William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On LDS Church history and its relationship to faith in Christ

The question was put to me: "One thing I hear constantly is that LDS don't teach church history in SS because the members are there to draw closer to Christ and that doesn't draw them closer. Fair enough. But, do you believe that the history would move most members further from Christ?"

I answered:

To the extent that one's faith is based upon false assurances rooted in misleading or incomplete historical fact, it rests on a very shaky foundation. An ignorant person might feel a stronger conviction about Christ and their own religious belief, but any conviction unaccompanied by honest inquiry and a willingness to hear all of the evidence and arguments in opposition to that conviction, is of little worth. The proper initial inquiry, in my opinion, is NOT whether awareness of various evidence would move us closer to or further away from Christ, but rather, whether our beliefs are reasonably consistent with the evidence and arguments available to us. The minute we decide to limit our inquiry into the truth to the consideration of evidence and arguments which affirm our existing beliefs, we have stopped being honest with ourselves.

All of that said, there is a place for exercising faith, and we cannot demand or expect that the truth will always be apparent through empirical or objective evidence. And my personal belief is that, as we honestly seek after the truth, we are much more likely to develop a mature faith in Christ and the example of love he set for us.

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