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Comments about ‘Defending the Faith: Try to imagine why others believe what they believe’

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Published: Thursday, Sept. 6 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

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skeptic
Phoenix, AZ

Mr. Peterson makes a good presentation of wondrous food for thought. It would be good if the world had answers, but because there are no true answers each faith dresses up their claims exaggerations and lies to the point that it is almost impossible to study the true source from the fiction. Enlightenment without Authenticity is Mythology.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

Good advice.

John Lennon gave similar advice:

"Imagine there's no heaven..."

You know the rest.

During a 1980 interview for Playboy magazine, Lennon commented on the meaning of "Imagine":

"It is the concept of positive prayer... If you can imagine a world at peace, with no denominations of religion; not _without_ religion, but without this 'my God is bigger than your God' thing - then it can be true... The World Church called me once and asked, 'Can we use the lyrics to 'Imagine' and just change it to 'Imagine one religion'?' That showed [me] they didn't understand it at all. It would defeat the whole purpose of the song, the whole idea."

Just imagine how very intelligent and talented people can believe that your Church is NOT "the one and only true and living Church on the face of the whole earth with which [god] is well-pleased"!

sharrona
layton, UT

RE: Great Christian thinkers.
@Aquinas, God reveals himself in ways that we can understand. God is our Father. ‘He is like a human father but in other ways he is not. God is not a human being, for example. Nor does the necessity of a human mother point to the need for a divine mother. God reveals himself to us at our level.
Scripture compares God to a rock , this does not mean God is a rock, he is like a rock.

@Augustine,” My whole hope is only in your mercy, His sense of being was totally dependent upon God.
The point Augustine makes is that we have no control over the fact that we are sinful. It is something that contaminates our lives from birth, and dominates our lives from birth. He uses the term ‘original sin’ to refer to this inbuilt human problem. We are born alienated from God, and need to be born again(anothen ,from above)if we are to have full relationship with God. Sin is a state which we have no decisive control. Pelagius believes we are the master of our own destiny.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

I can’t help but think that much of what passes for religious dialogue looks a lot like two kids discussing the relative merits of Batman vs. Spiderman.

NedGrimley
Brigham City, UT

Tyler: Or "my mom says you have to git off my proppity..."

skeptic
Phoenix, AZ

RE: Tyler D,
It is easy to concur with your views because in organized religion no one knows what they are talking about because it is just a bunch of pie in the sky political non-sense that makes some powerful and rich, some poor, most exploited and confused and a few happy. Now spirituality may be some thing different; what is your take on that. If God is not in the church of man is He in the spirit of man.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

sharrona,

"The point Augustine makes is that we have no control over the fact that we are sinful. It is something that contaminates our lives from birth, and dominates our lives from birth."

Augustine's "Confessions" are a remarkable study of religion-induced guilt. No doubt Augustine was profoundly confused and emotionally traumatized by being a Manichaen for so long.

Such emotional, psychological, and cognitive trauma is to be expected when one assumes such things as:

"...we have no control over the fact that we are sinful. It is something that contaminates our lives from birth, and dominates our lives from birth."

I, for one, deny such unsupported, damaging, inhumane perspectives on humanity in general, or any particular individual. Asserting the "sinfulness" of mankind is the horribly abusive, disturbing, and ultimately unethical and immoral "sin" of religion. And more often than not, it results in a self-fulfilling prophecy and a distorted sense of self and social relations in those who are indoctrinated with such nonsense.

Randall Paul
Highland, UT

Professor Peterson has highlighted our common human desire to be respected as honorable, capable and good-hearted, and the deleterious results of failure to recognized this in political, religious, academic, or cultural conflicts. Social psychologists and therapists have shown if we feel others respect our integrity, competence and intention, then we can be open to hear their intense criticism of our ideas and beliefs without angry resentment. In any human communication how we feel about the other is silently transferred ahead of what we think about the other's ideas or beliefs. The "silent dialogue" of contempt or admiration will determine more than anything else the results from the "verbal dialogue" over conflicting world-views, ideals, or religions. The real problem: we cannot fake this respect like we can civil politeness. We actually have to change our attitude about our opponent, really granting the benefit of the doubt in advance of engagement, or we will come across as phony emotional manipulators. Ah, ancient scripture says God looks on the heart of a person--and we seem to be wired to do the same thing. Those who desire to influence without coercion must honor those they desire to influence.

Mukkake
Salt Lake City, UT

Maybe this same courtesy could be extended to unbelievers as well?

I'm so tired of hearing people say atheist/agnostics/non-theists are just "denying" God because they don't want to "obey" Him; that we somehow know deep down that there is a God, but we just don't want to believe it.

I don't believe because there is no proof. I don't see anything magic or divine in my daily life. I know that all religious people, if they are capable of thought, are capable of doubt. I deny subjective experiences as objective evidence.

