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Mormon Media Observer: A take on the atheism debate

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  • JM Lehi, UT
    Jan. 27, 2011 2:50 p.m.

    Logically, the only solution to the problem of evil is given by God through JS. Intelligence wasnt created or made, and cant be. The earth and everything else is made from that eternal light. The basic universe is how it is because it has always been so. God organizes and directs but doesnt create ex-nihilo.

    So, the Atheist is right for once, in that, if God did create all from nothing, as broken etc assert on Mike Ash articles, then He is personally responsible for all that happens, and all we do.
    From nothing, He could have made us smarter, more faithful, just like John, etc. All just like John or Peter. Any freedom within an ex-nihilo system is unjust randomness or deterministically founded on what God created us to be.

    Trying the Spirit, the experiment given in Alma 32, is science, working for millions who honestly apply. In Einsteins day, some doubted light could bend, logically failing to see it.
    Here, those failing to recognize Gods voice also doubt others have seen and know, but rather than question their own test methods, these justify their failures by blinding others.

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    Jan. 26, 2011 4:31 p.m.

    I, too, agree that religion is here to stay....at least for quite a while yet. Religion isn't necessarily bad, but it isn't always good either. Religion has done atrocious act historically. On the otherhand religion seems to meet some personal needs that many people in societies require as well as good will. I think religion will eventually dissipate as science evolves to explain the universe more and more. Does it mean religion will disappear? I doubt that it will disappear, but it may evolve along with science as we unlock more of the secrets of the universe. What we find may change religion, but it won't destroy it since we don't even know at this time how much of the universe we can unlock. There may even be an explanation out there that may be even more miraculous than the typical "God" explanation....a different definition of "God" that is more compatible with science.

    Atheism does not have its own moral code, and indeed does not say anything about how an individual person should act, but most atheists nevertheless follow the same general moral code as theists (even if for different reasons). Myths abound about_atheism.

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    Jan. 26, 2011 2:23 p.m.

    God as defined by most religious believers would have to be deeply involved in the affairs of humanity and there would be good objective evidence of his existence. The rationale behind that premise is that the sort of deity in question, a personal being who rules the universe or who loves humanity (and perhaps wants that love reciprocated), would need to become involved in the affairs of humans and thereby reveal his existence overtly. It might be claimed that God has achieved such involvement just by means of subjective religious experiences, without providing humanity with any good objective evidence of his existence. This assertion could be attacked on the ground that people who claim to have had such experiences are mistaken about the nature and cause of them. It might also be reasonably argued that religious experiences would be insufficient for the given divine purposes, and only good objective (publicly testable) evidence of some sort would do. If God interacts with our universe in any meaningful way, then the effects of his interaction must be detectable and measurable, but no such interactions have been reliably demonstrated. We shouldn't fill in the gaps of scientific knowledge with an unproveable god_as_an_explanation.

  • charlie91342 Sylmar, CA
    Jan. 26, 2011 12:37 p.m.

    well, this is my #4 but I might as well use it up...

    re - cmtam | 11:40 a.m
    "Jesus said the greatest commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind."

    that's simply heresay and something you read in a book. You don't even know for sure whether Jesus even existed.

    I could just as easily said I try to be kind like Martin Luther King, but since you all are religious, I used Jesus as a reference because you could relate to that. Or I could have used someone we know is just a myth. The only criteria is putting others before yourself. No god or religion required for that.

    I'm sure some of you have the belief that if you don't believe in god you won't be welcome in heaven (assuming it exists). and then there are the 10 commandments where the first 3 (or 4 depending on the religion) deal with how to revere god.

    no self-respecting god would care if you believed in them and certainly wouldn't want to be worshipped. so christianity (and all deity-based religions) fail the logic test.

  • cmtam lake forest, ca
    Jan. 26, 2011 11:40 a.m.

    @Charlie 91342, "if you can tell me WHY i should become a christian, I will. but since I already
    try to be kind like Jesus, I see no reason to believe in mythical gods."

    Good,but Jesus said the greatest commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.
    The Holy(hagios)Bible(Biblos)is different than any other book because of its fulfilled prophecy. There are 31,124 verses which 8,352 verses of Biblical prophecy, 27%. Some yet to be fulfilled.

