Anti-intellectualism and pluralism

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Mormons, especially Mormon apologists, have been accused of being "postmodern fog machines".

"As long as they make you happy and a good person, then I'm happy you have your own beliefs." "It's not Christ-like to criticize another person's beliefs." "Instead of Bible-bashing, why don't we both just share our perspectives on religion?" "People can prove anything from the Bible. It's open to interpretation."

This kind of speech can be associated in the Christian community with something known as postmodernism. Postmodernism here is referred to a package of related influences, attitudes, and worldview assumptions that have to do with communication, pluralism, and the nature of truth. Some aspects of historic Mormonism make it fit very well with postmodernism, and contemporary Mormonism is heavily influenced by the trend as a whole. Many Mormons tend to:

An increasing number of Mormons say they are open to the idea that God calls people to join other religions.[1]

Mormons are almost never fully postmodern in their worldview, as they do hold to some staple beliefs as knowable truths (there is one true church, Joseph Smith was a prophet, conservative values, etc.), but beyond some basics they are seemingly very atheological.


[edit] Partial embrace of the contemporary idea of "tolerance"

A typical Mormon would not buy the liberal appeal to "tolerance" in support of homosexuality, but he or she would appeal to the modern idea of tolerance when it comes to matters of public criticism, especially criticism that regards basic Mormon truth-claims.

Consider the words of Joseph Fielding McConkie, who, in the spirit of his father Bruce McConkie, opposes the general Mormon trend to the new view of "tolerance":

"When I was a young man, tolerance meant that we treated those with whom we disagreed with civility. It did not mean that we were obligated to accept their point of view. To many of the young people in my classes today, it means that we are to be non-judgmental, holding all men and all ideas to be equal and that it is morally wrong to say that something is morally wrong. It is not an unusual thing to have students cover willful disobedience in the blanket of God’s love and to advance the idea of a universal salvation that sounds dangerously like that advocated by Lucifer in the councils of heaven.
"People like to equate tolerance with Christ-like behavior, which is in many ways a rather awkward fit. My assumption is that you too have noticed that the appeal for Christ-like behavior generally comes from people who have no meaningful understanding of how Christ behaved and who would be greatly surprised to find out.
"When the dialogue between Christ and the woman from Canaan was read recently in a religion class at BYU, a number of the students were uneasy with the account of Christ’s behavior. A number of attempts were made to excuse or justify it. One student suggested that in calling the woman a 'dog,' Christ was really using a term of endearment. Such an explanation does not fit well in the context of the story. Finally a young lady gave expression to the thought that troubled many of her classmates. With tears in her eyes she exclaimed, 'But Jesus was so unchristian' (Matthew 15:21-28)." [2]

[edit] Mormon apologetics

"Jacques Derrida is revered by those at the foggiest fringes of postmodern thought and reviled by almost everyone else who is familiar with his work [1]. Derrida made a career out of accusing all who critiqued his work of misunderstanding him, while refusing to clarify his position. The whole point of the exercise seemed to be avoidance of understanding... The smell around Daniel Peterson and his ilk at FARMS are symptoms of an ideological system in distress as much as the smell of decaying flesh is of a dead body. They are Derridian postmodern fog machines whose purpose is to make the terrain around the borders of Mormonism so hard to find and to appear so baffling and unattractive that the faithful who wander in that direction will turn back in dismay." -Bob McCue [2]

[edit] Quotes

[edit] Notes

  1. Kyle, a Mormon, writes to Rob Sivulka, "I have a feeling that God has a tendency to lead us to churches that will draw us closest to him in our own life circumstances." URL:
  2. "The First Vision and Religious Tolerance", by Joseph Fielding McConkie. Accessed 8/16/2006.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Non-Mormon

[edit] Mormon

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