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The Long Ending of Mark and it's Implications on the Book of Mormon


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22 hours ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

What makes you think that Moroni was quoting Mark?

Well clearly I was dictating that stuff from the pre-existence, because I am so quotable.

Edited by mfbukowski
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19 minutes ago, webbles said:

But what are you trying to decide?  If you trying to decide if the long ending was original part of the Gospel of Mark, then I agree that it wasn't.  If you trying to decide if the long ending was known in the 2nd century, I did cite the items.  I don't have access to those books so I can't cite the actual text.  I'm not even sure that textual experts disagree that the tradition contained in the long ending was known by the 2nd century.  The argument is usually whether it was originally part of the Gospel of Mark, not how old it was.

Quote the text which supports your proposition and provide the cite.  If the cite is not on the internet, post the image from the page of the reference.

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22 hours ago, Tacenda said:

The only way out of this situation is to believe Joseph Smith added biblical teachings to the BoM.

Or that God did.

Remember the BOM was given from the same source as the Bible

But no, that is too standard for this crowd.  After all, the presumption must be that the church is not true and we need to find a "naturalistic" explanation when we know that the natural man is an enemy to God.

So heck we cannot possibly think God actually had anything to do with it since WE are natural men.

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22 minutes ago, webbles said:

But what are you trying to decide?  If you trying to decide if the long ending was original part of the Gospel of Mark, then I agree that it wasn't.  If you trying to decide if the long ending was known in the 2nd century, I did cite the items.  I don't have access to those books so I can't cite the actual text.  I'm not even sure that textual experts disagree that the tradition contained in the long ending was known by the 2nd century.  The argument is usually whether it was originally part of the Gospel of Mark, not how old it was.

In what year (more or less) did it become the "Gospel of Mark"? Certainly the author based it on earlier written or oral sources, each which may or may not have contained the longer ending or handed-down quotes from Jesus.

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18 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Good thing we don't have absence of evidence, eh? There's pretty clear evidence that the Long Ending of Mark is part of an exceedingly ancient Christian tradition that rivals the Gospels themselves in age...and that presumes that it wasn't a part of the Gospel of Mark to begin with. The evidence that it was invented whole-cloth by a 4th-century scholar is frankly nonexistent. 

Also, for what it's worth, absence of evidence is simply that...absence of evidence. I'm afraid I cannot accept the aphorism which you provide. 

For a full text of Tatian's reconstructed Diatessaron, see here. For a verse-by-verse highlighting of the quotations of Mark 16:9-20 in the Diatessaron, see here. For those who are further interested in the Diatessaron and its implications for the Longer Ending, see this book-length treatment here. Bear in mind that this is only one of the attestations of the Longer Ending prior to Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.

If you glance at the book-length source I provided, you will see for yourself that we're dealing with rather complex issues. I'm not sure I can simplify it further without doing violence to the issues. I'll just say this: the Sinaiticus  and Vaticanus are considered significant because they are the oldest New Testament manuscripts which we have, and they don't have Mark 16:9-20. However, we know that the scriptures were being tampered with from both scriptural (Book of Mormon) and contemporary sources (Tertullian and Irenaeus), and we know that both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus came from the same place, meaning that they represent just one scriptural tradition rather than two witnesses to an original text. We also have good evidence that Mark 16:9-20, or at least a tradition with the content of Mark 16:9-20, was widely known from very early on, and was associated with Mark by some of the earliest scriptorians of the Christian faith. 

Edit: By way of introduction, the Diatessaron is a Gospel harmony written by Tatian the Syrian, a 2nd-century Christian theologian and chronicler. Basically, he took lines from all the canonical Gospels and weaved them together into one story. The work has no extant manuscripts but it is quoted in several different additional works dating from the 4th-century onward to the point that it can be reconstructed to a high degree of confidence, and said reconstruction was done by Theodor Zahn in 1881. 

I apologize for quoting from Wiki but the cited source is the Cambridge History of the Bible. 

