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Is your theology and your faith a target?


Questing Beast

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Today's high priests lesson was on the temple and priesthood covenants binding the generations. Each one of us can look in the mirrors that face each other and see an apparently "infinite" string of images going off in each direction. What struck me, again, is the dependency of this concept on dogma. What happens to a person's belief in "families can be together forever" when belief is compromised by the unraveling of faith in the dogma?

Any faith founded on fixed (dogmatic) concepts - especially those dependent on an empirical component, e.g. "the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion" - is vulnerable to attack from new information. Anything that asserts to be fixed in place - because "God is an unchangeable being" - is up against current scientific knowledge and future discoveries. When the dogma is shown clearly to be in error: to be asserted upon a false paradigm: then how can faith continue when belief is no longer there?

I found my faith in Mormon doctrine vaporized by facts held in evidence; a mounting weight of that that finally pushed my religious world view over. What remained is what I hold: a theology that cannot be attacked by anything; science, religion, philosophies of men or other people's logic. What I hold is a one-on-one connection to "God", the Necessary Cause of all Existence; in fact "God = Existence in the First Place" (a clumsy string of words for an infinite concept, I know).

So when I sit silently listening to the high priests instructor as he holds his Ensign, I hear concepts that I still agree with. But I no longer hold those concepts because of dogmatic assertions by Joseph Smith or anyone else, not even Jesus Christ of the New Testament (and certainly not the same figure targumized into the BofM). I accept that ALL the human family is immortal and each of us is connected individually to "God". How, then, can anyone be less real to "God"? How can it be possible that a limited concept can be more true than an infinite one? (I am thinking about damnation and salvation/exaltation.) I believe in the eternal progression of the "soul", the sapient being that each one of us is. That never ends, and certainly that means that immortality never ends ultimately in failure.

My theology is "thin"; whereas dogmatic, organized religion develops and defends "thick" theologies. "Thin" theology is a fact because we have virtually no facts about "God", only concepts born of imagination. But that is why my "thin" theology is at the same time bigger than any dogma; it is "thin" (few facts held in evidence), yet it is infinite: the possibilities that can be fitted to it appear to me to be without limits. As long as I live, my theology will grow. Yet it may always remain "thin", i.e. I may never know anything more about "God" than that it Exists as the Necessary Cause. But, as Existence is inarguable, that will actually be sufficient reason for questing after "God" forever. And the only effective way to do that is to be true in every moment to my authentic self. "Never lie to yourself" is the first commandment upon which all other knowledge is founded. If I remain committed wholly to that prime fundamental, then "God" can show me what and who I am and I will "get it". I will be able to discover what Joy is. And Joy, it seems to me, is the prime Cause of Existence in the First Place.

Elsewhere it has been pointed out that God chooses to be loving and good when he has the power/capacity to be the opposite. I believe this. I take it even further: "God" is all things. That is the basis for my assertion that it is impossible to imagine impossible things. We may not like where that takes us, or understand the apparent conundrums that arise from thinking about it, but nevertheless it is true: It is impossible to imagine anything impossible. We don't have the capacity to do it. Our minds are finite: "God" is infinite Existence. We can do no more than comprehend the concept: there is no way that a finite mind can comprehend "God's" infinite awareness. BUT, in this world (universe), "God" has said that our species is meant for better, glorious things, other than the squalor, misery and annihilation (death) we see here. "God" has said that faith in him (or her, whatever manifestation is the "message bearer") means believing that our 'satiable sapience is telling us the nature of "God": and that we can see it mirrored in human tendency. We are tempted to selfishness and resulting evils; yet most often people choose ultimately to accept self-sacrifice because of the love we feel for "the others". And THAT is the mirror of "God's" love for creation. Our love is finite and puny: "God's: love is infinite and beyond comprehension. Yet the "Jesus Story" shows it clearly. In fact the "Jesus Story" is the best story form of "God's" love ever told. And my belief is in the meaning of the story; all of our stories that endure are like it: showing love and courage, all the virtues, triumphing over selfishness, darkness and evils. And that is what my faith is founded on: it is completely unreachable by any outside influence. Only I can dismantle it if I decide to turn away from my authentic self and give into lies. But since I see this clearly, now, I won't be going there.

I believe that 99.9% of you (collective) are mostly aware of these things too. That is why the world is improving and has been improving ever since recorded history gave us a mirror to hold up to our shared past. Dark or cracked though it be, that mirror of history shows our progress. The world is improving more than it is decaying into sin and darkness. (Yet another dogmatic assertion that I have NEVER been able to believe or accept - yeah, I've always been a heretic in one way or another - is the Mormon/Christian view that the "last days" are upon us, and the world is separating into the "righteous and the wicked", and that the world as a result is getting worse instead of better....)

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Today's high priests lesson was on the temple and priesthood covenants binding the generations. Each one of us can look in the mirrors that face each other and see an apparently "infinite" string of images going off in each direction. What struck me, again, is the dependency of this concept on dogma. What happens to a person's belief in "families can be together forever" when belief is compromised by the unraveling of faith in the dogma?

