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43 Minutes Which Could Change Your Life And This Forum - Science & Religion


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3DOP:

You'll be happy to know that LDS do not believe that we will ever be greater than God. We do believe that we will forever to subservient to him.

Just for the record, I agree. He is, and always will be our Father and God no matter how far we progress because his progression is increased by our progression. Whatever we obtain it will still be part of what he has created.
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3DOP

We watched the first fifteen minutes carefully last night. So far I agree with your assessment. I think we would need to listen farther for me to comment on whether both positions are "equally 'rational' for a true believer".

Yep. The deal was 43 minutes, not 15. ;)

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The point of pragmatism is that "all we can know is what we see and feel about what is out there"? What is the objection you refer to?

This one:

From this I gather that it wouldn't matter to you, or that at least it would be secondary, whether or not the church is approved by God.

Of course I care if it is approved by God, but how could we KNOW THAT?

THAT is the only issue. Suppose God approves, but we don't know that? What use is his approval?

Suppose he doesn't approve but we don't know that. What use is his disapproval?

How can we ever KNOW what he wants if he does not communicate with us? Do we take someone else's word for what he wants?

The only way we can know is testimony. Remember "all we can know is what we see and feel about what is out there". If we can't know about it, it can't make a difference in our lives.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Of course I care if it is approved by God, but how could we KNOW THAT?

THAT is the only issue. Suppose God approves, but we don't know that? What use is his approval?

Suppose he doesn't approve but we don't know that. What use is his disapproval?

How can we ever KNOW what he wants if he does not communicate with us? Do we take someone else's word for what he wants?

The only way we can know is testimony. Remember "all we can know is what we see and feel about what is out there". If we can't know about it, it can't make a difference in our lives.

I agree that testimony would have to be the only way to know such a thing as God's will or God's approval. However, it is a very personal experience, and though it may contribute to the beauty of it, sadly that is also where the difficulties arise.

One problem I see is that it is one thing for someone to believe/"know" something personally, and another to get other people to come to the same conclusion. Yes I know, we have the Holy Spirit that can testify of these things, Moroni's promise, etc. We even have people who have similar experiences and come to apparently the same conclusions than ours! However, there are people out there who are as sure as any member of the Church (if not more!) that God has pointed them towards the right, true, and only way, and that other beliefs/religions are mistaken and on the wrong path (and Mormonism is included in that list). But of course, God is on our side, so they are mistaken. In the end, I feel we are always somebody else's misguided fool.

In the Church, I am under the impression that members tend to believe that no matter the other person's beliefs, if he/she is ready for the Gospel, the Holy Ghost will override and pierce through whatever barrier that person may have, and testify of the Church / Book of Mormon / Joseph Smith, etc. Though this person would not know all there is about the Gospel, the conversion process thus begins, and it can only lead to one final outcome, if they are honestly following the truth, and that is to accept the Church, its doctrine and practices as the only true way to God. You're expressing this same thought in your concept of following one's testimony "for now", as well as when you say "As your understanding increases, it is my opinion that you will soon see a coherence between where your heart leads you and Mormonism, if you allow that in your life".

I used to think this way, and the believing part of me still partly does/wants to. This is a comforting thought to know that in the end, everything will be made clear for all to see how we were right. And honestly, I will rejoice if that is what really happens and will gladly follow the Savior. The thing is, other believers hold similar concepts, that their faith will ultimately be proven the correct one in the end. How can we then objectively arrive at a definitive conclusion that such is right and such is wrong? We cannot, and you admit it yourself. This is all subjective, i.e., experienced by individuals with no communication possible to other individuals. So the question is, how do we know for sure that we are not mistaken in the witness we receive? No matter how strong we may have felt it, the "strength" of a subjective, metaphysical (i.e., independent of direct external stimuli) witness provides no conclusive evidence. For all we know, these feelings may have been caused by a thousand different somatic and/or psychical phenomena/factors.

Deep inside, I do want the Church to be "true", in the sense generally ascribed by members. I think some of her doctrine is fascinating. But I struggle with the truth claims of the Church (and any churches for that matter), partly for the reasons above.

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In the end, I feel we are always somebody else's misguided fool.

Yep, and I suspect that will always be the case until the veil is withdrawn and we remember what we knew before we came here.

