DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

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Doctor Scratch
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DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Doctor Scratch »

It's interesting. The Mopologists have expended so much effort explaining how they are *not* actually "Mopologists," and that the term itself (coined by Juliann Reynolds: a devout Latter-day Saint) is "disparaging," then it comes as something of a surprise when they actually weigh in and admit that the label is actually accurate. Today, I reckon, we are getting a "two-for-one" kind of a deal. Check it out:
Sic et Non wrote:Nearly three years ago now, the astoundingly prolific and productive Irish Latter-day Saint writer Robert Boylan posted this interesting blog entry:

“Some tips on becoming an effective apologist”

Now, my friend Tarik LaCour, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in philosophy and a master’s degree in neuroscience at Texas A&M University, has published an interesting item on his own blog that I commend to your attention. It’s entitled

“How to be a Good Apologist.”
Notice that both LaCour and Boylan both use the term "apologist." And Dr. Peterson helpfully explains what sets a Mopologist apart when he disagrees with this comment from LaCour:
Tarik LaCour wrote:Take on the heavyweights
While many people have read things like the CES Letter and responded to it, the people the apologist should focus on are the academics who take Mormonism (sorry President Nelson) or religion seriously and make informed criticisms of it that are not made in jest or to simply make people of faith appear to be non-thinking uninformed people. The philosophers I mentioned at the end of the previous section are examples of the kind of people you want to address, not people like the New Atheists who are popularisers rather than serious scholars.
Peterson is not having any of this.
DCP wrote:I must, however, quibble with his advice to “Take on the heavyweights” — at least, to the extent that he means by that advice that (as he actually says) apologists should ignore intellectually unserious challenges like the notorious “CES Letter” and the bestselling “New Atheists.”

I readily grant that “New Atheists” like Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens — to say nothing of the unfortunate “CES Letter” — aren’t exactly “heavyweights” of the kind that Brother LaCour commends to our attention. Their facts are often cherry-picked, when not altogether fictional, their interpretations are all too often caricatures, their logic is slipshod, and so on and so forth. I absolutely agree.

But it’s the “New Atheists” and the “CES Letter” — and other people and arguments on a similar low level — that are damaging testimonies and destroying faith among (especially) young Latter-day Saints, and rendering many people outside the Church inaccessible to our missionary efforts. It’s not the works of J. L. Mackie, Paul Draper, Alex Rosenberg, or David Hume.

So, yes, it would be more gratifying always to work on a sophisticated level, and, yes, the arguments of sophisticated atheistic thinkers absolutely merit serious attention and faithful response. I believe that academically-equipped Latter-day Saint apologists should be doing just that. Indeed, I wish that more Latter-day Saints with the appropriate academic training and the necessary capability, from many fields, would give at least some attention to apologetics in all fields, not only in philosophy. And, yes, this comes at a cost. More than once, I myself have lamented the time and energy that I’ve felt that I had to allocate to analyzing the works of such relatively dim bulbs as Ed Decker, John Ankerberg, and John Weldon (as here and here), and the effusions of the balmy loon Loftes Tryk, when I ought rather to be engaging Plato, Plotinus, Proclus, al-Farabi, al-Kirmani, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), al-Ghazali, Ibn Rushd (Averroës), and St. Thomas Aquinas, as I was trained to do, as I want to do, and as I set out on my career to do.
Quite interesting to watch him admit, with such candor, that he's basically abandoned any notion of "work[ing] on a sophisticated level." He's opted, instead, to get down in the "muck" with 5th-rate "thinkers" like Ed Decker and John Ankerberg. This is quite stunning, and, with his pending retirement, I wonder if we'll get more admissions like this in the coming months. I mean, this is basically an admission that he pissed away his entire academic career pursing his arguments with the likes of Ed Decker and Loftes Tryk. *That* is his legacy. He *wants* do engage with Plato, Plotinus and al-Ghazali? Then what's stopping him? He's had his entire career to do so. But he doesn't elaborate on this very much beyond this brief comment:
DCP wrote:But I did feel the obligation. It seemed to me a pastoral duty. In fact, at the risk of sounding vainglorious, it seemed to me something of a “calling.”
Fair enough: the Holy Ghost told him that he had to pick fights with Jeremy Runnells, John Dehlin, and Loftes Tryk. Okay. All you can really do is shrug at that. But then you take notice of his own admission that he's telling you this "at the risk of sounding vainglorious." Ha ha. Right. Bear in mind that he began the post by linking to Boylan's three-year-old blog entry. Guess what Boylan says:
Boylan wrote:(7) Engage in apologetics for the right reasons: We are all called to defend the faith as well as provide the strong reasons for belief therein, and that is what apologetics ultimately is. It is not to “show off” one's knowledge; it is not to “embarrass” others, etc. I will readily admit that, when I was younger, I did have a more acidic attitude and would engage with people just to “show them up.” Fortunately, I have repented of such an attitude, albeit, imperfectly. If one is wishing to enter the realm of LDS apologetics just to vent, show off, or simply to embarrass people, such is not proper as it goes against 1 Pet 3:16, where one is called to glorify Christ in their apologetic. At the same time, one has to be forceful at times, as truth and eternity itself is at stake.
It raises an interesting--and very important--Mopologetic question: Is it okay, as an LDS apologist, to "show off, or simply to embarrass people" if it helps you to successfully defend the faith? (And I do realize the definition of "success" can vary wildly here....) If "truth and eternity" are at stake, then I guess smear campaigns are okay?

