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11 hours ago, Calm said:

I think quite a few do (they might not realize this if they haven’t had the chance to discuss it with someone who is comfortable with the approach) though they might frame it differently, but essentially meaning they care more about what scripture does in changing their life and are not that concerned about it as ancient writings.  

This is what I had in mind when I said this:

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I think the Inspired Fiction folks have not really thought through the ramifications of their proposal.   The "fake but accurate," "I can reject what The Book of Mormon claims to be and what Joseph Smith represented it to be, but still accept it as scripture" type of reasoning is a fundamentally flawed line of reasoning. Elder Oaks aptly described it as "not only reject(ing) the concepts of faith and revelation that The Book of Mormon explains and advocates, but it is also not even good scholarship." This is why I find advocacy of this approach problematic. Such advocates are steering others up a spiritual blind alley; a path, I think, which sooner or later will culminate in a crisis of faith and/or a rejection of The Book of Mormon. After all, one who rejects its historicity has already rejected a substantive, even vital, part of the book. Rejecting the rest of it would seem to be just a matter of time.  I think an affirmative denial of the book's historicity will, sooner or later, become fatal to a testimony of the book. Ambivalence about historicity is perhaps possible, but affirmative denial is, I think, not compatible with an enduring and efficacious testimony of The Book of Mormon.

I have, in varying degrees, some ambivalence about a number of things in the Restored Gospel.  Polygamy.  Slavery in the Bible.  Animal sacrifice.  Uzzah.  The historicity of Job.  Abraham's experience in being commanded to sacrifice Isaac.  I study and seek to understand these things, but meanwhile I mostly "put a pin in" them.

For myself, I cannot accommodate ambivalence about the historicity of the Book of Mormon (let alone "Inspired Fiction").

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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13 hours ago, Calm said:

I think quite a few do (they might not realize this if they haven’t had the chance to discuss it with someone who is comfortable with the approach) though they might frame it differently, but essentially meaning they care more about what scripture does in changing their life and are not that concerned about it as ancient writings.  They will discuss scripture as literal because that is what we do in the Church, but outside such discussions that isn’t how they think about it.

For me, I believe a lot of the people in the text existed, but some didn’t. And some of the stories certainly didn’t (I doubt cutting Samson’s hair, if he even existed, robbed him of massive strength I doubt he had in the first place, but I have little doubt there were men being unfaithful to the covenant of their people except perhaps superficially and perhaps the storyteller was trying to persuade them that it was never too late to truly return).

Not to mention Jonah.

Oops.

I just did. 😜

The sun stopping?

Has time ever "stopped" for you during a traumatic event?

Donkey speaking?  Have you ever seen a pet being "happy" or "sad" or coming to you for help?

Figures of speech can become literal for literalists.  And maybe they call symbols "fiction". But the problem is EVERY WORD anyone speaks is symbolic

  If we speak of cats does a furry little kitty suddenly appear ex nihilo? (analogy intended  ;) )

Does the kitty virtually appear in your mind?

Was Juliette really "the sun?"

Figurative speech is not "fiction"!!

And what WORDS are NOT figurative??

John 1: "The Word" created the world as we know it"

Logos.

Do we take that literally?  Why call Jesus "the word"

Perhaps that's a way to present it to literalists who do not understand.

When did this trend to see the world symbolically begin?

Kant, 17 hundreds.

Think also about the movement in art history  starting in the 18 hundreds, called Impressionism.

Reality was not presented as photographic realism- we can see that as "literalist art"!  Art and philosophy BOTH together culturally became about HUMAN EXPERIENCE, not some unseen allegedly "real" world "out there". 

Art was now about a human reality of LIGHT,and color, represented by dots in pointillism, as actually experienced by humans.

And so also at the same time, philosophy was turning to seeing reality as human experience AS EXPERINCED by humans, without the dualism of reality vs experience 

Literalists do not see it that way.

Are these paintings therefore "fiction"?

Absurd.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impression,_Sunrise

https://images.app.goo.gl/UeCUFrDoLFqAvMto6

 

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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22 hours ago, smac97 said:

Denying the atonement of Jesus Christ would also not be easy to espouse or pontificate about in Latter-day Saint meetings.  

Of course it would.  Mormonism is a literalistic religion. This is one of the main reasons I don't think @mfbukowskis approach really fits in the LDS paradigm.  The idea is there was a literal first vision, literal gold plates delivered by a real angel, that the plates were somehow translated into real English, that there were other actual visions that JS had and so on.  Not a lot of wiggle room in there IMO.

