Jump to content

Liberal Theology and Traditional Lds Apologetics


Recommended Posts

21 hours ago, Calm said:

SSo how do you view Joseph’s story of Moroni visiting?  Do you believe it happened and if not, do you believe he taught it with the intent for others to believe?

If yes, do you see that as him telling a falsehood or something else?

I am interested in how you work this out, not challenging you on it.

Added:  what do you define as the truth claims of the Church?

I think JS probably believed everything he taught and said he experienced. While I believe spiritual experiences really happen, I don’t think they generally represent concrete reality. I’d be happy to get into that if you’re interested. So I believe JS believed he was visited by Moroni, and I also think JS experienced something real. However, I don’t believe that Moroni was/is a literal person.

When I was saying that people argue against inspired-fiction because it undermines the church’s truth claims, I actually agree with them. I think the church’s truth claims are fairly rigid and literal, and a non-literalist interpretation doesn’t fit with them. What I was trying to express, is that someone who is comfortable saying the BOM is inspired fiction may similarly make other church beliefs work in non-literal and symbolic ways.

  • Like 2
Link to post
10 hours ago, smac97 said:

So are Samwise Gamgee, Atticus Finch, and Captain America.

But the whole point of Christianity is that Jesus Christ is real.  That He is the actual Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer, and atoned for our sins.

Jesus Christ as a symbol, and nothing more, is about as meaningful to my salvation as would be a photograph of a glass of water to a man dying of thirst in the desert.  

And I’m not worried about literal salvation, so that’s where we part ways! Jesus is a more meaningful symbolic figure for me than Sam Gamgee because he is how my family and community express faith. His life and teachings are the language of Christian faith that I inherited. I don’t believe literally, but I use the language of Christianity to express my faith, at least partly.

10 hours ago, smac97 said:


I'm glad to hear that.  And I welcome you in full fellowship.  I hope you continue to keep your covenants and move forward in faith.

With respect, I am unpersuaded by this assertion.

I invite you to read "Historicity and the Latter-day Saint Scriptures," edited by Paul Hoskisson, which is available for free online.  
 

Let me correct myself and clarify how I feel. This is what I just wrote in explanation to Calm:

When I was saying that people argue against inspired-fiction because it undermines the church’s truth claims, I actually agree with them. I think the church’s truth claims are fairly rigid and literal, and a non-literalist interpretation doesn’t fit with them. What I was trying to express, is that someone who is comfortable saying the BOM is inspired fiction may similarly make other church beliefs work in non-literal and symbolic ways.

 

Link to post
22 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Pragmatism and I haven't heard it hit bottom yet, so why not? How does Pragmatism (with Alma 42, which I just read and I kind of see the connection but not really) justify testimony as evidence?

Oops my typo, its Alma 32. Hit the wrong key

Link to post
57 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

If I must question a premise from your argument, I would question that "history needs evidence" in this case. More like, "there needs to be the possibility of this being historical." So long as it is not effectively ruled out, there is room for faith. 

But how is it history with no evidence?

What IS history if not the story of "what really happened"?

You don't know "what really happened" without evidence!

The belief that it really happened is itself a religious proposition

 Paul proves that! We must have FAITH in its historicity.

"It's possible it happened"

What is possible? That one man's death can save all mankind from their sins?  What does one death have to do with saving Sins? How is that possible? 

We accept that on faith along with all the rest of it because we believe that God has told us it is true. 

Also, Sorry I haven't gotten back to you on the other stuff.

Edited by mfbukowski
Link to post
1 minute ago, mfbukowski said:

But how is it history with no evidence?

What IS history if not the story of "what really happened"?

You don't know "what really happened" without evidence!

The belief that it really happened is itself a religious proposition

 Paul proves that! We must have FAITH in its historicity.

Sorry I haven't gotten back to you.

I’ll step in to help further the dialogue. I think the point is that even without historical evidence there needs to be literal truth to get the promised literal result. So, if Christ didn’t literally rise from the grave, neither will I.

  • Like 2
Link to post
6 hours ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

I’ll step in to help further the dialogue. I think the point is that even without historical evidence there needs to be literal truth to get the promised literal result. So, if Christ didn’t literally rise from the grave, neither will I.

A succinct summary.  Thank you.  In calling for historicity, I am not calling for "historical evidence" per se.  Whether Jesus Christ was the Son of God is not really an empirically testable question, after all.  One must accept it on faith.

However, rejecting the categorical necessity for the historicity, the "literal truth," of Jesus having actually lived and actually done the things ascribed to Him in the scriptures, has huge ramifications.  In order for Him to effectuate our salvation, He must have actually lived, actually led a sinless life, actually atoned for our sins, actually died, actually resurrected, actually ascended to His father.  To reject the need for the historicity of these things is to deny His role as our Savior and Redeemer.  