Any faith founded on fixed (dogmatic) concepts - especially those dependent on an empirical component, e.g. "the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion" - is vulnerable to attack from new information. Anything that asserts to be fixed in place - because "God is an unchangeable being" - is up against current scientific knowledge and future discoveries. When the dogma is shown clearly to be in error: to be asserted upon a false paradigm: then how can faith continue when belief is no longer there?

I found my faith in Mormon doctrine vaporized by facts held in evidence; a mounting weight of that that finally pushed my religious world view over. What remained is what I hold: a theology that cannot be attacked by anything; science, religion, philosophies of men or other people's logic. What I hold is a one-on-one connection to "God", the Necessary Cause of all Existence; in fact "God = Existence in the First Place" (a clumsy string of words for an infinite concept, I know).

So when I sit silently listening to the high priests instructor as he holds his Ensign, I hear concepts that I still agree with. But I no longer hold those concepts because of dogmatic assertions by Joseph Smith or anyone else, not even Jesus Christ of the New Testament (and certainly not the same figure targumized into the BofM). I accept that ALL the human family is immortal and each of us is connected individually to "God". How, then, can anyone be less real to "God"? How can it be possible that a limited concept can be more true than an infinite one? (I am thinking about damnation and salvation/exaltation.) I believe in the eternal progression of the "soul", the sapient being that each one of us is. That never ends, and certainly that means that immortality never ends ultimately in failure.

My theology is "thin"; whereas dogmatic, organized religion develops and defends "thick" theologies. "Thin" theology is a fact because we have virtually no facts about "God", only concepts born of imagination. But that is why my "thin" theology is at the same time bigger than any dogma; it is "thin" (few facts held in evidence), yet it is infinite: the possibilities that can be fitted to it appear to me to be without limits. As long as I live, my theology will grow. Yet it may always remain "thin", i.e. I may never know anything more about "God" than that it Exists as the Necessary Cause. But, as Existence is inarguable, that will actually be sufficient reason for questing after "God" forever. And the only effective way to do that is to be true in every moment to my authentic self. "Never lie to yourself" is the first commandment upon which all other knowledge is founded. If I remain committed wholly to that prime fundamental, then "God" can show me what and who I am and I will "get it". I will be able to discover what Joy is. And Joy, it seems to me, is the prime Cause of Existence in the First Place.

Elsewhere it has been pointed out that God chooses to be loving and good when he has the power/capacity to be the opposite. I believe this. I take it even further: "God" is all things. That is the basis for my assertion that it is impossible to imagine impossible things. We may not like where that takes us, or understand the apparent conundrums that arise from thinking about it, but nevertheless it is true: It is impossible to imagine anything impossible. We don't have the capacity to do it. Our minds are finite: "God" is infinite Existence. We can do no more than comprehend the concept: there is no way that a finite mind can comprehend "God's" infinite awareness. BUT, in this world (universe), "God" has said that our species is meant for better, glorious things, other than the squalor, misery and annihilation (death) we see here. "God" has said that faith in him (or her, whatever manifestation is the "message bearer") means believing that our 'satiable sapience is telling us the nature of "God": and that we can see it mirrored in human tendency. We are tempted to selfishness and resulting evils; yet most often people choose ultimately to accept self-sacrifice because of the love we feel for "the others". And THAT is the mirror of "God's" love for creation. Our love is finite and puny: "God's: love is infinite and beyond comprehension. Yet the "Jesus Story" shows it clearly. In fact the "Jesus Story" is the best story form of "God's" love ever told. And my belief is in the meaning of the story; all of our stories that endure are like it: showing love and courage, all the virtues, triumphing over selfishness, darkness and evils. And that is what my faith is founded on: it is completely unreachable by any outside influence. Only I can dismantle it if I decide to turn away from my authentic self and give into lies. But since I see this clearly, now, I won't be going there.

I believe that 99.9% of you (collective) are mostly aware of these things too. That is why the world is improving and has been improving ever since recorded history gave us a mirror to hold up to our shared past. Dark or cracked though it be, that mirror of history shows our progress. The world is improving more than it is decaying into sin and darkness. (Yet another dogmatic assertion that I have NEVER been able to believe or accept - yeah, I've always been a heretic in one way or another - is the Mormon/Christian view that the "last days" are upon us, and the world is separating into the "righteous and the wicked", and that the world as a result is getting worse instead of better....)

If you accept the doctrine (or dogma) of the Church as Eternal Truths revealed by Jesus Christ through his prophets then no matter how much one attacks them it will all be futile work that leads to no lasting success. Over time the BoM has continued to be defended from the attacks of critics by the scholarly work of various apologetics groups, of course even if there was not a single shred of empirical evidence for the BoM even that couldn't destroy the witness from the Holy Ghost that the BoM is the Word of God.

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Today's high priests lesson was on the temple and priesthood covenants binding the generations. Each one of us can look in the mirrors that face each other and see an apparently "infinite" string of images going off in each direction. What struck me, again, is the dependency of this concept on dogma. What happens to a person's belief in "families can be together forever" when belief is compromised by the unraveling of faith in the dogma?