In the Church, I am under the impression that members tend to believe that no matter the other person's beliefs, if he/she is ready for the Gospel, the Holy Ghost will override and pierce through whatever barrier that person may have, and testify of the Church / Book of Mormon / Joseph Smith, etc. Though this person would not know all there is about the Gospel, the conversion process thus begins, and it can only lead to one final outcome, if they are honestly following the truth, and that is to accept the Church, its doctrine and practices as the only true way to God. You're expressing this same thought in your concept of following one's testimony "for now", as well as when you say "As your understanding increases, it is my opinion that you will soon see a coherence between where your heart leads you and Mormonism, if you allow that in your life".

There's a difference between knowing/understanding the truth and agreeing with it, though.

We need to be doers and not just knowers of what is both good and true.

...So the question is, how do we know for sure that we are not mistaken in the witness we receive? No matter how strong we may have felt it, the "strength" of a subjective, metaphysical (i.e., independent of direct external stimuli) witness provides no conclusive evidence. For all we know, these feelings may have been caused by a thousand different somatic and/or psychical phenomena/factors.

We know what we know by accepting knowledge from the one who is giving it to us, so if God is the one telling us something we then know what he knows as well as he knows it because he is the one who is giving that knowledge to us. That still doesn't mean we're going to agree or conform to what God is telling us though. We can know what is good and still not do it.

Deep inside, I do want the Church to be "true", in the sense generally ascribed by members. I think some of her doctrine is fascinating. But I struggle with the truth claims of the Church (and any churches for that matter), partly for the reasons above.

I think people should put more focus more on finding out whether or not something is good, rather than just whether or not it is true, because something that is true isn't necessarily good. See what comes out of living as if the knowledge you have is good.
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I agree that testimony would have to be the only way to know such a thing as God's will or God's approval. However, it is a very personal experience, and though it may contribute to the beauty of it, sadly that is also where the difficulties arise.

One problem I see is that it is one thing for someone to believe/"know" something personally, and another to get other people to come to the same conclusion. Yes I know, we have the Holy Spirit that can testify of these things, Moroni's promise, etc. We even have people who have similar experiences and come to apparently the same conclusions than ours! However, there are people out there who are as sure as any member of the Church (if not more!) that God has pointed them towards the right, true, and only way, and that other beliefs/religions are mistaken and on the wrong path (and Mormonism is included in that list). But of course, God is on our side, so they are mistaken. In the end, I feel we are always somebody else's misguided fool.

In the Church, I am under the impression that members tend to believe that no matter the other person's beliefs, if he/she is ready for the Gospel, the Holy Ghost will override and pierce through whatever barrier that person may have, and testify of the Church / Book of Mormon / Joseph Smith, etc. Though this person would not know all there is about the Gospel, the conversion process thus begins, and it can only lead to one final outcome, if they are honestly following the truth, and that is to accept the Church, its doctrine and practices as the only true way to God. You're expressing this same thought in your concept of following one's testimony "for now", as well as when you say "As your understanding increases, it is my opinion that you will soon see a coherence between where your heart leads you and Mormonism, if you allow that in your life".

I used to think this way, and the believing part of me still partly does/wants to. This is a comforting thought to know that in the end, everything will be made clear for all to see how we were right. And honestly, I will rejoice if that is what really happens and will gladly follow the Savior. The thing is, other believers hold similar concepts, that their faith will ultimately be proven the correct one in the end. How can we then objectively arrive at a definitive conclusion that such is right and such is wrong? We cannot, and you admit it yourself. This is all subjective, i.e., experienced by individuals with no communication possible to other individuals. So the question is, how do we know for sure that we are not mistaken in the witness we receive? No matter how strong we may have felt it, the "strength" of a subjective, metaphysical (i.e., independent of direct external stimuli) witness provides no conclusive evidence. For all we know, these feelings may have been caused by a thousand different somatic and/or psychical phenomena/factors.

Deep inside, I do want the Church to be "true", in the sense generally ascribed by members. I think some of her doctrine is fascinating. But I struggle with the truth claims of the Church (and any churches for that matter), partly for the reasons above.

I think clearly you did not listen to the video in the OP.

