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8 Year Olds, Free Will, and Baptism


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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Dang dude, you are GOOD!  👍

I learned from watching you. 

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17 hours ago, bluebell said:

But wouldn't God know that about the person?

Sure. But who gets to decide what God knows about me or you? About your kid or my kid?

17 hours ago, bluebell said:

There actually are members of the church that have integrated both Jewish traditions and Buddhist (and other religious) practices into their worship.  I'm close friends with one.   Just last week she was at the Krishna temple in Provo with her kids.  She goes there often.  She's very active in the church (she taught religion--Book of Mormon classes--at BYU until just this summer).  She also smudges her home frequently to purify the air (and has other practices of other religions as well).  

Her little boy is the reason that my 7 year old son now tells me 'namaste' before he goes to bed.

Integrating or blending them together is not the same as the prescribed religious paths in each case. This is not an uncommon dilemma for families of mixed faiths, and not all faiths tolerate the blending. 

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16 hours ago, Calm said:

I am looking for a specific practice with a stated goal.

What is the purpose of the Shinto religious practices that cannot be adapted with Gospel beliefs?  For example, if veneration of kami is intended to bring harmony in one's life, aren't there ways of achieving similar harmony while being a Saint even if one views nature and spirit very differently?

Marriage in the temple for the purpose of eternal marriage is a particular practice with a specific goal, but a nonmember might do the same in looking for a marriage partner that also held similar beliefs and eternal hopes and desired a partner who would work with them to achieve such, so I don't see how the one choice for righteousness precludes the other righteous purpose since the purposes are similar.

This subthread started when I pointed out to Papa that LDS baptism in not just accepting a path, it can also mean rejecting other paths which can be righteous. 

From what I can tell, you're taking the position that one can reduce a life path to a specific purpose or goal, presumably to show that the LDS path can accommodate any purpose or goal as long as we generalize enough. Bluebell seems to be arguing something similar.

So you both seem to be saying that, while those other paths might be different, they're not different in their essence and that the LDS covers the essence of any and all good paths one could possibly take in mortality.

Is that right? 

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16 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Each of these religious cultures is different, and there is normally no overlap in interest.  These are not so much choices as they are traditions, and those raised in those traditions do not often raise questions about whether they should follow the accepted path.  An anthropologist can feel comfortable in a wide range of different traditions.  Someone like the late Joseph Campbell even appreciates the diversity as something of a grand symphony (citing Schopenhauer).  Most people, however, simply accept the tradition into which they have been born.  This is true of nearly all of humanity.

Yes, it's a predictable human pattern, yet the point remains. LDS baptism is not just accepting one path, it also means rejecting other paths which can be righteous.

There is a great deal of weight to the decision. I think that we as parents and elders show our children a more accurate view of their world by introducing them to our beliefs, by inviting them and teaching them. Then they can better understand the starting coordinates of their own lives. Yet we also do them a disservice by framing life as a choice between good and evil when good is one prescribed, dogmatic path and evil is anything else.

I think we do better for them, and help them be more adaptable and happy, by teaching even more precise, reliable principles discerning good from evil, rather than a specific path. 

 

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16 hours ago, mrmarklin said:

I know and have as friends, many people who are good and do righteous things. 
Their baptism into the LDS church would not negate any of it. 
What’s the downside?  You seem to think that there is. 

A downside is of course possible. It's a big deal.

My reply to another poster:

Quote

 

Yes, it's a predictable human pattern, yet the point remains. LDS baptism is not just accepting one path, it also means rejecting other paths which can be righteous.

There is a great deal of weight to the decision. I think that we as parents and elders show our children a more accurate view of their world by introducing them to our beliefs, by inviting them and teaching them. Then they can better understand the starting coordinates of their own lives. Yet we also do them a disservice by framing life as a choice between good and evil when good is one prescribed, dogmatic path and evil is anything else.

I think we do better for them, and help them be more adaptable and happy, by teaching even more precise, reliable principles discerning good from evil, rather than a specific path. 

 

 

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On 8/20/2020 at 8:47 PM, stemelbow said:

Free will is an illusion.  It ain't real nor possible.  

