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"The Obligation To Do Apologetics"


Scott Lloyd

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"Though argument does not create conviction, the lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced, but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish."

I love this quote and am glad you quoted it because I tried to write it down as Dan said it. I think it is important for the critics who accuse us of depending on the warm fuzzies to keep going need to realize if not for the above we would not have been able to sustain our faith for so long.

The fact that there are rational arguments supports my testimony. True my testimony has gotten me through periods where I didn't have any rationale, but by holding on to what I already knew I was eventually rewarded with a rationale that sustained and supported testimony. It's like a circle where one builds on the other.

Will's KEP presentation is an example of holding on to the faith that the BOA is of God and not falling for the critics' hyper-ventilating, and being rewarded with a rational, logical alternate explanation.

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it's been a matter of keeping a spark going long enough to rekindle a fire.

I wish there was a way to quantify this statement. I think you're right though, if it could save a soul then why not.

I just can't figure out why it didn't save:

Scottie

Kevin G

John W

Zeezrom

Scratch

Paul Osbourn

Shades

ad infinitum..... <insert Alma 32 or Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4- 8 )>. Not a lack of apologetics.

Big UP!

Lamanite

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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.

I don't believe every believer ought to engage in scholarship intended for apologetic purposes either, fwiw.

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I wish there was a way to quantify this statement. I think you're right though, if it could save a soul then why not.

I just can't figure out why it didn't save:

Scottie

Kevin G

John W

Zeezrom

Scratch

Paul Osbourn

Shades

ad infinitum..... <insert Alma 32 or Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4-:P. Not a lack of apologetics.

Big UP!

Lamanite

Who ever claimed apologetics would be sufficient, or that apologetics could abrogate agency or convince all?

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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.

I agree that reason must be involved. This is an absolute. But reason absent faith equals bupkis in the realm of the eternities. Apologetics is intellectual in nature and seldom employs faith based language. Faith can always trump the lack of evidence and reason. And reason and evidence will never be enough to gain access to redemption.

Big UP!

Lamanite

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Can you describe a method of testifying which in no way includes the faculty of reason?

By 'reason' I mean argumentation that differs from testimony. Each fast Sunday I hear beautiful testimonies that don't depend on reason or argumentation. Throughout my mission I discovered that it was testimony that changed hearts, not a book from FARMS.

I'm pretty sure you know the difference.

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.

again, 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.

let me also add that the call for reason in those passages are hardly calls to engage in apologetics.

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I love this quote and am glad you quoted it because I tried to write it down as Dan said it. I think it is important for the critics who accuse us of depending on the warm fuzzies to keep going need to realize if not for the above we would not have been able to sustain our faith for so long.

The fact that there are rational arguments supports my testimony. True my testimony has gotten me through periods where I didn't have any rationale, but by holding on to what I already knew I was eventually rewarded with a rationale that sustained and supported testimony. It's like a circle where one builds on the other.

Will's KEP presentation is an example of holding on to the faith that the BOA is of God and not falling for the critics' hyper-ventilating, and being rewarded with a rational, logical alternate explanation.

Well stated. And a good case history about the need for apologetics. Thanks, Deborah.

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I agree that reason must be involved. This is an absolute. But reason absent faith equals bupkis in the realm of the eternities.

I don't see anybody here arguing that reason is sufficient without faith.

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I agree that reason must be involved. This is an absolute. But reason absent faith equals bupkis in the realm of the eternities. Apologetics is intellectual in nature and seldom employs faith based language. Faith can always trump the lack of evidence and reason. And reason and evidence will never be enough to gain access to redemption.

Big UP!

Lamanite

Did you think I believed otherwise? (Strictly speaking, I question the neat distinction being made between faith and reason, I should point out.)

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Who ever claimed apologetics would be sufficient, or that apologetics could abrogate agency or convince all?

I'm sure Wade, Droopy, or Selek said it. LOL I'm killing myself. I was being dramatic to make my point.

I will make the opposite statement though: Apologetics is not necessary and is not essential to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm willing to argue that point if anyone is interested.

Big UP!

Lamanite

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By 'reason' I mean argumentation that differs from testimony. Each fast Sunday I hear beautiful testimonies that don't depend on reason or argumentation. Throughout my mission I discovered that it was testimony that changed hearts, not a book from FARMS.

According to Daniel's talk, such things are an example of one of two kinds of "positive" apologetics. From my Church News piece:

There are two parts, he said, to positive apologetics. "One is to argue that the gospel is true, but the other is to argue that it's desirable, that it's good, that it's something you ought to consider if you are a non-Latter-day Saint."

No expertise is required for the latter task, he said. "You can make an argument, because you are as much an expert as anyone to say why you personally find the gospel compelling, why you find it satisfying."

It is important for all Latter-day Saints to begin to do that, he said.

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By 'reason' I mean argumentation that differs from testimony. Each fast Sunday I hear beautiful testimonies that don't depend on reason or argumentation. Throughout my mission I discovered that it was testimony that changed hearts, not a book from FARMS.

I'm pretty sure you know the difference.

Yup, I do, so where's the disconnect?

let me also add that the call for reason in those passages are hardly calls to engage in apologetics.

I didn't say the verses did. You tied apologetics to reason and argued that reason-based stuff is somehow deficient, if I understood you correctly. I was pointing out a few scriptural proof-texts that point to a different conclusion.

