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Mormons need to spend more time defending their bosoms.


Montgomery Price

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No, the problem is that you know nothing about epistemology because you are yet uneducated in it.

What are "epistemic tools" for heaven's sake? Tsk Tsk, I can tell you did not do your assignment of reading Nagel.

What are you going to do with a kid who won't do his homework? Oh well.

At least try to respond to my siggy ok? Do you understand that a pyramid seen from above would be perceived as a square so that if all you had were aerial photos you might not know that pyramids exist?

And then you could do a whole thread on why there was no evidence for pyramids?

It is a question of point of view.

You do not understand subjective and objective points of view. Oh well.

Do you not know what epistemic means? An example of an epistemic tool would be Moroni's Promise.

I do understand that "a pyramid seen from above would be perceived as a square", obviously. What you don't understand is that simply because it's possible that a perceived square is a pyramid, doesn't mean we have reason to believe it's a pyramid. Is it possible that we don't know whether it's a square or a pyramid... so why choose pyramid?

My contention is that when we see a square, there is no reason to believe it's a pyramid.

If you claim otherwise, then provide that reason to me. If not... oh well?

In this case, I'm not even arguing that it is in fact a square. I'm waiting for evidence of either square or pyramid. You claim pyramid. I say "on what basis?". What are you missing?

You're so quick to assume I've misunderstood something I haven't. Your tendency to misinterpret my words and underestimate my understanding doesn't reflect nicely upon yourself. I already understand what you're trying to say... It's just that I've already moved ahead, in fact, I started ahead. Please, don't underestimate me again.

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I'm beginning to think that these sorts of thoughts are not only misunderstandings, but evasive tactics. Attempts to hide from criticism. I can do more wondering as to what motivates a person to say such weaselly and naive things... but I can also just show you why they're misunderstood.

The debate I am trying to hold is not over whether your particular experience is valid.

It's ...

~rolls eyes~

Since I *AM* Mormon, then obviously I feel that my personal spiritual experiences are a basis for conversion. Should a Muslim have a similar experience but within the sphere of Islam, and I obviously do not believe Islam is the religion of choice, then that guy is going to have to talk with God. Not me. As long as he and I can live in peace on Earth, then it's really not my job to make sense of what other people's choices are. Just mine. In this particular case, I haven't had a personal spiritual experience with Islam, so I wouldn't need to enumerate the reasons why I'd go with one over the other.

How do I know this?

I don't "know." I believe it. Very strongly.

My spiritual experiences are subject to MY evaluation, since I'm the one who has to choose what to do with them. If you want to evaluate them, be my guest, but I won't be changing how I feel about them based on what you say. I don't care what you think.

This is seriously not that hard.

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The "nail in the coffin" comment is definitely egotistical. Like all anti-Mormons in the last 180+ years, they desperately want to be the one to find that "elusive nail" to pacify their own faithlessness.

If you read more closely, you would see that it's only the nail in the coffin because "if it can be shown to be a valid reason to accept Mormonism, the apologist has all of his work taken care of. Nothing else matters." I didn't invent this nail in the coffin, I discovered it. It was already integral to Mormonism to begin with. You can't blame me for recognizing how Mormonism has structured itself.

So you don't believe in God and the Bible, but believe in "false spirits"? Classic!

Classic? What?

I don't believe in false spirits. What are you talking about?

Of course you won't, you would hate others to question your own beliefs. You only demand that others do it. From reading your other responses, it is obvious you are very insecure in your own beliefs, hence your OP.

Sorry, I don't see how this is obvious at all. Also, how it's relevant to the point I was making when I said I wouldn't respond.

On what basis do you assume that I would hate others to question my beliefs, and wouldn't ask others to question them?

On what basis do you assume I am insecure in my own beliefs?

Is this just your imagination? Because frankly, all of these things are false. What have I done exactly, that has brought you to these conclusions?

And I'll say it again... "your question presumes something that has yet to be substantiated."

This means... substantiate it.

