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Comments about ‘Southern Baptists to discuss their divide over Calvinism, working with Mormons at annual meeting’

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Published: Monday, June 10 2013 4:05 p.m. MDT

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Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Uncle Rico – “I find the religion argument you make mainly espoused by those who dislike attending church meetings and being held accountable to anything.”

In my experience I have found this to be far down the list for most agnostics or atheists (although it is curiously cited as the #1 issue believers THINK others are not religious). Higher on the list for any non-believer I know would be the following:

Teachings many find morally repugnant – many examples from the Biblical statements on slavery to the pre-destination doctrine cited here.

Teachings that contradict science – from the creation story to D&C 77:6 (these and many other examples at least argue strongly against any literal interpretation of the Bible).

Lack of spiritual fulfillment – religions seem more interested in self-perpetuation than in filling a void many feel.

Few who walk the walk (but many who talk the talk) – hypocrisy and lack of compassion are big reasons many are turned off by religion.

Incompatible teachings – not being able to reconcile the fact that religions make many mutually exclusive truth claims so the idea of “one true faith” just strike many as ludicrous.

JLFuller
Boise, ID

Maybe folks ought to take into account that ecclesiastical leaders are entitled to their own opinions and that expressing them does not equate to Church doctrine. I use Brigham Young's use of hyperbole when preaching the gospel as an example. Many if not most anti-Mormons like to say he was expressing doctrine which is far from the truth. It makes sense to think this rift among Southern Baptists is all personal opinion. But with so many differing opinions being expressed it is hard for outsiders to know what is doctrinal until the SBC provides an official public statement. Regardless, both of the SBC views as expressed above seem to exclude most of humanity and condemn them to everlasting torment for something they had no control over. Readers can decide for themselves whether that sounds anything like what a loving God would do.

RAB
Bountiful, UT

Interesting that when a religion influences good behavior, people like Hutterite devalue it and insist that it had nothing to do with the religion. But if someone claiming to belong to a religion does something unkind, even when it conflicts with the religion's doctrine, we are supposed to believe that it is the religion's fault.

Reality is, ANY large group sometimes can feel oppressive to those outside the group. It doesn't matter if the group is a religion, a country, a family, a union, a school, a political party, a business, or an association. And any group can do horrible things if led by a persuasive, but bad person. Regardless, the bad behavior is always the fault of individuals--not the groups they belong to.

Baptists are as creedal as any religion. They adopt the extra-Biblical Nicene creed like all protestant religions. They cannot be against other religion's creeds without simultaneously admitting to an opposing creed.

My experience is that those who OPPOSE religion offer no proof, bode no challenge, yet expect deference in all things.

Samuel B Martineau
Bountiful, UT

Hutterite

I appreciate your argument that religion is not required for people to do good works, but that misses the point. The question is not whether non religious people can be giving and loving (of course they can), but rather whether religion would make people more inclined to be loving and giving. As far as statistical data goes, a brief search quickly demonstrates that religious people give more liberally and consistently than non religious people.

I have three links to post, but the comments section won't let me do it.

As for the fact that religion tends toward division, it is true. But that shouldn't cause us to condemn it.

Politics divide, but the good of having a political system outweighs that.
Value systems divide, but we still want values.
Sports teams divide, but still we can reasonably enjoy sports.

I urge you to reconsider your stance on religion.

RAB
Bountiful, UT

@Tyler,

All atheists claim they are influenced by their superior intellect. But that does not mean it is the real reason they reject religion. I’m not buying it.

Claims against the Bible merely expose a determination to find fault rather than seek inspiration. It is silly to judge God’s dealings with illiterate, uneducated ancient civilizations by our current highly educated standards. An so, Bible writers chose not to oppose slavery in writing. Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the deadly Roman empire that was just looking for an excuse to wipe them off the earth.

Science has not disproven anything. On the contrary, it supports my beliefs.

Lack of spiritual fulfillment is a personal failing, not the religion’s.

Hypocrisy is a common human failing, far from limited to the religious and adamantly opposed by scripture. This common tendency to criticize religious people as judgmental is itself judgmental.
and therefore hypocritical.

Incompatible teaching are WHY God restored the truth through a modern prophet

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@RAB – “Bible writers chose not to oppose slavery in writing.”