Very, very revealing. You seldom catch the Mopologists speaking so candidly these days.
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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Gadianton »

"when I ought rather to be engaging Plato, Plotinus, Proclus, al-Farabi, al-Kirmani, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), al-Ghazali, Ibn Rushd (Averroës), and St. Thomas Aquinas, as I was trained to do, as I want to do, and as I set out on my career to do."

good grief.
Lou Midgley 08/20/2020: "...meat wad," and "cockroach" are pithy descriptions of human beings used by gemli? They were not fashioned by Professor Peterson.

LM 11/23/2018: one can explain away the soul of human beings...as...a Meat Unit, to use Professor Peterson's clever derogatory description of gemli's ideology.

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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by moksha »

I've associated these old song lyrics with LDS apologetics:
When the hurricane forecast says it will turn northward when it reaches Florida
Get out your felt-tipped marker and extend the lines to Alabama.
Put your marker to the map and draw along
Dishonesty is for hearts that are strong;
Put your marker to the map!
What kind of LDS apologist would Tarik LaCour be if he argued lofty ideas rather than using a felt-tipped marker?
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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Physics Guy »

Besides being more impressive and serious and scholarly than recent anti-Mormon riff-raff, as interlocutors for apologists these heavyweights of the past have a more decisive advantage.

They’re dead.

So there’s no chance any of them will hear the faint buzz of a Mormon apologist, raise wondering eyes, and deliver a hideously brief dismissal.

No, Plato would have been full of respect for polygamous Smith and his disappearing gold plates. Aquinas too, absolutely. And Kant. Quick check: did Wittgenstein ever say anything about Mormonism? No? Great, let’s engage with him, too.

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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by MrStakhanovite »

Daniel Peterson wrote:More than once, I myself have lamented the time and energy that I’ve felt that I had to allocate to analyzing the works of such relatively dim bulbs as Ed Decker, John Ankerberg, and John Weldon (as here and here), and the effusions of the balmy loon Loftes Tryk...
I can absolutely relate to this. Recently I've been switching between Daniel's own works and Immanuel Velikovsky's 'Worlds in Collision' and on a near nightly occurrence I've been pausing and asking myself, "WTF are you doing?". I always go back to them though. Perhaps Daniel and I have similar callings?
Daniel Peterson wrote:...when I ought rather to be engaging Plato, Plotinus, Proclus, al-Farabi, al-Kirmani, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), al-Ghazali, Ibn Rushd (Averroës), and St. Thomas Aquinas, as I was trained to do, as I want to do, and as I set out on my career to do.
This reminds me of a podcast I tired listening to where Blake Ostler is being interviewed and he tells the host that he has read the entirety of Thomas Aquinas 'Summa Theologica', in Latin no less. To give readers some context, the 'Summa' is over one and a half million words and takes over 3,000 pages to print if the pages are double columned. In English, if the print is smaller, the footnotes are sparse, and the index disappointing, it takes about 5 volumes in paperback to get in its entirety.