While this might be correct, we still have choices. Regardless of whether Free Will ultimately exists, it might be best to focus on how healthy choice is possible, then try to create such an environment.

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3 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

While this might be correct, we still have choices. Regardless of whether Free Will ultimately exists, it might be best to focus on how healthy choice is possible, then try to create such an environment.

Create what environment.  I agree though, though free will is an illusion we still have choice.  

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11 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Create what environment.  I agree though, though free will is an illusion we still have choice.  

In the context of parenting, an environment where parents respond to the needs of their child and listen to them, therefore helping them feel safe and freer to think and grow. That's the most basic level, and I think it is pretty applicable to other contexts.

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4 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Yes, it's a predictable human pattern, yet the point remains. LDS baptism is not just accepting one path, it also means rejecting other paths which can be righteous.

There is a great deal of weight to the decision. I think that we as parents and elders show our children a more accurate view of their world by introducing them to our beliefs, by inviting them and teaching them. Then they can better understand the starting coordinates of their own lives. Yet we also do them a disservice by framing life as a choice between good and evil when good is one prescribed, dogmatic path and evil is anything else.

I think we do better for them, and help them be more adaptable and happy, by teaching even more precise, reliable principles discerning good from evil, rather than a specific path.

To some extent that may be true, but the numbers make the LDS program daunting in the extreme.  The growing human population, and our inability to keep up means that any such effort will surely fail on a grand scale.  We need to learn to be satisfied with an ever diminishing slice of the pie.  At the same time, it just isn't true that we have all truth at out disposal.  That was never Joseph Smith's claim.  He is falsely accused of being narrow.  LDS truth is not an impregnable wall, but only one among many truths.  The real difference enunciated by Joseph was authority to act on behalf of God. Apart from that, the LDS do not necessarily have the only true interpretations of Scripture.  In fact, LDS commentators may frequently be wrong about this or that "truth."  They cannot even agree on this forum.

LDS theology is humanistic and naturalistic, even though most LDS have no idea what that means.

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20 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

You cannot arrive at objectivity through science. Science presupposes the existence of objectivity in order to even exist. 

Okay, but in every field of science we, as a human species, are stretching towards objectivity.  

20 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Again, this depends on what progress is! Science is good at figuring out means to an end, but how can experimentation tell us what the end "should" be?

Let's take human physical health as an example.  Should a person who wishes to be healthy eat junk food and not exercise?  You seem to be suggesting any ought statement can't be maintained based on an is, which is Hume's law.  If "ought" is "should" in your example, then how do we acheive things like physical health?  We know scientifically how to achieve the goal.  

20 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

It's the "is-ought" problem perpetually rearing its head. Harris claims to have solved it, but in reality his propositions in The Moral Landscape just smuggle in a pre-existing definition of "ought" at the beginning.

What do you mean by "pre-exisiting"?  I do believe Harris redefines the ought in this case as something that we inherently hold, or desire, and he calls that well being.  

20 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

 

Science can provide us with a "morality" - really just an instruction book - that leads us to a desired end, but the ultimate question of morality is always not just what to do, but what to want. You'll notice that Jesus' sermons focus less on what we should or shouldn't do and go upstream to the source - what we should and should not want. See Matthew 5 for an example. Science can't tell us what to want, so it's missing the most fundamental part of morality. 

We inherently want.  Our wants, which I"m going to slyly change to desires, are adjustable sure, but ultimately it comes down to maximizing our pleasure.  YOu say, vaguely science can't tell us what to want, but that is seemingly a vague truism.  Perhaps science can explain what are our desires and where they come from.  As it is universally we desire to maximize our pleasure.  Nothing more or less.  That is ultimately universally true.  We operate on that in every detail.  Jesus commands us what we should and shouldn't do and at times attempts to address our wants. 

In every example I can think of, as we try and pin down our whys of an action tracing it back to us maximizing our pleasure, its a question of will it really maximize pleasure, or will it increase well being?  

20 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

This looks like standard-issue unreflective monolithization and demonization of the amorphous concept of "religion." Boring.

only the boring get bored.  Let's break it down.  Why so?  