Any faith founded on fixed (dogmatic) concepts - especially those dependent on an empirical component, e.g. "the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion" - is vulnerable to attack from new information. Anything that asserts to be fixed in place - because "God is an unchangeable being" - is up against current scientific knowledge and future discoveries. When the dogma is shown clearly to be in error: to be asserted upon a false paradigm: then how can faith continue when belief is no longer there?

I found my faith in Mormon doctrine vaporized by facts held in evidence; a mounting weight of that that finally pushed my religious world view over. What remained is what I hold: a theology that cannot be attacked by anything; science, religion, philosophies of men or other people's logic. What I hold is a one-on-one connection to "God", the Necessary Cause of all Existence; in fact "God = Existence in the First Place" (a clumsy string of words for an infinite concept, I know).

So when I sit silently listening to the high priests instructor as he holds his Ensign, I hear concepts that I still agree with. But I no longer hold those concepts because of dogmatic assertions by Joseph Smith or anyone else, not even Jesus Christ of the New Testament (and certainly not the same figure targumized into the BofM). I accept that ALL the human family is immortal and each of us is connected individually to "God". How, then, can anyone be less real to "God"? How can it be possible that a limited concept can be more true than an infinite one? (I am thinking about damnation and salvation/exaltation.) I believe in the eternal progression of the "soul", the sapient being that each one of us is. That never ends, and certainly that means that immortality never ends ultimately in failure.

My theology is "thin"; whereas dogmatic, organized religion develops and defends "thick" theologies. "Thin" theology is a fact because we have virtually no facts about "God", only concepts born of imagination. But that is why my "thin" theology is at the same time bigger than any dogma; it is "thin" (few facts held in evidence), yet it is infinite: the possibilities that can be fitted to it appear to me to be without limits. As long as I live, my theology will grow. Yet it may always remain "thin", i.e. I may never know anything more about "God" than that it Exists as the Necessary Cause. But, as Existence is inarguable, that will actually be sufficient reason for questing after "God" forever. And the only effective way to do that is to be true in every moment to my authentic self. "Never lie to yourself" is the first commandment upon which all other knowledge is founded. If I remain committed wholly to that prime fundamental, then "God" can show me what and who I am and I will "get it". I will be able to discover what Joy is. And Joy, it seems to me, is the prime Cause of Existence in the First Place.

Elsewhere it has been pointed out that God chooses to be loving and good when he has the power/capacity to be the opposite. I believe this. I take it even further: "God" is all things. That is the basis for my assertion that it is impossible to imagine impossible things. We may not like where that takes us, or understand the apparent conundrums that arise from thinking about it, but nevertheless it is true: It is impossible to imagine anything impossible. We don't have the capacity to do it. Our minds are finite: "God" is infinite Existence. We can do no more than comprehend the concept: there is no way that a finite mind can comprehend "God's" infinite awareness. BUT, in this world (universe), "God" has said that our species is meant for better, glorious things, other than the squalor, misery and annihilation (death) we see here. "God" has said that faith in him (or her, whatever manifestation is the "message bearer") means believing that our 'satiable sapience is telling us the nature of "God": and that we can see it mirrored in human tendency. We are tempted to selfishness and resulting evils; yet most often people choose ultimately to accept self-sacrifice because of the love we feel for "the others". And THAT is the mirror of "God's" love for creation. Our love is finite and puny: "God's: love is infinite and beyond comprehension. Yet the "Jesus Story" shows it clearly. In fact the "Jesus Story" is the best story form of "God's" love ever told. And my belief is in the meaning of the story; all of our stories that endure are like it: showing love and courage, all the virtues, triumphing over selfishness, darkness and evils. And that is what my faith is founded on: it is completely unreachable by any outside influence. Only I can dismantle it if I decide to turn away from my authentic self and give into lies. But since I see this clearly, now, I won't be going there.

I believe that 99.9% of you (collective) are mostly aware of these things too. That is why the world is improving and has been improving ever since recorded history gave us a mirror to hold up to our shared past. Dark or cracked though it be, that mirror of history shows our progress. The world is improving more than it is decaying into sin and darkness. (Yet another dogmatic assertion that I have NEVER been able to believe or accept - yeah, I've always been a heretic in one way or another - is the Mormon/Christian view that the "last days" are upon us, and the world is separating into the "righteous and the wicked", and that the world as a result is getting worse instead of better....)

It seems that making our theology "thin" would make us less vulnerable to attack from "facts" or "men" might also be seen by someone else as a defense mechanism being constructed to avoid the pain incurred when those attacks are made.

It seems to be a common psychological reaction especially in those who have been members of the LDS faith. It is such a jarring confrontation with reality to go from the "pretty-much-knowing-everything" paradigm to "what-the-heck-DO-I-know?" paradigm.

I wouldn't really blame anyone for turning atheist or agnostic after going through that experience, but I think it would behoove someone to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. I think given time and experience, the psyche heals itself and can maintain a recognition of Christ's divinity and station.

