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The Pre-Mortal Existance Refutes the Assertion that Intelligence is Genetically Determined.


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8 hours ago, Eschaton said:

We modern people have been living with Platonism for so long that the idea of an immortal human soul is second nature to us. It's in all of our pop culture about ghosts and dealing with grief. How do we explain consciousness if not with the soul? Well, that's how we lay persons think about it anyway - those who study the topic for a living don't talk about souls.  

Traditionally ancient Judaism lacked that concept. One doesn't need to resort to Plato to explain consciousness - one can even do so while affirming belief in God. I think it's highly likely Jesus himself didn't believe in the concept - the idea doesn't seem to enter Christianity until late in the first century, as it was becoming less Jewish and more Greek/Roman. 

I don't think "soul" is all that helpful to explain qualia. What does outdated Platonism have to do with neuroscience, after all? Those pesky gentile Christian converts seem to have elevated Plato to the status of a Christian prophet, and that status is going strong after thousands of years.  

Souls, I believe do not explain qualia, however qualia may be included in a paradigm as an alternate expression of we call "spirit" .  I do not generally favor Plato nor have I ever said I did in this thread.   I suggested that the conscience can be seen as a quale caused by elements in the environment and interpreted by the brain just as the environment stimulates the brain to see "red" or feel joy, or love, or feel the itch of a mosquito bite.   All of these qualia may be seen to be as a unified paradigm  including brain interpretations of the enviroment, which have evolved under the influence of our Father, which help humanity to survive by providing the best possible (definable) moral beliefs for survival of the human race called the "Ten Commandments" and what we might call the "plan of happiness/ covenant path".

  From an LDS point of view I agree that Platonism helped to spur on what we can "the apostasy".  Aquinas was essentially an Aristotelian with a good dose of Platonism thrown in, and in my opinion was a strong influence in the wrong direction, away from the bible.

I feel that all of my positions are completely compatible with the bible.

Edited by mfbukowski
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10 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Souls, I believe do not explain qualia, however qualia may be included in a paradigm as an alternate expression of we call "spirit" .  I do not generally favor Plato nor have I ever said I did in this thread.   I suggested that the conscience can be seen as a quale caused by elements in the environment and interpreted by the brain just as the environment stimulates the brain to see "red" or feel joy, or love, or feel the itch of a mosquito bite.   All of these qualia may be seen to be as a unified paradigm  including brain interpretations of the enviroment, which have evolved under the influence of our Father, which help humanity to survive by providing the best possible (definable) moral beliefs for survival of the human race called the "Ten Commandments" and what we might call the "plan of happiness/ covenant path".

Well, anyone who believes in an immortal intangible version of the self that continues on after we die has been influenced by Plato, knowingly or not. Not that I'm saying that's good or bad, but often it's assumed that it's the only option for Christians, which isn't true. 

As to the 10 commandments, lots of it is common sense, but a good chunk of it really has no contemporary relevance as it's about the temptation to worship competing gods (modern people tend to believe in one or fewer Gods - ancient people believed in many gods). But that's just nitpicking, I get what you're saying. Essentially the common wisdom of the scriptures is a good manual for life. 

 

10 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

  From an LDS point of view I agree that Platonism helped to spur on what we can "the apostasy".  Aquinas was essentially an Aristotelian with a good dose of Platonism thrown in, and in my opinion was a strong influence in the wrong direction, away from the bible.

Platonism exists in the LDS tradition too - for example Jesus as the "Word of God" found in the gospel of John, the immortal human soul. Some of it's less Plato but still Greek, like the body/blood symbolism of the sacrament, or the idea of rewards and punishments in the afterlife. But Plato is definitely more acute in Christian orthodoxy, for example, in the Trinity. 

10 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I feel that all of my positions are completely compatible with the bible.

Well, the Bible doesn't have univocality, it's a collection of books with diverse ideas. To borrow Dan McClellan's phrasing, we all have to "negotiate" with the Bible. I prefer not to even think of it as a book, it's a library of many different viewpoints. In order to get any use out of it, we all have to be magpies, borrowing the shiny bits from it and leaving the rest. 

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7 hours ago, Eschaton said:

Well, anyone who believes in an immortal intangible version of the self that continues on after we die has been influenced by Plato, knowingly or not. Not that I'm saying that's good or bad, but often it's assumed that it's the only option for Christians, which isn't true. 