    Once we consider a personal being the next step is do we choose God or gods? The difficulty with gods instead of God, is that limited gods makes no sense because you have no point of reference for absolutes. Plato and Sarte understood this; that the finite makes no sense without the infinite. Exstentialism finds meaning in Jesus(God).

  • charlie91342 Sylmar, CA
    Jan. 26, 2011 9:53 a.m.

    re - sharrona | 8:21 p.m
    "Why would it be surprising to think of God speaking to the Apostle Paul in Hebrew on the Damascus road?... why should it be surprising, in communicating to man in a verbalized propositional, factual way."

    ok... so what does your god sound like? James Earl Jones or what? that was the question.

    and why would you believe the story? that's the elephant in the room. your parents and priests told you the story, and you read it in a book and so you believe it. But there are other stories in books and other mythical beings that your parents didn't say were real (like santa claus, etc).

    so it really boils down to you believing your parents. I just don't believe it, because they are merely stating what their parents told them...

    "My philosophy teacher was fond of that phrase.... I heard he became a Christian before he died. So there is always hope."

    if you can tell me WHY i should become a christian, I will. but since I already try to be kind like Jesus, I see no reason to believe in mythical gods.

    give me a reason.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Jan. 25, 2011 8:21 p.m.

    RE: Charlie 91342,"God does speak to people personally. "so... can anyone tell me what he/she sounds like? (God is Spirit John 4:24)

    The Epistemological necessity.
    The distinction between man and non-man is not in the area of tool-making but man is a verbalizer. We have been made to communicate with each other. Think the unthinkable, Why would it be surprising to think of God speaking to the Apostle Paul in Hebrew on the Damascus road? Do you think God cannot speak Hebrew? If the personal God is a good God,why should it be surprising, in communicating to man in a verbalized propositional, factual way.

    Charlie said,Man originally created god(s) to "explain the unexplainable".
    My philosophy teacher was fond of that phrase, he studied under and idolized the atheist Dr. Anthony Flew. Years ago Gary Habermas debated Anthony flew on Christianity the last I heard Dr. Flew was Theist. I heard he became a Christian before he died. So there is always hope.

  • Rainbow Phoenix Farmington, Utah
    Jan. 25, 2011 7:11 p.m.

    I see no problem with athiests. I see no problem with the religious folks. As long as neither side forces down their beliefs down my throat.

  • charlie91342 Sylmar, CA
    Jan. 25, 2011 6:12 p.m.

    re - brokenclay | 10:23 a.m
    "Existentialism is a legitimate form of determining the truth, because God does speak to people personally."

    so... can anyone tell me what he/she sounds like? is it James Earl Jones? I find it quite disconcerting that people are walking around hearing voices in their heads. It certainly doesn't make me want to embrace religion...

    re - sharrona | 12:11 p.m
    "In Acts 17: 22-34, Paul deals with mans need for God even the Greeks philosophers have gods."

    yes - som people need god(s). Man originally created god(s) to "explain the unexplainable" but god continues to "exist" today because some people need to have a god in their lives. I guess it is to provide meaning to their lives, or to provide a sense of peace and continuity, to balance against the existence of chaos (their "satan").

    but mostly religion persists because it is handed down from generation to generation and children are taught to accept their parents' beliefs - regardless of how far-fetched those beliefs are. So I think religion and "god" are here to stay. And I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. except radical Islam.

  • charlie91342 Sylmar, CA
    Jan. 25, 2011 5:49 p.m.

    the author states "God uses his agency to faithfully answer our prayers when it is best for us and as we exercise faith in his way. It goes without saying that such timing and method cannot be replicated nor measured in a laboratory."

    in other words, if you pray and it comes true, God must think it is best for you. And if it doesn't come true, God thinks it is not best for you.

    Based on that, your prayers are always answered, regardless of the outcome. Does that seem the least bit convenient to anyone else here?

    re - Yorkshire | 5:44 a.m
    I guess that makes atheists similar to your mormon missionaries, huh.

