Friend, I believe it is a one-sided argument with you. By supporting religion, Mormon or otherwise, I am automatically at odds with you and homosexuality. Perhaps that is true. However, I feel the same with you and your friends. They treat anyone who believes in the Savior as someone who hasn’t thought it through, non-intellectual idiots who are kept down because of the foolish beliefs of their fathers, etc.
I know there is no way to intellectually “prove” God exists. That was the reason the Spirit and testimony were so important while teaching the Gospel. Nevertheless, I’m going to present an intellectual approach as to why I think you must believe in God. I know it may be a total waste of time because I have lost so many of my smartest friends to their superior intellects. I’m not being sarcastic. Many of my smartest friends, much smarter than me, I admit, have left the Church because they have come to rely solely on their intellect when it comes to accepting God. I know there are plenty of historical curiosities in the life of Joseph Smith. I’ve had many friends present them to me, and I have read many on my own. I know you cannot “prove” the existence of God. I know that there are many strong arguments to support evolution (as I have said before, I don’t count it out…I’m merely open minded at this point). I could go on and I’m sure you have many, many more intellectual reasons than I to “prove” that there can be no god. In any case, notwithstanding all that, I submit the following logical approach to the existence of God.
1. Either you believe there is evil in the world or you do not. This is a very important question. If there is no evil, then, of course there is no good or righteousness. This isn’t just a clever argument from the Book of Mormon, it is dead on correct. You can’t punch a hole in it logically.
If there is no evil, then no one can do anything “wrong.” No one can just decide what is unacceptable and what is acceptable – if I molest children it isn’t “wrong,” or “evil.” At the most I may be considered mentally ill, but even that doesn’t make sense because by what standard can you make such a judgment? Even “misguided” doesn’t apply because according to whom would I be misguided? The majority? That won’t fly – I would think as a homosexual you would be keenly aware of that. The majority can be wrong. We may live by a majority decision on a lot of things, but that still doesn’t make right or wrong.
With that in mind, there are three undeniable facts:
1. We exist and are here on earth.
2. Whether God gave it to us or not, one way or the other we all have free agency.
3. Everyone lives by faith.
Number 3 you may not agree with, and yet, many things you have said actually support it. Nothing can be “proven” completely. We may live by what we see repeated day after day, for example, that the sun will come up, that plants will grow, that gravity will keeps us from flying off the planet, but we can’t know these things are real. You can’t deny that what our senses tell us can be tricked. If you’ve ever seen a good magician, you know you can be completely fooled by what your eyes and ears tell you. In the end, for all we know, we’re all sitting in Petri dishes dreaming all this. I once told Mike Hofhine that if I said, “Let lightning strike that tree,” and it happened, he could very easily claim it was coincidence. An amazing coincidence, but nothing more. How do you prove it was God’s will or a coincidence? You don’t, you either accept one or the other – free agency. But, still, in most aspects of our lives, we all live by faith that what we observe is, for the most part, reliable reality. In other words, we accept that the sun is coming up tomorrow as truth, and that we are here on earth in bodies not in Petri dishes dreaming.
We all ask ourselves how we got here, why we’re here and where are we going? It’s normal. As thinking beings, we can’t help it.
That leaves us with either three possible responses:
a). There is a God who made us and everything and left us with a plan to follow. From there of course you’re left with all the religions to choose from, but I won’t get into that here.
b). There is a God, but he has yet to reveal himself. Until he reveals himself (in some unprecedented way – leaving no doubt) it is okay to believe their is no God. (This choice circumvents the knowledge that we all live by faith and that God’s existence would also have to be accepted on terms of faith)
c). There is no God. Our existence came about through an accident of nature, developed through accidental evolutionary mutations (meaning absolutely no guidance from a higher power). When we die we are forever done with. That was it, a happy mistake of consciousness which ceases at death.
I have to tell you, if you believe in (c) above you have much more faith in a belief than I do. I can’t get my head around that one at all. The idea that we got there from a design is much more believable to me than a phenomenal super-accident.
But, that aside, I suppose that you might have another option. That there are other options than the three I’ve presented here. If that is the case, I’d like to know what it is. I can’t for the life of me think of anything that wouldn’t fit under one of those three.
The point I’m making is that if all is accidental mutation, then there is no purpose to life. If life just happened, and will eventually disappear and cease to be, then we are without purpose. If we are without purpose then there are no rules we need to be subject to because no one will hold us accountable. If we aren’t held accountable we need not worry about hell, punishment, or being counter to some God’s commandments. In brief, no matter what we do, it is okay, or not wrong, because there is no wrong.
This leads me back to the Gay Issue which you champion almost daily on your FB pages. [I love it, by the way, when you post things about your family. It’s not controversial and it is nice to hear about your kids. I don’t like hearing about how your family has been unfair to you. I fully believe you are good parent and an excellent father. I can tell you love your children and that they love you. I believe Gays should have every “right” afforded straight people. No one should be abused or misused for religious, sexual orientation, race or many other reasons. However, I do believe in judging others. Yes, you’re a fool if you don’t judge others. I wouldn’t go into a motorcycle gang’s bar because I judge that to be dangerous and foolish action. There are some kids I don’t want my children to play with because I think they are bullies. We all judge others based on our beliefs and desires and based on how they act, and how they present themselves, even the words they use. But we’re not supposed to judge others!! Technically, that thought doesn’t apply to anyone who has no religious teachings, or doesn’t believe in the foolish beliefs of their fathers. You may believe that just because it makes sense, or you were raised to believe so. In any case, I would think that wouldn’t bother you. It doesn’t bother me either. God said judge righteously because by the same judgment you will be judged. I know you don’t necessarily worry about that standard when making judgments, but you might still appreciate it.]