"[N]o complete version of the Diatessaron in Syriac or Greek had been recovered; while the medieval translations that had survived—in Arabic and Latin—both relied on texts that had been heavily corrected to conform better with later canonical versions of the separate Gospel texts. There is scholarly uncertainty about what language Tatian used for its original composition, whether Syriac or Greek." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatessaron#cite_note-B._Lockwood_1500,_p._429-10

What this means, of course, is that  the only version of the Diatessaron we have today is constructed from canonical sources which, of course, leads to improper assumptions.  As I have repeatedly requested, if you think you have solid evidence for your proposition, you would not hesitate to quote the text in support and provide me the cite.

I tend to believe that Joseph Smith composed the text of the Book of Mormon from his own understanding of the scriptures, provided it was consistent with the inspiration he was receiving.  That is why the Book of Mormon is filled with 19th Century anachronisms, a point Brant Gardner made in his two volume work about the translation process.  But as Joseph Smith said that he wasn't going to reveal the translation process, it is all speculation. That is why I tend to base my belief upon the text itself rather than textual criticism or some other esoteric method.

 

Edited by Bob Crockett
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20 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Or that God did.

Remember the BOM was given from the same source as the Bible

But no, that is too standard for this crowd.  After all, the presumption must be that the church is not true and we need to find a "naturalistic" explanation when we know that the natural man is an enemy to God.

So heck we cannot possibly think God actually had anything to do with it since WE are natural men.

Couldn't have Joseph added it and the Book of Mormon still be true? Since we see he used other sources for the Bible translations?

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38 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Couldn't have Joseph added it and the Book of Mormon still be true? Since we see he used other sources for the Bible translations?

IF you believe God revealed the BOM to Joseph, yes of course God could have inspired Joseph with these words!  It's the same alleged 
"problem" to figure out how Deuteroisaiah got into the BOM.  Joseph Spencer, an LDS scholar I think has solved that one.  He finds Isaiah thoughtout the BOM

But this insistence on a naturalistic perspective misses the whole point of religion.

It's like trying to explain the rules of basketball through music. Two totally different  incompatible systems of logic clashing.

BUT Religion presumes the existence of portions of the human psyche which have not yet been "discovered" by science and may never be- using present methods.   But it's getting there. Modern technology would be seen as "miraculous" 200 years ago- but that does not make religious experience "supernatural"

Now the two sections of human understanding- science and religion appear to be in conflict,  but I am certain they are not.   WE NEED GOD to survive as a society and we are designed to understand religion.

Humans needed it to be who we are today, and it is in the core of our being.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_gene

Quote

Hamer responded that the existence of such a gene would not be incompatible with the existence of a personal God: "Religious believers can point to the existence of God genes as one more sign of the creator's ingenuity—a clever way to help humans acknowledge and embrace a divine presence."[7] He repeatedly notes in his book that, "This book is about whether God genes exist, not about whether there is a God."[8]

So if Joseph did it, or God did it or both- or some other way that it happened, it doesn't much matter.

It's like living in the 10th century and trying to figure out how something like television could work, using alchemy and astrology.

My suspicion though is that we will never get that far before we blow this blue marble into smithereens.

Edited by mfbukowski
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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Now the two sections of human understanding- science and religion appear to be in conflict,  but I am certain they are not.   WE NEED GOD to survive as a society and we are designed to understand religion.

Humans needed it to be who we are today, and it is in the core of our being.

I’m not convinced that this is necessarily true. 
 

We are a storytelling people perhaps, and biologically predisposed to look for purpose and meaning in life, yet that does not mean that we cannot construct these, absent of their having any external existence independent of human convention.

As our social and material environment changes, so too do the incentives- what genes and social structures come to be made more or less competitive and selected for.

For adult humans to develop lactose tolerance, the mutation needs to be selected for, and therefore needed to exist alongside a culture of animal husbandry with suitable associated mammalian livestock.

We have no reason to believe that the same genes that incline humans towards the supernatural will always be selected for, much less that it need at all resemble this contemporary Christian blip among some human cultures.

Furthermore, while the the possible presence of such genes might not rule out the *possibility* of external divinity/supernatural phenomena, I think the  your example better demonstrates that our proclivity towards the Devine need not require it’s external existence at all.

No need for metaphysical skyhooks that cannot be (sufficiently) tested via empirical means.

 

 

Edited by Canadiandude
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Y’know, while I’m starting to lean Agnostic myself, I’ve really begun to enjoy listening to “The Atheist Experience” YouTube channel.