Children are born atheists, they have to be taught theism.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

RE: skeptic

Great point. Yes, I would agree that by all accounts (across all religions) there seems to something in our nature that, when accessed, presents itself as transcendent, loving, oneness, and even “other.” The problem as you said is that, based on a powerful spiritual and completely SUBJECTIVE experience, people then make fantastic (and in my mind, totally unjustified) leaps in logic and concoct all sorts stories and claims about the objective world. Most religions are guilty of this, although best I can tell Buddhism (in its secular form) does this the least, and at the same time (and perhaps ironically), records some of the deepest and most profound spiritual experience of all the world’s religions.

spring street
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

great article David until you tipped your hand with "anti Mormon Crusaders." so much for respect I guess, which is very sad because the rest of the article was very respectful and well reasoned.

spring street
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Daniel not David, sorry my apologize.

the truth
Holladay, UT

@A Scientist

Has religion, but no my God your God

Has no denomination

Is that not really just one unified religion or religious belief?

In other we are living the one true religion of the one true God.

I am not so sure Lennon knows what he is talking about.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

To Scientist: IF you are going to cite scripture then do so correctly; " And also those to whom these commandments are given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obsurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking collectively and not individually."

This election is doing just that bringing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints out of obscurity and darkness. The fulfillment of prophesy is happening today whether you or anyone else wishes to accept and believe it or not. It is happening and happening rather quickly.

President Hinkley stated emphatically that all Churches have some truth and what is needed is for them to come to us and we will add to their truth. This is as truthful today as it was when it was said. This is the Church of Jesus Christ, restored to the earth today. The Book of Mormon also written for our day. This is the Church of Jesus Christ restored to the earth. Believe it or not.

sharrona
layton, UT

To: A Scientist It is something that contaminates our lives from birth, and dominates our lives from birth; I, for one, deny such Unsupported. Wrong,
The Book of Mormon,”because of the fall our natures have become evil “.Ether 3:2. And see Mosiah 3:19.
Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. Gen 8:21;. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Ps 51:5) supported by the .O.T..

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. Eph 2:3. Supported by the N.T..
Jesus was the only one without a sin nature. He had no sin.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

sharrona,

I invoke the words of your alleged Master:

John 8:46

I repeat, I deny the horrible, immoral, unethical assertion of original sin or any other form of "sin" that requires some "savior" to swoop down from empereal realms to save us from something in which we had no choice, or from absurd "commandments" that have no moral merit in the first place.

Mistakes? Sure. Errors? Yes.

But "sin"? No!

Sin is a fiction, just like the fiction of "god", designed by power mongers to usurp bogus authority over others.

Thinkman
Provo, UT

Bill,

This election has nothing to do with anything with the LDS church. It has everything to do with two diametrically opposed views on the role of government and the future of this great nation. Just because Mitt is Mormon is irrelevant to any Mormon scripture you quote. His rise to prominence and to be on the cusp of winning the Presidency is because of who he is, his ideology, his ability to communicate his views and how they resonate with the electorate.

As to those intelligent people believing in a Higher Power or God, I can understand how people of all IQ levels and backgrounds and cultures believe. I believe in God but I don't believe any religion speaks for God. Many religions have creeds and tenants that I find "true." But no one speaks for God any more than I do.

Reason tells me there has to be a Supreme Being to explain why we are all here on this planet. However, I believe that God is a very hands-off type of God and wants us to be kind, do our best, forgive others, obey the law and be a good person. That is it.

sharrona
layton, UT

@A Scientist, I invoke the words of your alleged Master: (John 8:46) Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?
Jesus Christ, though tempted in every way just as we are (Hebrews 4:15), never committed a sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 3:5). The apostle Peter stated it clearly: “He committed no sin and no deceit was found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). Indeed, as Jesus Christ is God, He has no capacity to sin.(No sin nature as humans) The, Theanthropos.

RE: A Scientist , dominates our lives from birth; I, for one, deny such unsupported. Wrong again,
… just as sin entered the world through one man(Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.( Romans 5:12). For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man(Jesus) the many will be made righteous.(Romans 5:19),
Check, John 8: 47.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

Wow Thinkman you take a statement that with Romney running for President that this is helping to bring the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to spill your own propaganda. Yes, this election is helping tremendously to bring the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints out of obscurity and darkness. It is bringing it to the forefront of every Americans doorstep and home whether they know it or not.

Whether you want to believe this or not is irrelevant. Whether he is elected or not will be determined on many other factors not his religion. However, there will not be many that don't know about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints after this election. There won't be many that will be asking questions about it of which many other things will be noted. We will have to wait and see how it brings forth the good works of the Church and all. Fact is that it is prophesy being fulfilled.

gcrobmd
GADSDEN, AL

Great article calling for mutual respect of sincerity!

Objectivity is important. Without it, MDs would sell snake oil. But objective truths change.

Einstein gave the same tests every year. He said students couldn’t cheat because the answers change. I have seen the answers change in medical science, physics, and cosmology.

But certain subjective truths remain constant. Throughout history, couples still fall in love and still love their children. We cry when separated from loved ones. In selfless acts of heroism we reverence an eternal principle of sacrifice.

Once while walking I came upon a 6 foot black snake. I froze with nausea and chills. My subjective experience warned me of danger. At times, a wondrously beautiful experience confirms to me that God lives. Having faith in these experiences, I make decisions changing my life.

Man is that he might have joy. Joy comes from accomplishing good which pleases God. Pure religion teaches us how to live and love each other for a fullness of joy. The reality check is that it applies here and now, and it works.

Without the subjective experiences, we might as well be lizards.

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