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Of course I did. I agreed with Bernard each of the 4 times. MY personal experiences won't convince anyone anymore than MP's lack of experiences or different experiences will convince me. The only thing we can do is invite each other to give something a try and see what we think of it. When God sits me down at the end of it all and wants me to account for everything in my life, I think He's going to want to know why I did what I did. I won't be able to pull any wool over His eyes. I'll see as clearly as He always has that I chose to believe what I believed (or didn't) every bit as much as I chose to do. Did I get it right, Bernard?

MP, there's no need to spice this thread up anywhere beyond its core. My personal spiritual experiences have no convincing power. They can pique your interest, and I believe that the Spirit of God will attest to truth when it's spoken and heard, and if my experiences are truth based and if you're listening the Spirit will covey that to you, but beyond that my experiences have no convincing power.

Whatever other reasons someone my ascribe - that they're just neurons firing in my brain, that I was mistaken, deluded, persuaded by family tradition, or that they're the "effects of a frenzied mind," I just don't care. It's my job to choose what to make of my experiences and I have chosen to believe they came from God. I can't prove it to you and I don't want to. It's not my job to convince you.

I'm not asking to be convinced by your particular experience. Why has no one acknowledged that they've misunderstood my question?

~rolls eyes~

Since I *AM* Mormon, then obviously I feel that my personal spiritual experiences are a basis for conversion. Should a Muslim have a similar experience but within the sphere of Islam, and I obviously do not believe Islam is the religion of choice, then that guy is going to have to talk with God. Not me. As long as he and I can live in peace on Earth, then it's really not my job to make sense of what other people's choices are. Just mine. In this particular case, I haven't had a personal spiritual experience with Islam, so I wouldn't need to enumerate the reasons why I'd go with one over the other.

How do I know this?

I don't "know." I believe it. Very strongly.

My spiritual experiences are subject to MY evaluation, since I'm the one who has to choose what to do with them. If you want to evaluate them, be my guest, but I won't be changing how I feel about them based on what you say. I don't care what you think.

This is seriously not that hard.

I'm sorry... but you've established that your irrational bias and lack of care prevents you from considering any critical evaluation of your experience, and you've already admitted that if you're deceived, you don't care. You've shown that you're prepared to ignore any possibly valid lines of reason. I suggest you change this immediately.

I think that it's more than evident that you should care if you're deceived, and until you admit this you can consider your position an indefensible failure. Once you do admit this, then I can talk to you about why there is something to learn from a critical evaluation of the personal experience... whether you care or not.

Why is it that many believers accept in advance that their personal experience is immune to criticism? I haven't been provided any clear answer.

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Please, don't underestimate me again.

Sorry- you are obviously a very intelligent individual and I don't mean to underestimate you to the slightest degree.

What I underestimate, frankly, is your understanding of the philosophical issues involved here. Not YOU for a minute. You are amazing.

But honestly, saying that Mormoni's Promise is an "epistemic tool" is just not even close to the mark.

"Epistemic tools" are devices or concepts used to model situations alleged to exist in the real world which allow one to understand things better. Conceptually, they serve a similar function to analogies, but are often real, three dimensional objects which are "tools"

Moroni's Promise is not an "epistemic tool", it is a spiritual challenge.

But please don't try to use philosophical language unless you are willing to engage in philosophical discussion and to do that you actually have to read some philosophy, which you show no evidence of understanding.

Quote philosophers, show some understanding of previous people who have made similar arguments, be willing to discuss where they are right and wrong etc.

Until then, you are refusing to use the one "language" which might make your case credible.

You do not understand the nature of subjective experience and won't try to understand anyone but yourself. You are too busy defending your ego to listen.

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Define love, and then explain how it's comparable to whatever I was confused by to begin with.

Look it up in the dictionary if you need to.

The issue is not its definition, but how you KNOW you are in love.

You don't decide to marry someone based on data alone. Data may contribute- for example it is important that the person be of the right sex, for a start.

But what you don't understand is that one's most important decisions are not based on data, they are based on subjective experience and feelings.

THAT is what gives your life "meaning" and gets you out of bed in the morning to go and fight another day. Not data.

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MP, I directly answered your three bolded questions that you put forth here:

I am questioning the very use of personal experiences as the basis for conversion.

My question is: How do you know this?

