Had very intense discussion with Mum

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    M Qcmbr posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 14:23:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 2291 of 3439
    Joined 7/31/2004

    My Mum is hard core LDS and of all the family (3 boys 1 girl) I was the favoured son from a religious view point. My defection to the atheist side has hit her hard since I was the one who married in the temple, served a mission, was the wards Elder's Qurum President etc. We've never really talked face to face but she's been using the usual long distance stealth tactics (Christmas presents of church quotes, church dvds, Mormon ABC type books for the smallest and inviting the kids to church activities while having covert one on one 'What shall we do?' discussions with my wife.) Last night we abrubtly crashed into an intense discussion.

    I was visiting her to invite her over for a new year's eve party and one of my - also unbelieving - brothers was sitting with us in the front room. I was discussing with him how encryption algorithms work and drifted into an idea that there is no such thing as time only the dimensin above us moving through our dimension (agreed an odd jump from MD5 hashing to dimensional folding ) but then Mum piped up and I'll try and paraphrase some of the key points in the conversation.

    "You've not got any answers to what's beyond the unknowable"

    "The statement that's it's 'unknowable' would also include your spiritual worldview which also cannot make any statements about the unknowable"

    "That's not what I meant"

    "Can you tell me what is unknowable?"

    "What's beyond the edge of the universe?"

    "Do you know about the physics of the speed of light and how it relates to the finite limits of mass acceleration and ergo our ability to reach any edge of the universe?"

    "No but why are you putting your trust in men?"

    "I'm putting my trust in the physical world and a wonderful way of examining that world called the scientific method"

    "But you know that the spirit has testified of Jesus and your spirit has felt the truth."

    "I know that I once privileged belief over experience which is the same relationship all religions use and allow people to fly aeroplanes into buildings because they believe it is god's will"

    "But you've felt the spirit!"

    "I absolutely felt an emotional and physical response to many church based situations but since I can still feel those responses and I no longer associate them to the church suggests they aren't a good indicator of truth or supernatural direction."

    "I don't have a way with words like you, you must be very careful since you've got a great responsibility to those you talk to. You are leading people away from god, think of your children."

    "I do feel a need to encourage and empower people to ask questions of cherished supernatural beliefs and I know that my children will be taught rational and skeptical thinking which will help them to make better informed descisions about life altering worldviews. I do not feel that I have the responsibility to tell people which god to believe in."

    "But you need to pray again"

    "Prayer doesn't actuall alter anything. Prayer has never regrown an arm or anything practical"

    "I've had prayers answered and miracles have happened"

    "Have you ever know anyone have an arm regrow?"

    "No but with faith anything is possible"

    "If you look at the statistics prayer does not lead to an increase in miraculous events or better recovery rates and deep down you must acknowledge that."

    "I know what I feel deep in my heart and nothing you can say will change how I feel, I don't think this conversion is very profitable."

    "Do you know that you are using a classic tactic used to avoid confronting uncomfortable examination of a faith based view? If you were a JW or a Muslim you would be saying exactly the same to a disbelieving son. One of the problems with religious thinking is that it makes it very difficult to question whether its actually correct becasue you are taught to avoid asking challenging questions, to avoid reading material which is critical of it and to walk away whenever you feel uncomfortable in a discussion."

    "You've just mentioned oneof the reasons you lost the spirit, you read anti material. "

    "I read lots of information from all sorts of sources, pro , negative and less biased sources. The truth shouldn't be affected by what someone says about it, it should be able to withstand all critiques otherwise it isn't true. Did you know the one thing that shocked me about our church when I finally decided to investigate it? Not one principle is actually objectively true, not one story or doctrine is based in unvarnished or un-obscured truth. Even the morals of the church are horrendous. I would never accept that taking your child up a mountain to stab them was a noble or heroic act of righteousness and yet as a believing member I somehow convinced myself that it was. Voices in your head are a dangerous sign of mental instability not a method for divine instruction."

    "By their fruits ye shall know them, the church leaders are incredible men."

    "Please read the actual history of Brigham Young, you will be very surprised."

    "You need to put away your anti material and come back to church."

    "that would not be honest and would disregard the two years of searching I've alraedy done."

    "But you haven't given god a proper chance"

    "I gave the church and god over 30 years of total dedication and committment, when I decided to find out whether the lack of evidence for my faith was my fault or god's I opened my heart many times and prayed very fervently but after 2 years I had made up my mind based upon my knowledge and experience of a silent heaven."

    "People have told me that you stopped reading your scriptures and that you didn't try very hard"

    "So you'd rather accept a third hand account over me telling you to your face. I have no need to lie since this was the hardest choice I have ever had to make, unwinding my mental sense of who I was and my place in the world and facing finally the very sobering reality that if I all I had believed from being a child was wrong that I would then need to do something physical and real about it."