I know, I know, I’ll eventually graduate to more sophisticated mediums of idea presentation, but for now, that’s what I’ve been enjoying.

If I’m gonna sit down and read a heavy, scholarly work, it’s admittedly more on the  political science side of things. 🤪

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2 hours ago, CV75 said:

If the insertion was a replacement of things removed, is that really something to quibble about? Your assumption that anything that gets removed was undistorted truth in the first place is goofy.

Like I say, we believe in a man who died and came back to life by the power His Father gave Him. That is more ridiculous than believing in what He said, how He said it, to whom, and when, and in what order. Why is that so difficult to pick apart?

Surely you've  seen examples where redacted text was restored a few decades later based on earlier sources. If not, you need to get out more before mind-reading Jesus.

But where is your proof that the long ending was removed and then reinserted?  Again you’re making unsupported assertions. I’m fine with you speculating, just state that you’re speculating instead of stating your speculations as if they represent the truth. 

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1 hour ago, Fair Dinkum said:

But where is your proof that the long ending was removed and then reinserted?  Again you’re making unsupported assertions. I’m fine with you speculating, just state that you’re speculating instead of stating your speculations as if they represent the truth. 

You have no proof that Jesus quoted some random scribe and deemed their words so important that He needed to tell Mormon to include them in the Book of Mormon. You are making unsupported assertions. I’m fine with you speculating, just state that you’re speculating instead of stating your speculations as if they represent the truth.  So why shouldn't I answer one proposition with another, and reply in the same manner, on your own level? Do you think you are wasting your time speculating on scholarship you barely understand, having replaced one set of bias with another?

Why don't you cut to the chase and find / reject proof that Jesus died and rose from the dead in the first place? If He didn't do that. you needn't navel gaze over Mark vs. Moroni. If He did do that, you needn't navel gaze over Mark vs. Moroni, either.

Edited by CV75
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2 hours ago, Canadiandude said:

We are a storytelling people perhaps, and biologically predisposed to look for purpose and meaning in life, yet that does not mean that we cannot construct these, absent of their having any external existence independent of human convention.

I never said anything opposed to that.  Of course we construct these beliefs- by revelation.  We interpret the bible, for example, the bible is a human construction revealed by God a human who knows how we think.  We put together 1+1 and come up with an interpretation of the WORDS of the bible.  Words are not direct experiences, they are abstractions from reality, but are the best tools we have available from which to construct paradigms.= so we have one interpretation that results in the trinity and another that results in the Godhead.

Which is best for us individually to understand?

No one understands the Trinity- and yet most Christians agree it that is true.   So I pick the Godhead because I know what it is for me to be "one" with others in situations as different as rooting for a ball team, or loving my spouse.

So three persons being "one"- ??   No problem,

And then I pray about it and God confirms that my interpretation is the best one for my way of thinking, to draw myself closer to Him.  You may have a different construction that is best for you.

Both are right depending on the individual and their proclivities- there are many roads to God depending on our environment, genetics, language, background etc.

The mere fact that we are clearly "biologically predisposed to look for purpose and meaning in life," proves the point.   THAT is the important point.

Language is abstract and a distortion of reality so we MUST construct our own meanings by extrapolating from language- that is obvious.

Seeking for anything BEYOND what is humanly constructed is the illusion.   Read the Rorty quote below again please please until you can make sense of it.

I will yet again translate it into easier langauge line by line.  I chose Rorty because he clearly and lucidly captures the contemporary philosophies predominant in our culture today.

I will underline my words, and keep Rorty's words as he wrote them.

R: " To say that the world is out there, that it is not our creation, is to say, with common sense, that most things in space and time are the effects of causes which do not include human mental states.  

MB:  We all share a world we did not create.  Most "things" in space and time- which we see around us clearly are not our mental creations, there is SOMETHING "beneath " what we see that causes us to mentally perceive the things of the world around us.  Our eyes take in light and our brain translates those nerve impulses into what we call "chairs and tables".   So when we attach words to things we see, we are using our brains to INTERPRET the appearances as our brain sees them- therefore making them "human constructions"

R: To say that truth is not out there is simply to say that where there are no sentences, there is no truth, that sentences are elements of human languages, and that human languages are human creations.