Where is the logical pathway? It's the believers job to show that a spiritual experience is a good reason to accept the claims of any particular religion. I could provide my arguments as to why the spiritual experience is unreliable as an epistemic tool, but the burden of proof is on the believer who proposes that a spiritual experience is reliable.

And last... Spiritual experiences are subject to evaluation, whether you blindly believe otherwise or not. If they can't be evaluated, then how do you know they are reliable? In order to show that they are reliable, they must be evaluated... and if they can be evaluated, then criticisms can be raised.

The answer continues to be the same.

Yes, the use of personal experience for the basis of conversion is valid. You don't think so. Right?

The logical pathway is "I choose to believe these spiritual experiences are coming from God therefore I will act on them."

I do evaluate my spiritual experiences. That evaluation led me to believe they came from God.

but the burden of proof is on the believer who proposes that a spiritual experience is reliable.

Yeah, but the believer doesn't owe you the answer. The believer owes himself the answer.

What else can I help you understand?

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Most Mormons would agree, the most powerful evidence for Mormonism is the personal experience. At least, when I ask them...

To me, it's odd that debates around boards like these don't often include what Mormons themselves indicate as the very best reason to be LDS.

Spiritual experience doesn't compute well with reasoned dialog.

Maybe it's because many of the critics of the church have personal experiences of their own to defend. To me, it's quite the anti-climactic response from those who are so frequently absorbed with the non-spiritual evidences for Mormonism... and frankly, makes much of the fuss over the non-spiritual aspects of Mormonism seem insignificant. But I suppose it's the critics fault for not bringing it up often enough... so, here I am.

Showing that the burning in the bosom experience provides sufficient reason to accept Mormonism should be the only concern for apologists.

I disagree with your opinion here. Apologists, by and large, discuss reasons why faith is possible. Apologists are not just trying to supplant faith, or religious experience.

Because most Mormons would also agree:

Personal experience supersedes any non-spiritual evidence. This is shown to be true by every aspect of Mormonism. Quite uncontroversial. General Authorities affirm this. Members affirm this. Scripture affirms this.

I dont' know if that's the hard and fast type of rule.

Personal experience is sufficient for conversion. A spiritual exprience can lead to conversion and conversion by scientific or historical evidence is entirely unnecessary. Mormon apologetics can be completely ignored, and no issue is raised by the believing LDS population. In fact, this is the case for millions of LDS who have lived and died without giving any serious consideration to non-spiritual evidence. Many didn't even have access to the scientific and historical resources we have today.

Personal experience is the basis of your conversion... and millions of others. Obviously, if the near universal reason for conversion is shown to be an insufficient reason for accepting the LDS faith, then consider Mormonism a failed religion.

If this all seems readily apparent, you're right... but I only press these points to emphasize the contrast between how critically central the personal experience is to the LDS faith and how little its veracity is discussed.

If the burning in the bosom can't be defended... it's the nail in the coffin for Mormonism. Likewise, if it can be shown to be a valid reason to accept Mormonism, the apologist has all of his work taken care of. Nothing else matters. Amidst all the discussion, I don't think enough attention is paid to this critical challenge.

I see your point. I think its overstated but we'll see.

So, let's settle every debate right now. Why should I accept the personal spiritual experience as sufficient reason to be Mormon?

Why should you? Why not? So, are we taking for sake of argument that you have had a personal spiritual experience that suggests to you to convert to the religion? What is the extent of this hypothetical (I assume hypothetical since you don't say) spiritual experience? What is it? What is it saying?

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I'm not asking to be convinced by your particular experience. Why has no one acknowledged that they've misunderstood my question?

I'm sorry... but you've established that your irrational bias and lack of care prevents you from considering any critical evaluation of your experience, and you've already admitted that if you're deceived, you don't care. You've shown that you're prepared to ignore any possibly valid lines of reason. I suggest you change this immediately.

I think that it's more than evident that you should care if you're deceived, and until you admit this you can consider your position an indefensible failure. Once you do admit this, then I can talk to you about why there is something to learn from a critical evaluation of the personal experience... whether you care or not.

Why is it that many believers accept in advance that their personal experience is immune to criticism? I haven't been provided any clear answer.

Please explain how you can be deceived into thinking you're in love?