One of my most supportive scriptures is in Matthew 13 (Parable of the wheat and the tares), especially verses 28-30. If one studies this parable carefully it gives a perfect pattern for what is occuring today.

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First of all, QB, I just wanted to say that I can completely relate to your entire post. I am an ex-LDS (technically inactive). I tried to go back a couple of times, and the last time, with the broader view that you seem to hold, but it didn't work for me. It didn't work, mostly because I was holding onto some very rigid/dogmatic views of my own, and hadn't let go of some of the anger I was still feeling, for perceived deception. I wanted to believe (hold tight to my faith), so very much, but could not get past a lot of the things I became aware of, from the critics.

At this point, like you, I've embraced a very broad theology, with Christ still at the center, but it is inclusive of every single human being on the planet. I do believe there is soooo much we don't know, and it just seems impossible to put God in such a small box. What is interesting (to me :P) is that, since I started moving in this direction, and opened up a little more to God, I have seen some truths about Mormonism that I wasn't even aware of, as a member. All kinds of things, like the way they view God and the process of salvation. Temple symbolism and how some of it is connected to mystic Judaism. I can see evidence for the Book of Mormon, that I was previously rejecting as evidence. I am just more open to all possibilities (even IMpossibilities! ;)).

Thanks for your post. I enjoyed reading it.

OH and this:

I found my faith in Mormon doctrine vaporized by facts held in evidence; a mounting weight of that that finally pushed my religious world view over.

Don't be too quick to throw things out for what "appears" as lack of evidence. Things are not always as they appear. Perceptions can be fluid. We don't always have the information (or the faith) required to see something as it actually is.

Best to you and God bless.

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Elsewhere it has been pointed out that God chooses to be loving and good when he has the power/capacity to be the opposite. I believe this. I take it even further: "God" is all things. That is the basis for my assertion that it is impossible to imagine impossible things.

Hi QB,

Your OP was quite interesting. I did run in to a bit of difficulty in this specific phrase.

Sounds pantheistic or at the least panentheistic.

Personally, I have flirted with the notion of Panentheism. Not in the truest sense of the term. It had more to do with the concept of creation than anything else.

However, my little romance with the concept ran into difficulties with this notion I have that we actually do have freedom of the will and so it ended. To me, the notion that God is all things leads to hard determinism.

I am curious to see what your thought's on the subject would be. It's certainly possible I overlooked something.

If "God" is all things, then what room is left for individual choice? Seems to me that no choice would actually exist apart from God and therefore any given choice by any particular person, even the really bad choices (like a countries leader choosing to starve millions of people to death, for example)would be what God desired.

To me, this seems to be a contrast from the love story for mankind we see in the "Jesus Story", as you refer.

I'm curious to see how you have worked this out.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

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Mudcat, I hope you don't mind if I comment on your post? (If you do, close your eyes and quickly surf away from here. :P)

I know it was directed to QB, but since I have kind of agreed with some of what he said, I wanted to say a few words.

Keep in mind, I am only speaking for myself and I'll allow QB to speak for himself. ;)

To begin with, I'm not that familiar with Pantheism, but I don't think I am a Pantheist. I believe in a Creator God, and I also believe that God is in everything (His life giving energy/force is what animates us and all living things). I don't believe in a God who needs to control everything. That very issue is one of the reasons I am moving away from conservative Christianity (and Calvinism, in particular). I do believe man has a will of his own, and can decide to have a relationship with God (or not). I also believe we are very intimately connected to God, whether we are aware of it or not. (I think most of us do have somewhat of an awareness, even if it's just below the surface of our consciousness). But, the main thing I wanted to clear up was that I do, most definitely, believe that mankind has an independent will.

That's all. :crazy:

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Today's high priests lesson was on the temple and priesthood covenants binding the generations. Each one of us can look in the mirrors that face each other and see an apparently "infinite" string of images going off in each direction. What struck me, again, is the dependency of this concept on dogma. What happens to a person's belief in "families can be together forever" when belief is compromised by the unraveling of faith in the dogma?

Any faith founded on fixed (dogmatic) concepts - especially those dependent on an empirical component, e.g. "the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion" - is vulnerable to attack from new information. Anything that asserts to be fixed in place - because "God is an unchangeable being" - is up against current scientific knowledge and future discoveries. When the dogma is shown clearly to be in error: to be asserted upon a false paradigm: then how can faith continue when belief is no longer there?

I found my faith in Mormon doctrine vaporized by facts held in evidence; a mounting weight of that that finally pushed my religious world view over. What remained is what I hold: a theology that cannot be attacked by anything; science, religion, philosophies of men or other people's logic. What I hold is a one-on-one connection to "God", the Necessary Cause of all Existence; in fact "God = Existence in the First Place" (a clumsy string of words for an infinite concept, I know).