20 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

 

What standard of well-being are we talking about here? An early standard which thought that well-being existed on a societal level and therefore viewed religious cohesion and slavery as beneficial to increasing the prosperity and splendor of the empire, or a modern individualistic view of well-being that focuses on the individual?

Good example.  The desire was to maximize pleasure, or maximize well being.  They thought slavery would do that.  They were wrong, and we can say so because of the problems slavery has resulted in.  It did not maximize anyone's pleasure.  If the desire of humanity is to maximize pleasure for everyone, if the desire of humanity is to maximize well being, then slavery is not an appropriate action to achieve that goal.  It just so happens that inherently for each of us the goal is to maximize our pleasure.  No matter what.  So when someone comes along again and suggests, "we need to maximize our pleasure by instituting slavery" we can say "You are wrong in that it won't maximize your pleasure".  We can't rightly say you ought not do that because its bad (I mean we can, but it won't logically help, even though its true).  We can only point out that what they want is not going to achieve their goal.  The goal is universally held.  

20 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Couldn't science be used to determine a means to both ends? Our modern individualism has not always been the dominant paradigm. It has not always been self-evident. 

That's just it. You cannot derive a morality from science until you've determined the the goal, until you've already determined the "good" that you want. That must exist before science enters the scene and therefore Harris's philosophy just kicks the can down the road. 

I disagree.  The goal is, as Harris puts it, well being (I mentioned maximizing pleasure).  We have it in us, even if we mistake how to achieve it.  

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14 hours ago, Calm said:

Wishful thinking imo since what is progress varies depending on the person. This assumes we are at a point where scientists might not reach a majority view that had fundamental issues such as has happened before in some societies.  Since such decisions would then mold the type of society that existed, one might end up with a society making decisions in a ‘progressively’ more restricted way
 

As an extreme example, this could be first used to justify limitations on health care, perhaps it eventually being given out depending on how likely it was the person would contribute to the society in approved ways and then later ending up with a Eugenics program where only those deemed having ‘fit’ genetic code were allowed to reproduced...all decisions made to minimize health care costs for the society and to maximize what are seen as benefits.

I"m not sure what you're driving at.  That we can look back and see the mistakes, is progress.  whatever kind of theories men have in terms of increasing our pleasures may be wrong.  

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30 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

In the context of parenting, an environment where parents respond to the needs of their child and listen to them, therefore helping them feel safe and freer to think and grow. That's the most basic level, and I think it is pretty applicable to other contexts.

Oh I think we're better off acknowledging the illusion.  Its much better for kids to grow and think and feel safe, with the understanding of reality rather than being stuck in illusion.  

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1 minute ago, stemelbow said:

Oh I think we're better off acknowledging the illusion.  Its much better for kids to grow and think and feel safe, with the understanding of reality rather than being stuck in illusion.  

The two are not mutually exclusive. 

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

What do you mean by "pre-exisiting"?  I do believe Harris redefines the ought in this case as something that we inherently hold, or desire, and he calls that well being.  

Now you have the pleasure of defining well-being in a way that everyone "instinctively" agrees with.  Good luck science!  If it is instinctive however, it shouldn't be hard to define, right?   

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

I disagree.  The goal is, as Harris puts it, well being (I mentioned maximizing pleasure).  We have it in us, even if we mistake how to achieve it.  

So "maximizing pleasure" is your attempt at a definition?  Ok, according to science hedonism is the new morality and asceticism is the new immorality.

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

We inherently want.  Our wants, which I"m going to slyly change to desires, are adjustable sure, but ultimately it comes down to maximizing our pleasure.  YOu say, vaguely science can't tell us what to want, but that is seemingly a vague truism.  Perhaps science can explain what are our desires and where they come from. 

So, "desire" is the scientific foundation for the moral pursuit of "pleasure"?  Interesting, because the second noble truth of Buddhism teaches us that desire is the root of all suffering.  Good luck with that one!  This is precisely the problem that you will run into be starting with a supposed "inherent" and "instinctive" presupposition.  You can't prove that it is "good", because different cultures, philosophies, and religions will disagree that it is indeed "good".  "Good", is entirely subjective. 

