Beware the Leaven of the Dissidents

Disputation

In response to recent disciplinary actions by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, supporters of those being disciplined have complained that the charge of apostasy is inaccurate because, they assert, the individuals and the organizations created by them have not taught any false doctrines or acted in opposition to the prophet or the Church.

They insist that all they are doing is asking questions. So, what false doctrine can they possibly be teaching?

This is my attempt to answer that important question.

At the outset, let’s immediately dispense with the notion that “asking questions” is always unambiguously innocent and unassuming.

Continue reading

Lewisians and Lovecraftians: Another Way to Look at Religious Beliefs?

This post is in part an olive leaf to AndrewS as an attempt to satisify his concerns with loosely defining atheism. I firmly believe that arguing over definitions is pointless in a rational conversation (though probably valuable in a political one). So I see no reason to not give it to him. Thoughts on that topic lead to this post.

In my past posts, I defined an Ideal Rational Atheist like this: Continue reading

The Beliefs of Atheists

In my last two posts I first made an attempt to define Atheism then an attempt to define Theism.  Granting that those terms have many and varied possible (and overlapping) definitions, I feel that what I’ve come up with will serve my purposes of being sufficiently precise while still being pretty close to how we normally use the terms most of the time. And this is the most we can hope for of any sort of definition of (non-mathematical) words. Let me repeat the definitions here: Continue reading

Something-Like-God: Defining Theism

In a recent post, I gave thought to the trying to define what Atheism is. My conclusions were that this is more difficult to define then it first appears. Nevertheless, here was my tentative definition of ‘idealized rational atheism.’

Tentative Definition of Atheistic Rationalist (aka An Ideal Atheist): An atheistic rationalist is someone that seeks out the right kinds of explanations, namely ones that have survived the strongest criticisms and are highly (preferably computationally) specific and hard to vary, yet is always open to new ideas no matter what the source.

However, they do not accept any beliefs on mere leaps of faith and would rather not have their judgment (possibly) clouded by such faith-based beliefs. They’d rather see things as the naturalistically really are. Truth comes first for them. So they eschew all leaps of faith on the grounds that they may cloud our ability to find truth. Continue reading

What is Atheism? What is Theism?

I’d like to now give some thought to the what Atheism and Theism really are and how they relate to each other.

Many of you might wonder why we’d need to give thought to this subject. Isn’t a Theist someone that believes in God and an Atheist someone that doesn’t? Case closed, right?

A question to consider: Is a Buddhist a Theist or an Atheist? And defend your choice.

The problem is that, despite our intuitions to the contrary, Theism and Atheism aren’t always such clear cut concepts. And, I’m going to argue there is even (in some cases) overlap between the two words such that we might legitimately, say, think of Buddhists as either Theists or Atheists, depending on what nuance or connotation of the two words we have in mind at a given moment. Continue reading