Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Point of View

My previous post, unfortunately, drew a couple of comments that were critical of the two systems of thought. That was not the reason I brought up the subject, but, in retrospect, I should have expected it.

Each of us has a unique point of view. All I want to do is try to understand the different points of view. Let's remember that each one is held by a living, breathing human being. Let's remember that each one is strongly held, and dear to the heart and mind of a person.

In this post, I am going to introduce two additional systems of thought, so I'm going to give each one a letter, so that I can refer to them all more easily in the posts to follow. The first system of thought from yesterday's post, I will call M, and the second one, S.

Now it happens that the first two comments said, basically, "I choose M." The third comment made fun of M, and the fourth comment told a joke at the expense of S. Now it happens that I love all of those who left a comment, and I recognize that each has a unique point of view. I don't think it is useful in any way to make fun of anyone else's point of view.

The third commenter phoned me right after hitting submit and asked me to remove xer comment. Xe realized that xer comment wasn't adequately respectful of other points of view. I invite xer to make another comment that simply claims xers choice of S over M, without poking any fun, if xe wishes to do so.

Now again in the spirit of understanding, rather than criticism or humorous disbelief, let me present two other systems of thought relative to the life questions.

Several students of mine when I was a professor held to this system of thought, which I will call C:

Q. Where did I come from?
A. A supreme being created you out of nothing, as a special creation.

Q. Why am I here?
A. You must worship your creator, live a good life, and accept the One sent by the creator as your personal savior.

Q. Where am I going?
A. After you die you will go on to eternal bliss if you have accepted the One, but if not, you will go on to eternal torment.

Another dear friend holds to a system of thought which I will call R:

Q. Where did I come from?
A. You have lived many lives before on this planet and are now again living here on Earth.

Q. Why am I here?
A. You are here to gain more experience as a living being and to see what kind of life you choose.

Q. Where am I going?
A. After you die, you will look over your life and learn from it while preparing to be born into another life.

These systems of thought are all quite different, and it can be interesting to compare and contrast them. For example, M, C, and R all hold that there is life after death, whereas S does not.

It is important to remember that each person holds on to their preferred system of thought quite firmly, and it is important to them. While we could get a great deal of enjoyment poking fun at other systems of thought, my purpose in this series of posts is to learn about them, accept that each has some believers, and above all, to be tolerant and detached.


Myrna said...

I do not think that I or my daughters were taking you as seriously as you in fact are. So now we don't know what to say, because we get like that sometimes. Okay, I have no idea about them, but for me, I have no idea what to say. I just like to comment so that you won't get discouraged and stop posting.

Nancy said...

When I was reading this I was thinking about the eleventh article of faith. "We claim the privilege of worshiping the Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

I've been thinking about it a lot, really. Living away from Utah, which has a high population of Latter-day Saints, and living away from "the West," which has a high population of Christians, I feel that I have had the opportunity to further assess my beliefs and faith.

I love the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed to us in these latter days. It answers the questions you have been posing so well and I believe the answers it gives are true.

I am still developing my testimony. There are still things I am "experimenting" on. But I do know that I lived in heaven and was sent to earth to gain a body and experience. I do know that Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers, that I am not alone here. I know that the Savior atoned for my sins and conquered death for my sake so that I can live again someday. I know that families are eternal.

That's what I believe. Well, I believe some other things, too, but I suppose those are the "answers" to the questions posed here.

I know that not everyone believes the same thing and I think it is very important to respect others' beliefs.

My mom once told me that if you do everything you believe to be right then there is something special about you...if you live what you believe then the light of Christ shines in you.

I believe that everyone needs the fulness of the gospel, but not everyone has it or is ready to accept it. And that's okay.

I have more to say but I'm not quite sure how to say it at this point...so maybe later. :)

Bruce Conrad said...

Thanks Myrna and Nancy. Does the eleventh article of faith apply to atheists? Or does it only apply to people who worship some sort of higher power? Does "worship how" include not worshiping at all? Does "worship ... what" include worshiping, say, the scientific method? How far does this tolerance extend? The example of Korihor comes to mind. But this doesn't match any atheist that I know. None of them have had the devil appear to them as an angel telling them, "There is no God." None of them "always knew that there was a God." None of them "preach unto the people." So, I'm hoping it's okay to be tolerant of their belief system.