In a free country, “whatever rocks your boat” is the criterion for religion. And to be sure, much of it is highly culturally relative.
As for morality… a great deal of that too is culturally relative – what is acceptable clothing and manners, for example. Some of it is even a matter of personal conviction and preference – such as pacifism and vegetarianism. But this doesn’t mean there are no absolute elements to morality, and that means things which are right or wrong for a reason rather than simply convention.
And thanks for the demonstration of how people come up with excuses in order to deny those case where people have recanted or something.
As for the details of Mormonism, I cannot see why I should be interested. I have no interest in that religion personally and even less interest in participating in some crusade against it.
Of course it is a free country and people can believe what they want. But it is a free country, I don’t have to approve of what other people do. I can still get along with them and be friends. Shoot, I haven’t always agreed with what my sons did. I still loved them and got along with them.
As usual Mitch you won’t do sufficient research. One thing I have learned about me, I will out work most people. The momon quotes are true. Here are the pictures from the journals cited a couple of posts above. The red lines show where the interesting parts are. This first one, he went out on the street talking about the corruption of the twelve. That is a recantation.
I can certainly see why the LDS and others don’t agree with you. What you presented doesn’t look like a recantation of their testimony at all. Doubt? Sure. Disputes with leaders in their church? Yes. And we do see those things in Christianity also. I am not saying they are equivalent. But I do see considerable room for dispute and disagreement.
I always do research before posting things. ALWAYS. AND I don’t make claims like you do about things which I cannot possibly know a single thing about, such as whether you do any research beyond running to blatantly biased websites for so called “evidence.” As usual we just don’t think and see things the same way – particularly in regard to what we think is important. Testimonies mean practically nothing to me. I really couldn’t care less. That is not the sort of reason why I can, ever would, or actually do believe in Christianity. And I don’t need justifications like that either. I mean, I do think most of the things told in the Bible actually happened and I don’t think the things told in the book of Mormon actually happened. So I guess to that degree I do credit the witnesses in the case of the Bible while I do not credit the witnesses in the case of the book of Mormon. But I consider that to be a mostly subjective judgement on my part with very little if anything which is objective to back it up.
Lets just say, none of the Disciples are reported to have gone to another city and denounced the other of the 12 as corrupt. If you beleived, truly believed that the plates and the religion were from God, one wouldn’t do that.
And brigham young specifically said some of the witnesses were led to doubt that they had seen the plates.and plunged into apostasy. go read the last picture. That doesn’t seem to have happened to any of the disciples. Mitch, you are streeeeeeetching
Edited to add: I want to remind you that the above quotes, where Young says witnesses doubted and were plunged into apostasy, were contemporary accounts written by Mormon advocates, not mormon enemies.
The way you decide to connect the dots is not evidence. gbob you are streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetching!
Frankly, I am reminded of the whole thing between Jesus and John the Baptist. I can say exactly the same things there. Did John hear God tell him that Jesus was His son or not? If John truly believed such a thing happened then why in the world would he send people to ask Jesus if he was the one or they should look to another? I can connect the dots as you have and call that a recantation also. Though the fact is that John did not actually say this event did not happen – all we can really say is that John experienced doubt and I think Jesus tore him to shreds in Matthew 11 (though most Christians I speak to refuse to see any such thing since it is not they way they have been taught to read that chapter). It just goes to show how differently are the conclusions people can come to looking at the same “he said she said” sort of evidence.
First of all, I am so sorry that you possibly have COVID. I hope that you are taking all the time you need to focus on your health and that you will be better soon.
Secondly, I am not really sure what is considered to be a “slow” or “fast” response. Needless to say, I don’t trip over slow responses, so no worries! I probably fall in the “slow responder” category myself.
So you are saying from the very beginning, the Big Bang, when there first appeared something rather than nothing, there were these “caves”? In other words, God produced the very beginning elements in such a way that there was sure to be the end result of humans, etc? I’m sorry if I am simply repeating what you are saying in a different way, I just want to make sure I understand. If the caves are sort of analogous to God ( or at least his fore thought???), then is this basically some sort of guided evolution??
String theory is beyond me. It is something I want to learn more about, but just haven’t made it around to that subject yet…
This is a little off topic, but the disciples not recanting is not what is particularly convincing to me. I think the most convincing account I read was N.T. Wright’s “Resurrection of the Son of God”. What the disciples were expecting was not the resurrection. It was a complete overthrow of everything they had come to believe, but they completely embraced it unilaterally and emphatically. Their refusal to recant is only a small part of that, but it is an important aspect of it.
