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Comments about ‘Don't marginalize religion, Elder Oaks says to Harvard law students’

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Published: Saturday, Feb. 27 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

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Question

What empirical evidence do any of you have for God or Satan? Why shouldn't religion be marginalized?

re question

What empirical evidence do you have for God and Satan not existing?

Jeff

It has been suggested that my reason for believing is because I "just needed something to believe in," and that others don't believe because they "aren't insecure." (See "re--Jeff" from 9:30 am)

This sort of facile dismissal is one of the things I think Elder Oaks is addressing.

There is no close reading of what I wrote (see Jeff 8:42), nor even a Freudian analysis of my writing style. There certainly could not have been any sort of indepth study of my personality and character because the poster doesn't know me. There is a pop-psychology dismissal of my religious experience with the excuse that I have "insecurities" that the writer doesn't have.

I personally know many believers and non-believers, and they all have insecurities. Though there are common threads in the narratives of both belief and disbelief, each individual approaches (or confronts) God differently.

While I don't expect everyone to believe as I do, I usually appreciate an honest approach to the subject, which frequently does not happen in today's society.

Can we discuss it without hasty generalizations or open contempt?

Anonymous

Jeff...an honest approach? To Joseph Smith and Mormonism? I don't think you will find a disbelieving Mormon that disagrees. How about an honest approach to how much money Oaks makes on the backs of believers. Anyone?

an atheist says

As an atheist, I'll stop marginalizing religious beliefs when they stop marginalizing mine.

Jeff

To Anonymous (6:26): Yes. Let's approach Joseph Smith and Mormonism honestly. Why don't we start by being honest about our motivations in either believing or disbelieving?

I believe mainly because of personal experiences with the Spirit.

How much of disbelief is based on a personal feeling that there cannot be divine intervention, creating a circular logic? "I don't believe in angels, therefore Joseph Smith could not have seen one."

How much of disbelief is based on having received some personal offense from believers? "Some Mormons behaved terribly to me, so I cannot believe that they belong to a valid religion."

How much of disbelief is based on a sudden shaking of a long-cherished belief in a non-scriptural tradtion? "I always believed in the Church until ONE DAY... [cue the ominous music] I discovered..." [insert some "horrible secret belief" here].

Sure, let's have an honest approach to how much money Elder Oaks makes on the backs of believers. I think you'll be shocked to find that it's next to nothing. How much money is in the anti-Mormon industry? More than Oaks makes, I'm sure.

Anonymous

"Sure, let's have an honest approach to how much money Elder Oaks makes on the backs of believers. I think you'll be shocked to find that it's next to nothing. How much money is in the anti-Mormon industry? More than Oaks makes, I'm sure."

There was not a thing honest about that reply. How about a verifiable number? I sincerely doubt that there is more money in the "anti-mormon industry" (what exactly is that by the way?) than Oaks has made from Mormonism, but I am honest enough to admit that I have absolutely know way of knowing. Do you?

Re: Question

If there is not empirical evidence for something, you assume it doesn't exist. God and Satan do not exist. The burden of proof is on you to show that they do exist. You have no more evidence for God's existence than you do for Odin, Zeus, or a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Scott

It should be remembered that science also relies on a leap of faith - scientists call it interpolation (filling in the blanks).

I don't think any of us should get too smug about having all of the answers.

Arizona Reader

I love Elder Oaks and am grateful for his experience. How wonderful it is to have prophets, seers and revelators. Your welcome to agree or disagree with them if you'd like. As for me, when I listen to what they teach, it brings me closer to Jesus Christ and I have more peace in my life. I think all of us would appreciate more peace, don't you? Try it for yourself...listen to what he teaches, try to live it and see if you feel how I did. Elder Oaks, great man, great prophet!

Anonymous

Scott, I was not aware that science preaches having all the answers. It does claim to have the best method of uncovering truth, but is quite humble in not knowing all the answers.

chris

religion and superstition are not the same thing. thats a secular, leftist, communist type of view on the subject. i agree wholeheartdly with elder oaks and could care less who that offends. higher education is not frowned upon by the LDS church, it is encouraged. i think the content of the higher education itself and the beliefs of individual profs are many times not so great though. no that does mean they are not entitled to have them. we all have to decide what we believe and don't believe.

re: Chris

What evidence do you have that religion and superstition are not the same thing? Your ad-hominem attack of "secular, leftist, communist" does nothing to help your argument. You don't say why you agree with Elder Oaks. Why shouldn't religion be marginalized? Yes, we all do have to decide what to believe and what not to believe but that should actually be based upon evidence, not just subjective feelings.

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