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A Brief Assessment of the Lds Book of Abraham by Robert F. Smith


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1 hour ago, Fair Dinkum said:

magic world view where the god’s dwell

You might want to work on rephrasing that. 

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9 minutes ago, Calm said:

You might want to work on rephrasing that. 

He could go full Korihor and rephrase it to read: “Someone who is not subject to the effect of a frenzied mind might find the paper’s conclusions incredibly absurd.”

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

You might want to work on rephrasing that. 

Hmmm...I'm only trying to suggest that Robert's arguments only make sense when someone still holds belief in Mormonism or as a lifeline to one having doubts.  For those who do not, I can't imagine that they would hold sway or convince.  But I softened my language just the same despite that phrase being used in many scholarly papers including many on FAIR Mormon own web sight.

Edited by Fair Dinkum
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2 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Hmmm...I'm only trying to suggest that Robert's arguments only make sense when someone still holds belief in Mormonism or as a lifeline to one having doubts.  For those who do not, I can't imagine that they would hold sway or convince.  But I softened my language just the same despite that phrase being used in many scholarly papers including many on FAIR Mormon own web sight.

While you’re at it, you might change “incredulously” to incredibly. “Incredulous” would pertain to the skeptics, not to the arguments they found unacceptable. Those two words are often confused, but there is a definite distinction in meaning. They are not synonyms. The one means unbelieving,  and the other means unbelievable.

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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5 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

 

The skeptic, someone who does not hold to a belief in god, might find some of the papers arguments incredulously difficult to accept.

 

 

Why do you think that is? 

Can you describe one of these arguments as an example?  

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54 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Why do you think that is? 

Can you describe one of these arguments as an example?  

The paper is an apologetic piece designed to argue the authenticity of what the book claims to be. Robert addresses several of the difficulties critics use against the book and offers apologetic or scholarly support for many of these issues. Some of them are built on the assumption that the reader has a belief in God. Obviously those without this foundation would not be moved by his arguments. 

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8 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

I would hope, in fact, that Robert Smith's study would be of value even to those who are willing to admit God as an unproven possibility, not only those who already believe, but perhaps I overreach. I am, after all, one of the believers. 

Probably not valuable in the same way as it is to a believer, but still important. I much prefer a world where people talk about what they believe and why they believe the things that might seem controversial or unpopular. I think it can make us all better when we do that.

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46 minutes ago, smac97 said:

..................................

But if a person is unable or unwilling to "bracket" such things, or to resort to some assumptions arguendo, then Robert's essay has little utility...................

Not sure I agree, Spencer, since I thought that I had effectively bracketed belief in God in my presentation.  However, perhaps I was unsuccessful in that endeavor.

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19 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

..............................................

The skeptic, someone who does not hold to a belief in god, might find some of the papers arguments incredulously difficult to accept.  But to the believer, I think Robert manages to support many elements that throw a lifesaver to those seeking help for faith in the book.

I recommend all to read it. While scholarly, well worth the time to read it. 

Thank you for the kind words, Fair Dinkum.

Just for the record, I was attempting to present an entirely scholarly case not dependent upon belief in a God of any sort.  That scholarly case was made based on normative history, Egyptology, linguistics, and science.  Perhaps I could have done a better job of that, and I am grateful for the feedback.

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13 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

You can’t help yourself can you Mate.  We have a term in Oz for blokes like you Bro Lloyd ...but the last time I shared an Aussie colloquialism I got banned so I best not share it with you. Cheers mate

Thanks for the chuckle this gave me.  :pirate:

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13 hours ago, Fair Dinkum said:

The paper is an apologetic piece designed to argue the authenticity of what the book claims to be. Robert addresses several of the difficulties critics use against the book and offers apologetic or scholarly support for many of these issues. Some of them are built on the assumption that the reader has a belief in God. Obviously those without this foundation would not be moved by his arguments. 

My question becomes what's the point of argument that could not possibly move someone who simply doesn't accept the certain assumptions?  Wouldn't it really amount to "We don't really have a good argument, but if we assume a few things then perhaps it's a possibilty..."  One has to wonder if that can amount to making a case for evidence in support of the proposition.  Or if it simply demonstrates the burden has not been met?  

I didn't sign up for scribd either, so I didn't read it.  Although I might have read it in past years.  Can't remember.  

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:
Quote

But if a person is unable or unwilling to "bracket" such things, or to resort to some assumptions arguendo, then Robert's essay has little utility...................

Not sure I agree, Spencer, since I thought that I had effectively bracketed belief in God in my presentation.  However, perhaps I was unsuccessful in that endeavor.