MB: "Truth"- the concept- is not about what underlies language.  There are no "True" cars or tables- though we might speak that way- there are only true descriptions like "The car is red" - in language.  AND language itself is a human creation or construction. Truth is a PROPERTY of sentences, not of things in the world

R: Truth cannot be out there- cannot exist independently of the human mind- because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there.

MB: Sentences are not things in the world, but things we created in language.  If truth is a property of sentences- then truth is a human construction. 

R: The world is out there, but descriptions of the world are not.  Only descriptions of the world can be true or false.  The world on its own- unaided by the describing activities of human beings- cannot."  

MB: Descriptions OF the world are are not things IN the world- you cannot bump into or fall over a description!   Yet only descriptions can be true or false- again there are no "true" tables or chairs, SO the world as we perceive it is the only "world" we can talk about.   In a sense, without human language and descriptions, the world as we know it cannot even be SAID to "exist"

Something is out there, but without language it cannot be described or be called "true"

Richard Rorty- Contingency Irony and Solidarity, P 5.

So now back to your point.

Quote

We are a storytelling people perhaps, and biologically predisposed to look for purpose and meaning in life, yet that does not mean that we cannot construct these, absent of their having any external existence independent of human convention.

Purpose and meaning and stories do not exist "out there"- in the world.  You cannot trip over them- no stubbing the toe by stepping on "meaning"

The CAN ONLY exist as human constructions in language.  So you are right!

Edited by mfbukowski
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33 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

Of course. No cited text. 

That quotation from Irenaeus looks like a cited text to me. I didn't know I was being graded on formatting. 

I'm still waiting for an answer on what exactly it is you're looking for. 

1 hour ago, Fair Dinkum said:

false

Overstepping your evidence. On what evidence do you declare his reading false?

1 hour ago, Fair Dinkum said:

unsupported, speculative

Any explanation of what happens to these words is going to earn these two adjectives, considering the fact that all we have is some manuscripts have the words whereas others don't.

1 hour ago, Fair Dinkum said:

earliest, most trusted

Earliest, you have. How are you measured "most trusted" or "most reliable"?

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19 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Seeking for anything BEYOND what is humanly constructed is the illusion.   Read the Rorty quote below again please please until you can make sense of it.

I will yet again translate it into easier langauge line by line.  I chose Rorty because he clearly and lucidly captures the contemporary philosophies predominant in our culture today.

That’s a postmodernist take, and one that conflicts with church doctrine which does indeed prescribe to the belief that external truth exists regardless of our conventions.

It also conflicts with your previous reference to the ‘god gene’ argument because to admit that our nature is somewhat determined by our genes rather than social constructs is to acknowledge the nominal reality and (at least moderate) effect of external influences beyond interpretatism.

I myself believe in a more ‘temperate’ constructivism, where there exists a material, external reality that has discernible influences that can be studied, tested and measured; as well as a thick-to-thin layer of social convention and constrained interpretism that can influence how we understand and interact with this physical reality.

if you so wish to make the ontological claim that there’s ‘nothing beyond the text’ so to speak, that’s your decision but not one I myself can concur with.

The church has made falsifiable truth-claims, ethical pronouncements of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ with discernible social & material consequences, and exclusive claims to divine authority; and being the best source of correct/necessary  teachings/practices.

While we all have our biases and limitations of perception, that’s not to say that this is all we have; or that we haven’t developed some robust theories in our understanding of the world, or failed to develop powerful systems of measurement and testing to arrive at more accurate understandings.

 

I acknowledge that there are limitations to methodological naturalism, but I cannot deny the robustness of its methodology in discerning this external world, notwithstanding our cognitive constraints and biases, particularly when compared to its peers.

The post-modernist turn within Christian Apologetics so as to shield itself from criticism is a curious development, and I doubt it will provide much additional certainty or confidence to those experiencing a truth crisis, over what they’ve been taught to believe, when such conflicts with both archival and contemporary evidence.

Then there are the societal and individual consequences of the church’s beliefs and practices (old and contemporary) that need to be taken into account.
 