So when I sit silently listening to the high priests instructor as he holds his Ensign, I hear concepts that I still agree with. But I no longer hold those concepts because of dogmatic assertions by Joseph Smith or anyone else, not even Jesus Christ of the New Testament (and certainly not the same figure targumized into the BofM). I accept that ALL the human family is immortal and each of us is connected individually to "God". How, then, can anyone be less real to "God"? How can it be possible that a limited concept can be more true than an infinite one? (I am thinking about damnation and salvation/exaltation.) I believe in the eternal progression of the "soul", the sapient being that each one of us is. That never ends, and certainly that means that immortality never ends ultimately in failure.

Seems you have quite a dilemma, since the only known evidence of God comes from scripture and theology. The believing have,

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I found my faith in Mormon doctrine vaporized by facts held in evidence; a mounting weight of that that finally pushed my religious world view over. What remained is what I hold: a theology that cannot be attacked by anything; science, religion, philosophies of men or other people's logic. What I hold is a one-on-one connection to "God", the Necessary Cause of all Existence; in fact "God = Existence in the First Place" (a clumsy string of words for an infinite concept, I know).

That would be an easy thing to believe in. It can't be falsified. But if it can't be falsified, it can't be defended either.

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Hi QB,

Your OP was quite interesting. I did run in to a bit of difficulty in this specific phrase.

Sounds pantheistic or at the least panentheistic.

Personally, I have flirted with the notion of Panentheism. Not in the truest sense of the term. It had more to do with the concept of creation than anything else.

However, my little romance with the concept ran into difficulties with this notion I have that we actually do have freedom of the will and so it ended. To me, the notion that God is all things leads to hard determinism.

I am curious to see what your thought's on the subject would be. It's certainly possible I overlooked something.

If "God" is all things, then what room is left for individual choice? Seems to me that no choice would actually exist apart from God and therefore any given choice by any particular person, even the really bad choices (like a countries leader choosing to starve millions of people to death, for example)would be what God desired.

To me, this seems to be a contrast from the love story for mankind we see in the "Jesus Story", as you refer.

I'm curious to see how you have worked this out.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

(I keep deleting my posts - dammed fickle fingers! even I don't have that kind of time!)

Short version for now, then: "God" is in all things, as in continually, eternally aware of every iota of particulate matter that makes up the multiverse. But each of us is sovereign, alone and free will-possessing. We are made finite in knowledge, yet eternally expanding in knowledge. And central to that knowledge is our one-on-one connection to "God". In fact as we observe, our species is the only one we know of (so far) that possesses sapience and the free will that goes with it. It seems to me that "God" does this to enjoy relating to beings that originated from itself, yet become independent and seek back to the Creator for an eternally expanding "soul mate" relationship. How could anything be more satisfying to a Creator, than to experience a voluntary reunion sought out by the free will of another being? "God" as the Necessary Cause of Existence in the First Place is the ONLY Existence there is; everything making up the multiverse originates from "God". But willing itself into infinitely variable sapient beings with free will does not in any way alter that solitary Existence: all that we see as opposites originate "from there". Yet our nature is to seek Joy. And so choices are paramount. To deny free will, as the medieval "Free Spirit" anarchists did (and "neo-anarchists" do), is a false concept for this world: it doesn't hold up.

When I say "it is impossible to imagine anything impossible" (and I just did that anyway), this conundrum is answered in the concept of infinity of the multiverse. "There", everything we can possibly imagine does occur; all of it, and all that we cannot possibly imagine besides. Yet in THIS world, we have laws in place governing our purpose. And we can develop the faith to know that "God" adheres to those laws in this venue and will never violate them (even though "God" can and does, in our imaginations only, "thank God!"). So HERE, Joy is the purpose of our Existence. I have faith that it will be so forever. And the principles that cause Joy are non negotiable....

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QB,

You really must stop proselyting for the standard RfM apostasy narrative. Especially in multiple concurrent threads.

I found my faith in Mormon doctrine vaporized by facts held in evidence; a mounting weight of that that finally pushed my religious world view over.

Yes, yes, we've heard it before.

And yet, there remain large numbers of faithful LDS believers who are fully aware of those same "facts in evidence." Indeed, there are those who know more about those facts than you do, and yet find their faith not even threatened, much less "vaporized."

How do you account for this difference?

If it isn't the weight of the burden that makes the difference, is it possible that it is the strength (or weakness) of the back that does it?

Regards,

Pahoran

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QB,

You really must stop proselyting for the standard RfM apostasy narrative. Especially in multiple concurrent threads.

Yes, yes, we've heard it before.

And yet, there remain large numbers of faithful LDS believers who are fully aware of those same "facts in evidence." Indeed, there are those who know more about those facts than you do, and yet find their faith not even threatened, much less "vaporized."

How do you account for this difference?

If it isn't the weight of the burden that makes the difference, is it possible that it is the strength (or weakness) of the back that does it?

Regards,

Pahoran

You don't mince words, do you? :P

Accounting for the difference. I think it's a bit simplistic to simply dismiss it as weak vs strong.

IMHO, there are as many reasons for staying or leaving as there are people. Some might say that it actually takes a very strong person to leave. Especially, if one's entire life (family, friends, even work) revolves around the church. A "weak" person is simply not going to have the strength, that it takes, to make such a huge adjustment, and I would venture to guess, would not even attempt it, unless they were strongly convicted to do so...and perhaps not even then.