Friend, you and your friends have all judged religion as incorrect, at least from what I can tell about your posts. They are all in error, or are false. They are not true. However you want to state it, that is your belief. I judge that my religion is true and that there are many things that people do which go contrary to what God has taught us – homosexual behavior being one. But, just because I don’t struggle with homosexuality personally, don’t think I don’t have things I DO struggle with. Right now, in my family, the Church has done something that is effecting my brother and his son, and me also. I fully disagree with it. I also struggle with the Church’s stance on immigration. I have issues to deal with you don’t know about and which I don’t wish to share here – deeply personal things which are between me and God. My impression is that when it comes to God, homosexuals feel singled out when it comes to their challenges.
I do respect your situation. And, I don’t wish to deal with it myself or with my children. I do feel for you on that level. I think it is an extraordinary challenge, having same sex attraction and living according to the Gospel…perhaps impossible. I too would probably look for error in Christianity and leave it also. I can’t honestly say I wouldn’t. But, that wouldn’t mean Christianity or Mormonism is wrong. It would mean that I ran into a conflict I could not resolve. I’m not going to budge and God’s not willing to budge, and I can’t continue in the path I’m on…so…using my free agency, God’s wrong.
I don’t know if homosexuality is learned, inborn, nature, nurture, or otherwise, but I’ve come to a conclusion about that. It doesn’t matter. Being tempted or desiring something isn’t a sin. I’ve had crazy ideas and desires. I’ve wondered why I must struggle with them. Why did God make me this way? Why is it wrong in the first place? Where do these thoughts and desires come from? Does God put them there or the devil, or are they chemical chemical reactions in my brain and nothing more? In the end, it doesn’t matter. And they don’t make me evil. Remember the sins the Lord was tempted to do at Satan’s hand. They didn’t make him evil in God’s sight. It is only acting on “wrong” impulses which are sins.
I cannot sleep with my neighbor’s wife, no matter how beautiful and sexy she is. It doesn’t matter if we LOVE each other and it doesn’t matter that her husband beats her. It doesn’t matter that her husband has cheated on her, or that my wife is a shrew. It doesn’t matter that she is my soul mate, or that I am willing to leave my family to have her. It also doesn’t matter that I will never be happy or satisfied unless I can have her.
The natural man is an enemy to God. I can’t speak for all religions, but I do know the Mormon faith is that there is a purpose to life and, put succinctly, it is to rise above our “natural” selves to become more like God. It should be no surprise that his commandments or his instructions to us are difficult. Many go counter to our first impulses. We have to teach kids not to hit, not to steal, not to harm others, not to hate, etc. It is not innate.
Friend, you say that my comments are condescending. I didn’t mean for them to be that way. My belief in the Savior being compared to Santa Claus was, to say the least, belittling. I hold no malice toward your friend in this regard, but I want for him to have the happiness again I feel he has lost. My purpose in writing all this isn’t to win the “argument” as it were, but to hopefully spark something that will remind you of the joy that is promised and be had here in this life. That there is a reason we are here and that this life is not it. We are not accidentally found here on this planet only to disappear in the future.
Even now I ask you to ask yourself, do you truly believe that this life is it? That you won’t go on after death? Your consciousness that is. Every man has an eternal part to him and it has nothing to do with fear of ceasing to exist.
Free agency is yours and will never be taken from you. Every man must decide what he will believe. That is perhaps the only thing forced on us: we must believe something. If we live by faith, why not believe in the most happy possible outcome?
My faith does teach of a God who came to earth to suffer and die for the sins of humanity. All men and all sins. Yes, we do commemorate and remind ourselves of that sacrifice weekly by partaking of emblems of that sacrifice. Emblems are merely tools to reminds us and teach us. Seeing them as barbaric is to miss the point entirely. We consume these emblems in order to make something part of ourselves in an effort to try to become something greater than we are.
We are not animals nor accidents. We are sons and daughters of a loving God. He knows our struggles and our pains. One more reason for His sacrifice – so that we could come to him with these problems, these hurts, these horrible challenges. This is why I can’t let what the Savior did be compared to Santa Claus. This is why I say your friend has not understood the Gospel teachings he once taught. It’s also why I say even something as difficult and harsh as having same sex attraction must not be acted upon in this life.
I don’t wish you pain or difficulty. I pray for you Friend. I don’t understand why God gave you such a horrible challenge in this life. I even understand why you would leave the Church over this. As I said, I don’t think I could handle such a struggle either. But, it doesn’t make the Church untrue.
I’ll finish now with this final word. Religious people are not stupid, unthinking people who haven’t thought their beliefs through. We don’t believe what we believe simply because we were taught that and are afraid of going contrary to our fathers. Mormons/Christians don’t hate homosexuals or wish you ill. We do want you to continue to fight your “natural man” like we hope to do as well. (We aren’t necessarily the best at it either. And I apologize for any of the Saints who have willfully offended you. They are wrong and I am sorry they have done that. Truly.) We are all struggling in this life and we all need the support of each other.
I will always consider you a friend and hope you find no offense in my words.