A post-modern defence of the church fails to substantiate  the ‘reality’ or ‘superiority’ of its teachings and practices, relative to other constructs of understanding, and is of cold comfort to sexual and gender minorities, and other marginalized groups within the church, who would possibly experience greater self-determination and relief outside its ‘hallowed’ halls.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Canadiandude
One of these days I shall proof-read before posting, but it is not this day!
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3 hours ago, Canadiandude said:

That’s a postmodernist take, and one that conflicts with church doctrine which does indeed prescribe to the belief that external truth exists regardless of our conventions.

It also conflicts with your previous reference to the ‘god gene’ argument because to admit that our nature is somewhat determined by our genes rather than social constructs is to acknowledge the nominal reality and (at least moderate) effect of external influences beyond interpretatism.

I myself believe in a more ‘temperate’ constructivism, where there exists a material, external reality that has discernible influences that can be studied, tested and measured; as well as a thick-to-thin layer of social convention and constrained interpretism that can influence how we understand and interact with this physical reality.

if you so wish to make the ontological claim that there’s ‘nothing beyond the text’ so to speak, that’s your decision but not one I myself can concur with.

The church has made falsifiable truth-claims, ethical pronouncements of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ with discernible social & material consequences, and exclusive claims to divine authority; and being the best source of correct/necessary  teachings/practices.

While we all have our biases and limitations of perception, that’s not to say that this is all we have; or that we haven’t developed some robust theories in our understanding of the world, or failed to develop powerful systems of measurement and testing to arrive at more accurate understandings.

 

I acknowledge that there are limitations to methodological naturalism, but I cannot deny the robustness of its methodology in discerning this external world, notwithstanding our cognitive constraints and biases, particularly when compared to its peers.

The post-modernist turn within Christian Apologetics so as to shield itself from criticism is a curious development, and I doubt it will provide much additional certainty or confidence to those experiencing a truth crisis, over what they’ve been taught to believe, when such conflicts with both archival and contemporary evidence.

Then there are the societal and individual consequences of the church’s beliefs and practices (old and contemporary) that need to be taken into account.
 

A post-modern defence of the church fails to substantiate  the ‘reality’ or ‘superiority’ of its teachings and practices, relative to other constructs of understanding, and is of cold comfort to sexual and gender minorities, and other marginalized groups within the church, who would possibly experience greater self-determination and relief outside its ‘hallowed’ halls.

In this case, the Church’s claim is that the Book of Mormon contains sayings attributed to Jesus that are also found in the modern version of the Gospel According to Mark, which can be shown to have been added to an earlier version.

One biased view holds that early works can miss content from their original sources, and subsequent versions can replace missed content from the same original, but subsequently lost, sources. The other holds that only extant, primary sources can establish (or offer a more accurate understanding of) what happened, conveniently falsifying the first bias.

There are people of marginalized groups who relate to either of these views. The superiority of one view over the other is a matter of personal choice based on personal experience and preference. This is how Moroni's Promise works.

Edited by CV75
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3 hours ago, Canadiandude said:

That’s a postmodernist take, and one that conflicts with church doctrine which does indeed prescribe to the belief that external truth exists regardless of our conventions.

It also conflicts with your previous reference to the ‘god gene’ argument because to admit that our nature is somewhat determined by our genes rather than social constructs is to acknowledge the nominal reality and (at least moderate) effect of external influences beyond interpretatism.

I myself believe in a more ‘temperate’ constructivism, where there exists a material, external reality that has discernible influences that can be studied, tested and measured; as well as a thick-to-thin layer of social convention and constrained interpretism that can influence how we understand and interact with this physical reality.

if you so wish to make the ontological claim that there’s ‘nothing beyond the text’ so to speak, that’s your decision but not one I myself can concur with.

The church has made falsifiable truth-claims, ethical pronouncements of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ with discernible social & material consequences, and exclusive claims to divine authority; and being the best source of correct/necessary  teachings/practices.

While we all have our biases and limitations of perception, that’s not to say that this is all we have; or that we haven’t developed some robust theories in our understanding of the world, or failed to develop powerful systems of measurement and testing to arrive at more accurate understandings.

 

I acknowledge that there are limitations to methodological naturalism, but I cannot deny the robustness of its methodology in discerning this external world, notwithstanding our cognitive constraints and biases, particularly when compared to its peers.