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You don't mince words, do you? :P

Not much.

Accounting for the difference. I think it's a bit simplistic to simply dismiss it as weak vs strong.

Perhaps it is. But it is manifestly not the case that the "weight" of the facts is too great to permit faith to continue. That claim goes beyond "simplistic" to demonstrably false. My faith, and the faith of many others I know, is more robust than that.

IMHO, there are as many reasons for staying or leaving as there are people. Some might say that it actually takes a very strong person to leave.

Indeed, some might.

Especially when it makes themselves look good.

Especially, if one's entire life (family, friends, even work) revolves around the church. A "weak" person is simply not going to have the strength, that it takes, to make such a huge adjustment, and I would venture to guess, would not even attempt it, unless they were strongly convicted to do so.

Actually the "huge adjustment" isn't all that huge.

Sleep in on Sunday mornings.

Pay your tithing to the local liquor store.

Simply join the "main stream" of larger society; the relentless flow of which can be resisted, but only by those with real strength.

Regards,

Pahoran

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Not much.

Perhaps it is. But it is manifestly not the case that the "weight" of the facts is too great to permit faith to continue. That claim goes beyond "simplistic" to demonstrably false.

Not for everyone, Pahoran. True for you and many others, yes, I understand that, but everyone is different, and all understanding, faith and knowledge are not equal.

Indeed, some might.

Especially when it makes themselves look good.

Don't you think this is a bit arrogant? This can be turned around to suggest that those who stay, with the claim that they stay because they are "stronger", are only trying to make themselves "look good".

Actually the "huge adjustment" isn't all that huge.

Sleep in on Sunday mornings.

Pay your tithing to the local liquor store.

Simply join the "main stream" of larger society; the relentless flow of which can be resisted, but only by those with real strength.

Regards,

Pahoran

Ah, I see. You really have those apostates nailed, doncha? lol

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Pahoran, you really shouldn't try to bother Libs about this sorta thing.

If she desires to come back, she will, and she's thought about it before, that she has.

But ya' can't make the decision for her. :P That's her job. So ya' gotta be kinder than that.

Thanks,

Best Wishes,

TAO

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(I keep deleting my posts - dammed fickle fingers! even I don't have that kind of time!)

Short version for now, then: "God" is in all things, as in continually, eternally aware of every iota of particulate matter that makes up the multiverse. But each of us is sovereign, alone and free will-possessing. We are made finite in knowledge, yet eternally expanding in knowledge. And central to that knowledge is our one-on-one connection to "God". In fact as we observe, our species is the only one we know of (so far) that possesses sapience and the free will that goes with it. It seems to me that "God" does this to enjoy relating to beings that originated from itself, yet become independent and seek back to the Creator for an eternally expanding "soul mate" relationship. How could anything be more satisfying to a Creator, than to experience a voluntary reunion sought out by the free will of another being? "God" as the Necessary Cause of Existence in the First Place is the ONLY Existence there is; everything making up the multiverse originates from "God". But willing itself into infinitely variable sapient beings with free will does not in any way alter that solitary Existence: all that we see as opposites originate "from there". Yet our nature is to seek Joy. And so choices are paramount. To deny free will, as the medieval "Free Spirit" anarchists did (and "neo-anarchists" do), is a false concept for this world: it doesn't hold up.

When I say "it is impossible to imagine anything impossible" (and I just did that anyway), this conundrum is answered in the concept of infinity of the multiverse. "There", everything we can possibly imagine does occur; all of it, and all that we cannot possibly imagine besides. Yet in THIS world, we have laws in place governing our purpose. And we can develop the faith to know that "God" adheres to those laws in this venue and will never violate them (even though "God" can and does, in our imaginations only, "thank God!"). So HERE, Joy is the purpose of our Existence. I have faith that it will be so forever. And the principles that cause Joy are non negotiable....

QB,

I appreciate the response, and I am not trying to be overly critical but I don't feel you have addressed the issue I am concerned with. I may not be explaining what I see as the crux of the issue very well though.

Let my try and restate it.

If we hold the premise that "God is all things" and we also hold the premise that "Mudcat has free will", then problems seem to arise. The reason I say so, is the for me to have free will, seems like I should have the ability to choose things that are consistent with the divine will of God or also choose things that aren't consistent.

If I choose to do something terrible, like<insert an atrocity here>. Then if God is all things, he is fully associated with the atrocity I committed. God is directly culpable to the bad, just as he is the good, if that is the case. I mean my evilness would be just as much a part of God as my goodness would be, if God is all things.

To me this sort of mitigates some key principles, like goodness for example, that we generally ascribe to God and I am not prepared to alter the common definition to fit the variable.

To me God is all things, puts a bit of a stranglehold on the notion of free will. I am hoping I explained this better here than before.

However, I may just be having difficulty with the language you are using. You may actually be meaning that all things are from God, when you say God is all things. This would fit a free will paradigm better, but I don't want to make that assumption as you seem to actually be saying something quite different.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

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QB,

You really must stop proselyting for the standard RfM apostasy narrative. Especially in multiple concurrent threads.

