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Well, it has finally happened: Goodbye to theism and my mormon 'opponents' 👋


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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Is your story similar to that of Bart Ehrman, or at least influenced by him?

Hi, Robert. 

In fact, yes, on both counts. 

---

This sort of dives into the middle of my story rather than the beginning, but briefly:

At a certain point, I came to take critical scholars like Ehrman and Robert Price at their word when they claimed to have sought advanced studies/degrees in order to understand and defend (Evangelical) Christianity. They started from a point of sincere belief. But, as you know, they wound up quite in another place (as have many others like them). 

Then I had to choose between believing that these ex-Christian scholars of religion and the Bible had been bamboozled by Satan and were now (wittingly or unwittingly) serving his dark and nefarious bidding to destroy Christianity.
 

OR, alternatively, their studies led them to conclude that the historical and textual evidence in favor of Christianity just wasn't compelling. Some other things in my life made it possible for me to even entertain that question, but that's for another post.

They now disbelieved—just as sincerely as they'd once believed—in the doctrines and foundational truth claims of Christianity (at least insofar as they identified Evangelicalism with Christianity). 

I read Ehrman voraciously (and Price, too). I discovered that they are just nerdy biblical scholars trying to make sense of the available historical data. No demonic possession required. 

Over time, my views shifted considerably. 

👋

cks

Edited by cksalmon
To break up a terribly-long sentence
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1 hour ago, cksalmon said:

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

At a certain point, I came to take critical scholars like Ehrman and Robert Price at their word when they claimed to have sought advanced studies/degrees in order to understand and defend (Evangelical) Christianity. They started from a point of sincere belief. But, as you know, they wound up quite in another place (as have many others like them). 

Then I had to choose between believing that these ex-Christian scholars of religion and the Bible had been bamboozled by Satan and were now (wittingly or unwittingly) serving his dark and nefarious bidding to destroy Christianity.
 

OR, alternatively, their studies led them to conclude that the historical and textual evidence in favor of Christianity just wasn't compelling. Some other things in my life made it possible for me to even entertain that question, but that's for another post.

They now disbelieved—just as sincerely as they'd once believed—in the doctrines and foundational truth claims of Christianity (at least insofar as they identified Evangelicalism with Christianity). 

I read Ehrman voraciously (and Price, too). I discovered that they are just nerdy biblical scholars trying to make sense of the available historical data. No demonic possession required. ........................

Would you say that critical scholarship is the same as apologetics and polemics?

Also, you are no doubt aware of other critical scholars (such as Pete Enns of BioLogos) who have remained believers, but who rejected the silly claims of infallible and inerrant Scripture:  Are they just apologists, or do they also do critical scholarship?

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4 hours ago, teddyaware said:

Don’t be overly concerned or take the criticism of these cranky unbelievers personally. If prophets like Moses, Nephi and Peter were ever to engage these same unbelievers in attempted dialogue, I can assure you that they would be doubly and even triply annoyed. For these former believers who have left the restored Church of Christ but just can’t seem leave it alone, any defense of the faith on a discussion board that’s supposedly devoted to a respectful discussion of the religion of the Latter-day Saints is an outrage and an affront. The arrogance of these would-be destroyers of faith and testimony is only matched by their presumptuousness.

🙄

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4 hours ago, Ishmael said:

While you are one of those who likes to point out that you and others don't like me, there actually are some people who still post on this board who do like me.  Hence, while you and others do NOT like me, there are other people who DO like me. 

I like knowing that some people do like me even though I also know at the same time that there are some people who do not like me.

When you were Ahab I liked you.  I don't know why you got banned. Nor why you keep coming back.  Your new presence seems rather odd and intentionally annoying. I don't dislike you. But you have not logic nor much tact.

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1 hour ago, cksalmon said:

Hi, Robert. 

In fact, yes, on both counts. 

---

This sort of dives into the middle of my story rather than the beginning, but briefly:

At a certain point, I came to take critical scholars like Ehrman and Robert Price at their word when they claimed to have sought advanced studies/degrees in order to understand and defend (Evangelical) Christianity. They started from a point of sincere belief. But, as you know, they wound up quite in another place (as have many others like them). 

Then I had to choose between believing that these ex-Christian scholars of religion and the Bible had been bamboozled by Satan and were now (wittingly or unwittingly) serving his dark and nefarious bidding to destroy Christianity.
 

