Comments about ‘Atheists, Mormon scholars talk religion’

Return to article »

Published: Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:00 p.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Cedar City, UT

Usually when atheists apply the word "brainwashing", its either because they don't know what brainwashing really is or they don't understand how people can believe in something they don't understand or both.

Charles H
Atlanta, GA

I went to an athiest's funeral once. He was all dressed up with nowhere to go.

Salt Lake City, UT

@History Freak
"I can't think of anything more unhealthy than atheism. Believing a total lie could never be healthy."

So... if I think your church is incorrect do you think I should be thinking of it as a harmful cult instead of just being incorrect? That's the sort of argument you're making, you know.

"There is almost always an emotional reason. "

There's almost always an emotional reason for someone to join religion too. Not to say that's a good or bad thing, just a thing.

I Bleed Blue
Las Vegas, NV

Imagine there's no convention
It's easy if you try
No one to contend with.
Just be kind to all who walk by
Imagine all the people
Just trying to get along

Woo hoo hoo you may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only Mormon
Who hopes the Atheists have a good time
and we can all get along.

Salt Lake City, UT

Why do so many atheists concern themselves on what I believe in? Why do they have to try and tear down my beliefs? You might turn the question around to ask why I try to convince others of my beliefs. What it comes down to is that genuinely, I care about others and I believe that my faith can help others to be happy. Maybe these atheists think they can help others by trying to destroy what many hold most dear, but I don't think so. My beliefs tell me that there is an adversary helping out that wants them to do this.

Not much to do with this article, but after looking at the picture of the Salt Lake County Library, I have to say, what a waste of taxpayer money on architectural elements that serve no purpose whatsoever then to look abstract.

Nerd herder 12
Spanish Fork, UT

I have found it takes as much or more faith to be an atheist than most other religions. The Big Bang theory that everything exploded from a singularity is missing explanations in it from the initiation of the bang to the expansion rate, and missing dark matter, etc. The only way to accept it as fact it with a huge amount of faith. Just because you have faith there was no God involved does not make your faith superior since it is far from proven, or for that matter explained.

Abiogenesis (Life evolved from nothing) likewise requires another leap of faith. The theory that RNA or DNA could have come from Methane interactions (however statistically unlikey it is) does not address cell membranes and the other necessary components of life for the DNA theory is based on.

Having faith in no God is still faith in a set of unexplained and unknown process that all happened by chance is still a religion, just a godless one.

Salt Lake City, UT

"Maybe these atheists think they can help others by trying to destroy what many hold most dear, but I don't think so."

A cynical way of looking at converting believers of other faiths would be claiming that missionaries are trying to destroy what many hold most dear (and then replace it with something else). I'm not that cynical (snarky and sarcastic, yes, but not cynical). I would say that the atheists who try and get others to have a similar belief are after the same thing as religious people, in that they're all trying to share what they believe to be true.

Provo, UT

First, Faith is EVIDENCE! It is not an unfounded belief in something. It is evidence of things we cannot see with our physical eyes. (Hebrews 11:1.) How does someone gain that evidence? What is the evidence that can be obtained?

A person who truly has faith has had at least some type or extent of a spiritual experience in which a prayer was answered, an impression was given, etc. Just like physical laws, the spiritual laws amust be conducted under the required conditions. Two are sincerity to ask for or about something appropriate.

An atheist is a person who has either 1) not made an attempt to find out, 2) did not recognize the result, 3) did not meet the requirements to get a response or 4) refuses to accept the response or 5) refuses the consequences that come with faith.

Anyone who makes a sincere attempt at communicating with God, and meets the other required conditions, will get a response. The answers are there. The evidence can be obtained. Faith can be grounded in reality. This process is a very personal process and cannot be witnessed by others or experienced on their behalf.

Quincy, IL

@ I know Utah
"I have a LOT of Disdain for Most Mormons". I think you need some qualifier on that statement as there are 15 million of us and I would guess that you know an extremely small part of us. I would also imagine that there are A LOT of Mormons that you'd really like if you knew them.