This thread is for those who have and have comments on it. If you listen to that video, your questions should be answered. Long story short, the video contends that Western civilization has gone down the wrong road in understanding religious truth.

It further explains how to solve questions like yours, which, according to the video, arise from a misconception about the nature of religious truth

In short, you cannot be "wrong" about religious truth, because it is personal. It is following the path which brings you personally closer to finding meaning in your life.

What brings meaning to your life does not necessarily bring meaning and peace to my life.

But there is nothing greater to anyone than living with purpose and being at peace with God and mankind- that is the goal of every human on earth, and those must be found inside oneself by finding the right path.

Edited by mfbukowski
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Deep inside, I do want the Church to be "true", in the sense generally ascribed by members. I think some of her doctrine is fascinating. But I struggle with the truth claims of the Church (and any churches for that matter), partly for the reasons above.

I would encourage you to examine what ANY "truth claims" really ARE in any discipline, not only religion. I think the word "truth" does not mean what you think it means. ;)

It does not only apply to scientifically verifiable interpretations of data. But that last phrase is key. All science IS- is interpretations of data. It is "what works" as an interpretation. Religion is the same thing really- but the interpretations in religion are personal. But that's ok because in your PERSONAL LIFE all that is important is indeed also PERSONAL!

It's like worrying about if being gay or straight makes you happy, or fulfills your life. Your truth claim is that x being straight is correct, someone else thinks being gay is correct. Those are competing "truth claims" which cannot be settled- both are right, both are wrong- what works for one might not work for the other. Arguing about it will never solve anything.

Truth is finding what works for a certain purpose- nothing more nothing less. Science works for getting a man to the moon, religion works for giving your life peace and meaning.

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One for the road- short form

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Just so you know, I've watched and listened to the video posted in the OP back before I wrote my first comments. As I crudely understand (read remember) it, in this video, Rorty holds that someone can be intellectually honest while holding beliefs in two seemingly opposite concepts at the same: science and religion. He makes a distinction ala Aquinas to show that belief in religion is compatible with belief in science, that they are not necessarily opposite. He used an imaginary scenario of a scientific woman who's also a good catholic to make his points more relevant. Long story short, though science and religion serve two different purposes, they point towards the same realities but use different words/expressions/language. So religion should not be assessed using the standards of science, and vice-versa.

Though I wouldn't totally disagree with the video, in the end I am still skeptical about the pragmatists' conception(s) of truth. I could never myself believe something like "Truth is finding what works for a certain purpose- nothing more nothing less." You seem to be very fond of this school of thought, but sadly I'm not sharing the same enthusiasm. With all due respect. :)

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Though I wouldn't totally disagree with the video, in the end I am still skeptical about the pragmatists' conception(s) of truth. I could never myself believe something like "Truth is finding what works for a certain purpose- nothing more nothing less." You seem to be very fond of this school of thought, but sadly I'm not sharing the same enthusiasm. With all due respect. :)

Of course- that's what it's all about.

The problem is, all the alternatives I am aware of postulate the existence of realms beyond what we can experience as being some "reality" other than what we as humans can know.

Do you know of an alternative? One which does not require us to somehow be able to get outside our minds to see if what we know "corresponds" to a reality outside of what humans can know? I don't.

All we can know is what humans can know. Seems simple enough. Checking what we know by trying to connect to something "outside" of what we know sounds a tad problematic to me.

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I would encourage you to examine what ANY "truth claims" really ARE in any discipline, not only religion. I think the word "truth" does not mean what you think it means. ;)

It does not only apply to scientifically verifiable interpretations of data. But that last phrase is key. All science IS- is interpretations of data. It is "what works" as an interpretation. Religion is the same thing really- but the interpretations in religion are personal. But that's ok because in your PERSONAL LIFE all that is important is indeed also PERSONAL!

It's like worrying about if being gay or straight makes you happy, or fulfills your life. Your truth claim is that x being straight is correct, someone else thinks being gay is correct. Those are competing "truth claims" which cannot be settled- both are right, both are wrong- what works for one might not work for the other. Arguing about it will never solve anything.

Truth is finding what works for a certain purpose- nothing more nothing less. Science works for getting a man to the moon, religion works for giving your life peace and meaning.

