Comments about ‘Hamblin & Peterson: Of families, games and religion — but perhaps not as you were expecting’

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Published: Saturday, Jan. 11 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

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george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I like to keep it simple. Religion is what you do religiously. There is a lot I don't know and Ill never understand, than to think about the supernatural. Wow, a realm beyond me.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

Excellent article… even if it doesn’t end up anywhere.

So here’s one direction we might go – how would Dr. Peterson tease out the implications of someone like, say, Sam Harris who argues brilliantly against the Abrahamic religions, both as vehicles for objective truth and as foundations for morality; but then expresses sympathies with other religions (loosely defined in the Wittgensteinian sense)?

An obvious implication is perhaps the world is not so black & white as many religious people (and analogously, strong political partisans) would have of believe.

donn
layton, UT

The difference between Christianity and Religion: Christianity is unique in the fact that it is the ONLY faith which is not a religion- as a 'religion'- by definition means "to be bound" by rules and regulations and rituals in order that one MAY attain salvation. (whatever their definition of salvation may be).

This is in stark contrast to the teachings of THE most anti-religious person there ever lived- Jesus the Christ.

Jesus taught that the truth would SET YOU FREE and that it would be faith ALONE in His sacrificial death and resurrection for our sins which would save us and NOT our good deeds.
"For it is by God's grace that you have been saved, through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's GIFT, so that no one can boast about it." (Ephesians 2: 8-9).

This means that (although good in themselves and recommended) it is NOT by attending 'church', being baptised** or even believing in God! (Satan is not an atheist himself!)

To put it plainly: We are saved by faith and DEMONSTRATED by good works- but it isn't the works themselves that actually save us.

Verdad
Orem, UT

Scattered comments of his seem to suggest, Tyler D, that Professor Peterson isn't nearly as impressed with Sam Harris as you seem to be.

But why do you appear to think that it's only "religious people" (and "strong political partisans") who see the world as black and white? What of Christopher Htichens, for example, with his "religion poisons everything" slogan? He seems to have held about as black and white a view on such matters as it's possible for a human to hold.

skeptic
Phoenix, AZ

Doing good is a true religion that all should embrace. It can be understood and practiced by all to and for the benefit of all. Organized church religion is just politics and superstition that no one understands or practices. But it does make some people rich while keeping others from thinking for themselves.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Verdad – “…Professor Peterson isn't nearly as impressed with Sam Harris as you seem to be.”

True, but do you think it is because he has found his arguments to be inaccurate or deeply flawed, logically or otherwise? Or is it because Harris is criticizing something Dr. Peterson holds dear?

As for Hitchens, I agree… he certainly was polemical. But some degree of that was just his schtick – and someone had to hold the line against the intellectual dishonesty of people like Lane Craig. And let’s be honest, he did so in a far more entertaining and human way than most – RIP Hitch.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

I'm surprised BYU fans didn't make the list of "religions".

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

“If, on the Sabbath day, when we are assembled here to worship the Lord, one of the Elders should be prompted to give us a lecture on any branch of education with which he is acquainted, is it outside the pale of our religion?

“Or if an Elder shall give us a lecture upon astronomy, chemistry, or geology, our religion embraces it all. It matters not what the subject be, if it tends to improve the mind, exalt the feelings, and enlarge the capacity. The truth that is in all the arts and sciences forms a part of our religion. Faith is no more a part of it than any other true principle of philosophy.”

- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 1, pp. 334-335.

Semi-Strong
Louisville, KY

Donn,

There is no doubt that none of us earns our way into the kingdom. But sola fide was Martin Luther, not Christ. Christ taught this when asked:

“And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.”

So, the commandments are important (a prerequisite) and then higher sacrifice and followership.

BTW, if Christianity is not a religion (and we need to define which branch/denomination of the many) then is it protected by the Constitution?

brokenclay
Tempe, AZ

You know, if Bill Craig is as much of a charlatan as all these philosophy 101, atheist blogs say, it should be a cake walk to expose this guy during one of the many public events he participates in.

"But he's just too slick; his unparalleled debating skills cover up the lies with a veneer of rhetoric," you say. You keep telling yourself that. Also, you may want to (re)watch the Craig/Hitchens debate. I'm pretty sure Hitchens went home that night crying to his mom.

But suppose Hitchens was right. Whether during his life he devoted 90 years to strict religious monasticism, whether he went out in a blaze of violence as a 20 year old nihilist, or whether he died of cancer mid-life after a successful new atheist career, it's all inconsequential to him now. And the legacy he left behind will one day share that same fate-- as will we all.

The evil never requited, the injustices never restituted, and the good never rewarded.

He was wrong. There will be a resurrection, and He says, "At the set time that I appoint, I will judge with equity."

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

I like the Hitchens debates where they conduct informal polls before and after. Now we can expect those already in the Hitchens and camp or the Craig (et al) camp to not change minds, but the interesting results are from the self-proclaimed undecideds – Hitchens almost always brings some portion over to his side and I have yet to hear of this going to other way.

I admit it’s unscientific but it does belie your claim that Hitchens ever “went home crying to his mom.”

In fact most of the sophistry heard from the apologists in these debates – the vast majority being retreads of unconvincing arguments original to Aquinas or Anselm – are easily dismissed by Hitchens’ most famous quote:

“That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

Or

“Religion comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs). Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion.”

coltakashi
Richland, WA

Tyler: The Bible is evidence, as is the Christian tradition of worship and belief. The Book of Mormon is evidence, as is the testimony of Joseph Smith and the 11 other men who witnessed the reality of the original record inscribed on golden metal plates bound with rings. Testimony is often the primary evidence by which we decide matters of life and death in our courts, and when two or more witnesses attest to being present at an event, that evidence cannot be rejected simply because you don't like it.