But what is Mopologetics without the LARP? If you take away the pretense and hammed up bravado, what are we left with?

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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Kishkumen »

I'm really not buying the idea that DCP would have preferred to spend his time with Plotinus, Avicenna, and Aquinas. Sure, he finds these thinkers more enriching and challenging, but I think he never quite left the thrill of the missionary Bible bash behind. It is so thrilling to walk all over lesser minds of this sort, the type of people who do not even understand their own theology, much less the theology of the church they're attacking.

The real question regarding Mormon apologetics, however, is why they take the shape they do. I think the answer is because Mormon illiteracy about Mormon theology is vertiginous in its depths. Mormons practically don't have a theology, which means they wander into a conversation with Christianity unarmed. It used to be that Mormons just sidestepped the question of systematic theology because that represented the corruption of pure Christianity in later ages. The more we learn about early Christianities, however, the less they look like Joseph Smith's assumptions about a church organization that belong to his own day and age. Christianity always was the philosophies of men mingled with Judaism. John chapter 1.

Now Mormons thinkers are looking for a way to pull Plato back into the discussion. Turns out Platonic Christianity is right there in Mormonism, but then we have to ask ourselves what was meant by the philosophies of men mingling with scripture. It is more a question of which philosophy of men mingling with which interpretation of scripture, and the question of what scripture is.

Of course, Mormon thinkers are so far from having a sort of community discourse on that level, and GAs have effectively squelched public intellectualism in Mormonism in terms of its ability to seed broader discussions, that one casts about in vain to find anything or anyone worthy of interacting with Proclus, Avicenna, and Aquinas. All we see is posturing, gesturing, and LARPing, as Stak points out.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Dr Exiled »

I view the apologists simply as criminal lawyers continually having to represent their clients Joseph Smith and Brigham Young from fraud, sexual assault, and murder charges. This is done against a backdrop of false, mythical, made up christianity where one has to believe that a murder was necessary in order for our supposed father to have the power to forgive us of what he himself created us to do. The whole thing is false and once that is shown, what sort of intellectual pursuits remain? Only what is imposed from the outside onto the nonsense.

Additionally, DCP's latest screed is merely a continuation of his false premise that so many smart and worthy intellectuals believe in Mormonism and so should you. Whether or not one is smart or an idiot has nothing to do with Mormonism. It is false per se and so if DCP wants to spend his retirement reading and discussing the intellectual giants that walked this earth at one time, be my guest. The religion he wasted his life defending is still silly and an obvious fraud regardless of how many Ph.D.'s are involved. The only question remaining is whether or not Joseph was sincere about duping his followers or maybe sometimes sincere and sometimes not. Another question is how to continue the con when there is so much information out there? How do people like DCP continue to believe such nonsense? Is it because they have invested so much time and have been soo boorish that to admit their folly now is simply impossible?
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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Stem »

Dismissing the people who are actually offering critiques as lightweights hoping to engage only with heavyweights amounts to hoping to play a major league baseball game without being in the league. Rejecting a game with teams that will willingly play you in hopes you might someday get offered a challenge from the Yankees seems to be the epitome of watching the world pass you by. You end up never really playing at all. It seems to me Daniel C. Peterson has a point on that front.

Seeing Willing Lane Craig, who this Tarik guy (didn't even know he was around) treats as a heavy weight, get trounced again and again on the field of debate with "new atheists" puts his point to rest it seems to me. Because Craig was schooled at Oxford or Cambridge having tutored with German theologians, hardly means his apologetics are effective, nor that they should be touted as heavy weight material. It simply means he has degrees that shows he can work and use his brain but in the end refuses to.