 

22 hours ago, smac97 said:

Okay.

There is a "realization" that can go in the opposite direction, and that one makes me quite happy.  

Yep it can go either way. One can stay in spite of all the reasons not to. I am not happy or sad either way. I just hope for whatever one decides they find satisfaction and happiness.

 

22 hours ago, smac97 said:

Technically, neither is a "realization" (that is, "an act of becoming fully aware of something as a fact").  Whether Jesus Christ is the Son of God is, in the end, a question of "fact," but our respective positions on this issue are based on faith.

Yep.  Faith.  The "trump" card of religion.  It is an awful tool that has been used for ages to convince people to do all sorts of irrational things. It is a control mechanism.  

 

22 hours ago, smac97 said:

"Inspired Fiction," though, tends to grease the skids in the process of losing faith, not gaining it.

I don't know either way.  Do you really?  I think it rather a way to maintain some faith in a book the clearly is not literally what it claims to be.  I would imagine many would leave if they could not make the inspired fiction model work for them.

 

22 hours ago, smac97 said:

I'll give your words due consideration.

Terrific!

 

22 hours ago, smac97 said:

I agree.  It's difficult, if not impossible, to cogently frame it in a way that works with continued faith in and observance of the Restored Gospel.

As noted above, it is a literal religion.  As President Hinckley and others have said, if JS had that first vision and was a true prophet the church is what it claims and it is something that needs to be proclaimed. If not, it is a massive fraud and deserves to be exposed.  At this point it seems clear to me it is a massive fraud.

 

22 hours ago, smac97 said:

Yes, that's your perspective, and you are welcome to it.  Latter-day Saints who want to continue in faith, though, are not likely to be helped in that objective by adopting the Inspired Fiction theory.

But I doubt you really know this and it is your opinion and conjecture. I don't either because I have not talked to many at all who believe the BoM is inspired fiction.  But I would guess for those who hold such a view, if they didn't, they would be out the door.

 

22 hours ago, smac97 said:

Pretty darn.

Pretty darn serious seems strong.  So how serious?  What happens to the standing in the church of such person. If you were a bishop for someone who in TR recommend that they did not believe in the historicity of the BoM but believed it to be inspired fiction would you sign their recommend?

22 hours ago, smac97 said:

I don't know.  I have no particular insights as to the ultimate disposition of these things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Smac

Take a stab at it. We are just discussing it.  

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2 hours ago, Teancum said:
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Denying the atonement of Jesus Christ would also not be easy to espouse or pontificate about in Latter-day Saint meetings.  

Of course it would. 

No, it would not.

2 hours ago, Teancum said:

Mormonism is a literalistic religion.

And yet observant/conversant Latter-day Saints would not be particularly comfortable with ward members "espous{ing} or pontificat{ing} about {denying the atonement of Jesus Christ in and during} Latter-day Saint meetings."

2 hours ago, Teancum said:
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There is a "realization" that can go in the opposite direction, and that one makes me quite happy.  

Yep it can go either way. One can stay in spite of all the reasons not to.

And one can leave "in spite of all the reasons not to."

2 hours ago, Teancum said:
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Technically, neither is a "realization" (that is, "an act of becoming fully aware of something as a fact").  Whether Jesus Christ is the Son of God is, in the end, a question of "fact," but our respective positions on this issue are based on faith.

Yep.  Faith.  The "trump" card of religion. 

And of atheism as well.

The existence of God, His attributes, our relationship with Him, etc., or the lack of these things, are all matters of faith.  Nobody can empirically prove or disprove these things.

2 hours ago, Teancum said:

It is an awful tool that has been used for ages to convince people to do all sorts of irrational things. It is a control mechanism.  

Faith in God also persuaded people to do all sorts of good things.  

Atheism, nihilism, etc. could also be characterized as "awful."  

2 hours ago, Teancum said:
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"Inspired Fiction," though, tends to grease the skids in the process of losing faith, not gaining it.

I don't know either way.  Do you really? 

I know of several instances where people left the Church based, to some extent, on their rejection of the Book of Mormon as being what it claims to be.  

2 hours ago, Teancum said:

I think it rather a way to maintain some faith in a book the clearly is not literally what it claims to be. 

"Clearly is not..."  Gotta love the loaded nature of this statement.  

