Jan 28, 2010

Niblet Awards Bloggernaccle Best Of: Don't Forget To Vote!

Just want to remind all of you to cast your votes for the "Niblets Bloggernaccle Awards" over at Mormon Matters. Vote for your favourite blog or blogger in all of the different categories. I've been nominated for Best Solo Blog, have held a steady 2nd place, and feel honoured. :)

Lots of great stuff, so check it out! The polls close at midnight on January 31st.

Jan 21, 2010

The Revival Of Mormon Stories And More About That Ever Elusive Stage 5

In case you've missed it, John Dehlin has revived the popular podcasts, Mormon Stories. For more information about that, see John's latest post on Mormon Matters.

But while John is busy putting together more podcasts, make sure to check out the latest Mormon Expression podcast, where John Dehlin guest panels, about that ever elusive Fowler's Stage 5 of faith and what it means to Mormonism. It's a great podcast -- one of the best I've ever heard, in fact.

So check it out!

Jan 13, 2010

Haiti's Deal With The Devil

Pat Robertson has an interesting explanation for the tragedy that is unfolding in Haiti:

"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about. They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.' True story. And so the devil said, 'Ok it’s a deal.' And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got something themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another."

Makes one wonder what he would have to say if an earthquake were to strike Virginia tomorrow, where I understand he is based.

But instead of dwelling on Pat Robertson's B.S, or how badly God wanted Sarah Palin's to be VP, I have been left to ask myself what reason there is to believe in anything but a Deist God. When one sees apparently God-forsaken peoples and countries, believing that God intervenes to help us find our keys, help us have a good day at work, or even save our lives, suddenly doesn't feel so comforting -- or at the very least, certainly not without a whole lot of guilt.

How I would trade up divine intervention to find my lost keys if it meant that someone in Haiti could have been spared from having their head smashed in by a crumbling wall, or being left with severed legs to die on the street.

I have to ask myself what's worse: the fact that God doesn't intervene or that he does? Because if he does, I think he's playing favourites.

Atheism must get a lot of new members on days like today.

Jan 7, 2010

"I know the Church is true and therefore I know the others aren't."

One of the challenges that comes to a Mormon who encounters different people, cultures, and faiths, can be that the LDS Church's exclusivity claims can become very problematic for the individual. This is not true for everyone, though, as I know of Mormons who are well-travelled and well-versed in religion outside of Mormonism and yet remain staunch in their faith that the LDS Church is what it claims: the only true Church of God on the face of the earth. Others experience a total shift after examining the history of Mormonism or gaining life experience, and they start to look at Mormonism as being as flawed as any other religion out there.

Have you ever read the story of Mohammed? It certainly has some similarities to the Joseph Smith story (i.e. visitations, revelation of scripture, etc.). Assuming that people have prayed to God and felt they got an answer that Islam (or any other religion) is "true" -- in much the same way that you have perhaps experienced yourself in Mormonism -- how do you "know" that your "truth" overrides theirs? Why is yours or mine "better?"

Do you believe that Mohammed and the Koran were inspired by God? Why or why not?

Do you believe that God talks to the Pope in the same way that he does to Thomas S. Monson? Why or why not?

Do you believe that the Blessed Virgin appeared to the children of Fatima, Portugal? Why or why not?

Do you believe that God would intentionally direct someone to Hinduism or Judaism instead of Christianity? Why or why not?

I know that most Mormons will say that all religions have some "good" and "truth" to them. But if you haven't studied the other religions of the world and walked in the shoes of someone who practices another faith, how can you "know" that yours is the "only" true religion -- either intellectually or spiritually? What if someone of another faith told you that he had been told by God that his faith was the only true one? On what grounds do we reject the faith claims of others?

I'm curious as to why we all believe the things that we do, why we reject the things that we do, and I'd like to hear your perspectives.