Yes, yes, we've heard it before.

And yet, there remain large numbers of faithful LDS believers who are fully aware of those same "facts in evidence." Indeed, there are those who know more about those facts than you do, and yet find their faith not even threatened, much less "vaporized."

How do you account for this difference?

If it isn't the weight of the burden that makes the difference, is it possible that it is the strength (or weakness) of the back that does it?

Regards,

Pahoran

I feel "stronger" than before, in my religious faith, in my widening concept of "God". The crucial determining factor for each of us is our personal religion; it will trump any dogma "in the end". Facts don't have any weight when held beside personal religion. You should understand this intimately well. When you go looking for facts to make empirical (confirmation) sense out of your religious faith, you are opening a quest of a different sort from the blind faith variety. Facts have a way of intruding on your thoughts. And facts are always personal: no roomful of students are going to get the same "message" from the facts held in evidence. There will always be those who say (like the Catholic theologian - blanking on his name, again), "Thou shalt not intellectualize thy faith". But that just separates your sapience into "on and off" categories: because to not intellectualize faith puts it into the ultimate make-believe realm. I could never do that. So I have taken the empirical approach to faith: faith should be backed up by empirical facts held in evidence.

The Church leaders have always known this: that's why, in this age of exploding instantaneous information, they are even more adamant on restricting the history to "faith-promoting" only: it won't do to have a membership all over the spectrum of metaphysical exploration. Dogmatic orgs cannot survive or function with their membership espousing all manner of speculative doctrines and exegesis. This is the "age" of the death of blind faith in a singular dogma. Religion in the near future will be organized for cooperative purposes, for society's sake: but it will be almost universally accepted that "true religion" to the individual will originate with each person, accountable only to "God" in whatever form. "Seeing eye to eye" means allowing everyone the freedom to believe as they choose; while behaving justly toward everyone. My theology includes the imprimitur of "God" in every sapient being: such that the purpose of each is to seek Joy in Existence: ergo, every "soul" knows these truths self-evidently and recognizes when others are on "the right track" in their religious thinking. Because that state of mind allows total freedom to everyone else to seek and find without restraint, proscription, censorship or fear-mongering. That is what "seeing eye to eye" means: not some dogmatic age where every "chosen one" believes exactly the same kind of religious exclusivity that has reduced the world into the ultimate prison of "us and them" mentality.

Bottom line, though, for me is: "God" is too small in Mormonism. I always had a problem with that final theology of Joseph Smith's. It answers nothing vis-a-vis "Why is there existence instead of nothing?" "My God" answers that ultimate terrible question:. Even though I know nothing at all about the details of HOW Existence can be in the first place. At least I know that the Cause of it is inarguable. "I AM, therefore I think up all of this"....

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"Why is there existence instead of nothing?"

See D&C 93: 29, 31: "...Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. Behold, here is the agency of man..."

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It seems the key component of the argument is if you believe in nothing or only in things vaguely you cannot be held to account. Frankly such swamp gas smells, and produces very little beyond a noxious vapor that any breeze can blow away.

And yes, it is standard "how I became an apostate narrative" in which you have chosen subjectively to interpret facts one way, while many others with greater faith have interpreted facts another way. So you call your subjective interpretation "intellectualizing faith" when in fact you are simply creating a subjectivity and bending faith to what you wish, rather than seeking faith in what is. When you do this you do not "intellectualize faith", you degrade it. Make believe is more along the lines of vagueness, you "make believe" there are no real articles of faith or commandments perhaps, you simply consider them very good suggestions that hold no benefit to faith, or at least the faith you have "intellectualized.

Bottom line, though, for me is: "God" is too small in Mormonism. I always had a problem with that final theology of Joseph Smith's. It answers nothing vis-a-vis "Why is there existence instead of nothing?" "My God" answers that ultimate terrible question:. Even though I know nothing at all about the details of HOW Existence can be in the first place. At least I know that the Cause of it is inarguable. "I AM, therefore I think up all of this"....

If you believe God is "too small" in Mormonism, then you really don't understand Mormonism very well, and have therefore chosen a less expansive "make believe" vagueness which does not reflect the reality of faith and its growth. I partially agree that you are... but I do not believe "you think" very clearly on the subject.

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QB,

I appreciate the response, and I am not trying to be overly critical but I don't feel you have addressed the issue I am concerned with. I may not be explaining what I see as the crux of the issue very well though.

Let my try and restate it.

If we hold the premise that "God is all things" and we also hold the premise that "Mudcat has free will", then problems seem to arise. The reason I say so, is the for me to have free will, seems like I should have the ability to choose things that are consistent with the divine will of God or also choose things that aren't consistent.

If I choose to do something terrible, like<insert an atrocity here>. Then if God is all things, he is fully associated with the atrocity I committed. God is directly culpable to the bad, just as he is the good, if that is the case. I mean my evilness would be just as much a part of God as my goodness would be, if God is all things.