I respect your assertion, but it's just that.  it is not a fact, let alone one that is "clearly" so.  I exercise faith in accepting the Book of Mormon for what it claims to be, and you exercise faith in not accepting it.  Your non-acceptance is not a "realization" (that is, "an act of becoming fully aware of something as a fact").  It is an opinion.  A statement of belief.

As I said previously:

Quote

I think the Inspired Fiction folks have not really thought through the ramifications of their proposal.   The "fake but accurate," "I can reject what The Book of Mormon claims to be and what Joseph Smith represented it to be, but still accept it as scripture" type of reasoning is a fundamentally flawed line of reasoning. Elder Oaks aptly described it as "not only reject(ing) the concepts of faith and revelation that The Book of Mormon explains and advocates, but it is also not even good scholarship." This is why I find advocacy of this approach problematic. Such advocates are steering others up a spiritual blind alley; a path, I think, which sooner or later will culminate in a crisis of faith and/or a rejection of The Book of Mormon. After all, one who rejects its historicity has already rejected a substantive, even vital, part of the book. Rejecting the rest of it would seem to be just a matter of time.  I think an affirmative denial of the book's historicity will, sooner or later, become fatal to a testimony of the book. Ambivalence about historicity is perhaps possible, but affirmative denial is, I think, not compatible with an enduring and efficacious testimony of The Book of Mormon.

There are some Christians who reject the divinity of Jesus Christ, but who find a way maintain some semblance of "faith" because He taught generally sound principles of love, forgiveness, service, etc.  I wish the best for such folks, but I don't see this as being a feasible basis for maintaining discipleship.  Jesus as just a regular human being who spent some years wandering around Judea as an itinerant preacher and espousing a few interesting ideas (and/or was mentally deluded when he claimed to have performed miracles, to be the Son of God, etc., or else was a conscious fraud in claiming such things), is not, in my view, a person deserving of veneration as the Son of God and the Savior of Mankind.

2 hours ago, Teancum said:

I would imagine many would leave if they could not make the inspired fiction model work for them.

So would I.  That is why I am opposed to it.

2 hours ago, Teancum said:
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I agree.  It's difficult, if not impossible, to cogently frame it in a way that works with continued faith in and observance of the Restored Gospel.

As noted above, it is a literal religion. 

I'm not sure what you mean here.  

2 hours ago, Teancum said:

As President Hinckley and others have said, if JS had that first vision and was a true prophet the church is what it claims and it is something that needs to be proclaimed. If not, it is a massive fraud and deserves to be exposed.  At this point it seems clear to me it is a massive fraud.

I understand and appreciate that idea and opinion.  I respect it.  But I think it is, in the end, incorrect.  I think the Restored Gospel is what it claims to be.  The truth claims of the Restored Gospel cannot be empirically proved, but nor can they be empirically disproved.  So in the end, our respective assessments and conclusions remain as being borne of faith. 

2 hours ago, Teancum said:
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Yes, that's your perspective, and you are welcome to it.  Latter-day Saints who want to continue in faith, though, are not likely to be helped in that objective by adopting the Inspired Fiction theory.

But I doubt you really know this and it is your opinion and conjecture.

Most of what we say here - including your comments - is often comprised mostly of "opinion and conjecture."  See, for example, your above "massive fraud" statement.

2 hours ago, Teancum said:

I don't either because I have not talked to many at all who believe the BoM is inspired fiction.  But I would guess for those who hold such a view, if they didn't, they would be out the door.

I agree.  Sooner or later, "Inspired Fiction" ends up as poison pill for most folks.  It injures and weakens faith in the Restored Gospel.

2 hours ago, Teancum said:
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I think those who seek salvation, but who reject the messengers who bring it, are in serious error.  

How serious? 

 

Pretty darn.

Pretty darn serious seems strong.  So how serious? 

As serious as Kip and Lafawnduh.  ;) 

kip-napolean-dynamite.gif

2 hours ago, Teancum said:

What happens to the standing in the church of such person.

First, I don't know that I can formulate a coherent metric by which to measure "serious error" in this context.

Second, I have not really been speaking about how or whether "Inspired Fiction" might affect a particular person's "standing in the church."

Third, a Latter-day Saint who affirmatively rejects the Book of Mormon for what it claims to be, and all (or most) of what Joseph Smith claimed about it, and what his successors have taught about it, and what the Church claims and teaches about it, would likely have a hard time with getting a TR, presenting lessons from the Church which touch on these matters, and - sooner or later - remaining active in a faith that, as you have noted, calls for its adherents to accept some things "literally." 