They did much more than “chose not to oppose” it… please reread Exodus and Leviticus. I would point to chapter & verse but frankly it gets old to keep telling believers to read their own book.

@RAB – “Lack of spiritual fulfillment is a personal failing”

It’s a convenient notion to say that if a person is spiritually fulfilled it proves the church is true, but if they’re not it shows their own failing. Not to mention it is a fool proof way to self-select for believers in a statistically plausible manner (i.e. a simple coin toss exercise).

@RAB – “to criticize religious people as judgmental is itself judgmental.”

You’re confusing being judgmental with stating a fact.

@RAB – “Incompatible teaching are WHY God restored the truth through a modern prophet”

I have complete faith (pun intended) in religion’s ability to adapt to the fact that people are getting less credulous over time. Where it struggles though is in leaving behind the untenable due to the tendency of treating (your words) “illiterate, uneducated ancient” writings as perfect, sacred and true for all time.

Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

@Craig Clark
The Mormon Creed I quoted was from a tract written by P P Pratt in 1844, A Dialog Between Joseph Smith and the Devil.
The entire piece is satirical.
My point was that it seems posters are telling the Baptists what they ought to do. I say it's none of our business.

RAB
Bountiful, UT

@Tyler,
You judge primitive laws of primitive people by modern standards. I believe scriptures show God's influence in directing humanity over time towards civility, love, forgiveness, and mercy.

Since thousands of people testify that they have experienced spiritual fulfillment in their religion, your inability to do so inevitably MUST BE a result of something they did that you failed to do.

Those you accuse of being judgmental, likewise deem their judgments as "fact".

Scripture was first spoken by a human, written by a human, selected by a human, copied and recopied by humans, translated by a human, read by a human, and analyzed by a human (you). Humans are not infallible. Every step between the original speaking of the scripture down to your final analysis of it was a step that could have introduced error. That is why you CANNOT understand scripture without accessing the source of the scripture-which is God. Even if God spoke to you directly, you could still twist the words to mean something unintended. If we lack wisdom regarding God, WE HAVE TO ask of God. Those who fail to do that, unsurprisingly have no evidence that God exists.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@RAB – “I believe scriptures show God's influence in directing humanity over time towards civility, love, forgiveness, and mercy.”

OK… you do realize though that many believers don’t see the Bible this way. Instead they see it as I described including infallible and without error.

@RAB – “Since thousands of people testify that they have experienced spiritual fulfillment in their religion, your inability to do so inevitably MUST BE a result of something they did that you failed to do.”

I wasn’t about me… I was talking about the millions who don’t find spiritual fulfillment in any organized religion, and suggested that this is what we would expect given our understanding of statistics.

@RAB – “… WE HAVE TO ask of God.”

So how do you explain believers in different religions doing this and getting the same “confirmation” of their beliefs and sacred scriptures?

Will you grant at least the possibility that these “answers” come from a source other than a particular religion’s concept of God – perhaps a God who is the source of all spirituality (organized or not) or maybe even from our own subconscious mind?

coleman51
Orem, UT

Until the Southern Baptists fully reject Calvinism, they will not thrive in the 21st Century. To claim that their are only a select few who are predestined to be saved will be rejected by more people, particularly the younger people, until the Churches submit to what people in their own congregations really believe. People will not accept that type of doctrine being preached in their Churches. It's like telling Catholics that birth control is wrong and not acceptable to God and actually seeing what they practice. It simply won't stand the test of time.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

Works without faith is dead.

donn
layton, UT

RE; coleman51To ,The word predestination,it occurs six times in six verses in the N.T..

1.Acts 4:28, “to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.”

2.Romans 8:29-30, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

3.1 Corinthians 2:7, “but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory.”

4.Ephesians 1:5, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”

5.Ephesians 1:11, “also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”

Many do not like the idea that God predestines people for salvation, but the fact is the Bible teaches it.

G L W8
SPRINGVILLE, UT

Query: the word "predestinated" is the English translation. What are the equivalent Greek terms, and what can a study of their possible derivations, connotations, and an awareness of their usage in historical context(circa 100 CE) add to the understanding of the New Testament verses where they are used?
Those of us who are only able to understand the verses as they have been translated into English cannot make any assumptions as to their actual meaning from the viewpoint of the original writers (chiefly Paul, but apparently also Luke, the author of Acts).