As to the 10 commandments, lots of it is common sense, but a good chunk of it really has no contemporary relevance as it's about the temptation to worship competing gods (modern people tend to believe in one or fewer Gods - ancient people believed in many gods). But that's just nitpicking, I get what you're saying. Essentially the common wisdom of the scriptures is a good manual for life. 

 

Platonism exists in the LDS tradition too - for example Jesus as the "Word of God" found in the gospel of John, the immortal human soul. Some of it's less Plato but still Greek, like the body/blood symbolism of the sacrament, or the idea of rewards and punishments in the afterlife. But Plato is definitely more acute in Christian orthodoxy, for example, in the Trinity. 

Well, the Bible doesn't have univocality, it's a collection of books with diverse ideas. To borrow Dan McClellan's phrasing, we all have to "negotiate" with the Bible. I prefer not to even think of it as a book, it's a library of many different viewpoints. In order to get any use out of it, we all have to be magpies, borrowing the shiny bits from it and leaving the rest. 

I don't like your negotiation. 🧐

Transubstantiation is strictly Aquinas and therefore Aristotle.

Substances.

All religions prior to Plato believed in eternal life. I think one culture was called "Egypt", one of Plato's influencers. ;)

Teaching about false gods applies also the god of money and many other modern vices. 

I said that all my positions are COMPATIBLE with the bible, not sola scriptura.

Disagree on all points!

https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803133541542

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 11/20/2022 at 1:05 AM, dougtheavenger said:

In the pre-mortal existence we engaged in intellectual thought; possibly of a very complex nature. We had intelligence and the level of intelligence varied from one spirit to another. We did not have genes or hormones. Ergo intelligence cannot be genetically determined and morallity cannot be determined by hormones.

The word "intelligence" in English has different connotations, depending upon how it is used. In the military sense, for example, it means "knowledge", as in Central Intelligence Agency. Doesn't mean that the CIA has intelligence in the IQ sense (but its operatives better be high IQ). It just means that they collect and analyze information, aka intelligence.

In the LDS Guide to the Scriptures it says this to say about intelligence:

"Intelligence has several meanings, three of which are: (1) It is the light of truth that gives life and light to all things in the universe. It has always existed. (2) The word intelligences may also refer to spirit children of God. (3) The scriptures also may speak of intelligence as referring to the spirit element that existed before we were begotten as spirit children."

Remember that our brains are dumb here in mortality. We are genetically and definitely dumbed-down. When you see a person of lower IQ than yours, recall that in comparison to our ultimate capability as sons and daughters of God, you are just as smart/dumb as that other person. Don't be proud!

In a FAIR conference in 2008, Daniel Peterson told the following story about Hugh Nibley:

"There is a story early in his life that settled one of his problems for him. Some of you know this he had a near-death experience early on. He was having doubts about the concept of life after death as a young man. He had to be rushed to the hospital because of a problem and he, in the course of the medical procedure, he swallowed his tongue and had an out of body near-death experience. One of the things that struck him — of course as being Hugh Nibley he said, he realized when he was out of his body he could do math really well. Most of us wouldn’t be thinking about that, you know, but he said math was not his strong suit. I could do all sorts of fabulous calculations and just all sorts of wonderful things and he said he realized then that in the next life will be able to learn much faster than we do here."

Obviously we will be hamstrung in the spirit world, as well as we are here, but there we will have lost the built-in genetic limitations we suffer from here. And even the lower-than-your IQ types will be just as smart as you are. 

In the first Whole Earth Catalog, Stewart Brand said "We are as gods, and we might as well get good at it." Little did he know, he was completely correct. 

We wouldn't have been put here in mortality if we hadn't passed our midterm exams in the Pre-existence. Father regards us as nearly ready for exaltation to His level, and we only have to pass the test of Mortality/Spirit World. But learning isn't the main purpose of it. Dr. Peterson goes on about Hugh Nibley's story:

"Knowledge will come to us really quickly. That’s not what this life is about. It’s important to learn but “the really important thing is to learn to repent,” he said, “in this life.” And so for him experiences like that, and he really had quite a list of them, not all near-death experiences, but revelatory experiences, as he regarded them."

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12 hours ago, Eschaton said:

Well, anyone who believes in an immortal intangible version of the self that continues on after we die has been influenced by Plato

Just to clarify, are you claiming Asian versions of souls (for example, ling-hun )were influenced by Plato?

