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LDS Apologetic Response to Atheistic Materialism


cksalmon

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I propose that the most powerful response is the First Vision and the Book of Mormon combined with our individual testimonies. In his lectures on Joseph Smith, Truman Madsen said something that always stuck with me to the effect that once you Know God, you don't need philosophical arguments for Him, that arguments imply doubt.. (It's been 14 +/- 1 year since I heard them on my mission so if anyone can give the exact quote, that would be great.) Furthermore, there are Alma and Jacob's arguments against Korihor, Nehor and Sherem.

I seem to recall a time when someone demanded a sign from Brother Joseph. The Prophet responded: "A wicked and adulterous generation seeker after a sign. You are an adulterer."

Yours under the witnessing oaks,

Nathair /|\

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I seem to recall a time when someone demanded a sign from Brother Joseph. The Prophet responded: "A wicked and adulterous generation seeker after a sign. You are an adulterer."

This is variation of an all too common maneuver used by cult leaders and the preistly class designed to intimidate doubters and keep them from calling BS on claims of supernatural or divine powers.

It is similar to a town church elder shouting "witch!" when someone dares to question them.

It is rather despicable "trope". In fact, there is obviously no connection between seeking empirical evidence for alleged divine powers and being guilty of adultery.

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This is variation of an all too common maneuver used by cult leaders and the preistly class designed to intimidate doubters and keep them from calling BS on claims of supernatural or divine powers.

It is similar to a town church elder shouting "witch!" when someone dares to question them.

It is rather despicable "trope". In fact, there is obviously no connection between seeking empirical evidence for alleged divine powers and being guilty of adultery.

If I remember the account correctly, the person was later caught.

Yours under the half-remembering oaks,

Nathair /|\

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If I remember the account correctly, the person was later caught.

Yours under the half-remembering oaks,

Nathair /|\

uh huh. If you remember correctly. LOL

A clear minded person would see that it doesn't matter anyway. Imagine that I claim that everyone that doubts my ninja skills is a drunk. Now suppose you say to me that this is just silly. Would you be convinced if I said that the last person who doubted my ninja skills was later arrested for public intoxication.

Why can't you see how ridiculous it is on the face of it?

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I propose that the most powerful response is the First Vision and the Book of Mormon combined with our individual testimonies.

Then I propose you are in serious trouble.

The apologetic dealing with the multiple first vision accounts is perhaps the most under-developed yet. If one were to take Mr. Midgley's "first steps" and turn it to a critical examination of the LDS faith and it's origins, one finds this first step a non-starter. It's value = 0

The apologetics for the BoM are much more extensive, but no less troubled. Once one approaches this issue, as the OP suggests, from an atheistic perspective much of the support it finds from christian tradition collapses. In fact, it inherits problems from it's roots in christian protestant/restorational americanism and the bibles jewish mythical nature. Given, as Brant Gardner has admitted on these boards, that there is nothing in the BoM to require a Mesoamerican setting, and that the widely accepted apologetic response to trying to place the BoM SOMEWHERE on the american continent requires a limited geography of some sort, the atheist examiner of your BoM evidence will not find something compelling there. It's value, unfortunately, is also 0.

So you are left with your personal testimony. You shouldn't be too surprised if the atheist fails to find this argument extremely convincing "in the light of atheistic materialism" as the OP suggests is the point of this discussion.

On the other hand, a slightly watered down version of MFB's and Fac's pragmatism may be a valid argument for SOME aspects of LDS belief based on the conditions of the OP. The first vision, BoM, and personal testimony are not.

Yours from under the "Next time take the time to understand the OP before you answer" saguaro cactus.

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cksalmon:

If the LDS are correct. I'll have everything my heart desires in the life to come. ;)

If the Atheists are correct. None of us will know any difference anyway. :P

..and you will have messed with the one, single shot at existence and happiness had by many individuals both inside and outside of the church. When, for example, Prop 8 stops being a matter of LDS church business I'll be more inclined to accept this version of Pascal's wager.

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cksalmon:

If the LDS are correct. I'll have everything my heart desires in the life to come. ;)

If the Atheists are correct. None of us will know any difference anyway. :P

and if the Jehovas Witnesses are correct?

if the Catholics are correct?

if the Buddhists are correct?

if the Hindus are correct?

if the Shiites are correct?

if no one is correct

If.... (multiply by the uncountable number of possibilities).

