Saturday, February 23, 2013

Creation A Miracle?

Is the concept of creation really a miracle?

A miracle is something that happens which is unexplainable by conventional knowledge.  It seems that the creation of the earth is no miracle at all because a being with limitless power created it.  If it is perfectly within his power to make an earth, then there is no miracle.  A god who heals the sick... that is no miracle if that god has the ability to heal the sick.  It's just another day in the life of god.

There is no god in existence who could perform a miracle, because his very ability to perform it disqualifies it as a miracle.  It can be explained.  Therefore, it is not a miracle.

Creationists mock the idea of the universe and life coming into existence by complete random chance.  Of course a god had to do it.  How else could it have possibly been done???  Science never has taught that the evolution of life was random, but let's just say, to make it simple, that it was completely random...


I propose that the true miracle is the formation of the universe and the beginning of life, all without any diety orchestrating it's events whatsoever.  The very fact that biogenesis (the beginning of life) cannot be explained by conventional knowledge makes it a true miracle.

The idea that a single celled organism randomly gave rise to all the variety of life on Earth is truly miraculous.  It is awesome and mind-blowing!

This completely random world we live in is far more fascinating than anything any religion could ever drum up!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dogs and Mormons

I was playing with my dog today and I noticed a striking similarity between her behavior and LDS behavior.

I will draw a comparison between myself and the dog and between the church and the members, respectively.  In this case, I am the governing authority over the dog such as the church is the governing authority over the members.

Being a normal dog, she gets excited whenever someone visits, running to the windows and looking out to see who's out there.  Sometimes I tease her by asking "Who's here?" and laughing as she runs to the window every time to check it out.  No matter how many times I do it, she faithfully runs to the window even after I have fooled her 100 times.

I take my teasing a bit further by having her look out the window, where she sees no one, because no one is there.  However, I knock on the wall to imitate a visitor knocking on the door and she goes crazy to find out who is there.  Even though she can see outside and there is clearly no one there, she takes my knocking as evidence that someone is there.

The comparison I wish to make is how members act like this dog when it comes to defending the church.  Even though there is no one there, any small amout of evidence trumps the obvious.  Even though god can not be seen or heard, any type of "evidence" is taken to prove that what can't be seen is really there.

My point is simple, that evidence can be faked.  It can be mis-interpreted.  Evidence of something is not proof of something.  Evidence of my knocking is not proof that someone is outside.  Members of the church often take evidence, such as proverbial knocking, and interpret it as truthfulness of the gospel.

Mormon defenders might have the occassional bit of evidence here and there that puts Joseph Smith or the church in good light, but if they are going to revert to evidence to support the church, then they must be objective and look at all the evidence.  Unfortunately, members only want to see the evidence that works in their favor.  Anything else is brushed off as a lie made up by the devil.  This is not objective.  It is cherry picking and that is a tactic which is highly unfavorable.  Those who engage in cherry picking are never taken seriously.

My dog denies what her own eyes tell her and relies on the false evidence that I am providing for her. People are no different when defending their beliefs!

Many people will look at a tree and say, "The only way that tree could be there is if god put it there.  Therefore, god exists."

The evidence is the existence of a tree.  What does it prove?  That there's a tree. 

Linking the existence of the tree to reach the pre-determined conclusion that there is a god is a logical fallacy.  I could use the existence of this tree to support any radical claim that I want to make.  I could claim that the tree exists because the Flying Spaghetti Monster put it there; therefore, the FSM is real.  This is extremely illogical and yet believers use it all the time to "prove" their points.  They are really proving nothing at all except how ignorant they are.

So the next time someone shows you evidence of something, ask yourself, "Is this just knocking?"

It brings a whole new meaning to the term "dogma".