OR, alternatively, their studies led them to conclude that the historical and textual evidence in favor of Christianity just wasn't compelling. Some other things in my life made it possible for me to even entertain that question, but that's for another post.

They now disbelieved—just as sincerely as they'd once believed—in the doctrines and foundational truth claims of Christianity (at least insofar as they identified Evangelicalism with Christianity). 

I read Ehrman voraciously (and Price, too). I discovered that they are just nerdy biblical scholars trying to make sense of the available historical data. No demonic possession required. 

Over time, my views shifted considerably. 

👋

cks

Is it accurate to say that a belief in sola scriptura and the infallibility of the bible made it difficult to maintain believe in Christ once you believed the bible to be flawed and different than you thought it had to be?

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Would you say that critical scholarship is the same as apologetics and polemics?

No, I wouldn't. Certainly not in the sense of "critical scholarship" with which I'm familiar. 

Quote

Also, you are no doubt aware of other critical scholars (such as Pete Enns of BioLogos) who have remained believers, but who rejected the silly claims of infallible and inerrant Scripture:  Are they just apologists, or do they also do critical scholarship?

No, I certainly don't consider Enns a Christian apologist. (Maybe an apologist for evolution. Ha.) He just doesn't do apologetics in the sense of that term with which I'm familiar. (Think WLCraig.) 

Much of Enns's recent output strikes me more as that of a popularizer, but, sure, he has engaged in his share of critical scholarship. 

I don't have any opinion about (nor much interest, frankly, in) the extent and particulars of Enns's theology.

Suffice it to say I didn't end up in the same place as he has. 

🤷‍♀️

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As many others expressed, I'll miss your posts too. Curiously, this little scene came to mind with reading part of your post 1.
 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, bluebell said:

Is it accurate to say that a belief in sola scriptura and the infallibility of the bible made it difficult to maintain believe in Christ once you believed the bible to be flawed and different than you thought it had to be?


You'd think so, wouldn't you? It's a great question. 

🤔

But I think ... not really? Or, not that much, maybe. 

I went from a belief in (a fairly-thoroughgoing) inerrancy to questioning whether the Jesus of the New Testament existed at all. Maybe at some point in that journey the issue you raise above played its part, but I'm not able to pinpoint it at the moment. 😞

Edited by cksalmon
Improved sentence structure
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6 hours ago, Calm said:

I just looked at the name and thought “Oh, Ahab got banned again” and I was right, lol.

I'd like to know how to make a sock puppet. I could create one and then argue with it. At least one of us would win.

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2 hours ago, CA Steve said:

I'd like to know how to make a sock puppet. I could create one and then argue with it. At least one of us would win.

https://youtu.be/dCd_TgurV10

;) Have fun. 

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16 hours ago, ttribe said:

And you wonder why your accounts keep getting banned?

I just checked, and Ahab is not banned (unless the board software stopped indicating it). ???

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7 hours ago, CA Steve said:

I'd like to know how to make a sock puppet. I could create one and then argue with it. At least one of us would win.

If you're talking about a MDDB sock puppet, all you need is an additional email address, which is easily obtained in Gmail. I have about 10 Gmail addresses, for various purposes. Including YouTube channels. Once you have an additional email address, you can use it to make an additional MDDB identity. This screen-name, Stargazer, wasn't my original MDDB identity. My very first one was created using my primary personal email, but I didn't post very much, drifted away, and then lost track of it. When I finally re-discovered MDDB I tried to use my primary email, but it said it was in use, so I had to create a new email address just so I could participate here as Stargazer. I still don't know what MDDB account I created with that old email, and I get "That email address is in use by another member." if I ever try to change Stargazer to my primary personal email. Oh well.

By the way, the board rules forbid the use of sock puppets only for overcoming bans and suspensions. It's perfectly OK to create them for the fun of it. I guess. I have two, but only for goofing around with.

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17 hours ago, Calm said:

I greatly appreciate this post, Smac.

I'm glad it helped.

My son and I have both separately but contemporaneously discovered appreciation for stoic philosophy.  Again, from the life of Admiral Stockdale:

Quote

James Stockdale was shot down in North Vietnam at the outset of the Vietnam war. Held captive for over 7 years, he survived and was awarded the Medal of Honor. What can we learn from his experience? What insights helped him endure under such hardship?
...

