Sunday, January 16, 2011
"Just Another Bad Theory"
Over at "Darwin's God" is a link to a "survey of failed evolutionary predictions" - the website DarwinsPredictions.com. The featured article is a lengthy explanation of some predictions inherent in Darwin's Theory of Evolution, and how they have failed. The logical premise of the argument is that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. A theory which becomes too complicated with modifications and falsifications should be scrapped in favor of a better and more parsimonious model. Such is the case with (Macro-)Evolution, according to article author, Cornelius Hunter.
I'm not going to rehash Hunter's article; I leave it to the reader to enjoy the reading firsthand. What I want to do here is to use the same argument with the Mormon faith.
Man-made religion is and has always been an attempt to explain the overall picture and gain a correct worldview. Who we are, why we are, where we are going, and who or what put us here... there are factual answers to these questions. Each religious theory put forth by men will eventually fail because we human-beings are just too limited in our understanding. God must GIVE US the true religious model because He is the only one who knows everything.
Now, the LDS Church believes itself to be the one true church on earth, restored from fallen Christianity. If it is what it claims to be, we can then expect that its set of predictions will hold fast. If it is not the one true church, we can expect to see its predictions fail. Did God give Joseph Smith, Jr. the truth, or did Joseph build his church upon his own religious hypotheses? This is something we can know. Let's look at some of the inherent predictions, and their outcomes.
If Mormonism were true...
1. ... Joseph Smith would have been able to consistently, accurately, remember his visit from two separate supernatural beings, God the Father and Jesus the Son. We now know that is not the case (for more info, see here, here, and here).
2. ...the LDS "truth" that there are at least two gods, our Heavenly (spirit) Father, whose name is Elohim, and Jesus (Elohim's son), whose spirit-name is Jehovah, would have been consistent since Mormonism's beginnings. Instead, the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith's first work, preaches that there is only one (modal) God (see Alma 11:26-31, 2 Nephi 31:21, Mosiah 15:1-5 for example). Joseph Smith originally taught that Jesus' father's name was Jehovah, and Brigham Young, Mormonism's second prophet, taught that Heavenly Father was actually Adam, the first man on earth. Joseph also originally taught that of the three members of the "Godhead," only Jesus had a body. That of course is no longer Mormon belief.
3. ...the Book of Mormon, a book that is supposed to contain the "fulness of the gospel," would teach on the plurality of gods, man's potential for godhood, eternal marriage in Mormon temples, baptism for the dead, three degrees of heaven, and the other beliefs that separate Mormonism from orthodox Christianity. Not only does the Book of Mormon not teach these things, it and the other LDS scriptures frequently contradict current Mormon truths, and each other.
4. ...there would be evidence of a large battle on or around the Hill Cumorah in New York, and other archeological evidence to support the notion of Book of Mormon life on this continent. Instead, LDS apologists are still struggling to locate and identify possible Book of Mormon geography sites (see also here and here).
5. ...the Book of Mormon would not contain Greek and French words like "adieu" and "Jesus" and "Alpha" and "Omega." It would not speak of things that had not yet been invented. It would not contain quotes from the KJV Bible, including KJV mistakes. It would not abuse the phrase "it came to pass" in all of its books but two. It would not contain country-boy vernacular. But it does.
6. ...when portions of the papyri used to create the Book of Abraham were recovered and translated, the text would be very similar to what Joseph had written. Instead, just as you would expect if Joseph Smith had bought merely a couple of random mummies that had been found in an ordinary catacomb from a man with many mummies and scraps to sell, the papyri has been discovered to be common Egyptian funerary documents.
I could continue making this list, but I think I've made my point. If Joseph Smith did not actually have the "First Vision," if he personally wrote (instead of translated from ancient golden plates) the Book of Mormon, if he personally wrote the Book of Abraham... these things are Mormonism's foundational blocks. Are they missing? The failed predictions indicate that they are, indeed, missing. Thus the "restored" doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a bad religious theory, and should be scrapped.
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