Fables, parables, etc. have value irrespective of their historicity. On the other hand, Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world only has value because of His historicity. Historicity matters when we consider some other scriptural passages, such as this one: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Absent historicity, this passage has no salvific meaning or value. Jesus would be just another admirable fictional character, like Atticus Finch, or Samwise Gamgee, or Captain America. An imaginary/figurative Jesus would be about as valuable to me as an imaginary life preserver would be to a drowning man.

I should further clarify here that the question of the need for historicity is separate from evaulating the measure and types of evidence we rely on to accept Him.  

Thanks,

-Smac

  • Like 2
Link to post
7 hours ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

I’ll step in to help further the dialogue. I think the point is that even without historical evidence there needs to be literal truth to get the promised literal result. So, if Christ didn’t literally rise from the grave, neither will I.

Why not?  IT's possible some rise and others do not.  Maybe Christ did not and you will.  Maybe he did and you will not.  Or maybe the person who we think of Christ was really just a person, the story that his rising caused someone else's rising is just mythically inspired religious wishful thinking.  There seems to be too many maybes in all of this. 

If someone proclaims to be Mormon, actively participating but isn't sure there is an afterlife at all leaning towards there not being one, what's the problem exactly?  If that Mormon is eventually raised and saved or exalted why must we believe in some literal result?  Or if someone who is not Mormon and eschews the religion for the dogmatism, history or doctrine, and yet the person becomes exalted, what's the point of believing literally exactly?  

Link to post
8 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

But how is it history with no evidence?

What IS history if not the story of "what really happened"?

You don't know "what really happened" without evidence!

The belief that it really happened is itself a religious proposition

 Paul proves that! We must have FAITH in its historicity.

"It's possible it happened"

What is possible? That one man's death can save all mankind from their sins?  What does one death have to do with saving Sins? How is that possible? 

We accept that on faith along with all the rest of it because we believe that God has told us it is true. 

Also, Sorry I haven't gotten back to you on the other stuff.

@Benjamin Seeker has it right. Jesus Christ needed to be literally resurrected. You are right, we must have faith in historicity. I suppose we don't need historical proof of it to have faith, obviously. But there needs to be room for it to be historical or else it doesn't work. 

What I'm more interested in right now, though, is how Pragmatism justifies spiritual testimony. 

Link to post
5 minutes ago, FearlessFixxer said:

What value is there in apologetics that fly directly in the face of words spoken by prophets, seers, and revelators?

Not much.

But who is presenting such apologetics?  Can you point to some examples?

Thanks,

-Smac

Link to post
8 hours ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

I’ll step in to help further the dialogue. I think the point is that even without historical evidence there needs to be literal truth to get the promised literal result. So, if Christ didn’t literally rise from the grave, neither will I.

Sure.

But that's a simple assertion based on our belief that Christ's resurrection means we all are resurrected.

Some might believe that idea or some might not.

You are just stating what members of the Church believe. 

I have to keep saying this but I believe it too! I'm simply pointing out the logic behind these statements.

  • Like 1
Link to post
1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Why not?  IT's possible some rise and others do not.  Maybe Christ did not and you will.  Maybe he did and you will not.  Or maybe the person who we think of Christ was really just a person, the story that his rising caused someone else's rising is just mythically inspired religious wishful thinking.  There seems to be too many maybes in all of this. 

I quite agree.  The problems with being indifferent to the historicity of Jesus Christ are manifold and manifest.

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

If someone proclaims to be Mormon, actively participating but isn't sure there is an afterlife at all leaning towards there not being one, what's the problem exactly? 

"Actively participating but isn't sure?"  Doesn't that describe virtually all of us?  "For we walk by faith, not by sight."  (2 Cor. 5:7.)

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

If that Mormon is eventually raised and saved or exalted why must we believe in some literal result? 

I don't understand your question here.  Could you clarify?

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Or if someone who is not Mormon and eschews the religion for the dogmatism, history or doctrine, and yet the person becomes exalted, what's the point of believing literally exactly?  

Again, I don't understand.  In the Latter-day Saint paradigm, exaltation requires belief in Christ, repentance, acceptance of saving ordinances, and so on.  

Thanks,

-Smac

Link to post
2 hours ago, smac97 said:

A succinct summary.  Thank you.  In calling for historicity, I am not calling for "historical evidence" per se.  Whether Jesus Christ was the Son of God is not really an empirically testable question, after all.  One must accept it on faith.

