Comments about ‘Friday Minute: Friday Minute: Religious conscience in public debate’

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Published: Friday, May 6 2011 5:30 a.m. MDT

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Main Street Plaza
Salt Lake City, UT

Huh? I've read this three times now and can't make heads or tails of it.

Gregory Johnson
Rifle, CO

I have met very few religious people with a conscious.

Fort Worth, TX

The fact that something has been done in the past is not proof against something different. Women didn't own land or vote for most of history yet when tried was found to be a viable option. Slavery existed for a "long" time in the American society before it was legally changed to an unlawful situation. The argument that something has been done for a while is like a child telling a parent that they can do something because all their friends are doing it. In this situation it has been tried in the past and accepted by the peer group as a true and correct principle but others looking on don't view it as such. This is a simplistic approach at explanation but I feel it serves to illustrate the fallacy of using the past as a support for not accepting change.

Wendover, UT

What a thoughtful and well written article! @ jenrmc - The truth is simple, it is obvious though that people continue to refuse to see that truth and fallacy don't need to be complicated to be real. I've never heard anyone come up with a valid argument to prove there isn't a God. Yet all around us is evidence to prove there is.
Societies fall because of corruption and lack of moral values. The burden of proof is upon those who say that immoral behavior is okay and doesn't hurt us as a society in the long run.

Columbus, OH

This is an incredibly ironic argument. He says that people that don't believe in God (constantly labeling them as a unified group according to his preconceived stereotypes) cannot produce evidence that he doesn't exist. But what proof do you have that he does exist. The earth and its inhabitants? That is not proof, unless you already believe in him. That's like a criminal, when accused of stealing an iPod, says he found it on the street and then shows you the iPod as evidence. It's completely illogical. The author completely ignores that other people have what they believe to be the reasons for the existence of the earth and its inhabitants.

There is no conclusive evidence that same-sex marriages will result in healthy homes, but all preliminary evidence points in that direction. To counter that, you're saying it's God's way. Where's the evidence, it seems you have none "but your word only."

Somewhere in Time, UT

Well, the deniers are out in force and desperately trying to defend their indefensible position. This is an excellent article and brings up many valid and profound points. The burden is on the deniers and they have nothing to defend their position.

Proof of the existence of God is in EVERYTHING we see. It's amazing how someone can live in denial because of personal emotional problems. And...it is emotion and NOT logic that leads them to their conclusion.

The experience of history teaches over and over again that adherence to God's laws brings blessings and breaking God's laws brings disaster. "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say. But, when ye do NOT what I saw, ye have no promise." IT'S THE TRUTH!

God loves his children and blesses those who have faith and follow his teachings.

Salt Lake City, UT

The bottom line in this article is actually quite sophomoric. It is a textbook example on the logical fallacy of adverse consequences. Every example was Be or Beware. Bill is simply preaching to the choir. Anyone other than a believing Mormon will find his argument weak!

Provo, Ut

If Korihor had been a real person he would have first responded to Alma's "evidence" by simply asking him to state "How do planets in their motion testify of God?" Merely stating it after all, doesn't make it right. He then would have asked for an explanation of the doctrine of agency, and then a recitation of the 11th article of faith (speaking of things to come as though they had already come - Mosiah 16:6). Following Alma's answer he would want an understanding of why he had been detained and imprisoned.

On a more practical note, the story of Korihor works not because Alma offers any type of practical or real evidence to satisfy his burden of proof - particualary considering his request that Korihor prove a negative - but because Alma is granted the power to effect a miracle. I would invite anyone of these authors - Ash, Monahan, Card, even Thomas S. Monson, to show forth a real miracle like that alleged of Alma - by cursing me, even as Korihor.

Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

The author stated - "However, when public life affects religious conscience, opponents of faith will not accept their burden of proof. Despite the overwhelming evidence of God in their lives, naysayers reject proof of deity without a corresponding willingness to produce their own proof that God cant help us."

I believe in God. But the above quote simply is incorrect. Thousands of pages have been written by agnostics and atheists making strong arguments for their point of view. Whether you believe their arguments does not change the fact that they exist.

Again, I personally believe in God but always cringe at statements like those made by the author that are driven so strongly by his own worldview that it omits relevant facts.

Given that the author quotes Book of Mormon characters to bolster his argument, I am going to make an assumption that he has not read any of the many books and articles put forward by those who do not believe in or doubt God. His worldview likely prohibits even looking at those types of materials.

But the fact is that they exist and to say "naysayers" have not produced arguments for their positions is simply ignorant.

Salt Lake City, UT

This essay about a caricatured debate completely glosses over whether chief judge Alma really present any evidence for the existence of a god or gods, but it almost certainly, and unwittingly presents a Book of Mormon anachronism- that some inhabitants of the Americas (whose DNA left no traces- but that's another topic entirely) in approx. 76 - 74 BC knew about and would make reference to the regular motions of the planets. This would have chief judge Alma having a scientific knowledge of something that would predate William Hershel's discovery of Uranus in 1781 by a few short years indeed. If only the Lamanites hadn't wiped out the Nephites and their advanced science.

Somewhere in Time, UT

It is so funny how threatened these people feel by this article. It is also interesting how much time they spend reading articles like this so they can go on the attack. They are obviously very insecure in their positions no matter how much they claim otherwise.

If they really believed they had won the argument they wouldn't have to spend all their time trying to disprove faith. They would just go on their merry way and forget about it. Obviously they can't do that. They have to keep convincing themselves. Because, let's face it. If it turns out that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true, they have made a terrible mistake. They can't leave it alone or they might be found out.