    I was going to respond to a bunch of posters here, but the bottom line is - the dogma you all follow was created by hunter/gatherers 4000 years ago. The story of a messiah being killed (often through crucifiction) is the same story in numerous religions and can be found written in sanskrit dated 3500bc. Same for noah's arc, adam and eve, etc.

    it just isn't clear to me why people have not progressed in 4000 years. seems fairly medieval.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 25, 2011 5:14 p.m.

    To cmtam: All you have done is to confirm what I already said. That Moses never tasted death but was translated as were Enouch and John. John still roams the Earth and will be present as will the 3 Nephites when Christ returns will he will come out of disguise.

    Your teachings have no bearing on me. You do little to affect my belief and knowledge of what I say. In other words you are wasting your time countering what is said.

    As we state and have stated we ARE the only true and living Church on Earth. That is all that matters.

  • cmtam lake forest, ca
    Jan. 25, 2011 3:01 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska: Moses was translated and not buried as stated in Dueteronomy, the only way he could have appeared was to be translated, never
    tasting of death?
    "Moses the servant of the LORD(Yahweh)died there in Moab as the LORD had said,He buried him in Moab(Deut 34: 5,6). The devil argues with Michael the archangel over Moses "body",see (Jude 1:9).

    Bill, "By modern revelation we also know that Enoch was also translated."?
    Enoch walked with God, then he was no more because God took him away.(Gen 5:24) Enoch like Elijah were taken away to be in Gods presence because they pleased God.
    John The "beloved disciple," was brother to James the Great. he was ordered to be sent to Rome, where it is affirmed he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by miracle, without injury. Domitian afterwards banished him to the
    Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Nerva, the successor of Domitian, recalled him. He was the only apostle who escaped a violent "death".

  • Richard Saunders Provo, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 12:48 p.m.

    I think if we want more civility and understanding, we should treat all people as individuals, and not treat them based on the groups we lump them into. Even if a person is a member of a group by choice, (like choosing a religion or choosing to be atheist), should that really effect how we treat them as an individual? What I mean is it seems that its a lot easier to be a jerk to a group than to an individual right in front of your face. Treat people as individuals, (because religious, agnostic, or atheist, all people believe in the value of the individual as I understand it) and I think things would be much better

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 25, 2011 12:39 p.m.

    To Sharrona:

    John and the 3 Nephites were translated just as Moses was translated. Proof that Moses was translated and not buried as stated in Duetoronmy is that on the Mount of Transfiguration Moses appeared to Jesus and was witnessed by Peter, James and John. No misunderstanding there as the only way he could have appeared was to be translated, never tasting of death. There have been many who have testified that they have been visited by the 3 Nephites and some even by John. By modern revelation we also know that Enouch was also translated and the entire city of Enouch.

    The problem with atheism is that it pertains to absolutes. Everything on Earth denotes that there is a superior being. Science can not nor will ever be able to explain the perfect symetry of the universe and how life is able to live here and not in other planets except because of our location. How did this come about is the question. Science can not answer that question and never will.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Jan. 25, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    Alberta Reader:

    And...so what! We will all die, and may be accountable before God. I can live with that. Where I am doubtful is whether God's standard is Mormonism. Furthermore, I have no reason to believe that God demands a belief in him, or that he will hold unbelievers accountable for their unbelief. If he is rational, I might expect that he will be understanding of unbelievers who existed in a religious climate where mortal men would attempt to speak in behalf of a God who has not revealed himself. I hope there is accountability.

  • cmtam lake forest, ca
    Jan. 25, 2011 9:39 a.m.

    Alberta Reader said, " One thing is certain we ALL will agree on. All MANKIND will die."
    Not JS, Check D&C 7: 1-5 The Apostle John is still alive. JS misunderstood the text in (John 21:22,23)

    Also,"Answer will be given no more arguments. I believe the BofM when it teaches in Alma 40:11." Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body,yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.

    Believe Ecclesiastes 12:10,Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and "the spirit shall return unto God Who Gave It." Refutes pre-existence.

  • Alberta Reader Magrath, AB
    Jan. 24, 2011 11:45 p.m.

    One thing is certain we ALL will agree on. All MANKIND will die.
    Answer will be given no more arguments I beleive the BofM when it teaches in Alma 40:11

    Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Jan. 24, 2011 8:25 p.m.