Within moments of being shot down on sortie at the outset of the Vietnam war, as he drifted towards a canopy of trees below, Stockdale heard the crowds of locals rushing towards him. Knowing that he was about to experience a level of anguish one can only imagine, he uttered the following:

“I’m now leaving the world of technology and entering the world of Epictetus.”

The beating he received from the mob who descended upon him – resulting in a broken leg that never fully healed – was only the beginning. Put through brutal forms of torture, Stockdale has often remarked that the physical pain – as bad as it was – was nothing compared to the mental anguish one would suffer without a firm mental posture and attitude about life and how it worked. Stoicism offered him this robust intellectual-yet-practical outlook on life, a perspective that was battle-tested by himself and other POWs.

It was a chance encounter. Before the outbreak of the Vietnam war, on his final days at Stanford as a graduate student, a philosophy professor offered a small pamphlet to Stockdale as a parting gift. This short book, the Enchiridion by Epictetus, is a handbook of Stoic philosophy written over 2,000 years ago. Stockdale had never heard about Stoicism but eventually devoured the book, committing most of the lessons to memory.
...

 

What did Stockade mean when he said:

I’m now leaving the world of technology and entering the world of Epictetus”?

Epictetus emphasizes a key Stoic distinction of inner and outer realms of experience. The outer world is a realm of circumstances, environments, and externalities. This outer world is unpredictable and out of one’s control. The inner world, on the other hand, includes the psychological makeup of the individual; including stories, ideas, emotions and all-so-important power of will. The inner elements are more in one’s control.

The inner world is hidden. The outer world is apparent.

The inner world is ephemeral. The outer world is tangible.

The inner world is of consciousness. The outer world is of things.

...

If the inner world is formed by will, thoughts, emotions, stories, and ideas, the Stoics make clear that these elements are more in one’s control than the external world, which is entirely unpredictable. While one may not be able to choose their thoughts, the meaning one attributes to them, the awareness of them and the amount of energy used to feed them is within one’s control.

“So what Epictetus was telling his students was that there can be no such thing as being the ”victim“ of another. You can only be a ”victim” of yourself. It’s all in how you discipline your mind. ” – James Stockdale

"{T}here can be no such thing as being the 'victim' of another.  You can only be a 'victim' of yourself.  It's all in how you discipline your mind."

In today's sociopolitical climate, we all need a few bracing splashes to our faces of the cold water that it stoic philosophy.  It ain't perfect, but it has many profound truths that are compatible with the Restored Gospel.

Thanks,

-Smac

ETA: Just found this:

Quote

The tenets of stoicism and Mormonism nearly completely overlap. However, stoicism lacks one (essential/extremely important) thing – an eternal perspective focused on Christ and the Atonement.

Stoicism was founded in the early 3rd century BC, and was famously practiced (and subsequently popularized) by the likes of Epictetus (50-135 AD), Seneca (4 BC – 65 AD), and Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD).

Ryan Holiday and the team at Daily Stoic,

Stoicism has just a few central teachings. It sets out to remind us of how unpredictable the world can be. How brief our moment of life is. How to be steadfast, and strong, and in control of yourself. And finally, that the source of our dissatisfaction lies in our impulsive dependency on our reflexive senses rather than logic.

Mormons believe that this time was the beginning of the apostasy, a time when prophets were no longer receiving revelation from God on behalf of the people of earth, in part because most of the apostles had died or been killed. This lead to an absence of the fullness of the gospel, or put another way, truth.

You can find verses of scripture inside the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants that teach these exact same “stoic” principles, just with a different focus. Case in point, the world is unpredictable because there must be opposition in all things. The reason we must endure to the end and keep the commandments. And finally, we can choose wickedness or happiness.

d

Edited by smac97
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41 minutes ago, smac97 said:

It's all in how you discipline your mind...

How to be steadfast, and strong, and in control of yourself

But this is a problem for those who can’t discipline their minds due to neurological dysfunction or youth (seriously saying a child can’t be a victim of another is ridiculous) or lack of training or exposure to small traumas overtime in order to build up capability to handle larger ones, etc.
 

But I will take the good and leave the stiff upper lip stuff behind.

Edited by Calm
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