Or that you are hungry or that you feel a pain in your knee?

Suppose you fall, you stand up and nothing hurts. Are you deceived that you are injured?

Suppose you fall, you try to stand up, and your knee hurts so much that you can't walk. Are you deceived that you are injured?

Suppose instead it is your head and you have an incredible headache that you didnt have before. Do you go and see the doctor, or do you wait for objective verification that you have a cerebral hemorrhage?

No one else feels your headache, so how do you know it's "real"?

In the world of the subjective, the only evidence for anything is subjective, and it has nothing to do with the external world. Get it now?

Religion has nothing to do with the external world either. It is about what is subjective- you finding meaning in your life.

That is about all I can say- If you don't understand that, I am about done.

It seems everyone else here is saying the same thing. Turn up you hearing aid!

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What you miss is, it's all about love.

Dang you're good.

Can I move to your ward? :P

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To those who hold these and similar sentiments:

Where is the logical pathway?

There ain't none.

Computers make poor lovers, Mr. Spock.

Can you see how maybe Mr. Spock might have been missing something in life? At least that's what Captain Kirk was always trying to teach him.

And remember how Data was always trying to be human?

Do you ever laugh?

Why? Is laughter logical? How do you know something is beautiful?

Religion is not about any state in the world it is about the state of your heart. Get it now? And yes, it is unreliable. It is about working out what works for you to give your life meaning.

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Sorry- you are obviously a very intelligent individual and I don't mean to underestimate you to the slightest degree.

What I underestimate, frankly, is your understanding of the philosophical issues involved here. Not YOU for a minute. You are amazing.

Thank you. But I still don't see what I've misunderstood.

But honestly, saying that Mormoni's Promise is an "epistemic tool" is just not even close to the mark.

"Epistemic tools" are devices or concepts used to model situations alleged to exist in the real world which allow one to understand things better. Conceptually, they serve a similar function to analogies, but are often real, three dimensional objects which are "tools"

Moroni's Promise is not an "epistemic tool", it is a spiritual challenge.

But please don't try to use philosophical language unless you are willing to engage in philosophical discussion and to do that you actually have to read some philosophy, which you show no evidence of understanding.

If there's something I'm missing, then you can attempt to educate me. So far, what you've said, I've understood but have already moved ahead. What I meant by epistemic tool is a method of acquiring knowledge. That's what Moroni's Promise is. It claims that if you do these certain things, you will acquire knowledge. If there's a separate definition for "epistemic tool", OK... but I don't see how this concept doesn't fit the words I used. Maybe "epistemic method"? It doesn't matter. I've made it clear what I mean. I'll rephrase from now own to avoid confusion.

Quote philosophers, show some understanding of previous people who have made similar arguments, be willing to discuss where they are right and wrong etc.

Sorry, I don't judge my understanding on how well I can quote philosophers... I can do without.

Until then, you are refusing to use the one "language" which might make your case credible.

I think I can explain things well enough without the traditional philosophical language.

You do not understand the nature of subjective experience and won't try to understand anyone but yourself. You are too busy defending your ego to listen.

I'm trying to understand, and you can't say otherwise. I'm not busy defending my ego, I'm busy trying to work through these irrational walls that have been erected around the personal experience, and also correct those who have legitimate misunderstandings of myself... which may seem to you like an egotistical attitude.

Look it up in the dictionary if you need to.

The issue is not its definition, but how you KNOW you are in love.

You don't decide to marry someone based on data alone. Data may contribute- for example it is important that the person be of the right sex, for a start.

But what you don't understand is that one's most important decisions are not based on data, they are based on subjective experience and feelings.

THAT is what gives your life "meaning" and gets you out of bed in the morning to go and fight another day. Not data.

I don't see why you keep bringing this up... How does establishing that important decisions are sometimes based on subjective experiences or feelings show that subjective experiences or feelings are reliable in the case of religious experiences, and that there is good reason to base our beliefs on these subjective experiences? Can we please move on?

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Please explain how you can be deceived into thinking you're in love?

Or that you are hungry or that you feel a pain in your knee?

Suppose you fall, you stand up and nothing hurts. Are you deceived that you are injured?