    The Atheisits,Your bringing up cosmological arguments rings hollow for LDS.
    True, Im a Christian. My line of defense is for Genesis 1:1.
    1.If an infinite number of moments occurred before today, then today would never come, because it is impossible to traverse an infinite number of moments. 2. But today has come. 3. Hence ,there was a finite number of moment before today; the universe had a beginning. Even the extentialist JP Sarte understood the finite makes no sense without an infinite.
    Joseph Smith and the early "prophets" of the LDS Church denied "natural religion.
    Not in Kirtland Ohio, I was quoting from Lecture Second,#4 "the works of creation of the world, throughout their vast forms and varieties, clearly exhibit the power of the Godhead; but we mean those evidences by which the first thoughts were suggested to men that there was a God who crated all things,then they quote Romans 1:20. You make my point Mormonism changes not Chritianity

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 7:05 p.m.

    brokenclay,

    You wrote:

    "In the professional philosophy literature, the deductive problem of evil has all but disappeared in recent times. No one has ever shown that evil and a good God are logically incompatible."

    On the contrary. It has been shown so much and so often as to have become mundane. Theodicies (soteriological, salvific, and every other theodicy)have failed so completely. That is why the deductive problem of evil has all but disappeared. Not because some one argument logically overcame it.

    You assume far too much, and speculate even more. It is unfortunate, because otherwise you might make more clear arguments.

    By the way, more recent scholarship in professional philosophy shows quite convincingly that the distinction between positive and negative atheism is a false dichotomy. Moreover, the distinction between agnosticism and atheism is without a difference.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 6:20 p.m.

    sharrona,

    Your bringing up (but poorly explaining) cosmological arguments rings hollow for LDS.

    Joseph Smith and the early "prophets" of the LDS Church denied "natural religion" along with their cosmological and ontological arguments.

    Instead, they asserted "revelation" (of a sort) and passing knowledge of god down by tradition, to be the only means by which the existence of god can be known.

    For intance, for almost 90 years, official LDS doctrine (in the Standard Works) was as follows:

    "Q. According to the foregoing account, how was the knowledge of the existence of God first suggested to the minds of men?

    A. By the manifestation made to our father Adam, when he was in the presence of God, both before and while he was in Eden. (2:44.)

    Q. How was the knowledge of the existence of God disseminated among the inhabitants of the world?

    A. By tradition from father to son.

    Q. Is the knowledge of the existence of God a matter of mere tradition, founded upon human testimony alone, until a person receives a manifestation of God to themselves?

    A. It is."

    Lectures on Faith, Lecture 2nd. ["Decanonized" in 1921 without a sustaining vote.]

    Your arguments fail on LDS.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Jan. 24, 2011 5:40 p.m.

    RE Jack Pack Lambert, "I have heard modern translations and they usually just do not measure up."? JS had a hard time with Greek.

    1. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (3Nephi 13:12) compare,
    1. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Mt 6:13&6:14JST)
    "Although the KJV renders this 'deliver us from evil,' the presence of the article indicates not evil (force), but the evil one himself. Daniel B. Wallace, Should be, the evil one(MT 6:13 NIV). JS follows the poor KJV Translation.

    2. And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be* filled. added [with the Holy Ghost] ?(3Nephi 12:6) compare
    2. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be *filled. (Mt 5:6 KJV)
    Blessed are they who hunger and thirsts for righteousness for they will be satisfied.(Mt 5:6 NIV) Modern translation
    *Filled or, satisfied (chortazo, 5526) to fill or be satisfied with food not the Holy Ghost. JS misunderstood the text.
    2 of many mistakes by JS.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Jan. 24, 2011 4:41 p.m.

    There are legitimate reasons for someone to both believe and disbelieve. In the end, if there is a God He/She will be most interested in how we treated those in our sphere of influence. If there is not, a life of love and service is by far the most fulfilling. Either way, it is important that we all focus on loving and serving our fellow man.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Jan. 24, 2011 4:27 p.m.

    Atheists problem: failure to observe! Just because they have never observed God in the universe doesn't mean others have not! Absence of evidence for them is not evidence of absence for others! Even though I have never been to Japan, others have seen it and can testify it really exists and I have no problem accepting their testimony. I have not seen God either but others have and I accept their testimonies in the scriptures as well.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Jan. 24, 2011 3:36 p.m.

