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I will plead guilty to being
detail oriented to the point that people often find it frustrating. It
is not meant in that vein, but I tend to need a lot of detail to make
sense of things.
We seem to have a basic misunderstanding here. I have no wish or desire to change your beliefs; just to understand them.
ferlin wrote:Again, I have read all of this with great interest, and appreciate the effort put into it by both Flattop and blackirish throughout the course of the thread.
As I mentioned before, I have followed it with interest in large part because I have been a participant in many such discussions over the years. So it is interesting to me to simply read such a discussion as conducted by two knowledgeable and capable individuals, both of whom are obviously giving their best to the conversation. It certainly appears to be the case to me anyhow. I find myself learning as I go along. Being a theist myself, and Roman Catholic, when I am in such discussions I am in Flattop's position, though of course I would do so from a Catholic perspective. Still, I find myself seeing where blackirish is coming from, especially as I often approach other subjects in a manner similar to his. I at least think I get his logic, and tend to apply a similar methodology, though starting from a very different major premise when it comes to theology.
Something which only illustrates how Ferlin's mind works is that the one time I considered jumping in was at the point back in the thread where transoceanic travel in ancient days first came up. My mind tends to see something that reminds me of something else, and then my mind is off and running. Well, the talk of possibility or impossibility of such long distance ocean travel immediately brought to mind a specific name: Thor Heyerdahl.
He is the Norwegian adventurer (and whatever else he is) that conducted the Kon-Tiki expedition in the late 1940s (I think it was) and then the Ra expedition in 1969 or thereabouts, which showed (or was it merely attempted to show?) that the ancient Polynesians and ancient Egyptians were at least capable of making such journeys with technology and materials available in those far distant eras when such things were considered to be impossible. I mulled about posting something concerning Heyerdahl and what his efforts may have said about the issue, but decided against doing so. The reasons for not doing so came down to (and remember, these are Ferlin's reasonings, not necessarily the only or the best ones):
1. A realization that Heyerdahl's efforts didn't necessarily prove anything, they merely showed a possibility existed, without getting into whether or not anyone in those days may have actually done so. And, of course, there is a big difference between an explorer/adventurer and a few similarly minded individuals, united behind a single minded purpose and having a fairly large bankroll, building a small boat to do something, and the kind of effort and expense involving an entire tribe or nation of people going around the world to the east.
2. Compared to the entirety of the discussion, it struck me as a very small point with potentially little real meaning to the larger discussion. So, why go off on a pointless tangent.
3. A concern on my part that I might be seen as merely "poking the beast" and perhaps inflaming a discussion in a way that would achieve nothing useful, while also taking away from a very carefully constructed conversation. A very carefully conducted conversation, I might add. (Perhaps I should show more such restraint in other conversations in the future, lol).
So I didn't mention Thor Heyerdahl.
Finally, I have always had a fascination with LDS beliefs, in terms of their Scriptures and also their cosmology. Suffice it to say that, for someone such as myself who tends to see patterns more quickly than details and at least thinks he can rapidly see similarities in patterns (and maybe differences in pattern as well), I have seen that, at least in my mind so far, the similarities between LDS and Catholic are close enough to be interesting (while not at all the same in great detail), while the differences are indeed very different. This conversation has done much to maintain that fascination on my part.
So, again, well done!
Flattop wrote:I will plead guilty to beingdetail oriented to the point that people often find it frustrating. Itis not meant in that vein, but I tend to need a lot of detail to makesense of things.
A little self-awareness can go a long way.
I can understand being detail oriented. My success in the job world has revolved largely around my attention to detail -- though maybe that isn't exactly the same thing. At the same time, I believe you can get lost in details -- the wilderness of details (I just made that up).Absolutely, anyone can get lost in details to the point that they lose sight of the larger picture. The other side of that is that anyone can get so focused on the larger picture that they lose sight of the fact that the details make it possible. It is the balance between these two approaches that leads to succes in most every endeavor. While that sounds rather simplistic it is actually the hardest part of any project; finding that balance. We seem to have a basic misunderstanding here. I have no wish or desire to change your beliefs; just to understand them.