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Mormon-Hater Show

Weston Krogstadt, a frequent visitor at Mormon411, is the author of The Mormon-Hater Show.  In this blog, he defends Mormonism and shares evidences of the church and the Book of Mormon.  I will respond to some of his claims and positions.  So in the nature of a good, respectful debate, here goes.
A recent post is one he has entitled "Cult?" where he defends the position that the LDS church is not a cult with two arguments. While there are far more than two cult charasteristics, I'll address the two that he did.
1) Cults tend to dissolve once their charismatic leader dies.
A quick internet search brought up several references to this.  However, I noticed that most of them are from religious groups usually thought to be cults that are defending themselves from this claim.  In fact, The Mormon-Hater Show was at the top of the list.  Now, I did not take much time to investigate further.  This finding is based upon the summaries brought up by the search engine.  But here are a few:  "Secular cult opponents... tend to define a "cult" as a group that tends to manipulate, exploit, and control its members."
While I would argue that the LDS church does indeed "manipulate, exploit, and control its members", I am sure that Weston would disagree. Sadly, cult members do not often realize they are in a cult and will defend it, as I believe is the case here. This website states, "Most cults do not last long after their leader dies. If they survive after their leader dies, the cult may eventually be accepted by society as a legitimate religion." (emphasis added)
So we can see, depending on how reliable this reference is, that just because the LDS church survived after Smith's death does disqualify it as a cult.  In fact, it seems to hint at the opposite, that it is a cult which has been "accepted by society as a legitimate religion."
2) Most cults become obsessed with their members leaving.
Frankly, Weston, I am not sure why you used this argument.  It work against you.  How many times did I sit in church or at home being taught that those who leave the church, "it would be better for them had they never been born."  This is taught in the Mormon's scriptures: D&C 76:28-38.  These verses paint a pretty horrible fate for anyone who dares to deny and leave the church. 
LDS church members are strongly manipulated into staying active with threats of damnation worse than hell.  They are manipulated using the tactic that they will never be able to see their loved ones if they don't completely conform to Mormonism their entire lives.
And for those who do wish to leave the church and have their names removed, it is a lengthy, drawn-out process involving interviews and more manipulation to stay.  Those who leave are painted as evil and angry (just like our friend Weston paints people as "Mormon-Haters").  The members are told that those who fall away were deceived by the devil and are now bitter enemies of god.  This is all completely untrue, of course, but the members believe it and this fear of being drawn in by the devil's sneaky tactics keeps them active and paying.

And the members who are excommunicated are removed from the church for the church's protection.  Anyone openly against it is removed so that the church can say that the person is not affiliated with them.  Anyone who dares openly question is immediately removed and painted up to be evil and angry.
The LDS church is very much obsessed with their members leaving.  And it's not a cult?
To sum it up, there is an excerpt from the holyrollers link above:
How do you tell if a group is a harmless fringe group or a dangerous cult? According to Margaret Thaler Singer, a cult expert and author of Cults in Our Midst, dangerous cults have most of these ten characteristics:
1. A leader who claims divinity or special relationship with God.
2. A leader who is the sole judge of a member's actions or faith.
3. A totalitarian governance.
4. Totalistic control over the member's daily lives.
5. Exclusivity and isolation.
6. Development of deep emotional dependence.
7. Prohibition of critical analysis and independent thinking.
8. Utilization of methods of ego destruction and mind control.
9. Exploitation of a member's finances.
10. Underemployment and exploitative working conditions.

My comments:

1. The LDS church leaders claim to receive direct revelation from god.
2. Members are often determined to be "worthy" by their bishops.
3. When the prophet speaks, the sheep blindly obey.
4. While not completely totalitarian, the LDS church is heavily involved in people's personal lives.
5. Members are taught that life outside of the church is miserable and only by being Mormon can one be truly happy.  Members are encouraged not to mingle with non-members as much as possible unless they are trying to convert them.
6. Members often state how lost they would be without the church.
7. Repeat after me: "I know it's true with every fiber of my being. I know it! I know it! I know it!".  Use feelings to determine truth, not thinking.
8. You are unworthy unless you follow all the commandments all the time.
9. Members are threatened with losing their temple recommend (a huge disgrace) and with buring in a fire if they don't pay their full 10%.
10. This one doesn't apply quite so much, but church members are expected to do all sorts of volunteer work for the church.  Temple endowed Mormons have given an oath to the church to give everything they have, or will have, to the church if necessary.

I resolve that the LDS church is indeed a mind-altering cult.  It's members believe they have the constant companionship of the holy spirit IF they are 100% worthy.  The male members believe they carry the priesthood, the ultimate power and authority to act in god's name.  They literally believe it is the only truth on earth and everyone else is fumbling around in darkness and confusion.  If that's not isolation and mind-alteration, then I don't know what is.

For additional reading on how a cult indoctrinates it's members, especially children, please follow this link:

More to come on my response to The Mormon-Hater Show...