Sunday, November 7, 2010

Of Philosophy and Fried Froth

O.K., time for some quotables. I have all these little quotes and sayings that I hear or read jotted down on little scraps of paper floating throughout my house, which inevitably get lost or thrown away. I would like to write down a few of them here before they get lost forever, and so I can start decluttering!

O.K., first a few from John Taylor:
"I prefer a faded coat to a faded reputation."

Isn't that the truth! My good name is of utmost importance to me, and I hope I have never done anything that would cause people to question my honor or integrity.

"If a thing is done well, no one will ask how long it took to do it; only who did it."

And this next one I just love, and repeat often to myself;
"Never arise in the morning or retire at night without dedicating yourself to the not let any circumstance stand in the way of it."

What a wonderful way to show our Creator how grateful we are for the many, many blessings we have been given. I think when we dedicate ourselves to the Lord, we open our souls to the wonder and beauty of life around us, and we look for opportunities to serve others less fortunate then ourselves. I would love to buy the book by Dr. Seuss, "Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?" because it gives a good perspective on situations that many of us could complain about. The book's message is basically, be grateful, because there is always someone less fortunate then yourself, or in a worse situation then you! It reminds me of a quote my Dad had up on the wall growing up (and I think it is still up on the wall!)--"I'm too blessed to complain!" AMEN!

Last one from John Taylor; "Philosphy is fried froth." We have all met people who purport to be philosophers, who talk themselves in circles, not to mention everyone around them, and at the end of the day, they have no idea in what or whom they believe! I had a conversation some months ago with a friend I used to know back in my highschool days. He used to be a member of the church, but has since left it, and is pursuing various middle eastern/Asian philosophy and religious ideas. I was interested, as I love learning about other's beliefs, so I asked him what some of the things were that he now believed. What he said made very little sense, and I am certain he didn't actually believe what he was saying. It sounded very convoluted and weird, and I just wanted to shake him and say, "WAKE UP! You are looking for the truth in the wrong place! The gospel of Jesus Christ is so beautiful and simple! Just believe in that!" But of course, I didn't say anything because there would have been no point. I simply smiled and nodded. The thing is, I believe that one of the laws of God is that you have to be actually following a correct principle in order to gain a testimony of it's truthfulness, and this young man was certainly not doing that. ("Faith is a principle of action.") I felt bad for him, because he is missing out on a lot of peace and happiness in his life...But I digress. I am not necessarily against people philosophizing. I think it is often fascinating to listen and participate in conversations where we try to make sense of this world, and why people do the things they do. However, at the end of the day, I think it is so important that we are well grounded in truth, however much we may like to philosophize, because, well, often philosophies are just fried froth!

O.K., Um, I am not sure if this next one is John Taylor or not--it is written at the bottom of my John Taylor quote scrap of paper, so I will assume it is. "Two men can do anything as long as one of them is the Lord." How often we forget that, yet how important it is to remember it.

Well, I will end with just one more, as at the moment I can't find my other scraps. This one I know by heart though, because, again, my Dad had it on the wall growing up and I have probably read it a thousand times. It goes something like this; "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and disguised as hard work." I think nowadays most parents do a grave disservice to their children in not giving them enough opportunities to work and contribute to the well being of the family. I know I am guilty of that myself, and it is an area I really need to figure out better. (Along with a million other things!)

Anyway, that is that for now, folks.


AC said...

I love Dr. Seuss! His books are fun and made me happy as a kid.

Everybody has a philosophy, to say "Philosophy is fried froth" is kind of meaningless, however assuming he was referring to those who try to emulate the ancient philosophers (that believed they could determine the nature of everything any anything by thought alone) then I tend to agree with him. If we want to know the nature of something we must actually investigate it. I've never taken a philosophy class so I'm not exactly sure what the depths of philosophy involves, but I don't believe it's needed to think logically.

People are funny, they love the mysterious, they get a rush out of getting involved in whatever mystic practice. Once someone gets emotionally involved with something logic and reason go out the window.
I think people need to take a step back and try to look at things logically. Though, if everybody actually did that there would be no religion in the first place.

In religions it's incredibly taboo for someone to question their testimony, they don't allow themselves to even consider the possibility that they might be wrong. Everything that supports their claims they trumpet out, while ignoring and dismissing the many inconsistencies.

