Not Falsifiable

This last week there was a caller on the Stand to Reason radio show who asked a pertinent question to our discussions.  I swear that I am not “Stuart”, but he could be me.  It was nice to know that other Evangelicals and Mormons are talking about these issues.

The topic was on the relevance and reliability of personal relevation in finding truth.  It seems this will continue to be a central issue in dialouge between LDS and Evangelicals.

Direct link here.

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12 thoughts on “Not Falsifiable

  1. The best approach I’ve found is to point out that many different churches (however tiny) accept the Book of Mormon as scripture and Joseph Smith as a prophet, so reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it would not yield the desired effect of the LDS church being true even if God did confirm its truthfulness.

    And if praying about the truthfulness of the LDS church is the issue, then the Book of Mormon reading isn’t really required.

    Anyways, I wrote about my frustrations with this “testimony deadlock” business back in January.

  2. “so reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it would not yield the desired effect of the LDS church being true even if God did confirm its truthfulness.”

    Can we get an “Amen” from Rick Hurd?

  3. To echo some sentiments here, let me quote H. Bryan Richards from the October 2004 conference:

    I recall an experience with a zone leader in England who came to me during the lunch break at zone conference. He said, “We are teaching a lady who is blind and nearly deaf. She wants to know if the Book of Mormon is true. What shall we do?” I did not have an answer at that moment, but I said, “I will let you know after our conference.” During the afternoon session I had the distinct impression come as to how to help her. After the meeting I said to the zone leader, “Have this sister hold her copy of the Book of Mormon and turn its pages very slowly. When she has done this, have her ask if it is true.” Though she could not read nor hear the words, she felt the spirit and power of the Book of Mormon, and it changed her life.

  4. Aaron,

    I’ve actually had limited success with the leafing-through-the-pages technique. I prefer the hike-to-a-frozen-waterfall for my missionary efforts:

    After I had struggled with [a leap of faith] for a couple of years, I was hiking in the Cascade Mountains on a beautiful fall afternoon. I turned the corner and saw in front of me this frozen waterfall, a couple of hundred feet high. Actually, a waterfall that had three parts to it — also the symbolic three in one. At that moment, I felt my resistance leave me. And it was a great sense of relief. The next morning, in the dewy grass in the shadow of the Cascades, I fell on my knees and accepted this truth — that God is God, that Christ is his son and that I am giving my life to that belief (source)

    Good thing it wasn’t a two-part frozen waterfall, or he might be a Zoroastrian!

  5. It always strikes me as funny when an Evangelical assumes the intellectual/scientific high ground over Mormons.

    Niether Mormons nor Evangelicals will bow to science or reason when it assails core principles.

    Here is a relevant quote from Nietzsche:

    “For this is how man is: An article of faith could be refuted before him a thousand times- if he needed it he would consider it “true” again and again, in accordance with that famous “proof of strength” of which the Bible speaks.”
    (referring to 1 Corinthians 2:4)

    I think the spiritual experiences that Mormons trust are more real than the theological/intellectual artifice that Evangelicals such as Koukl trust. Even though I think these experiences are often badly misinterpreted.

    The power of the experience at the frozen waterfall, or of the blind woman holding the Book of Mormon is very real, even if the power of the experiences may lead to imperfect conclusions. However, the intellectual certainty of the theologian seems to be, at root, completely ephemeral.

  6. Jared C,

    I would be very interested in hearing where you think Christianity hides from science and reasoning? This is quite a claim. Why not call into Stand To Reason (the show the clip from this post was taken from) and offer some of your examples.

  7. What if I leaf through the Koran and am given a feeling it is true? Why is that experience any less true?

    What if I pray about the Book of Mormon being true and I get a burning in my chest that it is not? Is that experience any less valid?

    What if I pray about the Harry Potter books being true? Don’t laugh there is as much historical evidence for events in Harry Potter as the events transcribed in the Book of Mormon.

  8. Here’s my attitude about it: I don’t care.

    What I want, as a follower of Christ, is for people to come closer to Him. If the Qu’ran does it, great. I’m all for it. If Harry Potter does it, then you go with that. There is great stuff in the Potter books – courage, loyalty, bravery in the face of ridicule, honesty and decency in the face of depravity – and I know people that are better because they’ve read them. I daresay if the whole world accepted them as “true”, then the world would be better than it currently is.

    Eventually, of course, you’ll come to a place where the truth of Harry Potter won’t work for you any more. You will not get into Hogwarts, and no owl will bring you mail. At that point, you’re going to need a better “truth” than that. Being LDS, I have an idea how to help you there. But then, if I were evangelical, I’d have something better as well, something that would work better than a belief in Harry Potter – a belief in Christ. And so on essentially forever, each time coming to the limits of what I understand and can practice, and looking then for something that raises me higher.

    Nothing raises me higher than Christ. But I can’t follow Him perfectly, either as LDS or anything else. Why would I look down on anyone, then? All I hope for is to be there when someone reaches the limit of his beliefs, and finds that he looks for something better, so that perhaps I can point the way. As so, so many others have done for me, refining and expanding my understanding.

    All your religious experiences are “valid”. None of them can be captured except in a small way by language. Hardly any can be duplicated, no matter how hard someone wants to try. Everyone hears the Voice in his own way.

    All I want is for people to listen to it.

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