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The fact that there are rational arguments supports my testimony. True my testimony has gotten me through periods where I didn't have any rationale, but by holding on to what I already knew I was eventually rewarded with a rationale that sustained and supported testimony. It's like a circle where one builds on the other.

What puzzles me is that I feel like some people would seek to break away the bits of your testimony involving "reason" or "evidences" without due attention to what they view as the more crucial elements of testimony, or without offering something better/more solid in return. I think iconoclasts need to leave people with more than broken idols.

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Did you think I believed otherwise? (Strictly speaking, I question the neat distinction being made between faith and reason, I should point out.)

The rant following my first sentence was merely an opportunity for me to elucidate for all the lurkers.

The distinction between faith and reason from a philosophical, "lets define everything for the next twenty years until we arrive at a false sense of clarity", interests me to some degree. Can someone page Brother Ostler???

Seriously though, I'm interested in your thoughts. Faith and reason are very distinct and yet complimentary parts of our nature. How do you disagree?

Big UP!

Lamanite

P.S. Now's your chance to beat me up cuz I have low blood sugar and my arms don't work (I'm typing 35wpm with my tongue). The low blood sugar may explain my weird posts in this thread. I really do like a few apologists and a little bit of apologetics.

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I didn't say the verses did. You tied apologetics to reason and argued that reason-based stuff is somehow deficient, if I understood you correctly. I was pointing out a few scriptural proof-texts that point to a different conclusion.

What was your point in pointing to 1 Peter then?

If you want to say that apologetics can merely be testifying of what one has learned by the spirit, then I'm fine and dandy with that.

However, DCP (the OP), in the context of his whole FAIR speech, and in the context of the FAIR conference, and in the context of his other rants (see Theophilus), seems to hardly be arguing that believers are only obligated to testify what they know by the spirit.

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I'm sure Wade, Droopy, or Selek said it. LOL I'm killing myself. I was being dramatic to make my point.

I will make the opposite statement though: Apologetics is not necessary and is not essential to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm willing to argue that point if anyone is interested.

I will offer myself as an example of one who has been helped by good, academic apologetics, who has been motivated by such to stand fast and keep doing the things that strengthen faith, that build and sustain the spiritual witness that I have. Would you deprive me or others of such beneficial influences?

In short, while apologetics may not be essential to the gospel, apologetics can be a lifeline to some individuals in building or sustaining their faith.

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In short, while apologetics may not be essential to the gospel, apologetics can be a lifeline to some individuals in building or sustaining their faith.

Well said.

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apologetics can be a lifeline to some individuals in building or sustaining their faith.

So can bad apologetics and "faith-promoting lies."

On my mission plenty of elders had large binders full of non-sense that they would use to build and sustain their own and others' faith. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. I think every mission has elders with those folders of tenth-generation photocopies of bad apologetics and "faith-promoting lies."

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I will offer myself as an example of one who has been helped by good, academic apologetics, who has been motivated by such to stand fast and keep doing the things that strengthen faith, that build and sustain the spiritual witness that I have. Would you deprive me or others of such beneficial influences?

In short, while apologetics may not be essential to the gospel, apologetics can be a lifeline to some individuals in building or sustaining their faith.

Of course you must know I wouldn't deprive you of something like apologetics. Even if I wanted to deprive you I couldn't think of any way to do it except to send Steuss to your house and serve you with a cease and desist letter. I wouldn't begrudge anyone something as benign as Mormon apologetics. (not meant to sound condescending)

I recognize that you concede the point that "apologetics may not be essential." And I will concede that it can be helpful, happy, and fun!

Big UP!

Lamanite

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So can bad apologetics and "faith-promoting lies."

On my mission plenty of elders had large binders full of non-sense that they would use to build and sustain their own and others' faith. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. I think every mission has elders with those folders of tenth-generation photocopies of bad apologetics and "faith-promoting lies."

That's not what I have in mind. As has been demonstrated repeatedly, bad apologetics ultimately do more harm than good when individuals eventually find out the truth.

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So can bad apologetics and "faith-promoting lies."

On my mission plenty of elders had large binders full of non-sense that they would use to build and sustain their own and others' faith. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. I think every mission has elders with those folders of tenth-generation photocopies of bad apologetics and "faith-promoting lies."

So, then, to clarify - are you suggesting that there's no such thing as "good apologetics"?

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What was your point in pointing to 1 Peter then?

My reply was in reference to reason and the Doctrine and Covenants verses. You said "let me also add that the call for reason in those passages [in the D&C which I linked to] are hardly calls to engage in apologetics." I agreed, and explained I posted them in response to your comments about the role of reason.

If you want to say that apologetics can merely be testifying of what one has learned by the spirit, then I'm fine and dandy with that.

And further, talking about the fruits of the spirit itself, etc.

However, DCP (the OP), in the context of his whole FAIR speech, and in the context of the FAIR conference, and in the context of his other rants (see Theophilus), seems to hardly be arguing that believers are only obligated to testify what they know by the spirit.

If the quote Scott posted is accurate, DCP mentioned different approaches, despite what his own emphasis is on, including the sort of positive testimony we're talking 'bout, willis.

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Of course you must know I wouldn't deprive you of something like apologetics.

I recognize that you concede the point that "apologetics may not be essential." And I will concede that it can be helpful, happy, and fun!

Then I think we're in a good place. :P

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