In my last SiOB, I highlighted a list of “things that both atheists and Mormons can largely affirm together” by Aaron Shafovaloff. Then Andrew S picked up the discussion and even attracted Aaron Shafovaloff himself to attempt to explain it.
I had highlighted the list mostly because many of the items were so hilariously off. In an attempt to account for the phenomenon of people choosing to “stay LDS” after a loss of belief, Shafovaloff had tried to come up with a list of beliefs that are common among the three groups: atheist exmos, agnostic NOMs, and believing Mormons. That’s a reasonable approach, but the key problem is that Shafovaloff didn’t make a serious attempt to understand any of these positions or what they have in common. His list seems to be more an exercise in trying to discredit the three categories by lumping them together.
Then it hit me that it actually is an interesting question! Are there points where atheist exmos, agnostic NOMs, and believing Mormons are more likely to agree among themselves than to agree with non-Mormon Christians? Absolutely!
Here’s my first attempt at such a list:
- The unique beliefs and doctrines of Mormonism are no crazier than the beliefs of Christianity — they simply seem more outlandish because they’re less familiar to most people.
- Some of the unique beliefs and doctrines of Mormonism are more appealing and/or make more sense than their mainstream Christian counterparts.
- Although they are related, the question of whether the CoJCoL-dS is true and whether it is a net force for good are two separate questions.
- There are many reasons why people might want to continue to practice Mormonism and/or identify as Mormon even after a loss of belief.
- Mormonism encourages a number of worthwhile pursuits such as journal-writing, genealogy, setting goals, self-reliance, and growing your talents.
- Fiddler on the Roof is one of the best musicals ever!
- The text of the Bible alone does not conclusively point to a specific set of beliefs about God. The particular doctrines of modern Christianity are more a product of millennia of traditional interpretations building on one another than a product of directly reading the text.
- It doesn’t matter if you can find some Bible passages that seem to contradict Mormon beliefs. The Bible contradicts itself. It doesn’t need Mormonism’s help. If you believe that a benevolent God wrote the Bible, then it is reasonable to imagine He’d provide some additional guidance to explain it.
- Calling Mormonism a “cult” is problematic since it implies that older religions are somehow wholly different in character.
- The principal arguments against Mormonism also apply to Christianity.
What do you think? Which points would you add, subtract, or alter?
Maybe once it’s honed, we can pass it along to a faithful Mormon blog for their feedback!