I don't agree, either.  I wasn't framing my position, I was trying to frame Fair Dinkum's ("someone who does not hold to a belief in god, might find some of the papers arguments incredulously difficult to accept").

For myself, I have very much appreciated and valued your essay.  I also think it has some real value for people who are open to the possibility that the Restored Gospel is what it claims to be.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

My question becomes what's the point of argument that could not possibly move someone who simply doesn't accept the certain assumptions? 

There are plenty of people who are open to "accept{ing} the certain assumptions," or at least giving them a fair hearing, exercising faith, praying, etc.  That is the target audience.  The Dale Morgan-esque types are not really situated to receive further light and knowledge.  But things can always change.

2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

Wouldn't it really amount to "We don't really have a good argument, but if we assume a few things then perhaps it's a possibilty..." 

No, it wouldn't.  The assumption that God exists is a necessary predicate, a threshold decision to examining the merits of the Restored Gospel.  Without it, the examination cannot proceed.

As Stuart Chase so aptly put it: "For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible."

2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

One has to wonder if that can amount to making a case for evidence in support of the proposition.  Or if it simply demonstrates the burden has not been met?

Regarding the existence of God, religious belief, etc., there really isn't an objective way of defining the "burden" and deciding whether it has "been met."  

Thanks,

-Smac

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5 hours ago, smac97 said:

First, I appreciate the edit.

Second, I wonder if you are familiar with the concept of "bracketing," which I understand refers to temporarily refraining from making a decision about a foundational issue.  In this case, if a skeptic "brackets" the idea of God's existence, then would Robert's essay be useful in understanding the Latter-day Saint perspective?

Lawyers often use a comparable rhetorical device during a deposition or trial or oral argument.  The devicerelates to a Latin term, arguendo:

Applied here, Robert's essay has value if the reader assumes, arguendo (or else actually believes), that God does exist.  Its value increases the more specific assumptions the reader is willing to "bracket" (or else actually believes), such as that God has the characteristics attributed to him by the Latter-day Saints, that the "Plan of Salvation" is a summary of the framework He has put in place for our growth and progression, that part of that Plan involves prophets and prophetic writings, and so on.

But if a person is unable or unwilling to "bracket" such things, or to resort to some assumptions arguendo, then Robert's essay has little utility.

Thanks,

-Smac

 

I thought I made myself clear that Robert's essay has value.

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22 hours ago, stemelbow said:

My question becomes what's the point of argument that could not possibly move someone who simply doesn't accept the certain assumptions?  Wouldn't it really amount to "We don't really have a good argument, but if we assume a few things then perhaps it's a possibilty..."  One has to wonder if that can amount to making a case for evidence in support of the proposition.  Or if it simply demonstrates the burden has not been met?  

I didn't sign up for scribd either, so I didn't read it.  Although I might have read it in past years.  Can't remember.  

Scribd offers a free one month membership allowing time download the paper.  I downloaded the paper and then cancelled the scribd membership.  Roberts paper assumes a belief in Biblical stories such as a belief in Noah through which Egyptus came and Abraham whom many view as a figurative character,  the Great Tower (babel) or a Divine Christ.  This is what I was referring to when I stated that his paper requires a belief in God. thsoe who do not hold to a belief in biblical charactors would not find Roberts arguments convincing since they wouldn't be able to work past his dependence on this biblical foundation.

Edited by Fair Dinkum
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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

There are plenty of people who are open to "accept{ing} the certain assumptions," or at least giving them a fair hearing, exercising faith, praying, etc.  That is the target audience. 

I"m open to it.  I"m just not sure it's adding any value.  It seems to skip over the need of a burden.  "Well sure its possible therefore that's my answer to the burden put upon me for my claim."  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

The Dale Morgan-esque types are not really situated to receive further light and knowledge.  But things can always change.

Light and knowledge.  I somehow forgot about the verbiage used to suggest others haven't received God countenance and some such stuff.  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

No, it wouldn't.  The assumption that God exists is a necessary predicate, a threshold decision to examining the merits of the Restored Gospel.  Without it, the examination cannot proceed.

If you say so. I'm just not sure it works in this case.  That is to say, one question raised by the BoA is not whether it can fit if the restored gospel is true, but whether it can be presented as evidence that the restored gospel holds merit.  If the BoA doesn't support that latter notion, then it simply means the burden has yet to be met.  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

As Stuart Chase so aptly put it: "For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible."

Regarding the existence of God, religious belief, etc., there really isn't an objective way of defining the "burden" and deciding whether it has "been met."  

Thanks,

-Smac

We're not talking God, religious belief.  We're talking about the viability of the BoA having been Abraham's experience, found on ancient writings from Egypt.

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