable. It's difficult to determine whether we are doing this, I grant. But it warrants consideration, imo.

As God's children we all differ in an infinite number of ways. I believe that with the right timing and a little bit of faith- God will reveal himself. The formula is fairly simple.

28 Now, we will compare the word unto a aseed. Now, if ye give place, that a bseed may be planted in your cheart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your dunbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves

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A little faith and action and things will work out.

Apologetics is a luxury. Apologetics provides a feel good environment where tangential issues can be bantered about and discussed. And I enjoy doing this.

For someone who has been confused and bewildered by the sophistry of antagonists, I would think that apologetics would be much more than a luxury, that it might be a vital lifeline permitting the exercise of faith.

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From what I remember about Elder Maxwell, I daresay he would agree with the Austin Farrer quote.

Ah yes! But how did Brother Maxwell make his argument?

An Ever Increasing Discipleship! A life spent in adoration and emulation of the Saviors! Not the FARMS review. I would add that Midgley's great contribution to Mormonism is in no way the review, but in his home teaching, his generous fast offerings, and his missionary service. Not his apologetic or scholastic contributions. That's my opinion anyway.

Big UP!

Lamanite

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Hogwash. I'm fine with someone interpreting those covenants differently. I just don't care for someone who claims that I must be responsible in accepting their interpretations of those covenants.

I'm not sure what you mean about someone claiming you must "be responsible in accepting their interpretations."

"In accepting" implies that you have accepted, but wish to avoid responsibility for what that acceptance entails.

My point is this: some people include writing apologetic material as part of "sustaining and defending" the Kingdom. You seemed to imply there were no good grounds for a Mormon to think apologetics had any validity (or even that apologetics themselves are somehow only detrimental). I disagree with the position that no good grounds exist. My purpose was to make more acute the idea that different people interpret things differently. Seems I accomplished making that idea more acute, but failed at connecting it to the overall topic of apologetics itself. I'll think of a different approach.

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My "apologetic against apologetics"???

How is my polemic against apologetics and apologetic?

I'll have to take a second look, like I said it's been a few months and I've covered a lot of ground since I read it. When I get the inclination I'll pick it up again. IIRC you are defending the position that "apologetics" basically suck, and are contrary to the nature of faith and the enterprise of seeking God.

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I'm not sure what you mean about someone claiming you must "be responsible in accepting their interpretations."

"In accepting" implies that you have accepted, but wish to avoid responsibility for what that acceptance entails.

My point is this: some people include writing apologetic material as part of "sustaining and defending" the Kingdom. You seemed to imply there were no good grounds for a Mormon to think apologetics had any validity (or even that apologetics themselves are somehow only detrimental). I disagree with the position that no good grounds exist. My purpose was to make more acute the idea that different people interpret things differently. Seems I accomplished making that idea more acute, but failed at connecting it to the overall topic of apologetics itself. I'll think of a different approach.

If someone wants to engage in apologetics, that's their own problem. My primary issue is when someone like Dan makes the audacious claim that "it is a duty incumbent upon all of us to 'apologize,' in the original sense, for our faith" or someone like Theophilus says that "I

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A little faith and action and things will work out.

Ultimately things are in the hands of God, and between God and the individual, etc. Certainly.

Apologetics is a luxury. Apologetics provides a feel good environment where tangential issues can be bantered about and discussed. And I enjoy doing this.

I don't think that's true in all cases. I know people who have been led away from as well as towards God through "apologetics," meaning literature written to defend or sustain belief, to use reason and revelation. In some cases it has been more than a matter of leisure, it's been a matter of keeping a spark going long enough to rekindle a fire.

I make these declaratives independent of FAIR, FARMS, BYU, Maxwell Institute, and any other organization/group/faction/ or fraternity. I make these statements because I believe them to be true; and God has told me that my beliefs are well placed.

Big UP!

Lamanite

I've seen nothing from any of those sources to indicate such a witness is invalid; to the contrary, I've seen much from those groups to encourage such a thing. Again, not presenting them as perfect by any stretch, heaven knows I have my own complaints to make. Just not the complaint that the entire enterprise is either merely negligible or dangerous and nothing more.

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I'll have to take a second look, like I said it's been a few months and I've covered a lot of ground since I read it. When I get the inclination I'll pick it up again. IIRC you are defending the position that "apologetics" basically suck, and are contrary to the nature of faith and the enterprise of seeking God.

No. I simply argue that apologetics which attempt to defend the ancient historicity of Mormon scripture make unnecessary and faulty assumptions about the verifiability of those texts.

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If someone wants to engage in apologetics, that's their own problem. My primary issue is when someone like Dan makes the audacious claim that "it is a duty incumbent upon all of us to 'apologize,' in the original sense, for our faith" or someone like Theophilus says that "I

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No. I simply argue that apologetics which attempt to defend the ancient historicity of Mormon scripture make unnecessary and faulty assumptions about the verifiability of those texts.

That's right, you confined "apologetics" in that paper to discussions assuming a historicity of BoM events.

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Well, I can certainly say I know many a saint who does not engage in apologetics in the form of writing articles in journals or books, or making conference presentations, but who in their own small way would stand as a witness for God, defend the cause of God in the way they understand it, and perhaps not label such a thing "apologetics." I think DCP's citation of 1 Peter 3:15 is on target, generally: "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." As the article points out, the word translated in that passage as "answer" is the Greek word apologia, or apology, the root of apologetics. Do you think Christians should "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear"? I imagine you do, but that you might picture such answers differently than you imagine DCP pictures them. Correct me if I'm wrong, though, I don't want to out words in your mouth.

I see the author of 1 Peter telling us to be willing to testify of Christ and our hope for salvation. This is far different from a call to use reason to defend a particular religious claim.

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That's right, you confined "apologetics" in that paper to discussions assuming a historicity of BoM events.

yes. and other mormon scripture.

to be clear, i'm fine with someone doing scholarly work that happens to offer arguments/evidence which might be used for apologetic purposes. my beef is with someone claiming that a believer ought to engage in scholarship that is intended for apologetic purposes.

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I see the author of 1 Peter telling us to be willing to testify of Christ and our hope for salvation. This is far different from a call to use reason to defend a particular religious claim.

Can you describe a method of testifying which in no way includes the faculty of reason? I can't, but I'm willing to learn (without reason, of course?) Evidently God didn't find reason below his own methods, though. See D&C 50:10-12, among many other references. Heck, some missionaries were expressly commanded to reason with people regarding the gospel.

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