I am not disagreeing with you at all. I agree that there can be more than one explanation for things and that just because there is a scientific explanation does not mean that there is not another explanation as well. If I turn a light on, there are several reasons that it is on. I turned it on. The electrical currents flowing are another reason. I get it.
(The only thing that matters is faith expressed in love.)
It can’t be rationally disagreed with GStanto. But that’s OK. Our passions enslave our reason as a rule. That’s why I’m a Christian after all. How does it depend?
So shifting back to the title and OP from the off topic digression…
Since my answer to the question in the OP was basically that I don’t find much to be awed by the creator in the actual process of evolution, some redirect, correction, and refocus on the discussion title might be interesting.
Let’s start with this idea of what it means to be a creator. Apparently and I would even say unfortunately this has traditionally gone in the direction of design and the process by which people create inanimate objects such as a painting or a machine like a watch. It was basically my suggestion in my first post that this is aiming rather low, and that such are the easiest and simplest examples of creation. But what else is there? Farmers, shepherds, teachers, and parents. These are the examples we have of those who create living things. It my suggestion, that the difference here is not a limitation upon how much these other examples can be called creators but rather the fundamental difference between inanimate object and living things. I do believe there is an important difference between these two types of things and living things are not ultimately made the same by imagining a divine creator to whom living things are ultimately no different than inanimate objects, but just too difficult and complicated for mere humans to manage.
Living things come into being by a process of growth and learning and not by design and manufacture. Whether it is growing crops, tending livestock, running a classroom, or raising a child, it is not about the creator deciding what they will become but about participating and helping in that process of growth and learning. And as we rapidly approach the point where we can decipher the genome and the chemistry of life to the point of using it in technology, understanding this difference is going to become even more crucial. Will it be life that we create when we manufacture our own DNA? I say not. That is just chemistry and no matter how much it may look like a virus or other biological organism, a product of design will always be just a machine and never a living organism.
So I would say that when it comes to living things, being a creator includes the same kind of participation and helping that we see in farmers, shepherds, teachers and parents. And that is the role I see for God in evolution as well. Not as some kind of super-designer somehow using evolution as a tool to make things happen exactly as He chooses, but as in these other examples of providing some guidance and correction according to ultimate goal in regards to survival, qualities, and abilities. Frankly it is the same role I see already being accepted for God’s role in the life of a Christian.
Now, the correction to which I am referred to above is that I do find awe for the creator in evolution. Just not in the details of the process since I see that as pretty simple and straightforward. What I was trying to get at in my first post in the thread with the redirect towards life, consciousness, and free will, is that I where I find awe for the creator is in the reasons why things are created by evolution and why the universe was created at all. Because what I am hinting at in the question I posed in my first post is that all this was necessary in order for God to create beings truly other than Himself with free will.
To move that idea/discussion along I would suggest the following two ideas:
comparing what God did with that of any dreamer who creates what he dreams (in either example of night dream or daydream). How is what God did different from that? And what does that say about the effort to create things with life, consciousness and free will?
I would suggest that the first step one would aim for in the creation of beings other than yourself is automation. It’s not free will but at least you would then have things acting on their own rather than having to direct their every movement, right?
Exactly. I think God preplanned the universe so it would give rise to us. He created the elements so that millions of years after the Big bang, when elements formed , and then chemical chains of RNA and DNA formed billions of years later, the structure of the viable molecules would form a set of ‘viablity caves’ which would inevitably lead to us, simply by random mutation–a random walk. When populations went down two different passages, and thus split, it caused the formation of two species
Christians are far too often afraid of randomness and deny its existence. It exists, but it doesn’t mean that the outcome is not determined. Randomness with rules or boundaries can be quite deterministic. There is a mathematical object, Sierpinski’s gasket which is beautiful but can be made by random choices but regardless of the sequence of the random choices, the identical mathematical object is produced. I’m putting this out, not necessarily for you but for those who might understand. David Deutcsh is a fierce defender of the multiverse, But he points out that even the Schroedinger equation is deterministic, even though we don’t know quite where the particle will appear, like with Sierpinski’s gasket, thousands of iterations will always bring out the same identical pattern. Note that no sequence can be infinite–it is impossible.