Edited by Calm
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11 hours ago, Calm said:

Just to clarify, are you claiming Asian versions of souls (for example, ling-hun )were influenced by Plato?

I'm not familiar with Asian ideas about the afterlife - I'm referring only to our inherited Judeo Christian tradition. 

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16 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I don't like your negotiation. 🧐

Transubstantiation is strictly Aquinas and therefore Aristotle.

Substances.

Okay

 

16 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

All religions prior to Plato believed in eternal life. I think one culture was called "Egypt", one of Plato's influencers. ;)

Judaism did not - for ancient Jews, death was the end of the self. Salvation in an ancient Jewish context meant salvation from war, famine, etc. Life after death was the first new development, but only in the concept of resurrection of the body. The Platonic immortal soul was adopted later as both Judaism and Christianity Hellenized, and has proven to be a popular and enduring idea.  

 

16 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Teaching about false gods applies also the god of money and many other modern vices. 

That's not what it meant to ancient people - this is a way modern people have negotiated with the text to try to keep it relevant in a completely different context - in other words they read modern vices into a text that was originally trying to stop the popular and ancient practice of praying to and worshiping multiple gods. Israel was originally polytheistic, after all. 

 

16 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I said that all my positions are COMPATIBLE with the bible, not sola scriptura.

Disagree on all points!

https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803133541542

Sure, just just about anything can be made compatible with the Bible, either because the Bible lacks univocality, or through the process of eisegesis. I didn't say anything about sola scriptura. 

Edited by Eschaton
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11 hours ago, Calm said:

Just to clarify, are you claiming Asian versions of souls (for example, ling-hun )were influenced by Plato?

Not to mention hundreds of thousands of years of hundreds of thousands of tribes praying for Nirvana, celestial gardens, worrying about ghosts and evil spirits etc.etc.

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1 hour ago, Eschaton said:

I'm not familiar with Asian ideas about the afterlife - I'm referring only to our inherited Judeo Christian tradition. 

You make a sweeping claim, then reverse it. 

Things like that destroy credibility.

I wish you well. :)  I am simply suggesting you phrase things carefully

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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25 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

You make a sweeping claim, then reverse it. 

Things like that destroy credibility.

I wish you well. :)  I am simply suggesting you phrase things carefully

 

I haven't reversed any claims - it should be clear we were always talking about Christianity and Judaism.  I don't pretend to speak for eastern religions, indigenous religions, African religions, and the many other traditions out there in the world. 

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On 11/22/2022 at 6:50 AM, Eschaton said:

Well, anyone who believes in an immortal intangible version of the self that continues on after we die has been influenced by Plato, knowingly or not. Not that I'm saying that's good or bad, but often it's assumed that it's the only option for Christians, which isn't true. 

 

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

 

Quote

Well, anyone who believes in an immortal intangible version of the self that continues on after we die has been influenced by Plato, knowingly or not. Not that I'm saying that's good or bad, but often it's assumed that it's the only option for Christians, which isn't true. 

Please do read carefully instead of making assumptions.  You seem to be looking for a "gotcha," despite you having incorrectly claimed earlier that that "All religions prior to Plato believed in eternal life." 

Edited by Eschaton
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1 hour ago, Eschaton said:

Please do read carefully instead of making assumptions.  You seem to be looking for a "gotcha," despite you having incorrectly claimed earlier that that "All religions prior to Plato believed in eternal life." 

Oh my. This is based on semantics and can be never ending. Religion without an afterlife?  Why?

Fine, take your last word, I am out.

I wish you the best. :)

 

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On 11/22/2022 at 7:50 AM, Eschaton said:

Well, anyone who believes in an immortal intangible version of the self that continues on after we die has been influenced by Plato, knowingly or not.

Justin Martyr (an early Christian father) taught that Plato got many of his ideas from Moses (for a handful of examples, see here here, here , here, and here).  And he indicates that his doctrines on the soul also came from Moses (here). 

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On 11/21/2022 at 9:51 AM, Eschaton said:

I'm not sure I understand your question. Who said the church has a doctrine of detecting the soul's effect on "it's own attributes"? What does "its own" refer to? The church's attributes? The soul's attributes? 

The soul's attributes. Since the Church doesn't have an explicit doctrine on detecting the soul's effect on its own attributes (other than the resurrected glory and final judgement), you can't seem to address the doctrinal question you raise at all.