God literally exists.  Jesus Christ is literally His Son.  We are literally His children, and Christ is literally our elder brother and our Savior and Redeemer.  God literally communicates with and to, and calls, prophets and apostles.  Some literal ancient people literally left Jerusalem around 600 BC and ended up building a literal boat and literally sailing to and arriving somewhere in the Americas.  These people had prophets who kept literal records, which were later literally abridged by a literal man names Mormon, who literally gave the abridgment, a compilation of metal plates, to his literal son, Moroni, who thereafter literally wandered for many years before literally burying the plates and other artifacts, which Joseph Smith later literally discovered and eventually literally took possession of them.

For myself, I find the atheistic worldview to be fundamentally untenable, but I respect that others disagree.  Reasonable minds can disagree about such things. 

2 hours ago, Teancum said:

If you were a bishop for someone who in TR recommend that they did not believe in the historicity of the BoM but believed it to be inspired fiction would you sign their recommend?

I think the "Inspired Fiction" theory is potentially implicated in one or more of the following TR questions:

3. Do you have a testimony of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
4. Do you sustain the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator and as the only person on the earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local leaders of the Church?
...
7. Do you support or promote any teachings, practices, or doctrine contrary to those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

I think honestly and sincerely answering these questions while rejecting the Church's teachings/doctrine relative to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and answering them without artifice or evasion or equivocation or mental reservation or an intent to mislead, would be difficult.  For myself, I could not affirmatively answer questions 3 and 4, and negatively answer question 7, if I harbored notions comparable to the "Inspired Fiction" theory.  As for others, I would consult with individual, and also likely with the stake president, and prayerfully assess the situation.

2 hours ago, Teancum said:
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Will such a view imperil their standing before God?  WIll is keep them from exaltation?  Will is separate them from family members? 

I don't know.  I have no particular insights as to the ultimate disposition of these things.

 

Take a stab at it. We are just discussing it.  

Respectfully, no.  There are a few reasons why I decline to render judgments of this sort, even in informal discussions.

First, I cannot speak intelligently as to such things.  An unintelligent, uninformed judgment would be, in my view, an "unrighteous" one prohibited by scripture:

  • "Judge not, that ye be not judged."  (Matthew 7:1)
  • "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:"  (John 5:22)
  • "Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged; but judge righteous judgment."  (JST, Matthew 7:2)

Second, I lack stewardship to render judgment against any other person, particularly judgments about their standing before God.  My assessment of the Inspired Fiction theory has more to do with reasoned assessment of its impact on the faith in the Restored Gospel in the here and now.  I feel I can offer commentary and opinion as to its deleterious effects without having to proceed further and actually proclaim judgments on other people.  That's just not my job, nor do I want to usurp it from Him whose job it is.

Third, I don't want to speculate along these lines.  As Joseph Smith put it: "It [doesn't] prove that a man is not a good man, because he errs in doctrine." 

Fourth, our exchange reminds me of the following parable I have heard a number of times:

Quote

There once was a rich lord, who was in need of a carriage driver. He interviewed several potential drivers asking them all the same question, “The road which leads to my castle has many dangerous areas. On one stretch of that road there is a steep mountain on one side and a sharp drop-off into a canyon on the other side. If you were to be selected to drive my carriage, just how close to that cliff do you think you could get the carriage without going over the edge?”

The first man said timidly, “Well, I am a good driver! I suppose could get your carriage to within 6 feet from the edge!”

The second man said more confidently, “I am an excellent driver! I could get your carriage at least 3 feet from the edge!”

The third man said boldly, “None surpass me in excellence! I am sure I could get the carriage right up to the edge of the road without going over!”

But for all their professed skill, it was the fourth man who was hired.  The fourth man had said, “Sir, if you would give me the honor and privilege of driving your carriage, I would stay as far away from the edge of the cliff as possible.”

I suppose I could speculate about the extend of the injury to those in the carriage if fell over the edge.  Or I could simply elect to stay as far away from the edge as possible.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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47 minutes ago, smac97 said:

(and/or was mentally deluded when he claimed to have performed miracles, to be the Son of God, etc., or else was a conscious fraud in claiming such things), is not, in my view, a person deserving of veneration as the Son of God and the Savior of Mankind.

But they don’t revere him as the Son of God, do they?  And I believe many who see him as a teacher only assume the claims of divinity and miracles came later and not from him. 