For the record though I suppose I really should qualify what I said above and also mention that I think that there ARE principles which always work.

If you step off a cliff, you will always fall. If you boil water at a certain altitude, those bubbles are always going to form at the same temperature.

What is important to understand is though that there are always an understood context in which these things "always" happen. If you step off a cliff on a planet with low gravity, you might fall, but the effects will be different from what happens on earth.

I also believe that this works for morals as well. I think it is virtually an axiom that adultery leads to marital discord, and that wholesale murder of innocents is destructive to society and mankind as a whole and is therefore always "wrong" precisely for those reasons.

The difference in the way I think about it from the way many think about it is that I look at it all contextually whereas others talk about truth as if it is not contextual. You can have things which are "absolute" within a certain context, but outside that context things might be different.

So it works fine to be a "pragmatist" and have absolute values- because those values absolutely work for all humans who desire to live, say, in a peaceful society.

The point though is, that all societies are such societies. In fact society would not exist without peaceful values- indeed that is almost tautologous. What we mean by "society" or "civilization" indeed implies peaceful living. Uncivilized behavior is not tolerated in civilization.

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Did not change my life. Is there a money-back guarantee?

Absolutely. Your price of admission is hereby refunded.

Uh, I guess I should have qualified that as only applying to those who needed it- a group of which you ain't a member. ;)

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I had to listen really attentively. I'm a bear of very little brain and long words bother me. I paused a few times to think and rethink about what was said.

First off, here's a brain dump of the notes I took. Not verbatim quotes, I guess this is what I heard. It might not be what was said. Either way, I loved it!

It seems too simple to say life and the world can be described one way on Sundays for religious purposes and another day on weekdays for all other purposes.

Acquiring a belief in God is more like falling into or out of love than winning or losing an argument.

Scientific beliefs give us the ability to predict space and time in a practical useful way. Religious beliefs give meaning to our lives in an emotionally satisfying context.

Science oversteps its bounds when it tells us we have no right to believe in God now that we have better explanations for the phenomena that God was previously used to explain.

Abandon the idea that there is one way the world really is and Science & Religion are competing to tell us what way that really is.

There is no such thing as the search for truth if that search is distinct from the search for greater human happiness.

We call a belief true when no competing truth serves the same purpose equally well.

We want prediction and control and scientific beliefs give us that. We also want our lives to have significance. We want to love something with all our heart and soul and mind and philosophical and religious beliefs sometimes help in that attempt.

Different human needs give rides for different beliefs. One description is satisfactory for one human need but not satisfactory for all human needs.

Some suggest that if belief is established on insufficient evidence the pleasure is a stolen one. It is sinful because it is stolen in rejection of our duty to mankind. It is wrong to believe anything on insufficient evidence.

Is evidence something that floats free? Or does it satisfy a human need? It's reasonable to demand evidence when in a common enterprise. But when searching for meaning it's not clear that we have an obligation to produce evidence.

Our passional nature must decide an option between propositions whenever it is a genuine option that cannot, by its nature, be decided on intellectual grounds.

There are certain live, momentous and forced options which people face and can’t be decided by anything that some would be willing to call evidence. An option is live if we can't help thinking about it; if we can't help feeling it's important. Options that are live for some people are not live for other people. People's sense of importance differs.

It's momentous if, unlike the live option of going to the movies or staying home and working, decision between the alternatives will have far reaching effects. It's forced if there's no way of splitting the difference, no way of fudging the issue. It cannot be decided on intellectual grounds if there is no consensus in the relevant community of what criteria should be used for arriving at a decision.

What counts as a live, forced and momentous option will vary between cultures and individuals. Some people raised agnostic will not think about religion at all. The option of becoming a religious believer is not live. It may become "live" if they fall in love with someone who refuses to marry a non-catholic.

There are no options that all of humanity has the responsibility to confront because options vary with each physical location. Should we withhold belief in the absence of evidence and be bound to belief when consensus of evidence is reached?

To search for truth is to search for beliefs that work. For beliefs that get us what we want.

One human pleasure is in finding beautiful comprehensive theories. We have no responsibilities to something called truth but only responsibilities to other human beings.

The question of whether there is evidence for a belief is the question of whether there exists a certain human community which takes certain relatively non controversial propositions as providing good reason for that belief.