You still need to address the problem of proscribing an objective morality on acts of nature.  Should science really be in the business of deciding what acts of nature are moral and what acts of nature are immoral?  Give me a break!  

 

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7 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Sure. But who gets to decide what God knows about me or you? About your kid or my kid?

God does.

Quote

Integrating or blending them together is not the same as the prescribed religious paths in each case. This is not an uncommon dilemma for families of mixed faiths, and not all faiths tolerate the blending. 

If you're talking about how choosing something means we can't choose something else, that is true for every choice.  It's as true for atheists as it is for theists.  There is no belief system, or anti-belief system, where that's not true.  That is life, and is not at all unique to religion, or to the gospel as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints specifically.  

Given that, I'm not sure what point you are trying to make.  Can you clarify?

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35 minutes ago, bluebell said:

God does.

If you're talking about how choosing something means we can't choose something else, that is true for every choice.  It's as true for atheists as it is for theists.  There is no belief system, or anti-belief system, where that's not true.  That is life, and is not at all unique to religion, or to the gospel as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints specifically.  

Given that, I'm not sure what point you are trying to make.  Can you clarify?

It's really an obvious point, which is why I'm kind of perplexed by your disagreement about it.

Choosing LDS baptism isn't just accepting something that might be good, it also means rejecting other things which can be good. To argue that it can be nothing but the best choice for anyone (which is kind of implied here by some) is imo an oversimplification of the decision.

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3 hours ago, stemelbow said:

 I agree though, though free will is an illusion we still have choice.  

Where there is only one possible outcome, free choice is also an illusion.  It is a common illusion used in magic tricks.  

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

Now you have the pleasure of defining well-being in a way that everyone "instinctively" agrees with.  Good luck science!  If it is instinctive however, it shouldn't be hard to define, right?   

Its similar to physical well being.  Science defines that for us.  Now we just have to let moral well being be so defined.  

1 hour ago, pogi said:

 

So "maximizing pleasure" is your attempt at a definition?  Ok, according to science hedonism is the new morality and asceticism is the new immorality.

Not at all.  You are confusing the goal (Maximizing pleasure, or well being) with human determined methods to achieve that goal.  That is to say a hedonist may have determined the best method to maximize pleasure for him is to live hedonism.  Of course he could be wrong.  It may be said that an overweight person thinks his best method of gaining physical health is to not eat.  But doing so, in time, will prove his notion of how to achieve the goal wrong.  

1 hour ago, pogi said:

So, "desire" is the scientific foundation for the moral pursuit of "pleasure"?  Interesting, because the second noble truth of Buddhism teaches us that desire is the root of all suffering.  Good luck with that one!  This is precisely the problem that you will run into be starting with a supposed "inherent" and "instinctive" presupposition.  You can't prove that it is "good", because different cultures, philosophies, and religions will disagree that it is indeed "good".  "Good", is entirely subjective. 

Yes the problem certainly is attempting to get people to accept the science.  If one proposes, for instance, that not eating is the best way for physical health than that one will simply be proven wrong when he attempts it.  In time he'll lose all nutrition and will eventually die.  It's not as easily observable with morality but it can still follow the same line.  It also may mean we may never fully determine the morality of each choice, but we play that game a little with physical health too.  One can be pretty healthy with their particular combination of diet and exercise.  But we all know that some elements of their diet may not be all that healthy.  A healthy person may live to be 100, or may die at 45, even if the cause of death is the same at 100 or 45.  That is to say someone fairly healthy could still die of a heart attack at 45.  He may never have reached perfect health.  

1 hour ago, pogi said:

You still need to address the problem of proscribing an objective morality on acts of nature.  Should science really be in the business of deciding what acts of nature are moral and what acts of nature are immoral?  Give me a break!  

By all means, take a break, if you so desire.  If we could we certainly would lock up hurricanes and earthquakes so they won't destroy us.

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Its similar to physical well being.  Science defines that for us.  Now we just have to let moral well being be so defined.  

Physical well-being cannot be objectively measured or defined either.  I challenge you to define "physical well-being" in a way that all scientists will agree with, without relying on subjective measures, such as "how do you feel?"  