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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by MrStakhanovite »

Kishkumen wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:45 am
The real question regarding Mormon apologetics, however, is why they take the shape they do. I think the answer is because Mormon illiteracy about Mormon theology is vertiginous in its depths. Mormons practically don't have a theology, which means they wander into a conversation with Christianity unarmed. It used to be that Mormons just sidestepped the question of systematic theology because that represented the corruption of pure Christianity in later ages. The more we learn about early Christianities, however, the less they look like Joseph Smith's assumptions about a church organization that belong to his own day and age. Christianity always was the philosophies of men mingled with Judaism. John chapter 1.
The Reverend here reminded me of something I saw on Tarik’s blog:

Tarik D. LaCour wrote:Theology: Here things get a little more difficult, but the best place for Latter-day Saints to start with theology will be Blake Ostler's Exploring Mormon Thought: The Attributes of God. He addresses many of the beginning issues and cites many references at the end. On the traditional Christian end, Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig is also a good place to start. Alvin Plantinga's books Where the Conflict Really Lies, God, Freedom, and Evil, and Knowledge and Christian Belief are also important works. The Coherence of Theism, The Existence of God, Faith and Reason, and The Resurrection of God Incarnate by Richard Swinburne are all must-reads
The only person on this list with a degree in theology is William Lane Craig, but Craig really isn’t known for his work in theology and doesn’t publish much in that way. Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne are exclusively philosophers. Collectively what these men publish in the domain of philosophy of religion might be reasonably termed “philosophical theology”. None of them produce theological works and certainly no works that would serve as a proper introduction to the field.

I don’t blame Tarik for having poor recommendations in this area, being a Mormon and an analytic philosopher is a double whammy: neither group has much use for contemporary theology. I’m actually more impressed that he felt the need to include the area of theology and that is very refreshing.

There is more to the field of theology than what overlaps with philosophy and biblical studies and I’d reckon it is far more useful to the issues facing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints today than either philosophy or biblical studies. Too bad they won’t make use of it.

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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Gadianton »

Dr. Exiled: "I view the apologists simply as criminal lawyers continually having to represent their clients Joseph Smith and Brigham Young from fraud, sexual assault, and murder charges. This is done against a backdrop of false, mythical, made up christianity where one has to believe that a murder was necessary in order for our supposed father to have the power to forgive us of what he himself created us to do. The whole thing is false and once that is shown, what sort of intellectual pursuits remain? Only what is imposed from the outside onto the nonsense."

I think you're basically right. Even the progressive Mormon scholars who nuance history are really reacting to the inevitable failed expectations of the traditional view for any sensible believer, and hoping to lower expectations.

Another example similar to the lawyer would be a Hedge Fund manager. You can read primers on where the market is at written by Hedge Funds, and you can learn a lot, just like you could learn a fair amount about history by reading Nibley or Bushman. You may even be drawn based on what appears to be supreme confidence and standing in the field. But everything written by the fund manager is essentially apologetics of the same caliber -- well, maybe a little bit better -- and it's written and published to the public for one reason: they don't need to be right, they just need to convince the public they are right, so that that the public makes the same plays, and supports the positions the fund manager has already taken. What you'll never seen is the "real" pro and con column and serious worries that went into ultimately deciding on their strategy, and what they really think the risks are.
Lou Midgley 08/20/2020: "...meat wad," and "cockroach" are pithy descriptions of human beings used by gemli? They were not fashioned by Professor Peterson.

LM 11/23/2018: one can explain away the soul of human beings...as...a Meat Unit, to use Professor Peterson's clever derogatory description of gemli's ideology.

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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Kishkumen »

I don’t blame Tarik for having poor recommendations in this area, being a Mormon and an analytic philosopher is a double whammy: neither group has much use for contemporary theology. I’m actually more impressed that he felt the need to include the area of theology and that is very refreshing.

There is more to the field of theology than what overlaps with philosophy and biblical studies and I’d reckon it is far more useful to the issues facing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints today than either philosophy or biblical studies. Too bad they won’t make use of it.
Shows what I know. I would start with Plato. :wink:

I agree that LDS folk would do well to learn theology. Honestly I can’t understand why people bring up Blake Ostler other than to be diplomatic. Mormonism still lacks a worthwhile theologian. Until then I guess Ostler has something to say on the subject.
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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Physics Guy »

Isn’t it the only distinctively Mormon item of theology to assert that God is flesh and bone even now, and was once a mere mortal?