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On 11/22/2022 at 2:50 PM, Eschaton said:

Well, anyone who believes in an immortal intangible version of the self that continues on after we die has been influenced by Plato, knowingly or not. Not that I'm saying that's good or bad, but often it's assumed that it's the only option for Christians, which isn't true. 

Oh, fer crying out loud. 

Is Paul a disciple of Plato, then?

1 Cor 15:16-19 - For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is avain; ye are yet in your sins.  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

1 Cor 15:22 - For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Cor 15:29,30 - Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

And how about Peter?

1 Peter 3:18-20 - For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

1 Peter 4:6 - For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

One doesn't preach the gospel to nullities. And let's not make a special pleading only for those dying in the Flood. 

Jesus was apparently also Plato's disciple, as his own disciples wondered why that man was born blind. 

John 9:1-3 - And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

They ask, and Jesus does not correct their understanding: How could it be because of his own sin, before he was born? The disciples clearly believed that the man's consciousness preceded his birth, and Jesus does not contradict them. And as Jeremiah attests concerning himself, as God told him:

Jeremiah 1:4,5 - Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

What I get from these plain statements out of the scriptures is that we humans existed as "immortal intangible versions of the self" before, during, and after our mortal lives. And if Plato felt the same, good on him, because it sure looks like Jeremiah, Jesus, Peter, and Paul understood it this way as well.

 

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16 hours ago, Stargazer said:

Oh, fer crying out loud. 

Is Paul a disciple of Plato, then?

1 Cor 15:16-19 - For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is avain; ye are yet in your sins.  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

1 Cor 15:22 - For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Cor 15:29,30 - Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

 

 

No, Paul wasn't a disciple of Plato. But if you read carefully Paul is talking about the resurrection of the body, not the immortality of the human soul. 

 

16 hours ago, Stargazer said:

 

And how about Peter?

1 Peter 3:18-20 - For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

1 Peter 4:6 - For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

 

 

 

We don't have any of the writings of Peter. Whoever this was, writing toward the end of the first century, he was probably influenced by Platonic thought, yes. 

 

16 hours ago, Stargazer said:

 

One doesn't preach the gospel to nullities. And let's not make a special pleading only for those dying in the Flood. 

Jesus was apparently also Plato's disciple, as his own disciples wondered why that man was born blind. 

John 9:1-3 - And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

 

 

 

I'm not sure how this passage is relevant? In any case, the gospel of John is not a source for the sayings of Jesus - all sayings of Jesus in John can be safely attributed to the author of the gospel, writing in the 10th decade of the first century. 

16 hours ago, Stargazer said:

 

They ask, and Jesus does not correct their understanding: How could it be because of his own sin, before he was born? The disciples clearly believed that the man's consciousness preceded his birth, and Jesus does not contradict them. And as Jeremiah attests concerning himself, as God told him:

Jeremiah 1:4,5 - Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

What I get from these plain statements out of the scriptures is that we humans existed as "immortal intangible versions of the self" before, during, and after our mortal lives. And if Plato felt the same, good on him, because it sure looks like Jeremiah, Jesus, Peter, and Paul understood it this way as well.

 

Scholars don't think this refers to premortal existence at all, although I'm aware it's a traditional LDS eisegesis.  

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18 hours ago, CV75 said:

The soul's attributes. Since the Church doesn't have an explicit doctrine on detecting the soul's effect on its own attributes (other than the resurrected glory and final judgement), you can't seem to address the doctrinal question you raise at all.

I'm sorry, I'm still not following you. I'm not finding an argument or a point in this. 

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19 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Justin Martyr (an early Christian father) taught that Plato got many of his ideas from Moses (for a handful of examples, see here here, here , here, and here).  And he indicates that his doctrines on the soul also came from Moses (here). 

Yes, Justin comes from the period where Christianity was almost completely Hellenized. No surprise he tries to harmonize Plato and Moses. 

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19 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Oh my. This is based on semantics and can be never ending. Religion without an afterlife?  Why?

Fine, take your last word, I am out.

I wish you the best. :)

 

 

All of early Israelite religion is "religion without an afterlife." Instead of looking to God to help them live forever or get rewarded in heaven, they looked to god to bless them with good crop yields, or to defeat their enemies. That's what salvation means in the Hebrew Bible. Ordinary people didn't go to heaven (heaven was for the gods). They went to the grave. 