That said I like your point- we should all have the privilege of worshiping (or not) God as we choose and we should allow all men that same privilege to worship (or not) how, where, and what we want.

Provo, UT

I think there are lots of good comments here and I'm surprised that most are not simply trying to start a fight.
If it's not too much, I'd like to counter YoungPuppy's statement. The idea that science can "back itself up" but the LDS Church "cannot" is a misunderstanding of what the Church teaches. We believe in a higher source of learning. Everyone gains a testimony by Holy Ghost. The simple truth is that those who are honest with themselves, who have received a testimony from the Holy Ghost cannot deny that, regardless of any sort of evidence to the contrary.
I am sure that in time, all things will work themselves out and that our understanding of science will continue to grow. I think science is great. However, what saddens me is that men deny the power of God, which is the only true source of knowledge and happiness in this world.
Atheists are welcome here as they are anywhere else. To call them the "minority" may not be the case in some parts of the world. Regardless of what's popular, I will never deny the truth that I have learned for myself.

Mountain Village, AK

All I have to say is, there have been to many people who have seen God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ to deny that they exist. So simply put, they exist.

John Locke
Ivins, , UT

Why bother with atheists, you say? They are also children of our Heavenly Father, and need to hear firsthand what the Gospel is and what we, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stand for. When they are in a forum, where they have to listen, a message is sent. Their followers also listen. He is the Shepard and wants us to seek even the least of these, which he said he was.

A friend of mine once said to me, "Any publicity is good publicity, why, because it introduces people to the'Mormons,' and then they can listen, if they wish, to the message. But, at least they come to know us and we become more commonplace rather than a stigma in their minds. We then can teach them "face to face," just as Jehovah did with Moses.

Salt Lake City, UT

In response to a previous post of mine, "dmcvey" asks, "samhill, what is the evidence of theism?"

Assuming you are actually asking what evidence a person who believes in some Theism might claim as proof of his/her belief, I can think of several examples I've heard.

Some feel the very existence of everything is evidence of a God. Others have said they've felt a spiritual assurance that convinces them of the existence of a God. I'll bet you know someone who is Theistic and can tell you why they believe as they do. Ask them.

As for the **scientific** value of such evidence, I don't think there is any. Science requires evidence that is demonstrable and repeatable by and to others as part of the empirical method of verification. Theistic evidence is too personal for that. Something alluded to in Carl Sagan's book and subsequent movie, "Contact", though he, I believe, was Agnostic.

However, as one of my favorite quotes goes, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Thus the irrational nature of Atheism which positively asserts the NON-existence of something based on lack of evidence, scientific or otherwise.

South Jordan, UT

Religion is based in faith. Theists have faith in there being a a higher power (something they can't empirically prove). Atheists claim they have no faith but in reality exercise faith in believing in nothing (something they can't empirically prove). Atheists then create organizations to help people leave their faith and provide support living the atheist life (religions or quasi religions) and then have the audacity to say things like the good expert and say morality is assigned to theists through their faith as if the atheist quasi religious organizations aren't doing the exact same thing (influencing moral beliefs). Atheism isn't a lack of faith. Atheism is having faith in nothing. True lack of faith is agnosticism. The rules of logic say it is harder to disprove the existence of something than to prove the possibility of the existence of something and therefore atheists who have been known to be think theists are naive for believing in God through faith are actually exercising more faith than the theists just their faith doesn't promise Heaven or Hell just oblivion. I was hoping this conference would have addressed that, but apparently it didn't.

Florien Wineriter
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Respectful dialogue! What a welcone change from the usual angry exchanges.

Salt Lake City, UT

In the good 'ole days, if someone was an atheist and someone was religious, they would civilly let each other know their differences and agree to disagree and that would be that. In today's world you have this growing militant brand of atheism where the concept "to each his own" is simply not acceptable. Religious people, instead of being just good folk who are just superstitious and believe in imaginary things are now seen as brainwashed sheep who are incapable of thinking for themselves and will end up like the Branch Davidians or Jonestown. Religious folk are also now seen as bigots who hate gays. And then there's my favorite of all: Religion is responsible for all the bad things that have happened in the world.