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3 minutes ago, Calm said:

But they don’t revere him as the Son of God, do they?  And I believe many who see him as a teacher only assume the claims of divinity and miracles came later and not from him. 

CS Lewis makes this point in Mere Christianity if I remember right.  How you can either believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He was delusional and suffering from some kind of mental health illness, or a fraudster.  But you can't believe that He was just a good teacher/kind man.  The evidence doesn't support that interpretation.

And though I think that you are right in that the people who do believe that He was just a good man and teacher probably do that by denying that any of the Son of God stuff came from Him.  The problem with that mindset is that doing that calls into question the integrity of the record that we have of Christ and so it doesn't just negate the Son of God stuff, it also greatly weakens everything else about Him too, including the good man/teacher stuff.

Because it's all from the same source (even taking the different books of the bible as multiple sources, within those books the supernatural claims are mixed in with the more atheist friendly stuff equally) and you can't very easily say that the source isn't trustworthy when it talks about this topic (that doesn't work with my worldview) but it is trustworthy when it's talking about that topic (that does work with my worldview).

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20 minutes ago, bluebell said:

CS Lewis makes this point in Mere Christianity if I remember right.  How you can either believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He was delusional and suffering from some kind of mental health illness, or a fraudster.  But you can't believe that He was just a good teacher/kind man.  The evidence doesn't support that interpretation.

Sometimes it’s hard to separate what the authors of the New Testament actually say from what centuries of interpretation added on.
 

 This conflicts less with Latter-day  Saint conceptions of God, but doesn’t mesh will with a trinitarian view  

 

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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3 minutes ago, bluebell said:

CS Lewis makes this point in Mere Christianity if I remember right.  How you can either believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He was delusional and suffering from some kind of mental health illness, or a fraudster.  But you can't believe that He was just a good teacher/kind man.  The evidence doesn't support that interpretation.

Yep.  I raised this point back in 2018:

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I'm surprised I've never really thought about this before.  First, let's review what the trilemma is:

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Lewis's trilemma is an apologetic argument traditionally used to argue for the divinity of Jesus by arguing that the only alternatives were that he was evil or deluded. (Strictly speaking, Lewis is not trying to prove the divinity of Christ but is merely arguing that one cannot simultaneously affirm that Jesus was a great moral teacher and not divine.) One version was popularised by University of Oxford literary scholar and writer C. S. Lewis in a BBC radio talk and in his writings. It is sometimes described as the "Lunatic, Liar, or Lord", or "Mad, Bad, or God" argument. It takes the form of a trilemma — a choice among three options, each of which is in some way difficult to accept.

It seems this trilemma can be adapted to apply as a rebuttal to the "Inspired Fiction" theory.  The Book of Mormon is either A) the work product of an insane/deluded person ("Lunatic"), B) the work product of a duplicitous, dishonest person ("Liar"), or C) what it claims to be: an ancient prophetic record preserved and translated "by the gift and power of God" ("Lord").

 

3 minutes ago, bluebell said:

And though I think that you are right in that the people who do believe that He was just a good man and teacher probably do that by denying that any of the Son of God stuff came from Him.  The problem with that mindset is that doing that calls into question the integrity of the record that we have of Christ and so it doesn't just negate the Son of God stuff, it also greatly weakens everything else about Him too, including the good man/teacher stuff.

Yes.

Thanks,

-Smac

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4 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Sometimes it’s hard to separate what the authors of the New Testament actually say from what centuries of interpretation added on. 

 

I would be curious what Dan has to say about John 9:

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35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

Here's John 10:

Quote

31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

Some comments from Dan:

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The Jews are not necessarily just responding to his exegesis of Psalm 82:6. Jesus did, after all, reassert in vv. 36–38 he was claiming to be the Son of God and to be united with him (the claim that irked them in the first place).
...
The implication of Jesus’s argument is that if the Israelites are made divine by the reception of God’s word, how much more divine is that word itself, anointed, made flesh, and sent into the world. Jesus’s identification as the Word of God, the Messiah, and the Son of God are by far the most important to John.
...
Heiser understands Jesus to be asserting his very ontological identification as God, but this is a Trinitarian reading that I do not find in the text. Throughout John Jesus never identifies himself as God. He identifies himself as the Son of God, and the Jews understand that father/son relationship to imply equality with God. This is not to indicate ontological identification with him, but equality. 
...
We need not understand the accusation of v. 33 to be that Jesus is claiming to be God himself, but just that he is a human claiming to be divine.  His response is that other humans have been made divine by the reception of the Word. How much more divine is the son of God — that very Word himself?

I have previously reviewed Dan's assessment of John 8 ("Before Abraham was, I am") :

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52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?
54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.
56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Thanks,

-Smac

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47 minutes ago, bluebell said:

CS Lewis makes this point in Mere Christianity if I remember right.  How you can either believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He was delusional and suffering from some kind of mental health illness, or a fraudster.  But you can't believe that He was just a good teacher/kind man.  The evidence doesn't support that interpretation.

And though I think that you are right in that the people who do believe that He was just a good man and teacher probably do that by denying that any of the Son of God stuff came from Him.  The problem with that mindset is that doing that calls into question the integrity of the record that we have of Christ and so it doesn't just negate the Son of God stuff, it also greatly weakens everything else about Him too, including the good man/teacher stuff.

Because it's all from the same source (even taking the different books of the bible as multiple sources, within those books the supernatural claims are mixed in with the more atheist friendly stuff equally) and you can't very easily say that the source isn't trustworthy when it talks about this topic (that doesn't work with my worldview) but it is trustworthy when it's talking about that topic (that does work with my worldview).

And if you strip out all the ‘good teaching’ bits and the ‘claiming to be God or His Son’ bits he becomes an expert exorcist and healer.

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

Because it's all from the same source (even taking the different books of the bible as multiple sources, within those books the supernatural claims are mixed in with the more atheist friendly stuff equally) and you can't very easily say that the source isn't trustworthy when it talks about this topic (that doesn't work with my worldview) but it is trustworthy when it's talking about that topic (that does work with my worldview).

Doesn’t everyone actually do that though?  Even those who accept it as scripture ignore what they don’t like or aren’t interested in and focus on what they do.  Saints do that by saying sometimes the authors were inspired, other times they were speaking of their own ideas.

Edited by Calm
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3 hours ago, Calm said:

Doesn’t everyone actually do that though?  Even those who accept it as scripture ignore what they don’t like or aren’t interested in and focus on what they do.  Saints do that by saying sometimes the authors were inspired, other times they were speaking of their own ideas.

I think we do all do that to some extent, but hopefully when we do it it's because we have some valid reasons.  

Take Paul for example.  We listen to him when he teaches about grace and and basically ignore him when he teaches about women.  I think that's a good illustration of the point that you made.  But, why do we do that?  Can it be a valid way to look at his writings?

  • I think one reason we do it is because it's two different subjects.  Lots of people are trustworthy on one subject but not on another.  That's something we all have experience with.  You might be great with astronomy but that doesn't mean you can explain why my telescope isn't working. 
  • The second reason is probably because, though many other writers have collaborated what Paul says about Grace, none collaborate what he says about women.  Outlier data is much more legitimately ignored than data confirmed by multiple sources.  
  • Third is likely because we've had other apostles and prophets teach the exact opposite of what Paul taught about women.  His outlier teachings on women become even more suspect when they are not just alone but also outright denied.

Unlike Paul's writings, with Jesus we are talking about one writer and one subject, with details confirmed by multiple other writers, and never contradicted. 

Back to the astronomer.  If we trust the astronomer to know the wind speed of the Red Spot on Jupiter but believe that he's lying about the makeup of Jupiter's atmosphere, we've got to have an explanation why.  Especially if the information they give us matches the information provided by multiple other astronomers.  Otherwise people are going to rightly call our conclusions into question.

Same goes for the writings about Jesus.  If we trust that whoever wrote the book of Matthew accurately described the sermon on the mount but made up the feeding of the 5,000, there needs to be some solid reasons why that is a reasonable way to parse out Matthew's trustworthiness.  

I think CS Lewis' point was that, unlike with the example of Paul and other similar issues, there are no reasonable answers as to why Matthew (as one example) can be trusted in regards to Jesus sometimes but not others.

I’m sure atheists and some non Christians have their own reasons for accepting parts of the Bible but not others.  I think Lewis makes a reasonable point though (while acknowledging that reasonable people can disagree).

 

 

 

 

Edited by bluebell
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2 hours ago, The Nehor said:

And if you strip out all the ‘good teaching’ bits and the ‘claiming to be God or His Son’ bits he becomes an expert exorcist and healer.

Exactly.