    Michaelm:

    I am very interested to learn of this cycle, a time when the conventional thinking has been to deny God, and good/evil.

    Perhaps before we appeal to the much needed history lessons, we first learn the lessons.

  • michaelm Waukesha, WI
    Jan. 24, 2011 3:05 p.m.

    Seems once again history repeats itself. There is no evil, there is no God, do what you want, all are equal but are also sheep to be lead, no one deserves what they earn or create, no one is responsible for their actions, there is no sin.

    Eat Drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.Yes we have been here before too bad history must repeat itself as so few bother to understand the past.

    It makes me fear for what is next because history also records this part of the cycle as well.

  • Convert Cedar City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 1:09 p.m.

    Lane, I have to question your statement "my testimony, my knowledge of God, is independent of any other person." That simply cannot be true...for several reasons:

    1.As an LDS member, every member I know obtained their testimony through the efforts of other members, and sometimes hundreds of other members. If you were "born in the Covenant", your testimony and beliefs were born from other's testimonies and are certainly dependent on many others.

    2.Being a Utah Mormon places you at the center of Mormon influence. Being from Texas, I can assure you that there is no place like Utah, with respect to the Church. We are literally engulfed by the Church here (the LDS faithful, the LDS society, the LDS media, etc). And it is because of other members.

    3. The further you get from Utah/So.Idaho and from LDS families and the more distant you are from active LDS members, there is a huge gap in terms of numbers of members with "strong testimonies" (whatever that means).

    Believe me...we are all dependent on each other for continued spiritual influence and relationships.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Jan. 24, 2011 12:35 p.m.

    I applaud Christopher Hitchens for continuing to define atheism in positive terms. This is the honest way to do it. However, in his debate with Craig, this admission didn't turn out well for him. The point is, there are indeed new atheists that continue to define atheism positively (however ill-advised that is), and so they have warrant to use the argument from evil.

    I've read a quote from Sam Harris that defines atheism in purely negative terms. Thus the argument from evil cannot be used as a positive argument for atheism.

    Ehrman is an agnostic. In the professional philosophy literature, the deductive problem of evil has all but disappeared in recent times. No one has ever shown that evil and a good God are logically incompatible.

    Thus the false dilemma, if you'll allow me to connect the dots. You say, either God is evil, or there is no God. But given evil, these are not the only two options to choose from. Though a theodicy will never be found, plenty of defenses have been written. If only one possible explanation is given, your assertion is shown to be a false dilemma.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Jan. 24, 2011 12:11 p.m.

    Atheists: "For since the creation of world(KOSMOS) Gods invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made, so men* are without excuse. (Romans 1:20).

    Cosmological arguments are, as the name implies, attempts to infer the creation of the Cosmos or universe. Sometimes called first-cause arguments because they attempt to infer that God must exist as the first or ultimate cause of the universe.
    1. Some contingent being exist. 2. If any contingent being exists, then a necessary being must exist(because contingent beings require a necessary being as their ultimate cause). 3. Therefore their exists a necessary being(which is the ultimate cause of the existence of contingent beings). *In Acts 17: 22-34, Paul deals with mans need for God even the Greeks philosophers havegods.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 11:02 a.m.

    Brokenclay

    You fail to show how it is a false dilemma. Please, educate us all. How is that a false dilemma?

    You assert the following without any support: Most of the brightest atheist philosophers have conceded that the problem of evil (especially the deductive version) is really no problem at all for a theist's worldview.

    To which atheist philosophers are you referring?

    The problem of evil as invoked by atheists is not necessarily meant to be a problem for theists. Against reason, they already believe (and typically rely on the flaccid arguments of CS Lewis see The Problem of pain). The Problem of Evil is a rational argument that has never been resolved by theists not even by your so-called existentialism (to whom are you referring here?)

    Your claims are completely wrong and unsupported.

    In addition to the New Atheists mentioned (Harris, Dennett, Dawkins, Stenger, Hitchens), there are scholars and former pastors such as Bart Ehrman who have abandoned faith and adopted a form of atheism and ALL of them use the problem of evil as an explanation for why they do not believe.

