Friday, April 11, 2014

Faith Paradigms and The Search for Truth

Observing humanity in general it would seem that we live in an era almost closed to eternal perspective.  Desensitized by comfort and ease, much of society ignores the vast reality of our position as a planet in the endless cosmos.  

To gain even a small perspective we could look at earth as a ping pong ball and space as the ocean.  In a comparison to reality though we are smaller than a ping pong ball and space is larger than the ocean.  We are either a planet lost in space or a part of a great creator's plan.

If we fail to recognize that an opportunity for spiritual discovery exists or close our mind it is not God's fault we don't find truth.

The night time skies and the vast array of stars in an endless cosmos is seldom viewed with an eye of wonder.   We hurry from one sensory experience to the next feeling only the pleasure or pain of the moment.  

As a young man in high school I would spend summers backpacking in the mountains. The clear starry nights would cause me to wonder about the infinite nature of space.  Was there a purpose for it and how does the infinite relate to the finite?

Today we are flooded with illusions, with reality TV, technology overload and media portrayals of uninhibited sexual encounter, people put God on a shelf and hope he is there when they get around to searching for him.

If and when any pursuit of celestial seeking is aroused in the mind of a person, there are only a few paradigms of faith that can apply. If searching for truth ever becomes a priority purpose of one's endeavors then the reality of the possible outcomes should be considered.

Untold numbers of people have their "own ideas", about God. They form their opinions around themselves and some view of their own mixing, part personal and usually part of someone else's.  

These limited personal views obscure are spiritual but don't need organized religion.  Others claim organized religious affiliations but strive to change or adapt them to their own.

They ignore the fact that there is only one truth and we are all bound by it. Their freedom of expression and thought allows them to become a law unto themselves for a season. This time may last until death does become a reality to them, a harsh reality that this life does have an end.

Truth however is one thing, and it is immutable and constant. Throughout universes without end if there is a fact that doesn't change, it is truth.   Like all natural law it is immutable. We just don't know the extent of natural law beyond our own scientific reach.  Theology lays out an idea of who the Almighty is and of many other things we cannot see.  Faith leads us to them.  

Science seeks to prove all things including the theological.   Science has shown us in a measure the immense and endless nature of space. Self evident truth tells us there is no end to it or to the galaxies and materials that are comprised in it. Searchers are still seeking to discover how it came to be.  Theology already tells us.  

While there is disagreement over what to believe neither can prove the other wrong or right. So what bridges the gap between science and theology.  Where does philosophy fit into the picture. What makes sense in light of all that we know and how does it apply to life?

The choices and beliefs by the general group of people are not based on any standard.  Their ideas and beliefs really hold no weight in the eternal scheme of reality as they consider themselves the center of the universe.  They have decided that no organized religion is worthy of their consideration because they have fallen victim to the multitude of fallacies regarding the history of religious wars and contradictions.

The state of religious experience is that the pure principles of true religion have been corrupted by various organizations and individuals with questionable motives. Just because some say they act in the name of God does not mean that they do.

There is only one truth and it can't be changed, it is incontrovertible.  It can only be accepted it or rejected. A God who is a being of order would have not only a system and organization but also a method for allowing humans to determine what it is.  

To think otherwise would be to say that he is hiding.  The only way to have consistency is for a path of truth to exist.  That path needs to be marked.  That is one purpose of prophets.  Then there must be a way to confirm their teachings and callings.

The interesting thing about the multitudes of self guidance philosophies, including atheism, is that they make no pretense of being philosophies of truth and offer nothing of substance to suggest they are right to any degree. They serve only to deny accountability and maintain ignorance of the infinite universe.  

The individual cannot be the center of truth no matter how convinced they are that their opinion, philosophy or science is right.  Yet looking at the realities and considering belief options including the fact that neither science or theology can prove the other wrong on the things they don't know means that we can't accept theory as truth. 

