Skip to comments.I Love Talking To Ex-Mormon Atheists
Posted on 03/12/2013 9:27:52 AM PDT by Colofornian
I did not expect to meet so many atheists when I moved to Utah seven years ago. But I should have known better: America as a whole is secularizing, and Mormonism itself has a scorched earth policy. My Mormon girlfriend in high school once essentially said, If the LDS Church isnt true, I dont know that I could ever believe in God. Mormonism already is a form of atheism: it denies the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing, first, most high God, and instead teaches a kind of naturalism or materialism: everything is matter, even spirits, and everything is subject to eternal laws of ultimate nature, even the gods. It feeds its people conspiracy theories about the corruption of the Bible, and it scares the heck out of Mormons over non-Mormon churches: if you dont stay with the One True Church, youll have to settle for an abominable evangelical church with a corrupt pastor who is a minister of Satan.
That is a colorful way of putting it, but you get the point.
It is depressing that so many people leave Mormonism only to become agnostics or atheists. Fortunately, atheists have a hard time staying atheists. Their children are probably much more open to the Biblical gospel than Mormons are. I suspect God is up to something he has multi-generational plans weve never dreamed of. If giving people the truth about Mormonisms history and the truth about the Biblical gospel of Jesus Christ statistically increases the odds of a person becoming a self-confessed agnostic or atheist, then so be it. God is sovereign and I am not here to be a social engineer or to play God. My job as an ambassador of Jesus is to preach the word of truth in love, and let the chips fall where they may. Fortunately, there is the fruit of ex-Mormon Christians to celebrate.
I used to be intimidated to talk to atheists. They are, in my experience, generally confident about their atheism and have tough questions. But over time I discovered that the average atheist hasnt read a substantive book defending atheism or theism, and gets his intellectual prowess from image memes and YouTube. Today, I like to start off conversations with atheists by asking, Have you ever read a good book defending atheism or theism? Usually they havent. Have you ever heard any good arguments for the existence of God or the resurrection of Jesus? Usually they havent. What are the strongest arguments for theism or Christianity, and what about them do you find lacking? Blank stare. What do you think are some of the most difficult questions for atheism to answer? Ughhh
These are great introductory teaching moments. Would you mind if I shared a few good arguments for the existence of God and for the resurrection of Jesus? What an awesome opportunity, especially when it culminates in a presentation of the most beautiful (and true) story in the world: God, yes, God, became a man, suffered with us and for us, and paid our penalty on the humiliating and shameful cross, and showed us the best display of sacrificial love there has ever been, simultaneously vindicating the righteousness of God, raising three days letter, showing us that the Lord Jesus Christ has all authority under heaven and earth and infinite power to keep his promises.
My favorite argument for the existence of God is the moral argument for God. I push it really hard:
1. If there is no God, there are no objective moral values or duties.
2. There are objective moral values and duties.
3. Therefore, God exists.
The really interesting thing about this argument is that atheists disagree with each other and dont know it. Some affirm both premises and simply havent followed them through to the conclusion. Some affirm premise #1 and disaffirm premise #2, others disaffirm premise #1 and affirm premise #2. Call me a rascal, but when Im being dog-piled by atheists, I love to get them arguing with each other. The argument is a great way to simultaneously engage someones intellect, spiritual intuitions, and suppressed presuppositions, all at the same time.
You can hear more about the moral argument for God here. But dont let YouTube suffice: read a good book. Some of you are, like me, at times utterly sick of reading about, thinking about, and discussing Mormonism. Take the opportunity to read some good literature that both engages atheism and supports the basics of Biblical Christianity. The ironic thing is that you can take what you learn and share it with not only your atheist neighbors, but also your Mormon neighbors. I dare say that all of the evidences, arguments, and Biblical declarations that atheists need to hear are things that Mormons equally need to hear. Mormons are atheists in embryo. As Mormons are, ex-Mormon atheists once were; as ex-Mormon atheists are, Mormons may be. To quote The Dark Knight Rises out of context: There is a storm coming. Mormon parents need to stop asking themselves, Will my children remain in the LDS Church?, and start asking, When my children leave the LDS Church, will they believe in Jesus? Not if, but when. Its happening in Utah, and its happening fast. Mormons have a hard time imagining what being a Christian theist would be like outside of Mormonism. I want to help start this process of imagination.
Addendum: Ten Discussion Questions for Atheists and Agnostics
Is there anything you reasonably believe to be true, yet cant empirically demonstrate?
Are there any objective moral values or duties?
Is torturing babies for fun morally objectively wrong?
Does atheism have a problem of evil?
Does every effect have a sufficient cause?
Do you trust your cognitive faculties?
To what extent and why?
Is an infinite regress possible?
Is it possible that God exists?
Is truth important for its own sake?
Is the question of Gods existence important?
Do you feel angst or sorrow over the absurdity of life?
What do you think of the person of Jesus?
Have you ever heard of the trilemma?
Philosophical discussion important, but secondary and supplemental to direct preaching. People are not only emotional and spiritual beings, but also intellectual beings, so I consider it a respectful and loving thing to engage a person intellectually.
We are all fools for something. I choose to be a fool for Jesus. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. (1 Corinthians 3:18) Be a fool with me and preach the ridiculous gospel of Jesus Christ. Self-confessed atheists are no different than the rest of us inadvertent practical atheists who sin as though God does not exist. We need to repent of trusting ourselves and cry out to Jesus in brokenhearted, child-like faith.
God is good, and Jesus has risen,
Sorry; but the last time I did a thing like you suggest; all I found were TAME geese.
The most perfect religion EVER takes up enough of my time.
I've evidently done this on another similar thread; but it seems to fall on deaf ears.
And not duck is just a duck.
Fingers doing the HArlem Shake...
In my laptop, NOT(NOT P) = P
Ah... for the good old days of PD, and SD and DU!
MORMONism is not all it’s quacked up to be...
The Mormon church.
First of all, my apologies for being late with a response. An intelligent post such as yours deserves an intelligent response, but I generally wait until the usual gaggle of idiots on these threads have punched themselves out with the usual cut and paste garbage.
While I would be interesting in seeing your link, I doubt the veracity of the data for these reasons:
The actual data therefore indicates that predominately white, practicing religious voters of all stripes vote for the more conservative candidate in numbers comparable to, but still somewhat less than Mormon voters as a whole, including Mormons who drink beer, don't attend church or have any affiliation other than cultural.
I am still trying to figure out how Smith “ran like a deer through the woods” carrying all that gold which “experts” say weighted about 300 pounds.
And really he couldn’t remember where he buried it, paaaalezzzz.
Thanks for clearing that up.
Some of our Catholic Freepers get upset when the sins of some of their past popes are displayed here.
There's not much we can do to keep MORMONs from posting here...
So; it means that NO non-MORMON voted for Romney there.
How does this data compare to '08?
If it was similar; I'd think the powers that be in the GOP would have KNOWN not to run a MORMON in the rest of the country!
(Joseph Smith: Fake prophet. Fake Translator. Fake Husband. How many fakes can you fit in one Country?)
All men have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Jesus Christ is the only path to salvation and eternal life.
HIM and that other guy...
They succeeded in killing Joseph, but he had finished his work.He was a servant of God, and gave us the Book of Mormon.He said the Bible was right in the main, but, through the translators and others, many precious portions were suppressed, and several other portions were wrongly translated; and now his testimony is in force, for he has sealed it with his blood.As I have frequently told them, no man in this dispensation will enter the courts of heaven, without the approbation of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jun.Who has made this so?Have I?Have this people?Have the world?No; but the Lord Jehovah has decreed it.If I ever pass into the heavenly courts, it will be by the consent of the Prophet Joseph.If you ever pass through the gates into the Holy City, you will do so upon his certificate that you are worthy to pass.Can you pass without his inspection?No; neither can any person in this dispensation, which is the dispensation of the fulness of times.In this generation, and in all the generations that are to come, everyone will have to undergo the scrutiny of this Prophet.They say that they killed Joseph, and they will yet come with their hats under their arms and bend to him; but what good will it do them, unless they repent?They can come in a certain way and find favor, but will they?
--JOURNAL OF DISCOURSES, vol. 8, p. 224
I can provide many links, but if you search for the Pew Forum poll, you'll find that self-described Mormons voted 78% for Romney and 21% for Obama (and "white evangelical Protestants voted 80% for Romney).
That LDS percentage of voters pulling the Republican lever is down from a 80% vote for Bush in 2004.
According to Pew Forum, there is no data on LDS voting in 2000 and 2008.
I'd like to make it absolutely clear that I don't blame LDS voters for the re-election of Obama. I was simply surprised to read that the LDS vote was allegedly only 78% for Romney; if you read the posts on FR you would have assumed voting would be lockstep Romney.
My best to you.
It's outside of laptops, in the use of English by native speakers of English, that "She's not unattractive" turns out to be an oblique "damning with faint praise" sort of non-compliment about a woman's appearance, definitely not equivalent to saying she's attractive. This actually is a way of dealing with (and when used as in the last example, playing on) a problem that doesn't arise in laptops: vagueness. There is not sharp universal standard of attractive vs. unattractive as regards feminine pulchritude, just as there is not a universal sharp standard for common vs. uncommon in discussing a behavior or social phenomenon (the original matter in this thread which hyper-Aristotelians jumped on).
The gap between what everyone would regard as common, and what everyone would regard as uncommon, the space where folks would quibble with one saying "We'll I've seen a lot of it, I think it's common" and another saying "What? There's hardly any of that. . .now this [other, nearly universal behavior] is common," is what provides the distinction between the natural language use of "not uncommon" and "common": "not uncommon" denies that the phenomenon is what would generally be agreed to be uncommon, while not asserting that it is what would generally be agreed to be common.