The post-modernist turn within Christian Apologetics so as to shield itself from criticism is a curious development, and I doubt it will provide much additional certainty or confidence to those experiencing a truth crisis, over what they’ve been taught to believe, when such conflicts with both archival and contemporary evidence.

Then there are the societal and individual consequences of the church’s beliefs and practices (old and contemporary) that need to be taken into account.
 

A post-modern defence of the church fails to substantiate  the ‘reality’ or ‘superiority’ of its teachings and practices, relative to other constructs of understanding, and is of cold comfort to sexual and gender minorities, and other marginalized groups within the church, who would possibly experience greater self-determination and relief outside its ‘hallowed’ halls.

 

 

 

 

Let's keep it simple

What makes a red car, red?

We learn two words and attach them to the PERCEPTION we have.

Prove that my perception of red is identical to yours.

Can't be done.  

We cannot get outside our brains and into another's, or into a world beyond human perception to compare "reality" with our perceptions of it.

The only answer is Pragmatism, that the difference between reality and perception is irrelevant and cannot make a difference in our lives- how we act, the decisions we make etc.

It's a distinction without a difference. Logical fallacy

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinction_without_a_difference

Our brains are only capable of seeing what human brains can see.

What colors are radio waves or cosmic rays? 

It's a linguistic nonsecquitor.

And yes you can get a temple recommend while being a postmodernist.

Yet another distinction without a difference 

Edited by mfbukowski
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6 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

And yes you can get a temple recommend while being a postmodernist.

I've done so. 

If I have Rorty (and yourself) right, Pragmatism and postmodernism do not hold that there is no external world. "To say that the world is out there, that it is not our creation, is to say, with common sense, that most things in space and time are the effects of causes which do not include human mental states." However, our access to this external world is mediated 100% through our perceptions, so for all intents and purposes our perceptions are what exist. 

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Let's keep it simple

What makes a red car, red?

We learn two words and attach them to the PERCEPTION we have.

Prove that my perception of red is identical to yours.

Can't be done.  

We cannot get outside our brains and into another's, or into a world beyond human perception to compare "reality" with our perceptions of it.

The only answer is Pragmatism, that the difference between reality and perception is irrelevant and cannot make a difference in our lives- how we act, the decisions we make etc.

It's a distinction without a difference. Logical fallacy

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinction_without_a_difference

Our brains are only capable of seeing what human brains can see.

What colors are radio waves or cosmic rays? 

It's a linguistic nonsecquitor.

And yes you can get a temple recommend while being a postmodernist.

Yet another distinction without a difference 

It actually makes all the difference in the world in our case because the implications behind these respective arguments, furthermore you’re attempting to dodge your former concessions. 
 

I can’t physically change my ability to digest milk merely by saying whether I can or cannot do so. 
 

I have the gene which allows me to regardless of my opinion on the matter.

I’m quite aware you can get a temple recommend and disagree with church teachings. That doesn’t counter the tensions between the ontological commitments of postmodernism and the Church’s own exclusive truth and ethical claims which the church purports to be more correct or have primacy over than other kinds and particular claims.

Church leaders themselves have compared laws of god to laws of physics and plead for members to see things ‘as they really are’.

It doesn’t matter that many 2SLGBTQ+ people’s find value in the claims, the fact of the matter is the church went outside of its way to fight against our rights to marry, transition, etc., and continues this day to marginalize and persecute us.

Again. I do not concede to your postmodernist, ‘Ideas All the Way Down’ ontological commitments.

Feel free to take refuge in them, but as someone else said elsewhere on this forum: “I’m not really into video-games”.

Wordplay what you will but its not all that invigorating of a discussion once one’s argued defence is: ‘It’s all just people’s imperfect perceptions so nothing can be fully evidenced or made non-evident between peoples, therefore my claims are just as valid as any others.“

 

Edited by Canadiandude
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2 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

I've done so. 

If I have Rorty (and yourself) right, Pragmatism and postmodernism do not hold that there is no external world. "To say that the world is out there, that it is not our creation, is to say, with common sense, that most things in space and time are the effects of causes which do not include human mental states." However, our access to this external world is mediated 100% through our perceptions, so for all intents and purposes our perceptions are what exist. 

Exactly!