From my own perspective and opinion, I see that there are only two real basic belief systems.  You can believe that there is a God or there isn't.  If God is your choice there are only a few additional categories to consider.  You can believe in one of the non-Christian faiths.  You can believe in your own personal system as I mentioned above or ideologies of Christianity. You can accept the Christian faith in its original state since Constantine or the reformation state of Protestantism that gained most of its momentum in the 1500's.  

The other option for believers in Christ is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the restoration of revealed truths that return us to the fundamentals of the ancient church of Christ.

In any of the cases, those that have a faith viewpoint are more likely be to correct than those that don't believe and think all existence ends at death.  The atheist can only profess that which he sees, which view is very limited and consists of his own limited reasoning powers.

Faith extends the mind beyond the limits of that which is seen.  The atheist can conceive the limitless bounds of space and time yet refuses to accept the realities of what might be. They claim religion to be irrational yet it is not so except in their opinion. The more real perspective is that atheism is irrational. Vast quantities of knowledge exist of which we have not begun to acquire and they choose to deny the existence of the unknown.

The fundamental traditional Christian viewpoint is the first paradigm I will consider.  One reason that atheists decry organized religion is because of the contradictions that exist in its theology as mainstream Bible scholars teach it. 

Every church or congregation that bases its faith only on the Bible is part of this group, even those few biblical based ministries that have abandoned the doctrine of the trinity.  Many charismatic leaders as well have come about creating their own religious movements.  That is why the Latter Day Saint doctrines have such a unique position in light of religious philosophy and Christianity.

Many of the so called mysteries that classical theism has never answered because it has limited itself to a closed cannon of scripture. Latter-day theology from prophets of God have answered the age old questions of why God created, not just that he did. Traditional theology does not teach of eternal truth because it teaches that nothing but God existed until 6000 years ago. Its realm of truth only encompasses this time frame.

Many instances in the New Testament are of the apostles dealing with doctrinal misunderstanding and misapplication of scripture. When the apostles of Christ were killed, the supervising body of authority was gone. Local bishops and leaders wandered from the fundamental teachings they had established.  Doctrinal errors expanded.

In 325 AD a council was convened to deal with some of those doctrinal deficiencies, making them even less recognizable from what the Savior taught.   These had taken a place of authority by their own initiative.  From this council at Nicaea, creeds were formulated and scriptural sayings and passages were interpreted based on those creeds of men.

The reason the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been called non-christian is a misunderstanding perpetuated by misinformed voices and unreliable sources.  In any case because we don't adhere to the creeds formulated in ancient councils of creedal christianity we have been labeled as not Christian.

The traditional ideas about God maintain the incomprehensibility of his purposes and person and severe limitations of his power.  To believe in the mysticism or mythical nature as it might be, one needs to believe contradictory ideas.  My post on Free Will and Agency discusses these teachings.

Modern revelation has given us a religious understanding that includes the teachings of the Bible. This is the practical application of everything the gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses that can guide people to lasting happiness in mortality and eternity.  Latter-day Saints embrace the teachings of the premortal existence of man's spirit and relationship of God as our Eternal Father in a literal meaning and not just metaphorical.

Modern churches with theology based on opinions of religious scholars and professors based on the Bible provide no unity in the doctrines or practices of the biblical church. These scholars themselves profess to have no divine authority other than their secular credentials of learning.

The declaration of an apostasy is a very sound doctrine from a practical standpoint because of the self-evident truth that manifest apostasy exists.

Traditional theology says God created everything out of nothing 6,000 years ago.  This is when the biblical record has been determined to start.  Latter-day theology gives us understanding that God's power is based on the eternal existence of all things and that the concept of creation out of nothing is not a biblical teaching but a philosophical assumption and opinion of scholars.

The purpose for man's existence on the earth in the current state must entail an eternal purpose.  The only alternative is for it to have been a sudden and random decision.  Such action by deity is contrary to any reason that He is a being of order and eternal laws.   My article on the fall explains in more detail the nature of creation. "What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden"

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