This seems to me to make it hard to get started on Mormon theology. The being worshipped by Mormons is not what any other viewpoint would recognize as a conception of God, but only a powerful alien.

So one could do speculative xenobiology on Elohim, but there’s not much detail to work with, and I suspect that the more one got into it the more it would seem like soft science-fiction. Or one could philosophize about the principles of eternal progression, which govern all Mormon Gods. But that wouldn’t really be about God per se, and so might not really fill the gap of Mormon theology.

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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Kishkumen »

Physics Guy wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 11:46 pm
Isn’t it the only distinctively Mormon item of theology to assert that God is flesh and bone even now, and was once a mere mortal?

This seems to me to make it hard to get started on Mormon theology. The being worshipped by Mormons is not what any other viewpoint would recognize as a conception of God, but only a powerful alien.

So one could do speculative xenobiology on Elohim, but there’s not much detail to work with, and I suspect that the more one got into it the more it would seem like soft science-fiction. Or one could philosophize about the principles of eternal progression, which govern all Mormon Gods. But that wouldn’t really be about God per se, and so might not really fill the gap of Mormon theology.
Yes, Mormon theology has been called, iirc, essentially religious anthropology. If I were to rewrite Mormon theology, it would probably be a synthesis of Christian theology, theurgical Neoplatonism, and Joseph Smith. I would toss Brigham Young's ideas out right away.

ETA: Oh, and I would also look to Kabbalah. Note, however, that every element there, including the Kabbalah, owes a lot to Plato.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Physics Guy »

Kishkumen wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:46 am
If I were to rewrite Mormon theology, it would probably be a synthesis of Christian theology, theurgical Neoplatonism, and Joseph Smith. I would toss Brigham Young's ideas out right away.

ETA: Oh, and I would also look to Kabbalah. Note, however, that every element there, including the Kabbalah, owes a lot to Plato.
Sounds interesting. How hopeful are you that it would be received as genuinely Mormon, though?

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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Kishkumen »

Physics Guy wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:21 am
Sounds interesting. How hopeful are you that it would be received as genuinely Mormon, though?
I think it someday, a long time from now, it could be. I am not confident it would be now. What partly gives me hope is new scholarship and the LDS disavowal of the term Mormon. If the LDS Church is no longer Mormon, then what do they care if this kind of theology goes by that moniker? Right?
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by huckelberry »

MrStakhanovite wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 2:59 pm
Kishkumen wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:45 am
The real question regarding Mormon apologetics, however, is why they take the shape they do. I think the answer is because Mormon illiteracy about Mormon theology is vertiginous in its depths. Mormons practically don't have a theology, which means they wander into a conversation with Christianity unarmed. It used to be that Mormons just sidestepped the question of systematic theology because that represented the corruption of pure Christianity in later ages. The more we learn about early Christianities, however, the less they look like Joseph Smith's assumptions about a church organization that belong to his own day and age. Christianity always was the philosophies of men mingled with Judaism. John chapter 1.
The Reverend here reminded me of something I saw on Tarik’s blog:

Tarik D. LaCour wrote:Theology: Here things get a little more difficult, but the best place for Latter-day Saints to start with theology will be Blake Ostler's Exploring Mormon Thought: The Attributes of God. He addresses many of the beginning issues and cites many references at the end. On the traditional Christian end, Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig is also a good place to start. Alvin Plantinga's books Where the Conflict Really Lies, God, Freedom, and Evil, and Knowledge and Christian Belief are also important works. The Coherence of Theism, The Existence of God, Faith and Reason, and The Resurrection of God Incarnate by Richard Swinburne are all must-reads
The only person on this list with a degree in theology is William Lane Craig, but Craig really isn’t known for his work in theology and doesn’t publish much in that way. Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne are exclusively philosophers. Collectively what these men publish in the domain of philosophy of religion might be reasonably termed “philosophical theology”. None of them produce theological works and certainly no works that would serve as a proper introduction to the field.

