Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jury of your feelings

Arguments against Mormon religion? —Marie

Is there any clear contradictions or known arguments against the Mormon faith?

Yes. All religions make claims without evidence. In Mormonism believers are encouraged to "find out for themselves," but not by any sort of rational process of examination. Rather, they're supposed to read from the Book of Mormon and pray for a good feeling about what they read. You know, sort of like you would do if you were on a jury. ... Er, I guess that's a bad example.

If you really need to see a "clear contradiction" to the claims of Mormonism, you can skip right past all the wacky anachronisms and plagiarisms in the Book of Mormon and go straight to Joseph Smith's "Book of Abraham." Despite what others here have said, it doesn't take any distorting of the truth to see that what Joseph claimed to have translated from Egyptian papyrus is now known to be a complete and total fraud. Look it up yourself, you be the judge.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ask Gramps

Can the dead hear our thoughts? —Sarah B

Can dead people really hear our thoughts?
I read somewhere they could, but only if they are listening.
Man i thought the only privacy we had was in our head

Sort of. There's an interesting line of thinking that says mysticism has its roots in our need to get help with decision-making. The idea is that being decisive gave some groups an evolutionary advantage, but only if they weren't always knocking off the tribal leader for making a poor choice. So this need, combined with our natural human tendency to continue to feel an association with people after their death, led to *asking* the dead for help and "divining" their answers. Because hey, if grandpa leads us astray, we can't do him any harm—he's already dead!

So yeah, in the minds of the living at least, you could say the dead hear us and help us decide how to act. If you're asking whether the deceased people themselves continue to "hear," though, that's a no. They are dead.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The road less traveled

The book of mormon...? —drewman818

I have been reading the book of mormon lately just to check it out and haven't been able to find any bad things or contradictory doctrine to the bible... where do i go from here?

Straight to the baptismal font.

Unless of course you have a fully functioning mind and some basic critical thinking skills. In which case you may want to examine some of your assumptions—like the assumption that the Bible is infallible or not self-contradictory in a hundred different ways. Or the assumption that if someone were going to start a church by writing new scripture they would fill it with "bad things" rather than good.

Here's some free advice. You're considering joining a group that most Americans view rather negatively. In a way that's admirable, because you're not just following the crowd. And you're doing some firsthand study to figure things out, also very admirable. So as long as you're feeling courageous, finish reading the Book of Mormon and then pick up a very small book called "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris. Want to follow the truth wherever it leads? Even if it means standing alone? Try this: drop your religious notions altogether and be a rationalist.