However, rejecting the categorical necessity for the historicity, the "literal truth," of Jesus having actually lived and actually done the things ascribed to Him in the scriptures, has huge ramifications.  In order for Him to effectuate our salvation, He must have actually lived, actually led a sinless life, actually atoned for our sins, actually died, actually resurrected, actually ascended to His father.  To reject the need for the historicity of these things is to deny His role as our Savior and Redeemer.  

Fables, parables, etc. have value irrespective of their historicity. On the other hand, Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world only has value because of His historicity. Historicity matters when we consider some other scriptural passages, such as this one: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Absent historicity, this passage has no salvific meaning or value. Jesus would be just another admirable fictional character, like Atticus Finch, or Samwise Gamgee, or Captain America. An imaginary/figurative Jesus would be about as valuable to me as an imaginary life preserver would be to a drowning man.

I should further clarify here that the question of the need for historicity is separate from evaulating the measure and types of evidence we rely on to accept Him.  

Thanks,

-Smac

So that last paragraph is what I have been saying all along 

Thanks for putting it succinctly 

Yes, we both BELIEVE he lived and died for us and because of that belief we can conclude that it must have literally happened.

The belief itself is not based on historical evidence. That's all I have been saying this entire thread.

Our belief that he is our savior with all the ramifications are based on it really happening.

Of course.

But it is the BELIEF that he is our savior that drives the historical conclusion that he must have lived and done all of the things that the scripture say he did.

Therefore if it never actually happened we would still have the belief that it did, with all the actual benefits we have in our lives, the peace, the Fellowship and all that goes with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
5 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Therefore if it never actually happened we would still have the belief that it did, with all the actual benefits we have in our lives, the peace, the Fellowship and all that goes with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In which case that belief would be false and those benefits nothing more than happy accidents. No eternal life would or could come of it. 

I see how Pragmatism might justify that, since its a useful belief, but I'm still attached to the theory that truth does correspond to the external world.

  • Like 1
Link to post
15 minutes ago, smac97 said:

The problems with being indifferent to the historicity of Jesus Christ are manifold and manifest.

I would change that to "the problems with being indifferent to the belief in the historicity of Jesus Christ are manifold and manifest."

And of course we are also speaking here of belief in the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

Alma 32 is the key to all of this.

"Test the belief by the sweetness it brings to your heart. Keep believing and take it into your life and see if it brings more sweetness."

That's what we are doing here. We are taking the belief in Jesus Christ as Savior who actually lived, into our lives and testing its sweetness.

As in Alma 32 it is the sweetness that proves the rest.

And that is pure William James out of the "Varieties of Religious Experience."

We cannot know for sure if Jesus was resurrected but the belief brings sweetness into our life therefore it can be seen as being true.

It is like at the idea that "All men are created equal and endowed by their creator with inalienable rights."

That cannot be proven historically or any other way. We take that on faith.

The sweetness that it has brought to our nation should be evident to all.

Unfortunately we do not always practice it but it is the ideal that leads us on

 

Link to post
15 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

In which case that belief would be false and those benefits nothing more than happy accidents. No eternal life would or could come of it. 

I see how Pragmatism might justify that, since its a useful belief, but I'm still attached to the theory that truth does correspond to the external world.

Prove it. ;)

Go find the external world without any sense experience and then see if it compares to what you see around you.

Oh wait.

Problem.

All you see around you and no is already filtered through your human consciousness.

Oops. ;)

You cannot find "external reality" independent of your human consciousness and compare it to what you see THROUGH your human consciousness!

If you had permanently implanted Rose Colored Glasses you would always see everything and rose colors.

You might argue all day about what it looks like without the rose colored glasses but you could never know for sure.

That is why there is a problem with the correspondence theory.

I suggest you Google the observer effect in physics. That is essentially says that the Observer always affects the results.

It's like the problem with historicity. Everything is already filtered through the perspective of the reporters, so you can never get too what "really"  happened.

And all of this is found in the rorty quote Below in my Siggy.

Edited by mfbukowski
Link to post

Even physics requires "faith".

 

Link to post
9 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Prove it. ;)

Go find the external world without any sense experience and then see if it compares to what you see around you.

Oh wait.

Problem.

All you see around you and no is already filtered through your human consciousness.

Oops. ;)

You cannot find "external reality" independent of your human consciousness and compare it to what you see THROUGH your human consciousness!

If you had permanently implanted Rose Colored Glasses you would always see everything and rose colors.

You might argue all day about what it looks like without the rose colored glasses but you could never know for sure.

That is why there is a problem with the correspondence theory.

I suggest you Google the observer effect in physics. That is essentially says that the Observer always affects the results.

It's like the problem with historicity. Everything is already filtered through the perspective of the reporters, so you can never get too what "really"  happened.

And all of this is found in the rorty quote Below in my Siggy.