Ultimately it comes down to your philosophy, if you believe that a person should trust their emotions over their reason then you will look for truth in religion.

Anna Marie said...

Thanks for your comment Aaron. I would beg to differ on a few points, but everyone is entitled to his or her opinion!

For one thing, I think if people thought about things logically, EVERYBODY would be religious--at least they would believe in God. The citizens in early America wouldn't even let athiests stand on a jury because to them, it was proof that these people hadn't bothered to take the time to think about and reason through creation, and therefore, their testimony on a jury was not to be trusted. Interesting, no?

Additionally, I would contend that in many religions, perhaps it is true that they discourage people from questioning their testimonies or things that they might not understand. Not so in our religion, as you well know. The most famous scripture in the Book of Mormon (Moroni 10:3-5)talks about exactly this. Read, ponder, pray...find out for yourself--don't just take someone else's word for it! There are logical answers to all the hard questions, and the easy ones too of course--sometimes we just have to put some on the shelf temporarily while we do some researching and work to find the answer!

AC said...

Anna, if you are indeed serious then frankly I'm astonished at the lack of thought put into that statement.

You're pointing to the pilgrims as incredibly wise and logical, but didn't they engage in witch hunts? Are you familiar how they treated the quakers?

You acknowledge that religions discourage free thought (though you claim Mormonism as an exemption) isn't it possible that the pilgrims suffered the same irrational misguided dedication? Wouldn't you claim that they followed the "wrong" religion?
What if the settlers had been Muslim? "The citizens in early america wouldn't even let Christians stand on a jury because it was proof that these people hadn't bothered to take the time to think and reason though islam, and therefore, their testimony on a jury was not to be trusted".

Are you aware of a recent study that indicates atheists and agnostics know the most regarding religions? Atheists are not ones that dismiss religion out of a lack of logic or reason, but because they have done the research and arrived at the conclusion.

Mormon leaders claim that they permit seeking the truth, but I highly doubt they would look kindly upon any Sunday school discussion of some of the churches more controversial history.

Now, interestingly, the next highest ranked in the study were Jews, and then Mormons. I interpret this as an indication that to those that want to retain a belief, they are the religious pieces that best can be crammed into the puzzle of reality.

Anna Marie said...

Wow. Aaron. What can I say. I am impressed at the thought you have put in to this.

I think we are getting our centuries mixed up here a little though, for starters. Pilgrims, Salem witch trials, etc.; late 17th century. The Founding Fathers’era, trial by jury, etc.; late 18th century. And yes, I admire the founding fathers greatly, and I do believe they were inspired and logical men. No one has yet come up with a better form of government then they did, in my humble opinion. And don’t forget--our country was founded by Christians, not atheists or agnostics or Islaamics. However, I noticed that in your refutation to my comment, you neglected to address the fundamental issue: creationism. Agnostics and atheists can rant and rave all they want but no one has yet come up with a more satisfactory answer for how we were created other then by God himself. Even Darwin himself (I believe I have mentioned this to you before) admitted that his theories were just that--theories, and he didn’t entirely believe in them himself!

I actually have heard of that study that you mention, and found it quite interesting. Someone brought it up in Sunday School a few weeks ago. The one difference between atheists and agnostics versus Mormons, is that yes, we study religion very much, but in their quest for answers, atheists don’t acknowledge that there may be more to religion then simple logic--namely, spirituality. I believe that there are four aspects to our souls, if you will; mental, physical, intellectual, and spiritual. I think in the quest for truth, you can’t just ignore the spiritual or write it off because you can’t “see”it, and simply use the physical, mental, and intellectual. In my mind, that would be like saying, “Well, I have never seen a human brain before, so it must not exist.” How utterly ridiculous that would be! We rely on experts in the medical field, people who have seen and had experience with a human brain, to tell us it exists, and we believe them! If we want to, we can validate what they say by doing our own research--maybe looking at a cadaver, or something. Why would it be any different for things of a spiritual nature? My point is, agnostics and atheists may arrive at certain conclusions by using logic, but their logic is incomplete without the spiritual, and therefore, their conclusions are false. Back to the Salem witch trials--people used “logic” to draw certain conclusions about others, but their so called logical conclusions were flawed because they didn’t have all the information to arrive at the truth.