Salt Lake City, UT

Bro. Monahan states, Proponents of alternative marriage have no evidence that such arrangements are healthy for children or beneficial to society. Opponents of LDS polygamy 125 years ago said the same thing. Does allowing felons or people with genetic disorders like Taye-Sachs or Sickle-Cell that cause children untold pain and cost society millions to marry benefit society? Why the hypocrisy? Funeral Potatoes arent healthy for children or beneficial to society either.

D&C 101:76-80 says America isnt about what is allegedly best for society. Its about individual rights and freedoms. 1 Cor. 10:29 and D&C 134:4 also decry using subjective morality to justify infringing upon others rights.

Bro. Monahan offers no evidence that same-sex marriage harms kids or society. In Prop8s recent trial, only a few witnesses defended it. Their testimony was so easily refuted, that the Prop8 defense team has now filed a motion to keep the trials video recording sealed permanently. They dont want the evidence to be seen by the public. Why?

Opposition to same-sex marriage is based on moral beliefs and is contrary to scripture and individual liberty.

Chris Paul
Salt Lake City, UT

Even if we have no evidence either way, which assumption has more weight? The negative or positive? Is assuming that Santa does not exist equal to the assumption that he does exist?

I think there are assumptions (i.e. leaps of faith) on both sides but I don't believe those leaps are of equal distance.

The "god" concept is something that is outside what we can measure and test and is therefore an extraordinary claim. To assume that there is no god is easy to do (and logically preferable) if there is no evidence that there is a god at all.

Some Mormons may posit testing the existence of a god by using the prayer method (Moroni 10:4, James 1:5, etc) but this is problematic because the data itself is subjective, never mind the subjectivity of the method. Where do I get the knowledge to rightly identify an authentic spirit emotion? How do I separate that from my other natural emotions? There seems to be a problem because many competing religions use the same method to produce radically different results.

Bakersfield, CA

The ultimate proof will be when we stand before God to be judged. Korihor at least had an advantage over many naysayers in that he admitted he was wrong. Why do nonbelievers lie in wait with pithy, sarcastic, and negative comments as if that will change or help anyone? It won't be harmful to believe in God and try to make the world a better place where people have hope and happiness. How do your comments lead a person to a more fulfilled and happy life? Please don't respond, because I am decided and prefer to read uplifting, positive articles like the one the author offered. Why do you torture yourselves reading these positive articles if they upset you so much? I think you have some belief and hope. Admit it like Korihor. It isn't too late. Don't respond. Just think. I will not carry on a dialog with you because I'm tired of that.

Chris Paul
Salt Lake City, UT

@Cats, if the LDS Church is true, Glories still await even non-mormons. So what's the big deal? I would actually prefer not to become god-like because then I would avoid creating inevitable suffering for innocent animals and innocent children.

I think people just like to give their opinion on things. Do you ever offer your view on Obama for example? If you disagree with him, why don't you just go on your merry way and not say anything?

Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

Cats - you are aware that 50,000+ LDS missionaries go into the world every year to invite people to accept another point of view? SLC leadership has encouraged members to be an online presence in doing the same. Many missionaries and online members are very strong and straightforward in their tone and comments - and that's okay. In other words, as LDS we certainly are NOT asked to "just go on our merry way and forget about it". Why should we expect others to?

You also know that an online forum like this is for the purpose of inviting all kinds of different points of view, correct?

I personally think that dialogue and debate is crucial. I love hearing all kinds of viewpoints. Honest questioning was not encouraged in most of our LDS correlated education so I do understand why we can be so defensive.

It is the insular, defensive, inflexible nature of some LDS (and non-LDS) that bother me the most. You regularly display that from an LDS point of view. I have never read a comment of your's that wasn't along the lines of "great article, right on point, critics stink."

Columbus, OH

That's a bit of a stretch to call this article uplifting, isn't it? The author is basically saying, "If you don't believe in God, you're pigheaded and doomed to suffer eternally in the afterlife."

You ask why not just let people believe in God, lead happy lives, and make the world a better place. I reverse your question, why does the author direct an article at those that do not share his belief system. Also, given all the wars and destruction that has occurred because one group believes they act in the name of God puts the "make the world a better place" argument, at the very least, suspect.

You prefer only to read articles that reassert your own point of view, to me that is exactly the problem with religion. If you can convince a people that anything you say is true, and any facts presented to the contrary are the tricky ways of Satan, you can convince them to do some pretty awful stuff.

Saint George, UT

Wow, talk about a perfect example of the other side of Poe's law "..it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing."

This article would be right at home on the Onion.

Unfortunately, while it would be hilarious piece of parody, the fact that the author likely believes what he says, makes it depressingly frightening.

It's truly amazing to see someone try to claim "the overwhelming evidence of God" with a straight face.

Just to play devil's advocate, if there was ONE SINGLE IOTA of evidence for your God, it would no longer be faith.

Portland, Oregon

I require no more proof than I already have that God exists. And I have no need to prove to others that He truly exists. My only responsibility is to be a doer of the Word and speak the truth as I understand it.

If the observer or listener is truly seeking proof, the Spirit will speak to them to see and hear the truth in what I do or say.

If they only seek to cause contention, then nothing I do or say or present to them as proof will make any difference, were God Himself to cause the sun to stand still, for their heart is hardened against the truth and light.

Salt Lake City, UT

Let's pretend for a minute that Alma's logic was sound and that the earth and everything around us is irrefutable proof of god's existence (it's not, and if you tried to use that logic in court the judge would laugh at you). Why would it be evidence that your particular god was the right one? Why not believe in Zeus or Horus or Ptah or Shiva or any of the other countless possible gods?

You can't just say "the earth exists, therefore [insert my belief] is true." I recommend the author backs up and checks Alma's logic again.

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