"Probability is as much use for explaining how the world really works as the flat-Earth theory says Physicist David Deutsch." “For a start, no finite sequence can be truly random.” p 30 "A second objection [to randomness–grm] is that because classical physics is deterministic, no classical mechanism can generate a truly random sequence. p. 30 “You may have wondered when I mentioned the determinism of classical physics whether quantum theory solves the problem. It does but not in the way one might expect. Because quantum physics is deterministic too, Indeterminism–what Einstein called 'God playing dice”-is an absurdity introduced to deny the implication that quantum theory describes many parallel universes. David Deutsch, “Definitely not Maybe,” New Scientist, Oct 3, 2015, p. 30-31
Don’t worry about string theory, I was using it to illustrate how we Christians make God a tame pet who does nothing in Nature and effectively turn God from Theist to Deist. There is no evidence that I am aware that God chooses the mutations on the fly. I think what I propose is far more elegant and still makes God a player in Nature. A God who isn’t involved in nature is not a Theistic God. A Theist is defined as:
a person who believes in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe.
A Deist is defined as:
“belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe”
Too many moderns don’t let God interfere in our universe, they don’t allow miracles, don’t believe the creation accounts (that was the area that I spent my life on–I have a view that matches the facts, but no one likes it). If God can’t be creator, how can He be savior? That is a question that has haunted me for decades. It is why I had to come to some view that allowed God to be real and theistic. An uninvolved God is a useless God in my opinion.
I am assuming when you talk about learning that you are not talking about God Himself learning, right? But rather creation through selection, etc?
How consciousness arose from evolutional processes is really tripping me up. I honestly don’t see how free will alone gives rise to consciousness. I don’t read Genesis literally, but even a allegorical reading seems to suggest that at some point God “breathed” into man. I am not thinking that this means that God separated a separate section of our existence and made a “soul” out of it ( I personally think the Platonic idea of a soul separate from the body is false and isn’t supported in Scripture…this is really digressing), but it does seem to indicate a direct hand somewhere at some point.
It seems to me that these questions really kind of lead to gbob and his caves??
This makes a lot of sense to me. I have never been particularly amazed by technological advances because all they are doing is copying what has already been “created” in nature, and not even as well (i.e. computers don’t have feelings). So I think I am following you.
Hey, I am not doing this for self promotion, but I put all helpful things on my youtube channel, and one in particular came to mind, I don’t think it’s available anywhere else, so I’ll leave it here, it’s a 2 hour heart to heart with someone about why you create, with a view on spirituality that is quite unique. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUFybDc2PlY&t=3038s
Helped me a lot, hope it is useful for you as well God bless
I am thinking that what we know (empirically and intuitively) of material existence shows that something does not arise from nothing. God as a supranatural being does not fall under the category of material existence.
Correct. Organisms with a nervous system can learn individually but even those without learn as a species via the process of evolution. It the same basic idea, try new things through variation and learn which work and which do not via natural selection.
I think consciousness a property of life itself and I would even say the essence of life. But it is highly quantitative varying not only between species but between individuals… certainly awareness varies considerably… that much is quite clear.
Free will is the more difficult concept. It is easier to get a handle on consciousness and yet that eludes us as well. It is a fundamentally internal subjective experience so how can we understand it from the outside objectively with microscope? Maybe we simply can’t. Certainly a few philosophers have come to that conclusion.
Me neither. I read it as based on historical events, but not literally. I do not believe in talking snakes, magical fruit or golems of dust and bone. For me, nothing in the Bible shouts symbolism louder than the names of those two trees in the garden.
“Inspiration” literally comes from “god breathed” and that is what I take this to mean. God spoke to Adam and Eve and it is divine inspiration which brought the human mind to life. In some sense that is what all religions do, or claim to do.
Quadruple Amen to that! This is one of the things me and gbob disagree about. I believe in the spirit but I do not believe in Plato’s mental soul. I believe the mind is no less physical than the body. And I take my understanding of the spirit from 1 Cor 15 – what Paul calls the spiritual body.
They certainly didn’t lead me in that direction.
As my later post suggests… the direction these questions lead me is to exactly what we have in the physical universe, the self-organizing process of life, and incidentally evolution.
(The only thing that matters is faith expressed in love.)
Nothing doesn’t exist. There has always been something.