(25:34) Where there is such a community to which we want to belong we have an obligation to not to believe a proposition unless we can give some good reasons for doing so; reasons that the community takes to be good ones. Where there is no such community, we don’t.

Nobody knows what would count as non-question-begging evidence for the claims of the Catholic or Mormon Church to be “the one true church.” But that does not and should not matter to the Catholic or Mormon communities.

Some see it as a question between intellectual grounds and emotional needs. That suggests humans having two distinct faculties with two distinct purposes; one for knowing and another for feeling. This picture has to be abandoned, once one gives up the idea that there is a special human purpose called “knowing the truth;” or getting in touch with the intrinsic nature of reality.

Instead we should see human minds as webs of belief and desire; so interwoven with each other that it’s not easy to see when a choice has been made on purely intellectual grounds or on merely emotional grounds. Nor is it useful to divide areas of culture or life into those in which there is objective knowledge and those in which there is only subjective opinion. These traditional epistemological distinctions are misleading ways of making a distinction of areas where we do have an obligation to other people to justify our beliefs and desires and areas in which we don’t have such an obligation.

Replace the intellect/passion distinction with what needs justification and what doesn’t. A business proposal needs intellectual justification, a marriage proposal doesn’t. This makes possible a less rigorous ethics of belief. This pragmatist ethics says our right to happiness is limited only by others rights not to have their own pursuits of happiness interfered with. This right to happiness also includes the right to believe. It includes the rights to faith, hope and love. These often cannot be justified and shouldn’t need to be.

This ethics of belief is an extension of utilitarianism. The only time we can criticise another person’s belief is when that person’s belief is made an excuse for interfering with other human projects.

Some will call this a godless creed. Beware of pragmatists baring gifts. They may say beware of the belief that anyone has the right to believe anything as long as their doing so doesn’t compromise any co-operative enterprise to which to which they have committed themselves. They may suggest that utilitarianism can only be accepted by someone with no religious feelings.

If Christ taught that “love is the only law,” then all other beliefs and creeds are secondary to this overriding obligation. A life that rejects such service, no matter how many sacraments are received, does not meet the obligation.

It’s possible to include utilitarianism in this idea. All humans suffer pain on a moral par. They all deserve to have their needs satisfied in so far as this can be done without harm to others. Humans have been taught for centuries that God’s will was for humans to love one-another; that all men are brothers.

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This is a section that articulated something that has been on my mind for a while and is worth further exploration:

There are certain live, momentous and forced options which people face and can’t be decided by anything that some would be willing to call evidence. An option is live if we can't help thinking about it; if we can't help feeling it's important. Options that are live for some people are not live for other people. People's sense of importance differs.

It's momentous if, unlike the live option of going to the movies or staying home and working, decision between the alternatives will have far reaching effects. It's forced if there's no way of splitting the difference, no way of fudging the issue. It cannot be decided on intellectual grounds if there is no consensus in the relevant community of what criteria should be used for arriving at a decision.

I don't believe anyone changes their life or reaches new conclusions because unsought evidence lands on their lap.

People don't join the church because truth interrupts them. Almost every conversions story whether into or out of Mormonism (indeed many faith or no faith expressions) happen in reaction to one of those three possible influences. People say "I had a tragedy and started looking for..." or "I was at a stage in my life when I felt a desire for..." or "There was a problem that I needed a solution for..." Both into and out of the church. People don't radically change their life when their life is full of meaning and happiness. It's when circumstance leads to questions that are "live, momentous and/or forced." I think these often exist without us consciously being aware of it.

When something is outside of both our circle of influence and our circle of concern it isn't of any interest at all.

For example, I don't care for a minute whether Zoroaster really had a vision of God and his Amesha Spentas some 3,500 years ago. Partly because I only heard of him yesterday but mainly because it really has no bearing on my life. The reality or not of his vision is neither live, momentous nor forced. I will have probably forgotten about it in a few months time.

So when people leave or join the church, or when people read and are troubled by church history vs reading the same thing and shrugging it off, it is not simply the history that is the issue.

The issue of accepting or rejecting the historic evidence of Joseph as a prophet really has a deeper root. When people leave the church, it's almost always not a "desire to sin" as some characterise it or a laziness at not wanting to be a saint anymore. But it is not simply a cold reading of historical information.

It is far more likely that "something" has happened which causes the same evidence to lead to a different conclusion. The "something" motivates us to seek the evidence. This drives the exploration. Without that "something" people will either ignore the evidence/history entirely, or will engage with it from a different perspective and objective.

I'm not sure if I'm making any sense. It's making more in my head. I'll give it a bit more 'mulling' time.

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Around minute 26 I transcribed the following:

James unfortunately thought of opposition between our responsibilities to our fellow humans and to ourselves in terms of distinction between intellectual grounds and emotional needs. I think that was a mistake. For that way of talking suggests a picture of human beings as having two distinct faculties with two distinct purposes one for knowing and another for feeling. This picture has to be abandoned once one gives up as other practitioners of pragmaticism have done with the idea that there is a special human purpose called knowing the truth in terms of getting in touch with the intrinsic nature of reality.

If I understand what he's saying here, he isn't saying that science and religion can be reconciled, much less how to do so. Rather, he's saying that it's okay if they are not reconciled--reconciling your religious beliefs with objective reality just isn't that important in the big scheme of things.

Like any other belief or non-belief system, Mormonism has many facets. Yes, it exemplifies great things like community and service. But it also is based on the precept that there really is a Truth-with-a-capital-T out there, and we do in fact have a moral responsiblity to figure out what that Truth is and align our religious views with it.

What I'm saying is that I seriously doubt that the person who wrote the following lyrics would agree with the pragmatist's position that there is no problem with believing science Monday to Saturday and believing a contradictory religion on Sunday.

Oh say, what is truth? 'Tis the fairest gem

That the riches of worlds can produce,

And priceless the value of truth will be when

The proud monarch's costliest diadem

Is counted but dross and refuse.

Yes, say, what is truth? 'Tis the brightest prize

To which mortals or Gods can aspire.

Go search in the depths where it glittering lies,

Or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies:

'Tis an aim for the noblest desire.

The sceptre may fall from the despot's grasp

When with winds of stern justice he copes.

But the pillar of truth will endure to the last,

And its firm-rooted bulwarks outstand the rude blast

And the wreck of the fell tyrant's hopes.

Then say, what is truth? 'Tis the last and the first,

For the limits of time it steps o'er.

Tho the heavens depart and the earth's fountains burst,

Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,

Eternal, unchanged, evermore.

Edited by Analytics
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Analytics, that's part of the point. Pragmatism allows you to choose your path. If you wish to reconcile them, you can do so. Or you can choose not to do so. Postmodernism pragmatism is essentially free will as a philosophy. Do what you feel is right, and be responsible for it. That's really it in a nutshell.

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Analytics, that's part of the point. Pragmatism allows you to choose your path. If you wish to reconcile them, you can do so. Or you can choose not to do so. Postmodernism pragmatism is essentially free will as a philosophy. Do what you feel is right, and be responsible for it. That's really it in a nutshell.

It reminds me of those lyrics by Marc Cohn:

Now Muriel plays piano

Every Friday at the Hollywood

And they brought me down to see her

And they asked me if I would

Do a little number

And I sang with all my might

And she said

"Tell me are you a Christian child?"

And I said "Ma'am I am tonight!!!"

I have a lot of sympathy for this postmodern pragmatist approach to life. It allows one to hold contradictory viewpoints depending upon where he or she is at the moment. I wouldn't call that lifestyle one of intellectual integrity, but it might be morally justifiable, given the whole situation.

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I have a lot of sympathy for this postmodern pragmatist approach to life. It allows one to hold contradictory viewpoints depending upon where he or she is at the moment. I wouldn't call that lifestyle one of intellectual integrity, but it might be morally justifiable, given the whole situation.

Did you watch Rorty's video?

Perhaps I'm hearing from a different perspective, but I think he's saying something different. That it's not a need for different and contradicting positions, but using the right tools for different questions.

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I had to listen really attentively. I'm a bear of very little brain and long words bother me. I paused a few times to think and rethink about what was said.

First off, here's a brain dump of the notes I took. Not verbatim quotes, I guess this is what I heard. It might not be what was said. Either way, I loved it!

Thanks so much for that accurate collection of quotes. I probably should have spent the time to make those myself. Wonderful effort- thanks!

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This is a section that articulated something that has been on my mind for a while and is worth further exploration:

I don't believe anyone changes their life or reaches new conclusions because unsought evidence lands on their lap.

People don't join the church because truth interrupts them. Almost every conversions story whether into or out of Mormonism (indeed many faith or no faith expressions) happen in reaction to one of those three possible influences. People say "I had a tragedy and started looking for..." or "I was at a stage in my life when I felt a desire for..." or "There was a problem that I needed a solution for..." Both into and out of the church. People don't radically change their life when their life is full of meaning and happiness. It's when circumstance leads to questions that are "live, momentous and/or forced." I think these often exist without us consciously being aware of it.

When something is outside of both our circle of influence and our circle of concern it isn't of any interest at all.

For example, I don't care for a minute whether Zoroaster really had a vision of God and his Amesha Spentas some 3,500 years ago. Partly because I only heard of him yesterday but mainly because it really has no bearing on my life. The reality or not of his vision is neither live, momentous nor forced. I will have probably forgotten about it in a few months time.

So when people leave or join the church, or when people read and are troubled by church history vs reading the same thing and shrugging it off, it is not simply the history that is the issue.

The issue of accepting or rejecting the historic evidence of Joseph as a prophet really has a deeper root. When people leave the church, it's almost always not a "desire to sin" as some characterise it or a laziness at not wanting to be a saint anymore. But it is not simply a cold reading of historical information.

It is far more likely that "something" has happened which causes the same evidence to lead to a different conclusion. The "something" motivates us to seek the evidence. This drives the exploration. Without that "something" people will either ignore the evidence/history entirely, or will engage with it from a different perspective and objective.

I'm not sure if I'm making any sense. It's making more in my head. I'll give it a bit more 'mulling' time.

You are making plenty of sense!

That's why I posted this video here- if people would actually listen and take it to heart, as you are, it could be quite important in your life! Thanks for the comments!

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If I understand what he's saying here, he isn't saying that science and religion can be reconciled, much less how to do so. Rather, he's saying that it's okay if they are not reconciled--reconciling your religious beliefs with objective reality just isn't that important in the big scheme of things.

Actually he is not saying that. He is saying that science and religion are talking about two different things. There is nothing to "reconcile"- it is like trying to reconcile a discussion about baseball with a discussion about the color tones in Monet's paintings of water lilies.

For Rorty, science is not about "objective reality" at all- because we cannot even speak about "objective reality" because there is no way to correlate language with what "objective reality" would be OUTSIDE OF LANGUAGE. Science is discussion about observations everyone can make- again it is DISCUSSION about human OBSERVATIONS- not "reality". We observe that what we call "water" bubbles or "boils" at what we call the "same temperature" at what we call "sea level" wherever we test that experience. Deciding how may degrees separate boiling and freezing for example, is totally arbitrary- all that is important is that we all agree on how to measure it - so we can discuss it "objectively"

There is no way to get "outside" of observations to get to "reality"- all we have is what we observe as humans with a human mind, programmed as we are with beliefs and biases, feelings and motivations to get things done.

Like any other belief or non-belief system, Mormonism has many facets. Yes, it exemplifies great things like community and service. But it also is based on the precept that there really is a Truth-with-a-capital-T out there, and we do in fact have a moral responsiblity to figure out what that Truth is and align our religious views with it.

Yes, that certainly tends to be true, but that is a carry-over from our old Aristotelian way of looking at the world. In effect, we have a restored church using what is largely an out-moded theological system carried over from Protestant and Catholic belief in an unchangeable God who is not human.

But we know that God IS changeable AND human, so our theology needs to adjust to that rather than taking the old scholastic theology of Thomas Aquinas et al, to heart. We need a theology more akin to Eastern theology/philosophy which understands a dynamic, growing God who is constantly becoming greater.

What I'm saying is that I seriously doubt that the person who wrote the following lyrics would agree with the pragmatist's position that there is no problem with believing science Monday to Saturday and believing a contradictory religion on Sunday.

But listen to what you said- this is precisely the point! Your comment above ASSUMES a conflict between science and religion.

This video says there IS no conflict between science and religion- so your alleged conflict vanishes.

Oh say, what is truth? 'Tis the fairest gem

That the riches of worlds can produce,

And priceless the value of truth will be when

The proud monarch's costliest diadem

Is counted but dross and refuse.

I see no conflict so far- where is it? You are simply assuming a conflict where none exists.

Yes, say, what is truth? 'Tis the brightest prize

To which mortals or Gods can aspire.

Go search in the depths where it glittering lies,

Or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies:

'Tis an aim for the noblest desire.

Still no conflict between a Pragmatic Mormon and the song.
The sceptre may fall from the despot's grasp

When with winds of stern justice he copes.

But the pillar of truth will endure to the last,

And its firm-rooted bulwarks outstand the rude blast

And the wreck of the fell tyrant's hopes.

Still none.
Then say, what is truth? 'Tis the last and the first,

For the limits of time it steps o'er.

Tho the heavens depart and the earth's fountains burst,

Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,

Eternal, unchanged, evermore.

Hmmm maybe yes, that last line is un-doctrinal and should be changed. God progresses so truth progresses as well, and humans progress in general.

But quoting one line in a hymn that MIGHT be undoctrinal in ONE interpretation is not a very good argument, I think.

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I have a lot of sympathy for this postmodern pragmatist approach to life. It allows one to hold contradictory viewpoints depending upon where he or she is at the moment. I wouldn't call that lifestyle one of intellectual integrity, but it might be morally justifiable, given the whole situation.

Respectfully, you have no understanding of these issues, it appears. The values coincide perfectly with general Christianity and theistic humanism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_humanism

What you are missing is that for Mormons, God is an exalted Human, and the values of humanism correlate perfectly well- the idea that humans should become all they are capable of becoming fits quite well with Mormon values. I have said before that when God is seen as Human, humanism becomes theology, and I think I am right about that.

The exception to that of course would be humanistic values which stress atheism, erroneously.

In fact, Rorty himself is an atheist but he actually wrote books about what an atheistic religion would look like

Though coming from different and distinct intellectual traditions, Richard Rorty and Gianni Vattimo are united in their criticism of the metaphysical tradition. The challenges they put forward extend beyond philosophy and entail a reconsideration of the foundations of belief in God and the religious life. They urge that the rejection of metaphysical truth does not necessitate the death of religion; instead it opens new ways of imagining what it is to be religious -- ways that emphasize charity, solidarity, and irony. This unique collaboration, which includes a dialogue between the two philosophers, is notable not only for its fusion of pragmatism (Rorty) and hermeneutics (Vattimo) but also for its recognition of the limits of both traditional religious belief and modern secularism.
http://www.amazon.com/Future-Religion-Gianni-Vattimo/dp/0231134959/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376614523&sr=1-1&keywords=future+of+religion+rorty
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I don't believe anyone changes their life or reaches new conclusions because unsought evidence lands on their lap.

[sNIP]

It is far more likely that "something" has happened which causes the same evidence to lead to a different conclusion. The "something" motivates us to seek the evidence. This drives the exploration. Without that "something" people will either ignore the evidence/history entirely, or will engage with it from a different perspective and objective.

That makes good sense and I believe you would shorthand it as A32.  Perhaps more specifically A32:27.  Nothing is going to happen if there isn't some desire within us that causes us to give some room.  Some people take their desire and open up completely, others only a crack, but desire is what drives it. 

 

The Spirit, on the other hand, is what is driving -- how was it that mfbukowski described his experience? -- the semi-truck that barrels back through that crack we opened.

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I see no conflict so far- where is it? You are simply assuming a conflict where none exists.

I'm not assuming a conflict.  I'm observing a conflict that is explictly there.  The song is all about the value of knowing the truth.  The song makes the assertion that the truth is out there, that it can be known, and that doing so has immense value.  In contrast, Rorty says that "practioners of pragmaticism" must give up "the idea that there is a special human purpose called knowing the truth in terms of getting in touch with the intrinsic nature of reality."

 

What do you think?  Do you agree with the song that truth exists and is an extraordinarily valuable thing which we should aspire to obtain?  Or do you agree with Rorty when he says there isn't a special human purpose called knowing the truth in terms of getting in touch with the intrinsic nature of reality?

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