It's not just His words that are being considered, it's His actions too.  And He does a lot that is supernatural in the four gospels.  He heals, He brings people back from the dead, He walks on water, He calms a giant storm on a sea, He wrangles fish, he feeds thousands with crumbs, He knows information about people He couldn't know, etc. 

From my perspective you really can't get out of the conundrum of believing He was a good teacher but nothing more than a man by saying "well, He never said He was the son of God."  Because He said and did a whole lot of supernatural things that no man would be able to do, and that no man who wasn't crazy or a charlatan would try/claim to be able to do.

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4 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Sometimes it’s hard to separate what the authors of the New Testament actually say from what centuries of interpretation added on.
 

 This conflicts less with Latter-day  Saint conceptions of God, but doesn’t mesh will with a trinitarian view  

 

It's not just Jesus' words about being the Son of God that we have to sift through though.  Think about all the supernatural claims He made about Himself.  That He could raise the dead, heal the sick, cast out demons, calm seas, read people's minds, speak with Satan, etc.  Those are all things that are written in the NT and don't come from centuries of interpretation.

And none of them are things a mere man could do, or things an honest/mentally stable man would claim he could do.

Not that that is proof of anything or means people can’t view Christ however they want, but from my perspective it’s an issue that isn’t easily explained away.

Edited by bluebell
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2 hours ago, bluebell said:

Exactly.

It's not just His words that are being considered, it's His actions too.  And He does a lot that is supernatural in the four gospels.  He heals, He brings people back from the dead, He walks on water, He calms a giant storm on a sea, He wrangles fish, he feeds thousands with crumbs, He knows information about people He couldn't know, etc. 

From my perspective you really can't get out of the conundrum of believing He was a good teacher but nothing more than a man by saying "well, He never said He was the son of God."  Because He said and did a whole lot of supernatural things that no man would be able to do, and that no man who wasn't crazy or a charlatan would try/claim to be able to do.

Ironically while this kind of thing buoys the claims of Jesus being divine now at the time being able to work ritual magic to heal and the like wasn’t proof of divinity at the time. Righteousness maybe but not necessarily divine favor. From what I have read the idea that Jesus (and Peter and the apostles) made supernatural events occur wasn’t that controversial and people of other faiths lumped them in with other people who used magic. Early Christians pushed hard against the idea that they were magicians because they wanted to use the miracles as proof of divinity. This is probably one of the main reasons magical practices were forbidden in the early church. Some Christians practiced magic anyways of course.

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4 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Ironically while this kind of thing buoys the claims of Jesus being divine now at the time being able to work ritual magic to heal and the like wasn’t proof of divinity at the time. Righteousness maybe but not necessarily divine favor. From what I have read the idea that Jesus (and Peter and the apostles) made supernatural events occur wasn’t that controversial and people of other faiths lumped them in with other people who used magic. Early Christians pushed hard against the idea that they were magicians because they wanted to use the miracles as proof of divinity. This is probably one of the main reasons magical practices were forbidden in the early church. Some Christians practiced magic anyways of course.

Agreed. But I think CS Lewis was speaking of a different time and different people. Like the contemporary age and those that deny the existence of magic and anything supernatural.

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3 hours ago, bluebell said:

Take Paul for example.  We listen to him when he teaches about grace and and basically ignore him when he teaches about women.  I think that's a good illustration of the point that you made. 

I was thinking of him as I wrote.  :) 

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3 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Since this seems to be a personal dig, I suppose I ought to reply.

My stake President, a friend, knows my views, and so does another friend a former temple president who used to be my bishop 

They both have mature a understanding of the gospel.

I have served off and on, due to other callings, 15 years as a temple worker, devoting countless hours due to my TESTIMONY-not the history- of the PRINCIPLES taught by temple SYMBOLS, and affirming what is necessary to receive a recommend.

Principle:

If God has revealed truths to you, you do not need historical proof of the principle.

Where is the historicity of belief in:

1 "All people are created equal"?

2 "Endowed by their maker with INALIENABLE RIGHTS ? What does that even mean? DOES the principle of "inalienable rights" have historical proof?

3. That there should be equality between men and women ?

4. That there should or should not be discrimination between gay folks and straight folks?

These are just a few.

Why then should ANY RELIGIOUS BELIEF require historicity?  Do Buddhists believe that? Or don't they and others like them count?

To me the very notion is LAUGHABLE, to be honest.  

God has revealed to me that the principles of the church, and standard works are TRUE principles. I was not raised in the church, as was taught to always FOLLOW MY CONSCIENCE, and not the teachings of men to determine truth in these matters.