If the atheists are correct, it would make a difference as to whether you missed out on a lot of things in your one and only life (including the truth). If you don't consider that a waste well then I don't know what to say. Religion costs in many ways. Following any false religion would be a waste in my opinion. I makes sense to try to see what the evidence really indicates.

My advice is to life as if no one really knows the answers to these speculative questions about ultimate meaning etc. (All indications are that, in fact, no one does really know.)

One has to find personal meaning in the face of cosmic uncertainty. It can be done in terms of family, charity, knowledge, art, music, friendship, and, yes,... pleasure.

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This is variation of an all too common maneuver used by cult leaders and the preistly class designed to intimidate doubters and keep them from calling BS on claims of supernatural or divine powers.

It is similar to a town church elder shouting "witch!" when someone dares to question them.

"All that is required for this enlightenment is freedom; and particularly the least harmful of all that may be called freedom, namely, the freedom for man to make public use of his reason in all matters. But I hear people clamor on all sides: Don't argue! The officer says: Don't argue, drill! The tax collector: Don't argue, pay! The pastor: Don't argue, believe!" -- Immanuel Kant

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I'm asking: What is the (or, an) LDS apologetic against atheistic materialism that also presents the positive case for Mormonism in the light of atheistic materialism?

cks

Materialism could very well be true and Mormonism would walk untouched. Some interesting assumptions you might want to do some reasearch on first are: how is 'matter' defined? What would be 'not-matter'? Remember to be VERY careful with how the words are used and the reductionist techniques materialists love.

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If the atheists are correct, it would make a difference as to whether you missed out on a lot of things in your one and only life (including the truth).

Although you admit after saying this that no one really seems to have the "truth" and so the important thing is to find meaning in uncertainty through family, charity, knowledge, etc.

If you don't consider that a waste well then I don't know what to say.

If no one seems to have the "truth"... are we, then, all wasting our time? Did past scientists and philosophers waste their time even if they were wrong? I submit to you, Tarski, that being 'wrong' (although if we can't say we are right, truth, we can't say we are wrong either) is NOT a requirement for a fulfilling life and that if the religious person follows a wrong path but sincerely tries to do the best he can then it should not be said he has wasted his life.

Religion costs in many ways. Following any false religion would be a waste in my opinion.

same as above.

I makes sense to try to see what the evidence really indicates.

sure.

My advice is to life as if no one really knows the answers to these speculative questions about ultimate meaning etc. (All indications are that, in fact, no one does really know.)

One has to find personal meaning in the face of cosmic uncertainty. It can be done in terms of family, charity, knowledge, art, music, friendship, and, yes,... pleasure.

Is this not what religious people are trying to do?

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I propose that the most powerful response is the First Vision and the Book of Mormon combined with our individual testimonies. In his lectures on Joseph Smith, Truman Madsen said something that always stuck with me to the effect that once you Know God, you don't need philosophical arguments for Him, that arguments imply doubt.. (It's been 14 +/- 1 year since I heard them on my mission so if anyone can give the exact quote, that would be great.)

That is fine, but don't confuse your religion with the naturalist's philosophy, just asking someone to accept the mystery isn't going to do much.

There is just nothing the LDS faith has to offer really, at best you can try to appeal to someone's sense of greed with talk of spiritual rewards.

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I think Mormonism embraces a form of physicalism given the anthropomorphic view of God. I would say that Christianity as a whole should embrace it due to the centerpiece of the Resurrection and future resurrection state. I guess this would be theistic materialism compared to atheistic. Sterling McMurrin viewed Mormonism as ultimately materialistic.

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I think Mormonism embraces a form of physicalism given the anthropomorphic view of God. I would say that Christianity as a whole should embrace it due to the centerpiece of the Resurrection and future resurrection state. I guess this would be theistic materialism compared to atheistic. Sterling McMurrin viewed Mormonism as ultimately materialistic.

Would you (in your opinion) reduce the spirit to something material? (I'm just curious)

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Would you (in your opinion) reduce the spirit to something material? (I'm just curious)

"There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter." - D&C 131:7-8

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Even some of our critics view us as materialists. For example, see J.P. Moreland, "The Absurdities of Mormon Materialism: A Reply to the Neglected Orson Pratt," The New Mormon Challenge (Zondervan: 2002). This link briefly explains Pratt's understanding of materialism:

Forced to demonstrated their diverging views, Orson Pratt focused on how contemporary materialism devalued the mind to the point of mechanism, or the idea that all thoughts, emotions, and feelings are just the result of the organization and natural function of the brain.

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