Anna Marie said...


Aaron, you are right about one thing, though. Discussions of a nature that you are referring to might possibly be frowned upon in a Sunday School class (although I highly doubt it) simply because many people still need and want to learn the basics. Milk before meat, as they say. A discussion such as you are referring to would be more properly suited to a more private setting, or even a religion or institute class, perhaps even the temple. However, I would venture to guess that any question you were to throw out in a general Sunday school class (at least in Rexburg) people would jump on! We LOVE trying to answer hard questions and arriving together at truth. I would encourage you to do it sometime and see what happens. I’m guessing people would love being stirred up a little!

Now, let me ask you something. I get the feeling you are wanting to debate all this just for the sake of an interesting debate, NOT necessarily to arrive at a conclusion that reflects the truth. If you are perfectly honest with yourself, is not this the case? Don’t get me wrong, I am totally fine with that. I am always up for a good debate. I just want to make it clear that if you really and truly wanted to arrive at the truth of religion, you, again, would do the “experiment upon the word.” Scientists do experiments to find answers to their theories. It’s what you must do to arrive at the truth about religion too, if that is what you truly want. You know where to find the necessary steps of this experiment, but you HAVE to follow the proper protocol, just as a scientist would do. You can’t leave out steps that don’t suit you, you can’t take shortcuts, or your experiment will return inconclusive or just plain incorrect results. However, if all you want is a good argument, again, I am totally fine with that as long as you are honest with yourself about what you really want, though!

AC said...

I realize my responses might come off as purely debate, but know that my goal is purely to obtain truth. I promised myself a long time ago that I would accept the truth even if it was in contradiction to my views, and I have been wrong on issues and accepted it many times.

Say there is a religion that believes the sun is not a ball of gas, but a god. How do we know what the sun is made out of? We've never collected samples of it. Sure, scientists may say because of a spectrograph they know exactly what it's made of, but what do they know.

A believer is not going to find truth by believing, a belief doesn't need any evidence at all, and even irrefutable evidence will not shake it. If somebody really wants to obtain the truth then they will realize that their current view might be incorrect.

I could go through your post and refute the multitude of fallacies and inaccuracies, but it would be pointless. I believe I understand your point of view because I once held it. The more I learned about the world it became increasingly difficult to resolve the contradictions, I finally allowed my mind to explore the possibility that I was wrong.

If for no other reason than to understand my point of view, put yourself in my shoes and refute your own statement. Research the topics and don't stop asking how or why, till you understand why the scientists say what they say.

Anna Marie said...

Hey again, Aaron. I am sorry to keep on about this. I know I am waxing way to verbose about this. Something just occurred to me as I was re-reading your comment about the study, and how athiests and agnostics study religion and arrive to the unfortunate conclusion that they do. I wonder how many of them are just like Joseph Smith--frustrated at the quantity of religions, all claiming different things, and all interpreting scripture so differently so as to be nearly impossible to come to any conclusion, who is right and who is wrong. I wonder how many of those researchers of yours are simply frustrated because they don't know where to find the whole truth--not just portions of it that the other religions have, which do make them so confusing! It would be really interesting to visit with these people and have the missionaries teach them and then see what they think!

Anna Marie said...

By the way, you're right--every one has a philosophy! The "fried froth" I believe John Taylor was referring to were people that basically just like to hear themselves talk for the sake of talking. You know the kind of people I mean!

Anna Marie said...

Aaron, I love you. You are great.

Which statement of mine would you like me to refute?

It is interesting, because I believe just the opposite of you. The more I learn about the world, the more clearly I can understand the gospel and the more I appreciate it's effect in my life. This is not an uneducated, biased person speaking. This is someone who thirsts after knowledge and loves to learn--even learn about other religions! I love to learn about other religions not only because I find it interesting, but because it makes me incredibly grateful to already have the whole truth and not have to go searching for it. How I was so blessed, I don't know.

AC said...

You claim to be unbiased, but you are seeing through your religious lens. It seems you missed the point of the analogy I made in the previous comment.

I am relieved you are open to learning though, if you would like to understand my point of view I would be more than willing to discuss why i think what I think.