    Your ideas seem out of touch (to put it kindly).

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Jan. 24, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    "Either this [a tsunami] is because it is a malicious rather than benevolent god, or because there is no god. You choose."

    You present us with a false dilemma. Most of the brightest atheist philosophers have conceded that the problem of evil (especially the deductive version) is really no problem at all for a theist's worldview. This puts the atheist in an interesting position, because the problem of evil is one of the few (if not only) positive arguments that can be marshaled in favor of atheism. Thus many of the new atheists have resorted to defining atheism in purely negative terms (i.e., atheism is NOT such and such, rather than, atheism IS such and such).

    Existentialism is a legitimate form of determining the truth, because God does speak to people personally. But what the Mormons haven't realized is that there are other spirits out there in the world who can speak as well. Just because you have a feeling doesn't mean it's the HS.

    "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world."

  • Iggle Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 9:49 a.m.

    As a convert to the LDS Church, I've come to respect atheists' point of view. They're consistent in that they deem all religious beliefs irrational. It's in contrast to many religious people of all faiths who basically say, "MY beliefs are perfectly sound, while YOURS are irrational and absurd!" even though neither would pass the test of modern science (and that's why we have the concept of faith, and that's how it is). Plus, not all atheists are "in your face." And they stick up for the First Amendment in a way that won't threaten our right to worship, but will protect us from those who think they're fighting "cults." Mormons, of all people, should not worry about the limiting of public prayers (see Mosiah 24).

    No, I don't totally agree with atheists, but I learn from them.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 9:42 a.m.

    "...my testimony, my knowledge of God, is independent of any other person."

    Independent from any other person = irrelevant to any other person = not publically verifiable.

    "Mormons believe there is evidence for the existence God for those willing to experiment upon the word of God."

    Dont invoke scientific metaphor, language, and method unless you are going to take it seriously. And if you do take it seriously, you find that the LDS experiment (Moronis challenge) is a shell game, not science.

    "I find the unique combination of order and diversity in nature compelling."

    Your argument from design must take into account such things as the tsunami that killed over 300,000. You must concede that the Grand Watchmaker created a mechanism that is hostile and malicious against human life.

    Either this is because it is a malicious rather than benevolent god, or because there is no god. You choose.

    "Mormonisms last evidence sits in the power of the Holy Ghost that comes to the hearts and minds of those who seek God through earnest, submissive prayer and faithful action."

    Anyone who has read The Emperors New Clothes can see the immorality of this confidence game.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    Jan. 24, 2011 8:19 a.m.

    This is an easy one. What you have to do is randomly assign people into two groups. One group to receive true religion and the other to receive placebo religion. Of course you want to make it double blind so that the people receiving the religion and the people administering religion don't know which is the placebo. Then run your statistical analysis on the results. If your really careful then you will have taken subjectivity right out of the equation.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Jan. 24, 2011 7:20 a.m.

    I would caution against using the old "science vs religion" dichotomy to discuss what can be accomplished via the scientific process. Science vs religion, is not about "science" (observation and inquiry) but rather certain theories (which have peer review/empirical support) within it's domain. Most commonly it is creationism vs evolution. Still, The Book of Mormon advocates the scientific process for religious discovery in two places. Form a hypothesis (God lives, etc), perform a test (pray), observe outcome (theoretical ideas' on the Holy Ghost"). However, as I mentioned in Orson Scott Cards last post, we have problems of test validity and observation of outcomes. Even Mr. Williams here evokes the subjective nature of the Holy Ghost by saying:

    "Those who have done so know what they have experienced, and as they nurture that spirit, genuine joy grows."

    In others words, it cannot be peer reviewed, so a person must rely on their interpretation. To further complicate, when we are being honest, we also experience contradiction with this experience, as Mr. Card noted when he suggested being "...careful when claiming spiritual experiences". Religion is at a disadvantage to science in at least this regard, and all evidence is strictly subjective.

  • Yorkshire City, Ut
    Jan. 24, 2011 5:44 a.m.

    Atheists, (like a certain other segment of the population, which shall remain nameless)are not content to just be so.

    There is only joy in being so, when being "in your face" at any and all times and ways about it to others.