I don’t blame Tarik for having poor recommendations in this area, being a Mormon and an analytic philosopher is a double whammy: neither group has much use for contemporary theology. I’m actually more impressed that he felt the need to include the area of theology and that is very refreshing.

There is more to the field of theology than what overlaps with philosophy and biblical studies and I’d reckon it is far more useful to the issues facing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints today than either philosophy or biblical studies. Too bad they won’t make use of it.

No Mormon theology? I am halfway puzzled. How about Sterling Mcmurrin ,"The Theological Foundations of the Mormon religion" It was a bunch of years ago when I read it but I remember finding it thoughtful and very Mormon. Well I realize he held Mormon belief like Kishkumen does but that did not seem to harm the book.

I cannot help but think that there are all sorts of Mormon books that might be called theological. Why not the books by Talamage? For better or worse would not "Mormon Doctrine" by Bruce Mckonkie qualify? (I have never read that but it gets mentioned)

Mr Stakonovite, I could not help but wonder what sort of theological thought, questions or study you are thinking of. There are books considering historical theology, philosophical consideration, biblical theology of a wide variety depending on types of Biblical views, experiential, cultural or historical reflection and various combinations of these.I do not suppose you are thinking of Juan Segundo or other Catholic liberation thinkers. How about Christian Theology by Millard Erickson, a good paper weight for pressing fall leaves I found.

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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Gadianton »

This seems to me to make it hard to get started on Mormon theology. The being worshipped by Mormons is not what any other viewpoint would recognize as a conception of God, but only a powerful alien.
exactly right. There was never an option for any of the Mopologists to become serious theologians, at least not LDS theologians. Sure, the apologists could have become academics who comment on Aquinas, but as James Faulconer explained in the Mormon science conference, nothing in traditional theology nor in any form of philosophy that he's aware of has anything to do with the Mormon position on the soul and eternal progression. Mormon prophets agree, that the philosophy DCP imagines he would have mastered is the invention of the Devil.

There still could have been use for such a career. It's an implied kind of apologetics, where becoming a scholar of Aquinas while still remaining Mormon denies the right of critics to question Mormonism. But there's not a lot of bang for the buck for that. It's a lot of work for just a little more credibility.

Well, one thing is for sure, his "training" was pretty much a failure anyway, given the gaping inconsistencies in his arguments against non-theism.
Lou Midgley 08/20/2020: "...meat wad," and "cockroach" are pithy descriptions of human beings used by gemli? They were not fashioned by Professor Peterson.

LM 11/23/2018: one can explain away the soul of human beings...as...a Meat Unit, to use Professor Peterson's clever derogatory description of gemli's ideology.

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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Philo Sofee »

Kishkumen wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:06 pm
I don’t blame Tarik for having poor recommendations in this area, being a Mormon and an analytic philosopher is a double whammy: neither group has much use for contemporary theology. I’m actually more impressed that he felt the need to include the area of theology and that is very refreshing.

There is more to the field of theology than what overlaps with philosophy and biblical studies and I’d reckon it is far more useful to the issues facing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints today than either philosophy or biblical studies. Too bad they won’t make use of it.
Shows what I know. I would start with Plato. :wink:

I agree that LDS folk would do well to learn theology. Honestly I can’t understand why people bring up Blake Ostler other than to be diplomatic. Mormonism still lacks a worthwhile theologian. Until then I guess Ostler has something to say on the subject.
He just shows how all others' philosophy of God are wrong, meaning they differ from the Mormon view. I mean, it's basic apologetics. He interprets things differently than they, so they are wrong, because they differ from his take on things. Honestly, it's all just a big woop. Who actually cares?
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Philo Sofee
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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by Philo Sofee »

Kishkumen
ETA: Oh, and I would also look to Kabbalah. Note, however, that every element there, including the Kabbalah, owes a lot to Plato.
Leonora Leet demonstated that it is the other way around, for what its worth.......
Dr CamNC4Me
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MrStakhanovite
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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by MrStakhanovite »

huckelberry wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:37 pm
I cannot help but think that there are all sorts of Mormon books that might be called theological.
Well in a certain respect, anyone with opinions and beliefs about God has a theology. And anyone who writes about God is writing a theological work. Same thing can be said for philosophy or science as well, but is it getting done well?