PARROTING what others taught because they said so, was not considered rational.

Why would ANYONE need historicity to "prove" a religious principle?

If it's old, it must be true. That even DENIES the principle of Restoration, by affirming that "history is true"

It doesn't make sense!

Moral principles requiring history? The mere fact we debate for example, if or what kinds of rights gay people should have PROVES that historicity is irrelevant in moral judgment 

Your conscience tells you personally what is right or wrong in ANY situation, by what grows "sweet" and works for the good in the quality of your life. (Alma 32).

And yes, your interpretations may vary, but you don't need historicity to decide between right and wrong.

Would the principles in the book of Nephi still be true, if it was called "The Book of Fred" and Nephi never existed?


Yes!

Imo it is true principles that matter.  Religious historisticy is one paradigm which can function as a delivery system for conveying true principles, but it is hardly the only one, and imo is far from the best one.  It is however a starting point for many. 

Once heaven and earth have passed away (which is symbolic and not literal), what will remain are true principles.  And I don't think it will matter much where or how we mastered them.

 

Edited by manol
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On 2/16/2024 at 5:33 PM, smac97 said:

And of atheism as well.

No atheism is not a faith based belief.  In fact is is not a belief at all. Lack of belief in something is not faith based.  Do you believe Zeus is God?  Is your non belief faith based?  Odin?  How about hobbits and elves.  Is your not believing in such things based on faith?  Or something else.

 

You might want to review this:

https://www.atheists.org/activism/resources/about-atheism/#:~:text=This is because atheists do,beliefs%2C convictions%2C and backgrounds.

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On 2/16/2024 at 6:31 PM, bluebell said:

CS Lewis makes this point in Mere Christianity if I remember right.  How you can either believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He was delusional and suffering from some kind of mental health illness, or a fraudster. 

YEs but this is the same all or nothing approach that I have noted many LDS leaders have made. I am not sure Lewis, loved as he is and was, is the only one with an opinion about this.

On 2/16/2024 at 6:31 PM, bluebell said:

 

 

But you can't believe that He was just a good teacher/kind man.  The evidence doesn't support that interpretation.

Well I think the lack of evidence, outside the Bible, is non existence.  So one might say, there is little evidence of all the supernatural claims of the Bible about  Jesus.  And all those account were written by his followers or more likely, by followers decades after the event happened. Follower who claimed to be writing in the name of someone they were not.  Jesus likely never claimed much of anything Christianity attributes to him.

 

On 2/16/2024 at 6:31 PM, bluebell said:

And though I think that you are right in that the people who do believe that He was just a good man and teacher probably do that by denying that any of the Son of God stuff came from Him. 

Another problem with it is outside the Bible we know little to nothing about the man Jesus.  But yea, pulling a Thomas Jefferson New Testament move would make the Jesus in the Bible a man, but a good man.

On 2/16/2024 at 6:31 PM, bluebell said:

 

 

The problem with that mindset is that doing that calls into question the integrity of the record that we have of Christ and so it doesn't just negate the Son of God stuff, it also greatly weakens everything else about Him too, including the good man/teacher stuff.

Yep.

On 2/16/2024 at 6:31 PM, bluebell said:

Because it's all from the same source (even taking the different books of the bible as multiple sources, within those books the supernatural claims are mixed in with the more atheist friendly stuff equally) and you can't very easily say that the source isn't trustworthy when it talks about this topic (that doesn't work with my worldview) but it is trustworthy when it's talking about that topic (that does work with my worldview).

A reasonable position.

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4 hours ago, MrShorty said:

My 2¢ worth

Worth far more, good stuff!

YET would you be less comforted by the atonement IF it was somehow "proven" (impossible) that it is God himself who is with you constantly, knows you better than you know yourself, and has forgiven you IF you repent- "after all that you can do"?

Why was human sacrifice needed for God to accept your repentance?

I believe it was an historical event, but its function I believe was to teach us the extent of God's love for EACH of us.

It teaches us about the infinite love God has for us, each member of the human race.

And one person being resurrected proves we all will be?

All these are ultimately about faith and TESTIMONY, not historical truth or lack thereof.

These principles need to be IN OUR HEARTS, not on gold plates or dusty parchment.

If some scroll is discovered disproving the history tomorrow, my beliefs would not change one iota because Jesus dwells in my heart, not on a dusty buried manuscript or some image on a piece of cloth alleged to be his burial covering.

 

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