Plenty of others have tried. Some folks let LDS missionaries in just for fun, to bash them silly with criticisms of Mormonism. Others let LDS missionaries in to try and "save" them. I experienced both. Every six months people come to Salt Lake City just to stand outside the LDS Conference Center to harass LDS members coming and going to the semi-annual general conference of the church. Some folks made a special trip in 2002 when the Olympics were here to do the same thing. The same lesson I learned on my mission applies to the busy bodies who visit SLC and who populate the internet: they are better off ignored.Here is where I partially disagree. My feeling has always been that anyone who has an interest in a subject is someone I can learn something from. I recognize that many people simply want to tear others down; that it is the tearing down process that they enjoy. However, I have learned much about the weaknesses of my own arguments in discussions with such people. I otten have to re-evaluate what I believe, to study it in more detail to justify my belief. That is never a bad thing.I have a good friend who was a Jehovah's Witness. At one time, he was convinced that he could and should witness to me and get me to join in his church. Over a period of several months we had a lot of in depth discussions about his faith. At one point, he finally told me that I simply asked too many questions and that he had been advised not to talk to me anymore as it was hurting his faith. We didn't talk about it anymore and I felt a little bad that I had made him begin to doubt his own faith but then I realized that it is the process by which we all learn. We adopt a theory and then explore it's feasability. Once it is disproven we modify it or adopt another theory. It is the basis of how knowledge is gained on literally everything. I believe that anyone who decides to simply not talk with people who disagree with them is effectively closing their mind on that subject. Any knowledge or understanding that cannot stand up to enquiry is incomplete.
I will plead guilty to beingdetail oriented to the point that people often find it frustrating. Itis not meant in that vein, but I tend to need a lot of detail to makesense of things.
We seem to have a basic misunderstanding here. I have no wish or desire to change your beliefs; just to understand them.
ferlin wrote:The wilderness of details....interesting phrase.
Reminds me of a professor of logic under whom I studied, back in my college days. In one of the classes, he spoke more about investigating while building arguments, and spoke of how one had to be careful of two major errors in process that people are very prone to. One was not seeing the forest for the trees (which the phrase "the wilderness of details" reminded me of). The other was not seeing the trees for the forest. Of course, one must be able to see both the trees and the forest, the details and the "big picture," accurately to make anything like a proper analysis.
The fun part of any research on my part is enjoying the process, of trying to know when to stand back and see the patterns, the entire forest, if you will, and when to move in close, and bring the details into focus to see of those details support the view I had of the pattern, or the nature of the "big picture." Then pulling back from the details to see if I still see the same patterns I saw before , and what changes the more close up view required me to make in observation of the patterns.
I learned many thing in my four and a half years of college, some of which may have actually stayed with me....and they can't take that history degree away from me, lol.
And the engineers and scientists among us, if any, are now saying, "Hmmmm....liberal arts....that explains why he's so strange...."My daughter went to a liberal arts college. I enjoy discussing her approach to problem solving a great deal. It is a little different from my own but as she gets older I can see that it is very functional for her. I didn't go to college at all. I went to a tech school and got a degree in Electronics which I didn't use for many years as by the time I graduated from that school I was making more money working construction as an Electrician than what I could make as an Electronics Technician.What I eventually learned was my strength is systems engineering. My attention to detail and endless curiosity is invaluable for designing and maintaining complex systems that combine electrical, pneumatic, and hydraulic controls. I therefore approach everything from this perspective. You simply cannot adequately control a process unless you completely understand both the process you are trying to control and each and every component in that system. There are no shortcuts in that process. The one component or aspect of that system that you do not understand will always be a blind spot or weak point that bites you in the end. I have found that you can instantly and accurately predict a person's technical weakness by paying attention to what component he tends look at first when a problem in the system occurs. It is simply human nature to point the finger of blame at that which you understand the least. In my field it is necessary to be able to see the whole picture and to understand the details. I have worked with some great engineers that got so lost in the details of one aspect of a system that they have no understanding of the whole. Add to that the simple economics of understanding costs/innovation and it becomes imperative to do both. I can literally endlessly improve the process with endless amounts of money. However, there is an axiom in instrumentation accuracy that says the first 10% improvement costs 50%, the next 1% costs 50%, the next .1% costs 50%. It is an axiom that applies equally to most all parts of the system. Therefore, there is a constant balance between performance and costs. If you cannot see the forrest for the trees you can't accurately judge what is worth improving. If you can't see the trees for the forrest you will never be able to make the first improvement.