For Mormons I would think the overwhelming response is “absolutely not”. Contemporary theology isn’t a purely intellectual activity like the disciplines of philosophy, religious studies, biblical studies, etc, etc. There are large components to it that are geared towards pastoral applications and serving others in the community in a very real and intimate sense. Reading the Hebrew Bible and Christian New Testament in their original languages is great, familiarity with scholastic philosophy is helpful too, but how to apply those subjects to someone in your spiritual care who just lost a parent? Not easy and requires a very different track of study.

Because Mormons home grow their own eccleastical leaders and eschew traditional pastoral education, none of the collected wisdom of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, about how to maintain the wellbeing of a religious community ever even gets introduced.

That is why Mormons get half baked stuff like ‘The Miracle of Forgiveness’ and ‘Saving Faith: How Families Protect, Sustain, and Encourage Faith’ which only draw ridicule from the outside and generate genuine anguish and embarrassment within. The worst part? There are generally no viable alternatives.

That is also why this throwaway line from Daniel is so ironic and depressing:
Daniel Peterson wrote:It seemed to me a pastoral duty.
In all seriousness, guys like Peterson, Midgely, and Gee could only be less suited for “pastoral duty” if they were incarcerated.
huckelberry wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:37 pm
Mr Stakonovite, I could not help but wonder what sort of theological thought, questions or study you are thinking of. There are books considering historical theology, philosophical consideration, biblical theology of a wide variety depending on types of Biblical views, experiential, cultural or historical reflection and various combinations of these.I do not suppose you are thinking of Juan Segundo or other Catholic liberation thinkers. How about Christian Theology by Millard Erickson, a good paper weight for pressing fall leaves I found.
Good theology must be paired with sound scholarship in my opinion and that can come from any religious tradition. Because I’ve spent far more time studying historical Judaism and rabbinic works, my initial thoughts were oriented towards that realm. I could say quite a bit about what a Rav Kook could do for Mormonism or a careful study of Moshe ben Maimon’s letter to the Jews in Yemen facing persecution might teach Gee something about being a relatable human.

Yet from your question I get the hint that you’d like to see some contemporary names from Christianity. Diogenes Allen is a great segway for the shift from philosophy to theology; how they are related and inform one another, but are different. Wolfhart Pannenburg’s work on the role of history in theology is another option. F.F. Bruce is a model on how one takes biblical scholarship and turn it into something meaningful for a general reader. W. Clark Gilpin over that the University of Chicago is another honorable mention, his ‘Preface to Theology’ would go a long way in explaining the role of modern theology to skeptical Mormons.

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Re: DCP Explains Why He's a Mopologist (And not a Mere "Apologist")

Post by MrStakhanovite »

Physics Guy wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 11:46 pm
Isn’t it the only distinctively Mormon item of theology to assert that God is flesh and bone even now, and was once a mere mortal?

This seems to me to make it hard to get started on Mormon theology. The being worshipped by Mormons is not what any other viewpoint would recognize as a conception of God, but only a powerful alien.

So one could do speculative xenobiology on Elohim, but there’s not much detail to work with, and I suspect that the more one got into it the more it would seem like soft science-fiction. Or one could philosophize about the principles of eternal progression, which govern all Mormon Gods. But that wouldn’t really be about God per se, and so might not really fill the gap of Mormon theology.
TBH Mormon theology sounding more like Science Fiction than the theology of the traditional religious traditions is a feature more than a bug. Take a look at Tarik LaCour for example, when it comes to the philosophy of mind the guy is a strident materialist while at the same time he is an out and proud Mormon. I’m an actual atheist who dislikes Mormonism and I’m not even a materialist (I support neutral monism for the curious), he is probably a lot closer to the majority of contemporary atheists than me, much less Daniel.

So I’d just lean into the weirdness if I were them. As long as you maintain a certain amount of rigor and combine it with creativity and some humility, you are going to generate something that resonates with people.

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