To me this sort of mitigates some key principles, like goodness for example, that we generally ascribe to God and I am not prepared to alter the common definition to fit the variable.

To me God is all things, puts a bit of a stranglehold on the notion of free will. I am hoping I explained this better here than before.

However, I may just be having difficulty with the language you are using. You may actually be meaning that all things are from God, when you say God is all things. This would fit a free will paradigm better, but I don't want to make that assumption as you seem to actually be saying something quite different.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

"Cut to the chase". We are talking about the core "terrible question" here, the very nature of "God". The most terrible thing about this world's evils (death being the most unfair evil of all) is what it says about "God". No theodicy can explain it upon dogmatic principles.

Language is feeble to convey what is in my mind. But I continually try to develop some explanation in the only language I know/remember:

The Ontological Argument is apropos in the one assertion that "God is that than no greater can possibly be imagined" (words to that effect). (whether this is proof that God exists is another matter) If "God" exists it must be infinitely greater than any and all concepts for "God" that all sapient beings ever come up with. So this implies that, although we are immortal beings, our existence remains within space-time, which "God" created - as Einstein is supposed to have said, so that everything doesn't happen all at once. And this is a key concept for the nature or state of "God In Total": "God" Exists as NOW. There is no space-time to it; just total awareness, power, thought, presence, etc. And deriving from that Necessary Cause is the multiverse. Can any part of the multiverse exist without being part of, or originating from, "God"? Impossible. Yet I have said "It is impossible to imagine anything impossible". So a thing CAN Exist apart from "God"; a thing can even no longer be part of "God" if "God" allows it; a thing can even become greater than "God" if "God" allows it; and "God" can annihilate itself if "God" allows it. All of these contradictory assertions are even easier to write down than to explain. So they are certainly possible. And they really occur. There really is a concurrent (oh the limitations of words!) NOTHING state, VOID as well as fecundity of creation. Existence is as much Nothing as it is Everything. It simply IS. The finite mind cannot conceive of impossible things: Infinity is the most impossible concept of all, yet we allow that it is not a false concept in the ultimate sense.

That which I just wrote seems important to establish this part: "God" evidently does create sapient, sovereign, ignorant-finite beings to populate the multiverse with. I have offered my hypothesis as to "why": in order to enjoy the company of other beings in all our infinite varieties. Possibly, the multiverse is formed of the infinite array of egocentric universes; this planet now contains c. 7 billion egocentric universes - no two exactly alike and no two overlapping/touching metaphysically: each one connected only to "God" metaphysically. But by that connection, a kind of "genetic memory" is established via the Necessary Cause, i.e. "God In Total", Existing as NOW, and intimately aware of every iota of particulate matter making up the multiverse. So even though encased in flesh, with five senses to define its existence, each of us is a "sixth sense" person as well, connected to "God", and thus (possibly) in communication subliminally with each other via each of our direct connections to "God". "God In Total" (NOW) is aware of every nuance of thought of every sapient being. But, "God" manifests as the ultimate "soul mate" for each one of us: deliberately willing himself-herself into a less than total awareness in order to enjoy each companionship: in the same way that "God" enjoys the experience of being me, or you, or an infinity of other unique beings. And each one of us in our sapience - though originating from "God" - is deliberately made alone and sovereign (at the same "time" "God In Total" is aware of every thought, yet that Totality does not meddle or intrude upon the thoughts of any sapient being that "God" has conceived of and formed).

If anything like what I have struggled to articulate is true, then this world and its "evils" is something more than the be-all and end-all of existence for us. It must be more like a "laboratory" to learn in. That explains "evil" readily: as Lehi says, "opposition in all things" is requisite in order for a created thing (us) to not be a thing of naught - i.e. created for nothing. Opposition is what shows each of us what Joy is. Without opposition we would not have an awareness of being happy or miserable. Without "laws" establishing justice and mercy as the ultimate good, we would nave no awareness of depravity, evil, injustice: we would be insensitive and may as well not exist at all, having no purpose for existing. But Joy appears to be the ultimate prize of Existence in the first place. Joy is what "God In Total" prefers - held up against VOID: this must be true, else we would not exist, having never been created in the first place, and thus leaving Void only: So it must appear from the evidence of our own senses, especially our metaphysical sensibility. Nothing else makes any sense out of the seeming injustice-unfairness of life on earth for so many people in all ages of mankind.

So there is no dichotomy vis-a-vis free will, when we say "God is all things". The free will as enormous and real as Existence in the First Place. It is just broken down into infinitely small bits: each one of us, with a body so finite that it has no measurement in the infinite scale of things: yet each possessing a sapience-imagination so huge that it is only exceeded by "God In Total".

As imperfectly as I have said it: that is the biggest concept that I can muster at this point for "God". And it is a continually increasing concept. This seems to me to be the purpose of metaphysics, or religion. And no dogma for the masses (manmade religious proscriptions on thought and action) can put a harness on it or hold it down. Not even myself. I tried to confine my theology to what the scriptures and theologian exegesis says is "truth", but finally it became insupportable and I had to go on alone....

(edit: "to")

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