All the blood panels tests, x-rays, cat scans, heart monitors, MRI's, etc, etc, etc, will never be able to reveal how a person physically feels.  Objective measures will never be able to reveal subjective physical "well-being".  All tests might reveal "perfect health" according to objective measures, yet the person subjectively complains of pain at a level 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, etc., or inexplicable subjective fatigue, or any number of other subjective physical complaints.  Happens all the time. 

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

You are confusing the goal (Maximizing pleasure, or well being) with human determined methods to achieve that goal. 

Please define "maximized pleasure".  What does that look like objectively?  How do you measure it without using subjective input?  Isn't "maximized pleasure' just as subjective as the method of achieving it?

Another problem is that you are focusing too much on the individual.  For objective morality to work, you have to define a universal and objective "maximized pleasure" for all of humanity.  There can be no tolerance for subjective pleasures that don't match your objective definition.  Good luck. 

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Yes the problem certainly is attempting to get people to accept the science. 

No, the problem is in pretending like science can universally define and objectively measure "pleasure" without relying on the subjectivity of individuals. 

 

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

If we could we certainly would lock up hurricanes and earthquakes so they won't destroy us.

So those are immoral acts of nature?  Serious?

Why must objective morality be so human-centric?  Why should we judge acts of nature (which includes, but is not limited to all human acts) based on how it affects human well-being only?

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

It's really an obvious point, which is why I'm kind of perplexed by your disagreement about it.

Choosing LDS baptism isn't just accepting something that might be good, it also means rejecting other things which can be good. To argue that it can be nothing but the best choice for anyone (which is kind of implied here by some) is imo an oversimplification of the decision.

The disagreement is probably coming from my point that if God knows what is best for us (and if all good things come from God, which is the lds position), then following what He says cannot cause us to reject anything good.  You haven't really wanted to engage on that hypothetical.

Choosing one thing always means not choosing something else--that isn't our disagreement, that is obvious as you said.  Our disagreement is on what the choice means for us.  You want to take God out of the equation but you can't discuss this topic with members of the church and do that.  Our answers cannot be separated from God's involvement.  

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21 minutes ago, bluebell said:

The disagreement is probably coming from my point that if God knows what is best for us (and if all good things come from God, which is the lds position), then following what He says cannot cause us to reject anything good.  You haven't really wanted to engage on that hypothetical.

Choosing one thing always means not choosing something else--that isn't our disagreement, that is obvious as you said.  Our disagreement is on what the choice means for us.  You want to take God out of the equation but you can't discuss this topic with members of the church and do that.  Our answers cannot be separated from God's involvement.  

Well if you assume you know what God wants, you can argue anything about anyone including little children. That is the cost of your conclusion.

My point does not presume knowledge about what God wants about another person.

There are believing LDS who split on that point. When I was believing, I wanted my children to feel free to chose to not get baptized, but did not fully understand the pressure we'd already generated, even if well-intentioned.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Well if you assume you know what God wants, you can argue anything about anyone including little children. That is the cost of your conclusion.

My point does not presume knowledge about what God wants about another person.

There are believing LDS who split on that point. When I was believing, I wanted my children to feel free to chose to not get baptized, but did not fully understand the pressure we'd already generated, even if well-intentioned.

 

 

I'm afraid that the "one true church" narrative translates quite literally into a "one true path" approach to life. If one isn't on the one true path then they must be on the wrong path, even if there is good on that path.

Like you say, if one knows the mind and will of God perfectly, then there is no problem, but when their understanding isn't perfect, or they rely on others to teach them from their imperfect understandings, then suddenly you have a "one true path" that isn't perfect and therefore may not be as true as another path.

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30 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Well if you assume you know what God wants, you can argue anything about anyone including little children. That is the cost of your conclusion.

My point does not presume knowledge about what God wants about another person.

There are believing LDS who split on that point. When I was believing, I wanted my children to feel free to chose to not get baptized, but did not fully understand the pressure we'd already generated, even if well-intentioned.

 

 

I'm not assuming anything about God.  I specifically, and repeatedly, asked 'if'.  

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5 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I'm not assuming anything about God.  I specifically, and repeatedly, asked 'if'.  

Your question uses it as a premise.

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