This approach actually makes spiritual experience MORE REAL, imo, than "reality" by being DIRECT and possibly unmediated, certainly not communicated by language nor  tainted by language.  It is direct wordless intelligence/experience streaming direct from God.

If it is misinterpreted that comes from us, I believe

It makes the world of spiritual experience primary and direct and unmediated experience of the world detached and secondary and always mediated

 William James and radical empiricism fits quite well with this view.

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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      I am not a conspiracy kind of person.  I had a thought the other day that if you really believe the Book of Mormon you cannot state the following:                    All conspiracy theories are false.
    • By Fair Dinkum
      Believers often pose the question, if not from God then how?  How could an uneducated farm boy produce this book on his own without God's hand?  This new book provides an answer to that question.
      Quoted liberally from his Amazon reviews: In a fascinating new book Dr. William L. Davis draws on performance studies, religious studies, literary culture and the history of early American education, Davis analyzes Smith's process of oral composition. Davis provides a plausible alternative explanation for the coming forth of the Book of Mormon from the official narrative.  He explains how Smith was able to produce a history spanning a period of a 1,000 years, filled with hundreds of distinct characters and episodes, all cohesively tied together in an overarching narrative.
      Eyewitnesses claimed that Smith never looked at notes, manuscripts or books, that he simply spoke words of this American religious epic into existence by looking at a Seer Stone.  Davis shows how this long held assumption is not true, that Smith had abundant time between looking at his seer stone to produce his story line and to think through his plot and narrative.
      If you approach this book without a preconceived axe to grind, you will find solid research explaining how the oral sermon culture of the 19th century either crept into the Book of Mormon as Joseph Smith translated it (from a believer's perspective) or explains how Joseph could have constructed the narrative himself (from a skeptic's). Davis does not take sides and leaves room for both believing and skeptical perspectives.
      Judging the truth of the books claims is not Davis's interest. Rather, he reveals a kaleidoscope of practices and styles that converged around Smith's creation with an emphasis on the evangelical preaching styles popularized by renowned preachers George Whitefield and John Wesley. He allows for the believer to maintain a faithful view of the book.
      In Visions in a Seer Stone, Davis adroitly restores for the modern reader aspects of the now-forgotten sermon culture of Joseph Smith’s 19th-century, burnt over district, world and the well-established rhetorical performance techniques of its preachers. Davis then demonstrates that this oratorical praxis—in which Joseph Smith himself was a participant—illuminates not only Smith’s production of the Book of Mormon as a dictated performance bearing the indicia of these sermon preparation and delivery techniques, but it also illuminates the very text of this LDS scripture itself, both its narrative events and sermon contents.

      Davis details how numerous Book of Mormon narrative features—headings, outlines or summaries, some visible in italics and many others less visible in the text—are not mere textual devices for the reader, but were effective 19th-century sermon performance tools Smith could use to keep track of and produce the narrative as he dictated it. Davis produces an exhaustive list of ministers who wrote about sermon delivery techniques using such headings or outlines—“laying down heads”— with all of them substantially in agreement, having borrowed from each other and from bible dictionaries, such as Adam Clarke's bible commentaries and other sermon manuals, as well as from “Heathen Moralists” such as Plato, Aristotle and other philosophers, rhetoricians and writers from antiquity (see in particular on pp. 42 and 71 as to Bishop John Wilkins and the sources he used as well as his primary techniques to assist the preacher to speak from memory and which enable the congregation to understand “with greater ease and profit, when they are before-hand acquainted with the general heads of matters that are discoursed of”.) Smith incorporated these same rhetorical techniques into his Book of Mormon

      Davis shows that The Book of Mormon narrative contains many examples of its characters also using these oratorical techniques, the most visible formulation of which is found in Jacob 1:4 in which Nephi gives Jacob very explicit instructions on preaching that (other than his references to “plates”) could easily have been inserted into the pages of a 19th-century sermon composition manual: “if there were preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying, that I [Jacob] should engraven the heads of them upon these plates, and touch upon them as much as it were possible” (see p. 91). The term Heads while not a familiar to the modern reader would have been quickly recognized by an early 19th century reader as familiar terminology used by the religious orator as topical notes highlighting important points to touch upon in the sermon.