Suppose you fall, you try to stand up, and your knee hurts so much that you can't walk. Are you deceived that you are injured?

Suppose instead it is your head and you have an incredible headache that you didnt have before. Do you go and see the doctor, or do you wait for objective verification that you have a cerebral hemorrhage?

No one else feels your headache, so how do you know it's "real"?

In the world of the subjective, the only evidence for anything is subjective, and it has nothing to do with the external world. Get it now?

Religion has nothing to do with the external world either. It is about what is subjective- you finding meaning in your life.

That is about all I can say- If you don't understand that, I am about done.

It seems everyone else here is saying the same thing. Turn up you hearing aid!

Again, I understand that sometimes subjectivity is all we have. I still not convinced that this is the case for religious experiences, or that we should accept subjective experiences as sufficient reason to believe in any religion.

Turn up my hearing aid? How about you keep up...?

There ain't none.

And yes, it is unreliable.

If there's no logical pathway from a spiritual experience to Mormonism, and you admit that it's unreliable.... what reason is there to become Mormon after I have a Mormon spiritual experience?

You've just admitted that there is no good reason, there are only reasons to the contrary.

Having no logical pathway and being unreliable are valid reasons to reject spiritual experiences, even if they seem successful.

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Sorry, I don't judge my understanding on how well I can quote philosophers... I can do without.

The problem is, you can't. You are discussing philosophy without understanding that all these issues are discussed elsewhere and it is not my job to be your teacher unless you want to pay me.

It's like debating string theory when you have never had a class in physics and saying "I can do without".

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Having no logical pathway and being unreliable are valid reasons to reject spiritual experiences, even if they seem successful.

Fine, just be consistent then Mr Logician.

Reject all subjective experience. Remember you don't get to eat when you're hungry any more, even if it seems successful

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MP, I directly answered your three bolded questions that you put forth here:

The answer continues to be the same.

Yes, the use of personal experience for the basis of conversion is valid. You don't think so. Right?

The logical pathway is "I choose to believe these spiritual experiences are coming from God therefore I will act on them."

I do evaluate my spiritual experiences. That evaluation led me to believe they came from God.

The answer continues to be weak and unsubstantiated.

You simply state that you "choose to believe"... I'm asking what reasons specifically brought you to that decision, and why are they good and valid reasons? I haven't been presented with any good reason, so even if I did have an experience, conversion would be illogical, since I have no good reason to do so.

You simply state that your evaluation led you to believe in God... OK, explain your process of evaluation.

Yeah, but the believer doesn't owe you the answer. The believer owes himself the answer.

What else can I help you understand?

The believer holds the burden of proof for why the spiritual experience should be accepted as reliable. Unless you wish to refrain from claiming such, I see no reason why it shouldn't be defended by believers. And if you refrain from claiming it, I can only speculate as to why.

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The problem is, you can't. You are discussing philosophy without understanding that all these issues are discussed elsewhere and it is not my job to be your teacher unless you want to pay me.

It's like debating string theory when you have never had a class in physics and saying "I can do without".

Then entertain me and start debating... and we will deal with any misunderstanding as it comes along. I'm confident I can do without, so let me prove it.

Fine, just be consistent then Mr Logician.

Reject all subjective experience. Remember you don't get to eat when you're hungry any more, even if it seems successful

I see no issue with my statement. I do see issue with yours though. I never said I reject all subjective experience, and never even implied it. I know you believe otherwise, but I think what you misunderstand is that subjective evidence is not equal in all cases. There are times when subjective evidence is perfectly appropriate and sufficient, and other times when it can be shown to not be so.

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I completely agree with Benard.

There's nothing to debate. It's an intensely personal experience that cannot be replicated or examined at will.

Bernard

Personal experience cannot be quantified and measured. It is meaningless to someone else. It is the equivlent of casting pearls before swine.

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Then entertain me and start debating... and will deal with any misunderstanding as it comes along. I'm confident I can do without, so let me prove it.

Lol

You have already disproven it.

Newsflash: I do not exist for your entertainment.

You are not ready to debate it- you don't know enough and won't listen anyway. You are out to make "points" in your own ego game. Have fun! I am not going to help feed your addiction! At least video games don't use real people- use them instead.

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