Flattop wrote:Just because someone is motivated to do something, that doesn't mean they are interested in the involved subject. I don't believe people interested in bashing are actually interested in the subject they are bashing.I would tend to disagree slightly with this for the simple reason that for someone to be familiar with a subject enough to have a detailed discussion about it, they must have had enough interest to learn about it. Of course there are different levels of interest depending on how committed you are to the subject. There is an old analogy about the difference between being committed and involved. I think it can be stretched to fit this conversation as well if you permit me some leeway. In a bacon and egg breakfast, what's the difference between the chicken and the pig?The chicken is involved, but the pig is committed. In our discussion you are more committed while someone discussing it with you can simply be involved. None of this discounts the fact that many people get more enjoyment from tearing things down than building them up. That is simply an all too human trait that manifests itself in many different ways.
I would also point out that people who actively evangelize their faith (and this seems to include most protestant denominations as well as the LDS) have to expect that such discussions will come about. Especially when they run into someone who believes they should evangelize their own faith. If you look at it from their perspective, they are simply doing what they are directed to do by their belief system. I know this from personal experience in the Baptist faith. They direct people to help "save" other people. It is one of the basic tenets of their belief system. This is done in personal conversations with people they deal with every day and it is often done door to door just as the LDS does it.
When someone like an LDS or Jehovah's Witness shows up on their doorstep wanting to discuss faith many of them feel duty bound to witness to that person about their own faith. If they believe and are taught (and I can assure you they are taught this) that these people are members of a cult; then they believe that pointing out the fallacies of that belief system to such a person is necessary to "save" that person.
You once mentioned in a discussion of a instant Mormon or something along those lines. In other words, just add water and you have a Mormon. You have to understand that this is exactly how many Baptists and other evangelicals see an LDS mission person on their doorstep. He is already so committed to religion that he is willing to go door to door evangelizing. If they can just get him to see that he has picked the wrong belief system then he would be a strong soldier in the army for the Lord.
Let me put this another way. I have admitted freely that I hated Bill Clinton while he was president. After he was re-elected, I decided that I didn't like what this hatred was doing to me. In an effort to change my feelings I decided to read a biography of Clinton. In looking for a good biography I rejected outright those I considered to by love fests and hatchet jobs because I didn't think I could get much value from them. I wanted to find as objective biography as I could, and finally selected First In His Class by David Maraniss I don't believe it is being closed minded to be selective about the sources one chooses to listen to.If your time or interest is limited then I would agree that you have to choose wisely in order to attempt to get a balanced picture. On the other hand, you will necessarily miss some things if you don't read both sides. It is closed minded to choose one source and rule out all others as being informative. I remember having a discussion with someone in a civil war group that we both belonged to and they suggested that they simply wouldn't read anything by a publisher north of the Mason Dixon line. I thought it was a satirical comment at first but they were deadly serious. Anyone who starts out to study a subject and limits their study to things that agree with only one viewpoint is not really seeking information at all. They are seeking affirmation of their own preconceived beliefs. From many different conversations with you and many different subjects I know you agree with this assessment. That is basically why I was taken aback by your response saying that nothing I could say would make a difference.
blackirishkarma wrote:It also brings up something else that just occurred to me. Are women allowed to go on such missions? I don't know that I have ever seen a female LDS missionary going door to door.
Flattop wrote:1. Who said anything about a detailed discussion. Bashing is not a detailed discussion. Those folks I met on my mission, the people who come to Salt Lake, still others on the Internet, their lack of interest was/is exposed by how ill-informed about Mormonism they actually are. These folks, evangelicals and others, were taught certain things about Mormonism that simply are not true, along with beliefs twisted so much as to become unrecognizable.
The first bashing situation I found myself in was with a pair of J-dubs in my third month in the field. The "discussion" started out with our beliefs about the Holy Ghost. I picked up a KJV Bible and quoted a verse, and this was followed by one of the JW's telling me that we don't believe in the Bible. Figuring this was easily refuted I showed her the spine of the book I had just quoted from, "See, Holy Bible, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." But she had been indoctrinated to believe that Mormons did not believe in the Bible. There is no actual interest demonstrated here, just plain ignorance and obstinance.