A few hundred years before Jesus, the idea of resurrection of the dead is developed. This STILL didn't feature the doctrine of an immortal human soul, but it they did have a sort of afterlife - basically the ability to live a second life on earth. Resurrection was a reward for righteousness, since it appeared to Jewish thinkers that God wouldn't necessarily bless them with temporal blessings in life after all, even if they were righteous. In fact they experienced suffering as a result of keeping the law. What a knock to the old way of thinking in Isaiah that God would only punish them for being wicked. The solution: evil cosmic forces in opposition to God were to blame for suffering!

In Greek thought there developed a system of rewards and punishments in the afterlife - from which we eventually get heaven and hell for humans in Christianity. 

So yes, you can have religion without an afterlife. But as always, people seem to think religion is only worth having if they get some kind of reward from God from it - whether that's a good crop yield or resurrection from the dead or eternal paradise. I guess our relationship with God is always transactional, which is a sad commentary on the human condition. 

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1 hour ago, Eschaton said:

No, Paul wasn't a disciple of Plato. But if you read carefully Paul is talking about the resurrection of the body, not the immortality of the human soul. 

We don't have any of the writings of Peter. Whoever this was, writing toward the end of the first century, he was probably influenced by Platonic thought, yes. 

I'm not sure how this passage is relevant? In any case, the gospel of John is not a source for the sayings of Jesus - all sayings of Jesus in John can be safely attributed to the author of the gospel, writing in the 10th decade of the first century. 

Scholars don't think this refers to premortal existence at all, although I'm aware it's a traditional LDS eisegesis.  

Eisegesis. Interesting.

"Scholar don't think..." What do the scholars think? Is that whom you rely upon, then? Seems a particularly slim reed upon which to lean.

Proverbs 3:5 - "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

But be sure to lean unto the understanding of the scholars. Or is Proverbs merely a book of poetry and is likewise not to be trusted?

You've demonstrated very clearly in this response that you don't depend upon canonized scripture. That some books accepted as such are not to be trusted. Fine. Where is your wisdom coming from, then? Scholars? 

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Transactions can be part of how we know we are important to someone else and showing they are important to us. Depending on what kind and how transactions take place, I think it can be admirable.  
 

Bribing gods with sweet smelling smoke or gifts of wealth to their temples is a different transaction than putting one’s broken heart symbolically on God’s altar

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2 hours ago, Eschaton said:

In Greek thought there developed a system of rewards and punishments in the afterlife - from which we eventually get heaven and hell for humans in Christianity. 

So yes, you can have religion without an afterlife. But as always, people seem to think religion is only worth having if they get some kind of reward from God from it - whether that's a good crop yield or resurrection from the dead or eternal paradise. I guess our relationship with God is always transactional, which is a sad commentary on the human condition. 

Pantheists would probably disagree.

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1 hour ago, Eschaton said:

No, Paul wasn't a disciple of Plato. But if you read carefully Paul is talking about the resurrection of the body, not the immortality of the human soul. 

Yes, let's read it carefully, and if we look at it at just the right angle, with the light coming in shaded just a little to the left, and we squint delicately enough, then we can see exactly what we want to see and understand from it.

And as for your reliance upon what the "Scholars" think, I do believe they are first cousins of the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus called hypocrites. The ones who, for example, interpreted the duty of children to take care of their parents to be overcome by declaring their property to be korban, or a gift dedicated for sacrifice -- but of course in the meantime they could continue to enjoy the property until the gift was actually given. And thus they flouted the Law of Moses with a little admixture of the philosophies of men.

From the time my great grandmother first read to me out of the Bible, I respected that book as a sacred volume, but I never really knew just how close to its purported source it actually was. If the Bible said Jesus was the Savior, I respected that, and I had deep respect for what Jesus taught, and for who he seemed to be. But it became glaringly obvious to me over time that there was a LOT of disagreement over its messages. My great grandmother was a member of the Church of the Brethren, one of my grandmothers was Seventh Day Adventist, my stepmom was a Baptist and my Dad almost joined the Jehovah's Witnesses when he was a young adult. Thank God he joined the US Marine Corps instead.

It took my finding and joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before I finally understood the Bible and could be confident about what to believe about it.

The rest of this post is quite long, for which I apologize. If you get weary reading it, and quit, I will not blame you. So let me provide a TL;DR:

I understand the Bible according to my testimony of the modern revealed scriptures, which are the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. If the Bible contradicts these, or is unclear about the subject, then I take what the revealed scriptures say as my watchword. I invite you to consider doing the same.