I suppose part of this trend could be attributed to a reaction to the rise of the far religious right in the American political scene but both sides are headed down a very dangerous path if we fail to meet each other half way and maintain an open dialogue. As the late Stephen R. Covey would say, "Seek first to understand then to be understood" not the other way around.

university place, WA

Here's the deal folks. I'm an atheist because I have seen no evidence of a supreme anything running the show. None, nadda, zilch. I don't "not believe" in god, I simply see no credible evidence of god. Having said that, I begrudge no one their belief in whatever deity they choose to follow. However, many of the religious folks I encounter today, despite being told not to do so, tend to be a judgmental lot (a lot of that in this thread) who take great pride in telling me who I am, why I am the way I am, and seem to even take a childish delight in telling me where I'll spend eternity if I don't get "right"; all this without even getting to really know me. My second issue, and this is a big one, is the concerted effort by the Christian right to foist their religion on the rest of us through legislation and the police powers of the state. Rest assured I will defend your religious rights but will vigorously oppose any efforts to impose your beliefs on me or attempt to make your beliefs the law of the land.

Somewhere In, HI

Sad to see many misunderstandings of atheism here. Maintaining open dialogue is a positive goal, but as evidenced by all the hostility and stereotyping of atheists here progress will be slow. It's claimed that atheists speaking out forcefully or even existing in the public square only creates negative attention, thus encouraging distrust of and animosity towards atheists, but can't the same be said of anyone who dares disagree religious majorities and their beliefs? The religious want to portray atheists in negative ways that don't reflect reality. People are atheists for a variety of well-considered reasons, but believers are only projecting their own insecurities onto nonbelievers by suggesting that disbelief is due to rebellion or other false propaganda they've come to believe. Religion has the most to lose if disbelief reaches the point where it is no longer privileged and treated as special, so they will say whatever it takes to embarrass/shame atheists back into the closet. It's just another form of peer-social pressure. Believers have a right speak out against atheism and they do often as forcefully as atheists, but atheists shouldn't be allowed the same privilege it seems.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

@ Florien Wineriter

"Respectful dialogue! What a welcone change from the usual angry exchanges."

Your comment made me laugh out loud! If it is sarcasm, well done! If not, then I refer you to the comments that follow a YouTube video I stumbled across in which a prominent evangelical Baptist speaks of Mormons in the same tone as people here speak of atheists. Same stereotypes too. Seems atheists and Mormons DO have much in common.


Welcome. Always happy to see more young faces in our midst.

@ Hawk

"I do not understand why atheists some are so concerned about the perceived 'exclusive' nature of the LDS church's view of salvation..."

Any religion that claims it is the "one right way" concerns me because it is inherently divisive. It says both "our way is better" and "you are doomed if you don't agree with me." To most in the human species, such messages are heard as something less than welcoming. Remove these claims and – well, I can think of some YouTube videos that will have no reason to exist!

Pleasant Hill, TN

I am a 92 yr old Methodist who believes that Jesus did exist, that he did profoundly influenced the people around him, but the later written story of his life has been beclouded by fancy, driven by greed for power. I have trouble attaching human qualities (hate, revenge, destruction and, yes, love to the divine.
Let's start with a premise with which we can all agree. The universe is a creation. I have no doubt about that. The Hubble telescope reveals "the ultimate reality". Now, I cannot imagine a creation without a creator, but beyond that I am completely lost.
I seriously doubt the virgin birth (some insects do this--parthenogenesis. An amoeba does too.
As for life after death, I have trouble with that too. I believe we have a finite span of time here on earth and when we die we go back to our origins. So, let's do our best with this life we have, working to improve the life of others.
Non-believers can be moral too, if you use the 10 moral rules as outlined in Gert's book, MORALITY, Dartmouth professor of intellectual ethics philosophy.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments