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How Liberal can religion be?

February 7, 2009

Benjamin, I have to agree. Doctrine is, by definition, true.

The sciences (both soft and hard) can inform us about the world around us, our society and culture. When they come into conflict with teachings of prophets, however, they must be second guessed. The direct word from God is more important than the findings of man in a research study or lab.

Oh boy. This is a fun quotation. I’m reaching back into (by internet standards) ancient history posts at Mormon Matters. I’m not really going to touch this one but to point out how interesting it is that people have such wildly different basic assumptions. While this poster is going to say comfortably that if science comes into conflict with religion, one should give a hard look at the science, others would just as comfortably say the opposite.

There are, of course, other fun quotations.

From your definition of “liberal” it seems to me a “liberal” Mormon could have doubts about the literal divinity of Christ and about his literal Resurrection from the Dead.

If you do not believe these two things as objective truth then you are not Christian, let alone a Mormon.

Furthermore, your precept stated in assumption 3 strikes at one of the essential elements of Mormonism, that of the concept of Divine Revelation as a source of truth. If you truly reject such revelation as a source of objective truth, how can you claim to be in any way recognizable as a Mormon?

On the one hand, I appreciate liberal religions, because…you know…they sure try. I mean, I’m not saying that conservative religions don’t try, because they most certainly do…but it’s trying in a different way. I think liberal religions bring religions to people who otherwise might say, “Forget that; BYE!” and be on their merry way (not saying that’s a bad thing…seeing as I’ve been doing that for the past few years tee hee.) But at the same time, sometimes I have to wonder how far you can go in a liberal direction before you should just call it quits (I know I should just call it quits, so I wonder why I keep trying to make these forays into the bloggernacle -_-). Some assumptions do strike at essential elements of religion, I am inclined to think, and if you’re going to do that, why not just quit while you’re ahead?

I don’t necessarily think the above quote is the strictness with which one must take the ideas, however. It reminds me of people I know who literally believe that if you don’t believe in Young Earth Creationism, then you’re a sham Christian. Now, truly, YEC isn’t in the name of the religion, but there can be a following of Christ or a believing of Christ in a wholly different way than the above quote would lead us to believe.

It seems to me, though, that in some ways, groups or individuals who try to have a liberal interpretation of Mormonism (and there indeed are some places where this could work out) always risk having just a touch less “legitimate” of a position than that of the orthodox (or neo-orthodox, or conservative, or whatever). I’m not saying that we need look at it in an all-or-nothing manner, and in fact there have been those who work hard at damage control to suggest that we especially need to be more appreciative of more flexible views that allow people to stay in the church, but it seems to me that a lot of people twist themselves into knots to try to make something work out for themselves that’s not working out. I’ve done it in the past; I know how it feels.

I think I’ve done a good job of writing a good 600 or so words that ends up not being very conclusive at all. :3 I should probably work on that.

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