44 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

We don't have any of the writings of Peter. Whoever this was, writing toward the end of the first century, he was probably influenced by Platonic thought, yes. 

I'm not sure how this passage is relevant? In any case, the gospel of John is not a source for the sayings of Jesus - all sayings of Jesus in John can be safely attributed to the author of the gospel, writing in the 10th decade of the first century. 

So now we're all out in the open. You dispute the provenance of the New Testament. Excellent! Thanks for the clarification. It is clear that quoting scripture to you is a pointless exercise, because you have an instant escape from anything that might contradict you. And thus we are reduced to hand-to-hand combat versus pistols at dawn. I might as well be disputing with a man made out of vapor.

So, let me cut to the chase from my point of view. I shan't rehearse to you my conversion story, because why should I? Other than to say that after I happened upon the LDS in a very unlikely fashion, it became very obvious very quickly that the Book of Mormon was utterly key to everything. The Spirit whispered to me that the path my life was now being offered was of God, and I needed to be about my Father's business. It took some time, but Alma 32 and all that, I knew by the Spirit that the Book of Mormon was true. And because that book was true, I could trust the Bible (as far as it was translated [and transmitted] correctly), because the Book of Mormon testified of it. But I could only trust the Bible as far as I could throw it. 

I believe the Bible because the Book of Mormon says so. I don't have the same spiritual testimony of the Bible that I have of the Book of Mormon. You may be right in your assertions above about the books of Peter not being written by Peter, or Jesus's words being inserted into John's Gospel by some yokel in the 10th decade of the first century. But here's the kicker: you don't know, and you cannot know. All you have are speculations by scholars. Who weren't there any more than you were.

I, on the other hand, have a more sure word of prophecy. Were the words of Jesus inserted by someone in the 10th decade of the first century, in error? Or were they a faithful and true edit? I say again, you don't know and you cannot know. And of course, I don't know, either.

Here's what I do to resolve the conundrum. I take the words in the Bible as we have them, and glean understanding from them according to modern revelation. If the Bible contradicts the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, or Pearl of Great Price, then I toss the Bible's version into the dumpster. Bart Ehrman has convinced me that this is the safest course.

So, are the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John in agreement with what Jesus teaches in the Book of Mormon, et al.? Yes? Then ding-ding-ding, Bob's your uncle on the Gospel of John in that respect. If the guy in the 10th decade of the First Century knew what Jesus said -- because why would only four men have written what Jesus said or did? -- and added it to John, then I'm good to go on it.

So, when we come to that Johannine Comma in Mark it's clear as day -- or rather it's as clear as modern revealed scripture -- that it was a forgery, inserted to prove a falsehood by an ancient version of Mark Hofmann. Well, maybe that's a unnecessarily harsh comparison -- I'm sure the guy who forged the Comma had noble motives.

The most important question is NOT whether the four gospels were written by four men actually named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, or even if they were written by the men whose names are associated with them. The most important question is this: are they true accounts? Do they contain the words and the will of God? Next in importance is this: how are they to be understood? And how are the other documents in the New Testament to be understood?

Ironically, Peter (or whoever it was who wrote his letters) said this: "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." And yet, according to the scholars, there are interpretations enough to burst the seams.

I invite you to consider The Revelation of John (or maybe Herman, who knows?), where it is written "...the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Meaning, if you please, that you can only have a testimony of Jesus if the Spirit testifies of it to you. And further, this means that if you deny prophecy, then you deny the divinity of the Savior. 

On the other hand, if you don't deny prophecy, then test the Book of Mormon -- not by scholarship, but by the Holy Spirit. Divest yourself of pride and of preconceived ideas. And perhaps you will be surprised. As I was, once upon a time.

I don't know what else to tell you. I hope you get some comfort from your scholars, Eschaton.

 

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23 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Religion without an afterlife?  Why?

That's what struck me as particularly squirrely.

squirrel-holding-nut-cartoon.jpg

Even the pagans had a notion of an afterlife. Or still have, since I guess pagans still exist.

Religion without an afterlife is actually pretty close to Marxism. Marx wanted a heaven on earth because that was all there was. So why is this guy Eschaton bothering to advocate for anything? If there's no afterlife, then there's no reason to behave yourself at all. Except to achieve a heaven on earth. Or in other words, an impossibility. 

 

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