    "I think you need to have more respect for my beliefs"

    "I won't respect them by accepting and living by them but I'm more than happy to respect your freedom to spend your life in any way you so wish be it Mormonism or some other faith like Islamic fundamentalism."

    ..at this point we agreed to leave.

    One really positive point though was that having gone home expecting Mum to be in floods of tears and spending the night in prayer (plus a very awkward next visit) she phoned me about 45 minutes later quite composed to apologise for doubting my experiences and for not supporting me during a very hard time in my life. Kudos to her. Bridge not yet totally burnt but we'll see what today's birthday present drop will bring.

    cantleave posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 14:27:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 7754 of 13289
    Joined 6/25/2009

    JW's and LDS seem to be one and the same in terms of reasoning and cognitive dissonance. Thanks for sharing.

    sabastious posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 14:37:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 6378 of 9407
    Joined 2/3/2010
    "If you look at the statistics prayer does not lead to an increase in miraculous events or better recovery rates and deep down you must acknowledge that."

    Qcmbr, prayer has never been accurately tested because we need to know more about the human brain. The tests used so far have resulted in the conclusion that prayer doesn't do anything. Many people who believe in the power of prayer have critisized the "prayer tests" because they say that it's not the way it works. They say this because they don't yet know the way it works, but still are able to tap into it.

    Say you lived 5,000 years ago and witnessed a friend accidently creating static electricity. You know something has happened, but cannot explain it. You also cannot reproduce the effect because of your ignorance to the electricity in general. First you would have to overcome the fear of the unknown and then you would try to reproduce the effect. You easily could come to the false conclusion that it was all in your and your friends head because you just cannot reproduce it because you don't know how it works.

    You must be consistent with the scientific method and I don't believe you are, possibly because we can't use it in regard to studying the effects of prayer. We may need to use the method to discover OTHER phenomena that can then be used to fill in the holes in the original tests we didn't know existed.

    -Sab

    sizemik posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 15:07:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 4231 of 5313
    Joined 3/21/2011

    I thought the return phone call was very significant . . . especially for it's timing and content . . . it demonstrates that she thought about what you said.

    Heaven posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 15:16:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 4203 of 5990
    Joined 4/16/2009

    I agree with sizemik. Also, perhaps she has her own unanswered questions/doubts she has yet to voice.

    NewChapter posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 15:30:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 5231 of 11880
    Joined 1/25/2011

    Nicely done Q. I wish I could think on my feet like you seem to do.

    NC

    M Qcmbr posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 15:34:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 2292 of 3439
    Joined 7/31/2004

    You must be consistent with the scientific method and I don't believe you are, possibly because we can't use it in regard to studying the effects of prayer.

    Within the LDS faith prayer is often for a very physical result such as a return to health via a miraculous intercession from god. This newspaper report shows some of the arguements around such a study but critically some actual results.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?pagewanted=all

    Phizzy posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 15:36:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 32 of 7421
    Joined 12/17/2011

    Thanks for posting that Q, I can see that should my mother ever decide to talk with me about my "doubts" we will have a very similar conversation, you have shown me how to be strong yet kind when I talk to her.

    The only conversation we have had so far ,apart from the normal family stuff, was when she heard that I have stopped going to Meetings, she 'phoned and asked if it were true (she is in a neighbouring congregation) and then she proceeded to tell me what she believed, the Paradise earth and suchlike.

    I just said "I know what you believe Mum" and left it at that. When she is ready we shall talk some more, so thanks again.

    EntirelyPossible posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 15:43:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 1350 of 5632
    Joined 3/20/2011

    Qcmbr, prayer has never been accurately tested because we need to know more about the human brain. The tests used so far have resulted in the conclusion that prayer doesn't do anything. Many people who believe in the power of prayer have critisized the "prayer tests" because they say that it's not the way it works.

    Ah, but 5000 years ago we didn't have the scientific method. Now we do. We can start testing away. It's how we learn more about a phenomenon. See the The Science Thread.

    Ding posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 15:49:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 2883 of 5064
    Joined 8/27/2010

    There are interesting similarities and differences between the two religions -- WTS and LDS.

    I tend to think of the WTS as primarily centered on doctrines and beliefs. You have to believe all the "right" things about Jehovah, the Kingdom, the Trinity, hell, Armageddon, etc. You know it's true because the teachings fit together in a neat packaged system with answers for almost everything.

    By contrast, I tend to think of the LDS as primarily centered on feelings. You pray about Joseph Smith's testimony and you get a burning in the bosom as your sign that Mormonism is true. You know it's true because you had an emotional spiritual experience.

    That said, both religions believe in a great apostasy since the days of the apostles and that the true Christian faith was restored in the 19th century by God appointing the leaders of THEIR organization (Pastor Russell or Joseph Smith, Jr.) to straighten things out.