Ghost Writer
GILBERT, AZ

Hutterite states: "Religion divides us like nothing else man has devised." This constant berating of "orrrganized religion" [sic] is getting old. You might as well say, "Thinking divides us like nothing else man has devised." Fact is, we're all individuals, we all think differently, and there are going to be disagreements. I think that people like Hutterite just don't like the service commitments and personal sacrifices that most church's (religions) require, and so he has to justify his position by constant fault finding.

Ghost Writer
GILBERT, AZ

. . . We also need to remember that atheists like Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot murdered millions upon millions of people . . . do we blame atheism like many blame religion? Bad people do bad things regardless. I believe if one looks at the historical record as a whole, "true relgion" has done far more good than bad.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

Ghost Writer wrote:

"...We also need to remember that atheists like Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot murdered millions upon millions of people...do we blame atheism like many blame religion? Bad people do bad things regardless. I believe if one looks at the historical record as a whole, "true relgion" has done far more good than bad."

Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, and all the other mass murderers the deceptive apologists trot out to justify their hatred of nonbelievers - all of these people were raised IN RELIGION! Their atheism was not the impetus for the atrocities they committed. In other words, they did not do these things "in the name of atheism" - principally because atheism is NOT a belief or a belief system in which anyone can carry out any actions. Atheism is the absence of belief.

As such, if you aspire to blame atheism for their actions, you must also blame all the other things in which they did NOT believe.

By contrast, the atrocities we see today (as well as many throughout human history), are being done "in the name of the Lord", largely because religious people think they have the patent on god and morality.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

Craig Clark wrote:

"Religious diversity was endorsed by Joseph Smith when he wrote, “We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege. Let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

Smith also called all other religions "abominations" and "all wrong", with their preachers and professors being "all corrupt", and insisted that the Mormon Church is the "only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which [God is well-pleased]".

Not exactly statements of diversity and tolerance.

Ghost Writer
GILBERT, AZ

To "A scientist" -- How can atheism be an absence of belief? Of course it's belief -- belief that there is no God. And I think you're in total denial if you don't think an absence of belief in God (and a total belief in social Darwinism) did not help the dictators I cited above justify slaughtering their enemies. Removing all moral conviction (which atheism does quite nicely) removes accountability for killing those whom one deems unworthy of living, or living freely. Sorry to rain on your parade that religion is always bad, and science is always good,

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Ghost Writer – “How can atheism be an absence of belief? Of course it's belief -- belief that there is no God.”

This is a canard… the absence of a belief in a supreme deity is NOT a belief system.

Atheist is simply a word we use (falsely to a large extent) to describe non-believers. Do we have words for non-astrologers or non-alchemist?

Does NOT believing in astrology or alchemy mean you have another belief system that is related to astrology or alchemy? Of course not… you simply don’t believe in astrology or alchemy.

As far as those “atheist” tyrants you note, they were steeped in dogmatism, irrationality, and used extensively all the perverse tools of religion (i.e., appeal to supreme authority, etc.) to gain and hold power.

If you truly want an understanding of societies that are largely agnostic/atheistic and are based on secular humanistic values, a far more accurate picture will come from places like Western Europe (the farther north the more agnostic), Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc…

Or you could simply study the men who founded our country – most were agnostic (they called themselves Deists back then).

The Scientist
Provo, UT

Ghost Writer wrote:

"How can atheism be an absence of belief? Of course it's belief -- belief that there is no God."

Yes, and because you do not believe in Leprechauns, that is a belief; and the same could be said for UFOs, the Easter Bunny, and any other absurd and inane "belief" that you do NOT hold.

Atheism is simply absence of belief. Only believers say otherwise because they are trying to define what they hate and would like to attack - usually in order to rally their own failing faith.

But the reality is, you can tell nothing about a person, morally, intellectually, socially, politically, or otherwise, based on the fact that they have NO belief in god.

Yet you naively assert: "Removing all moral conviction (which atheism does quite nicely) removes accountability for killing..."

Morality exists independent of religion. It always has and always will. More humans have been moral, ethical, good people without religion than with religion.

But it is the epitome of immorality to accuse others of being a-/im-moral based on what they do NOT believe, just as it is the pinnacle of absurdity to blame political and military atrocities on absence of deism.

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