Most of Joseph Smith's recorded revelatory experiences were shared with other people, including Oliver Cowdery and Sydney Rigdon. Smith and the 11 others who signed affidavits attesting to the reality of the original Book of Mormon record were honest men to affirmed their terstimony gthrough the end of their lives, even when under pressure to recant. That is evidence every bit as reliable as what we use in court every day. Accepting that testimony is a rational action.

donn
layton, UT

Semi-Strong, The 10 commandments and other laws were designed to show us that we are sinners. There is NO way any human could keep all of them-

I.e.., How many things do you have to steal (regardless of value) in order to be a thief? -Just one.

How many lies do you have to tell (no matter how ‘big’ or ‘small’ it is to be a liar? - Just one.
So how many sins does it take for us to be a sinner? -Just one.

These were just two of the ten commandments ..and every one of us has broken them all!

"For whoever shall keep the whole law and stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10).

… the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, ‘this Sinner’, Not the Pharisee(Religionist), returned home ‘justified(saved) before God.’ For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”(Luke 18;13-14)

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Donn,

We are not supposed to keep the 10 Commandments? Christ was assigning to the young man an impossible task (essentially taunting him)? Nothing in the narrative indicates that. Christ did not argue with him when he said he had kept the commandments. Instead Christ asked him to take a deep step forward.

Agreed we all sin. There is no dispute there. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus".

But there is a price to forgiveness. The commandment is to "go, and sin no more" not "do whatever you want".

The Pharisee was proud and was not pardoned (why would he be, he didn't ask for any forgiveness – he didn't think he needed any). The Publican was blessed because he was humble, recognized his need, and asked for forgiveness.

donn
layton, UT

Twin Lights,Paul had the same problem(Phil 3:6)Religious righteousness Vs Righteousness by faith (Romans 10:6).

“Threefold Use of the Law”:
1. The law is to be a mirror. On the one hand, the law of God reflects and mirrors the perfect righteousness of God. The law tells us much about who God is. Perhaps more important, the law illumines human sinfulness. The law highlights our weakness so that we might seek the strength found in Christ. The law acts as a severe schoolmaster who drives us to Christ.

2. The law is the restraint of evil. The law, in and of itself, cannot change human hearts. It can, however, serve to protect the righteous from the unjust.

3. The law is to reveal what is pleasing to God. As Born-again(G.anothen/from above) children of God, the law enlightens us as to what is pleasing to our Father, whom we seek to serve. The Christian delights in the law as God Himself delights in it. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). This is the highest function of the law, is an instrument for the people of God to give Him honor and glory.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Donn,

My compliments to RC Sproul.

I think Christ's interactions with the young man were much simpler and more straightforward. The young man had an honest question. Christ gave him an honest answer. First you keep the commandments. Then you follow close and serve.

Some parts of the Mosaic Law passed away in Christ. Not the 10 Commandments. If we are to follow, we are to obey the very best we can.

To follow, we are to "Repent, and be baptized every one of [us] in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and [we] shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@coltakashi – “The Bible is evidence… The Book of Mormon is evidence… Testimony is often the primary evidence by which we decide matters of life and death in our courts.”

The Bible – I doubt there is any court in the land that would find in favor based on four sometimes conflicting written accounts, all written many years or decades after Jesus’ death (i.e., the telephone game), and none by actual eyewitnesses. The closest we have is a physician (author of Luke & Acts) to Paul, and Paul himself was not an eyewitness.

Further, the written accounts (fragments, really) we have are actually copies of copies of copies, etc…

As for BoM testimony, isn’t it the case that the only witness ever cross examined in court admitted that they did not actually see the plates with their physical eyes, but rather with their “spiritual” eyes?

And I think if the history in BoM was fact (e.g., horses, steel, Jewish DNA, etc…) this would have been confirmed by scores of unbiased scientists by now – it has not.

There’s a reason why it’s called faith.

Reached comment limit…

donn
layton, UT

Twin Lights, My compliments to RC Sproul,actually John Calvin and Luther.

“*Go and sin no more.”

A of F #8 as translated correctly, “the gift of the Holy Ghost/Spirit(pneuma)same Greek word.."

We have accurate well- preserved Copies of the original text. There are some 5,500 early N.T. MS, and they contain all or nearly all of the original text . The original text can be reconstructed 99% accuracy. There is a distinction between the text and the truth of the text. While we have 99% of the original text, 100% of the truth comes through.

Over 26,000 N.T. quotes from the(2nd c) disciples of the apostles and early church fathers can reconstruct the N.T. except 12 verses.

I have the Greek apparatus of John. (John 7:53-*8:11) is not contained in the earliest and best mss and was not an original part of the Gospel of John. . B. M. Metzger summarizes: “the evidence for the non-Johannine origin of the pericope of the adulteress is overwhelming”. Vs 3Nephi 14:5, 5b & D&C 42:25a. JS was unaware. One of the many reasons LDS do not have modern translations

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Donn,

I am aware of the controversy. But this appears in the NIV and I thought most born-again Christians thought that was the best translation. So, looks sufficiently authoritative to me.

As to whether we LDS have modern translations, the KJV we use has exceptional footnotes that give alternate translations.

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