    You have to trust the current leaders of the religion (WTS or LDS) to give you the latest revelation from God.

    M flipper posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 15:51:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 13903 of 17671
    Joined 3/7/2007

    QCMBR- Good job in attempting to get your mom to think. It is so difficult to get any mind controlled cult member, Scientologist, Mormon, or JW to think rationally outside the " cult box ". Everything turns into circular reasoning on " just having faith " or " pray more " or " read the Bible more ". They refuse to actually think for themselves . They are trained that way unfortunately. But perhaps your mom will think about some things you said. Thanks for sharing. Peace out, Mr. Flipper

    sabastious posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 15:56:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 6379 of 9407
    Joined 2/3/2010
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?pagewanted=all

    Rubbish, sorry

    -Sab

    sabastious posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 15:58:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 6380 of 9407
    Joined 2/3/2010
    Ah, but 5000 years ago we didn't have the scientific method. Now we do. We can start testing away. It's how we learn more about a phenomenon. See the The Science Thread.

    You can't test what you don't know. Often philosophy is required to even think up a test. The observation stage can last for centuries.

    -Sab

    EntirelyPossible posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 16:09:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 1352 of 5632
    Joined 3/20/2011

    You can't test what you don't know. Often philosophy is required to even think up a test. The observation stage can last for centuries.

    Yes, you can. You start by observation. We have people every day claiming that prayer works. Get 100 of them to start praying. Get another 100 people that want the same thing but don't pray for it. Start taking measurements, correlating prayers with ressults. Form a hypothesis, test it.

    It's not that hard.

    sabastious posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 16:10:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

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    Joined 2/3/2010

    I am going to change your name, EP, you are now deemed Opposite Boy.

    -Sab

    EntirelyPossible posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 16:19:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 1353 of 5632
    Joined 3/20/2011

    I am going to change your name, EP, you are now deemed Opposite Boy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnTmBjk-M0c

    NewChapter posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 16:25:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 5232 of 11880
    Joined 1/25/2011

    Rubbish, sorry

    LOL, well okay then. Uhm, before I simply go with your assessment, would you like to support that statement? I mean, should I believe it because it just feels right, or should I ask for some evidence. What evidence do you have that the study is rubbish? What techniques did they use? How were they flawed? How would you have done a more thorough job of testing the power of prayer? Can you name an area where they were particularly biased? Can you name an are where you are? Have these researchers done something to question their integrity? What reason do you have to completely dismiss their findings? And why should I?

    You can't test what you don't know. Often philosophy is required to even think up a test. The observation stage can last for centuries.

    There are many things we don't know, but saying something exists is actually saying you know, and therefore we look for evidence of what you actually know, but can't prove. We can say we can't prove the existence of Unicorns---so what we may do is start to test the evidence that unicorns exist. Which is what the researchers did in the article that you have already thrown in the trash. They didn't know---so they tested for evidence of the power of prayer. They found none. Now with that logic, I can tell you absolutely anything exists, and you can't argue with me. See. And if you test for EVIDENCE of my philosophy, I will dismiss your test as rubbish and hang on to whatever belief I have chosen to have, and I will hold you as naive that you don't see it the way I do.

    *Sigh* it's so much easier to just believe than to validate. It's incredibly easy to just dismiss evidence without actually breaking it down, looking for flaws and bias, and even more scary, possibly agreeing with the findings.

    NC

    EntirelyPossible posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 16:31:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

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    M Qcmbr posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 18:01:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 2293 of 3439
    Joined 7/31/2004

    OK - just got back from birthday visit . Nothig mentioned not too awkward so big yay.

    Love the pic EP.

    Sab - I just chose a random newspaper report and didn't put a vast amount of effort into checking it however, I'd be interested in why you think it was rubbish (it did share some concerns about this type of research and seemed quite a simple example of such studies conclusions.)

    You can't test what you don't know.

    I find this an interesting quote since I've always assumed you start from a hypothesis to explain observed phonemenom or predicted phenomenon (in the case of some quantum equations for example.) I've never thought you start from a position of knowing and work backwards to explain why you know - that seems to be the religious approach?

    sabastious posted Sun, 01 Jan 2012 20:34:00 GMT(1/1/2012)

    Post 6392 of 9407
    Joined 2/3/2010
    LOL, well okay then. Uhm, before I simply go with your assessment, would you like to support that statement? I mean, should I believe it because it just feels right, or should I ask for some evidence. What evidence do you have that the study is rubbish? What techniques did they use? How were they flawed? How would you have done a more thorough job of testing the power of prayer? Can you name an area where they were particularly biased? Can you name an are where you are? Have these researchers done something to question their integrity? What reason do you have to completely dismiss their findings? And why should I?

    You shouldn't, but it's still garbage science.

    -Sab

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