Sic et Non
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This is the end, if you’re lucky. Or it isn’t.
A blog post on this topic a few days ago garnered such a curious response in several quarters that I decided to reprise it, expand it a bit, for my Deseret News column this morning.
By quoting Russell in the way that you do, it certainly paints a bleak picture. But I believe you are quoting it out of context. The title of the article is “A Free Man’s Worship”, and while he certainly paints a bleak picture of death, his purpose is to enhance the free man’s ability to make the most of the present — to establish morality and goodness amidst what he views as the cruelty of the omnipotent universe. This is what Russell’s point was:
“Let us learn, then, that energy of faith which enables us to live constantly in the vision of the good; and let us descend, in action, into the world of fact, with that vision always before us.”
I would hardly think this charge to have faith in a way that leads to action for good is a message at odds with what we as LDS believe. To seek a world of ‘fact’ is to embrace the gospel as it was meant to be taught: all truth is circumscribed into one whole, to have faith in something proven to be not true is no faith at all.
I’m pleased that you’re finally able to comment here. Did you figure out what the problem was?
“By quoting Russell in the way that you do, it certainly paints a bleak picture.”
It certainly does.
“But I believe you are quoting it out of context.”
I don’t believe that I am in any way that is simultaneously avoidable and relevant. My columns are only 700-735 words long.
“I would hardly think this charge to have faith in a way that leads to action for good is a message at odds with what we as LDS believe.”
Of course it’s not. But that’s not germane to the point of my column.
using my ipad, i can reply…
i see the point. i respect Russell a great deal, but his type of atheism asserts knowledge in a way that knows there is no afterlife. such assertion is baseless, and unhelpful.
at the other extreme are those who presume tat god has a reason for every death…again, an assertion without basis, that can make god into a monster if we aren’t careful.
my sense is that the Mormon conception of god who is more human than the omniwhatever, yet whose atonement is infinite, whose family is eternal, and whose love is of a Father, provides a sensible Middle Way between the stark wasteland of atheism and the all-powerful “other” of the god f the creeds.
I agree on all counts.
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