A more recent example involved a Born Again at a political discussion group on the Yuku rolls. She though her best dig at me was to point out to me that I will never have my own planet -- something straight out of the God Makers. It was laughable. She thought she was scoring points. Instead she was exhibiting her ignorance.I too have met quite a few evangelical types who were rather ignorant of anything except their own belief system when it comes to religion. Still, I always felt like they believed they were indeed trying to help others with their witnessing. If they believe they have the true message, the true path to righteousness then it only makes sense that they don't see it as "bashing" to try to convince others of the same thing but rather as a means to save other souls. It is the same belief that you and I have discussed many times. They are just as convinced that they "know" the truth as you are and by a similar methodology of confirmation that involves something they feel directly but can't share as it is a personal experience. While I disagree with their conclusions I have yet to meet someone witnessing to me that I felt was trying to do me harm. I would add that the southern psyche seems especially fertile for this way of seeing the world around them. Pentecostals who handles snakes, Jehovah's Witness who regularly walk the neighborhoods, and even the LDS missionaries are always plentiful here. I don't think it is accidental that this is called the Bible Belt. When I was in my early teens we had a family who lived just up the road that formed their own church. One of the many children "discovered" the lord while building their annual garden. They turned their barn into a church, began to quit shaving or cutting their hair and literally formed something of a small cult. It was a large family that lived in two rather delapidated houses with lots of broken down cars in the yard but the "church" was always freshly painted and carefully manicured around it. They quit associating with other people in any way and spent all day Saturday and Sunday singing and speaking in tongues in their "church". It was very loud with a lot of shouting and a little bit scary around there on the weekends. As far as I know they never tried to spread their beliefs or witness to anyone outside those two immediate families but it literally dominated their existance from that point forward. Their experience was direct and emotional but I would defy anyone to find a group of people more dedicated to their belief.
My conversations with Jehovah's Witness adherents seem to point out that they believe their sacrifice and effort that is required to be a member is what makes their system so believable in the first place. I have heard more than one of them say that being around people so dedicated and convinced is what helped convince them of the truth of the belief system. Add to that the human being's inherent desire to be a part of something larger than the individual self and I think you have the original cause of most people's attraction to religious bodies to begin with.
2. Let me use another example. Many years ago, in my studies of American presidents. I reached JFK. I read a book called A Time For Heroes which turned out to be mostly a social history, and contained next to nothing on his presidency. I next found a book by Richard Reeves which was entirely about Kennedy's time in the White House, and it was fantastic.
It is not about reading both sides, I regularly do that with books by Japanese and German authors regarding World War II. I did read another book about Clinton during his second term, The Secret Life of Bill Clinton, by a British journalist. It had plenty of damning arguments about Clinton the drug dealing, murdering governor of Arkansas, which I chose not to believe. Having read at least one love fest and one hatchet job, I see no value in them. In politics, one man's truth is another man's lie, and this one simple reality is the basis for all of the hatchet jobs and love fest that follow the election of a new president, from either party. They have been written about Clinton, about Bush 43 and about Obama, and I wouldn't waste my time with any of them, especially when there are others, though fewer, actual works of research and objectivity.
I do remember that guy saying he refused to read books published north of the Mason Dixon line, it was a ludicrous thing to say, even more so to actually follow through on. As noted, I have read books by Japanese and German authors. I'm not refusing to read things that disagree with me, I am just selective, rejecting that which lacks objectivity and which clearly twists the facts to fit a certain point of view.Yes.... there are a lot of books that contain very little information worth the effort to read them, more especially politically motivated books. I have found that especially true with my study of economics. Still, I have also read books where I would find just one section, one explanation of something rather obscure that made the whole effort worthwhile. Perhaps that is why I never quit reading a book once I start although I can name several that severely tried that approach. One of the books I read about Kennedy that was the most informative to my understanding of them was a biography of Joseph Kennedy. It helped me understand their outlook as a family more than anything I have read about John F. Kennedy. I will try to find that title and post it here.
Flattop wrote:blackirishkarma wrote:It also brings up something else that just occurred to me. Are women allowed to go on such missions? I don't know that I have ever seen a female LDS missionary going door to door.
My niece served her LDS mission in Hong Kong.
Four years ago, at the October 2012 general conference of the LDS Church the announced a change in the age of eligibility to serve a mission. For young men it was lowered from 19 to high school graduates aged 18, which had a dramatic effect of getting many young men out on missions sooner, right out of high school. I had to wait eight months before I could go. At the same time they lowered the age for young women from 21 to 19, which also had the dramatic effect of getting many young women who likely would not otherwise have gone out on missions -- they otherwise would have gone off to college where they very well could have met there future husband. I knew a girl in high school who talked about serving a mission; she was married by the time I got home from mine.
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