      Although not an active Latter-day Saint himself, Davis writes generously for those still in the fold, providing room for Latter-day Saints to retain their faith in this book of LDS scripture while incorporating Davis’s new findings into a still orthodox understanding of inspired translation as described in LDS scripture, in Doctrine & Covenants 9:7-10. However, as shown by Avid Reader’s Amazon review of this book, apparently not all apologists will be satisfied with this option.

      One reviewer complained that— headings, outlines and summaries have been used for centuries by historians and other ancient writers, including Josephus and Aristotle, and that they would have been available somehow to the Book of Mormon’s ancient authors—is interesting since it actually supports Davis’s thesis. Take the preachers who wrote about the oratorical techniques described by Davis. They themselves, in formulating and promoting these 19th-century techniques, had access to and were informed by these very authors noted a reviewer. (see the note about Bishop Wilkins above, not to mention the pseudo-archaic book genre in 19th-century America that borrowed them as well)! Yet these ancient authors noted by siad reader (both living in Greco-Roman times) are not ancient enough to have informed the Book of Mormon’s purported ancient authors who themselves left Israel before the Babylonian exile, a time when outlines, headings and summaries are not known among ancient scribes and authors (and even LDS apologists now recognize that ancient scribal colophons are not the same thing—see Davis, p. 126).

       
      Davis has identified tell-tale signs within the Book of Mormon that give hints of Smith processes.  He also offers historical reference to Smith's becoming a trained Methodist orator.
      This sounds like a very interesting book and I'm wondering if anyone here has read it and would share your thoughts.
      <-------- Not King Benjamin

    • By bdouglas
      Two months ago someone from my extended family, Richard (not his real name), left the church.
      “I believe Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon,” he said.
      I spent an hour or so pushing back on this point. I brought up the complex geography of the BOM (“Fiction writers very rarely invent geography, and when they do it’s a very simple geography”); the language (“Who invents something like Reformed Egyptian? If you’re inventing a story about Jews from 600 BC you have them speaking Hebrew”); the various plates (“Someone could write a whole book on the various plates in the BOM alone, the abridgments, the abridgments of abridgments, the large plates, the small plates, what happened to these plates over the course of a thousand years”); the messiness yet internal consistency of the narrative (“Fiction is not messy, it is tidy, organized. But the BOM is untidy, messy, and there are loose ends everywhere. Why? Because it is not fiction"); etc., etc.
      But it was all to no effect. Richard has never been a reader, and most of what I said––well, it just didn’t register with him.
      But what I said next, did.
      “The Book of Mormon was originally rendered in a language Joseph Smith didn’t know.”
      “What?”
      “The Book of Mormon, the original text that Joseph Smith dictated, was not written in the English of that day. It was not the King James English of the Bible, nor was it the English of Joseph’s day. It was written in Early Modern English, a language which had been out of use for 200 years by 1827. This was a language Joseph Smith did not know and could not have known.”
      Long pause. I’d finally hit on something that Richard could grasp.
      "The presence of Early Modern English in the Book of Mormon is proof that Joseph Smith did not produce the book himself," I said.
      Maybe it would be more accurate to say that it is a different kind of proof, one that is easily grasped by someone like Richard, who is not going to respond to other proofs.
      Not that Richard is suddenly going to return to the church. I doubt that he will.
      But the presence of EModE in the BOM, when taken with all of the other proofs, makes it extremely unlikely, really impossible, that JS wrote the BOM.
      P.S. - Tried to edit headline but can't.
    • By Robert F. Smith
      A symposium on "EGYPT AND THE OLD TESTAMENT" will be held at the Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst, Gabelsbergerstr. 35, Munich/München, Germany, on 6-7 Dec 2019.
      The proceedings will be published as ÄAT (AEGYPTEN UND ALTES TESTAMENT) volume 100.
      More on the symposium can be found at https://www.freunde-abrahams.de/aegypten-und-altes-testament/  .
      ÄAT's spectrum covers the philological, art historical, and archaeological branches of Egyptology, as well as Old Testament exegesis, the archaeology, glyptics and epigraphy of Israel/Palestine and neighboring regions such as Sinai and Transjordan, literature and history of religions, from the Bronze Ages up to Greco-Roman and early Christian periods, as well as relevant aspects of research history.
       
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