I admit I can't observe the world on a basic level without sense experiences. I can't observe the world save through my human consciousness. I agree that we must trust our own consciousness, as such trust is necessary as a prerequisite for any form of inquiry or observation. 

The thing is, I feel like there is a reality beyond my own consciousness which grounds it, which my consciousness observes and latches onto. For example, I don't dream much, but when I do there's usually things in it that are wrong, that are strange. I wake up and realize that what I dreamed didn't make sense, wasn't consistent with what I observe during waking consciousness. Meanwhile, my observations of the world while awake are consistent. I realize that our brain filters out a lot of data and conducts subconscious interpretation which gives us the reality that we perceive. I also realize that I can't conclusively rule out the brain-in-a-vat argument, or the thought that God created the world 5 minutes ago and made it look like He didn't, or the thought that I can only know that I am real and that my mind might be inventing you all as a palliative for its own loneliness or madness. These things cannot be entirely ruled out, though I certainly don't believe them. But I do think that the difference between dreamworld and waking world means that there is an observable reality that is influencing my consciousness, something beyond my consciousness. 

I hope that makes sense. 

Link to post
1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I quite agree.  The problems with being indifferent to the historicity of Jesus Christ are manifold and manifest.

"Actively participating but isn't sure?"  Doesn't that describe virtually all of us?  "For we walk by faith, not by sight."  (2 Cor. 5:7.)

I don't understand your question here.  Could you clarify?

Again, I don't understand.  In the Latter-day Saint paradigm, exaltation requires belief in Christ, repentance, acceptance of saving ordinances, and so on.  

Thanks,

-Smac

The whole point of seeing things as non literal is to question the literal requirements you describe.  In other words, if someone who opposes the Church on many things, and refuses to join the CHurch on those grounds, gets exalted, then you were wrong about your literalness need.  

Link to post
2 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Sure.

But that's a simple assertion based on our belief that Christ's resurrection means we all are resurrected.

Some might believe that idea or some might not.

You are just stating what members of the Church believe. 

I have to keep saying this but I believe it too! I'm simply pointing out the logic behind these statements.

I understand. I was trying to find a simple example that showed the typical literalist’s definite need for literalism (to keep the dialogue going as I said).

Link to post
2 hours ago, FearlessFixxer said:

What value is there in apologetics that fly directly in the face of words spoken by prophets, seers, and revelators?

 

2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Not much.

But who is presenting such apologetics?  Can you point to some examples?

Thanks,

-Smac

I believe fearless is questioning how Churchistrue’s apologetics could fit into Mormonism. If you remember, Churchistrue started this conversation offering non-literal approaches as a kind of apologetics, and so our discussion has ensued... 

Link to post
3 hours ago, stemelbow said:

Why not?  IT's possible some rise and others do not.  Maybe Christ did not and you will.  Maybe he did and you will not.  Or maybe the person who we think of Christ was really just a person, the story that his rising caused someone else's rising is just mythically inspired religious wishful thinking.  There seems to be too many maybes in all of this. 

If someone proclaims to be Mormon, actively participating but isn't sure there is an afterlife at all leaning towards there not being one, what's the problem exactly?  If that Mormon is eventually raised and saved or exalted why must we believe in some literal result?  Or if someone who is not Mormon and eschews the religion for the dogmatism, history or doctrine, and yet the person becomes exalted, what's the point of believing literally exactly?  

I agree that it’s hard to subscribe to the literal interpretation of Mormonism after your personal views have transformed, and I don’t subscribe to literalism. I was just offering an example that I thought did a good job of illustrating the literalist’s need for literalism as I was just telling our forum philosopher.

Edited by Benjamin Seeker
Link to post
49 minutes ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

Churchistrue started this conversation offering non-literal approaches as a kind of apologetics, and so our discussion has ensued...

And I suspect many of the ideas expressed here will end up in his podcasts.  I hope he gives the credit where it is due.

Link to post
9 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

And I suspect many of the ideas expressed here will end up in his podcasts.  I hope he gives the credit where it is due.

I mostly give the credit to the liberal theologians Marcus Borg, Pete Enns, etc, where I first found this in a format that was defined enough to understand it. I have learned a lot from the great mfbukowski from mormondialogue, though. I will try to get you a name mention. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
29 minutes ago, churchistrue said:

I mostly give the credit to the liberal theologians Marcus Borg, Pete Enns, etc, where I first found this in a format that was defined enough to understand it. I have learned a lot from the great mfbukowski from mormondialogue, though. I will try to get you a name mention. 

Podcasts are not my thing because they move so slowly, and it is hard to analyze arguments when you don't have them in writing in front of you. But I will try to listen to them as well!

Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...