By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Religion and Science and Philosophy and...

I would certainly classify myself as a religious LDS conservative. At the same time, I enjoy learning about science, philosophy, math, physics, politics, history, and many other subjects. I do not feel that any of these things are off limits to the religious soul.

I know that I do not see eye to eye with a number of the citizens of the Bloggernacle, but I think that is a good thing. If there is diversity in thought and opinion and knowledge, then we have something to think about and to discuss.

I firmly believe that our Heavenly Father wants us to study and learn about many subjects. He wants us to exercise our minds and use our thought processes. That we may come to different conclusions is not a bad thing. There are any number of areas wherein the Lord has not given us definitive information yet. Some questions may well not be answered until the Millenium or later. I believe that the Lord meant for our learning to be a growth process. He means for us to think things through and reach the best conclusions we can. If others disagree, we can restudy and rethink, but if we are still convinced of our position, that is fine. We may be right about some things, the others may be right about other things. We will all have learned and thought and exercised our brains.

Being a conservative Mormon does not mean that I reject science or philosophy or any other subject. It may mean, though, that I do not agree with some statements or ideas. I would say that we should not jump to conclusions about one another. We should also enjoy the difference of opinion and idea. What would we talk about if we all thought alike?!

There are so many facts and ideas out there in the world. It is a neverending process to learn even one subject because there are always new discoveries, new ideas, and new information coming out.

I would hope that we do not neglect the gospel in our pursuit of secular learning. We are all here for a purpose--to learn and grow and become like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. This certainly includes secular learning, but does not mean that we should reject religious or gospel learning. We can apply our reasoning to the gospel as well as to other topics, but let us not forget that faith plays an important role in truly understanding the things of God.

There will always be room for differences of opinion as long as we are in this mortal life. These differences can help us learn to think, to sort out ideas, to make sense of a great many things. That what is sense to one is nonsense to another should not invite derision or dismissal, but rather respect and listening and learning.

Learning and study and education is very important to me, but not more important than the gospel. I consider those things to be a part of the gospel, as is all truth and learning. We cannot know everything now, but we can certainly learn a lot and we can learn to think things through.

What are some things that you have learned that are important to you? These can be secular or religous or some combination of the two. I am just interested to know what people think.

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Blogger jeff g said...


Your humble and inquisitive approach to the subject is a refreshing breath of fresh air.

Your comment about how disagreements brings up an interesting question in my mind: What do two people who are completely omniscient talk about? After all, they know exactly what the other will say, as well as what they will say in reponse to it, ad infinitum. Does this sound at all appealing?

9:49 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Well, Jeff G, that is an interesting question! I wonder if they can turn off their omniscience in order to have an interesting discussion. Even then, I suppose it would be limited to something like the two best ways to handle situation X, because they would both know the same things and agree (mostly) and all.

I can imagine omniscient beings discussing ways and means to create and people worlds and get scripture to their people, etc., but if, as you said, they know exactly what they each will say...well, that has me stumped!

Still, there has to be a way for it to happen. I doubt if we are in for a boring eternity!

12:44 PM  
Blogger Jettboy said...

It could be worse. We could be playing harps all day and glorifying God in a sort of extatic stupor. The idea of conversations in Heaven never crossed my mind. Perhaps its because reading the scriptures presents a picture of a God that is constantly busy. I can see God with no time for lounging about discussing trivial (or not so trivial) matters.

Of course, the very idea of "omniscient" in LDS Theology can't be easily defined. Does it mean knowing everything that can be known? Does it mean comprehending reality beyond mortal ability (i.e. compared to ants, humans are omniscient)? They probably can't read each other's minds anymore than we can. Perhaps they talk about the latest news, or the best approach to a particular problem, or memories of . . . whenever.

3:35 PM  
Blogger jeff g said...

I always thought that the idea of total omniscience was a horrible and terrifying idea. Imagine, you could never "get" a joke (because you'd already heard all of them), you could never be surprised by anything, if would be very difficult to experience much emotion of any kind (emotion seem to rely a lot upon ignorance and surprise) and so on. Pretty much all excitement would be gone (because there is no tension).

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Barb said...

Mary, I did a little scripture research just to comment here. These scriptures to me show the we should learn about more than what is in the Standard Works. As we know though to be learned is good if we harken unto the counsels of God. First scripture D&C 90;5 And set things in order the churches and study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books and with languages, tongues, and people. D&C 88:79 Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth, things which have been, things which are at home, things which are abroad, the ward and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land, and a knowledge also of courntries and of kingdoms.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Barb said...

This year I have in particular felt inclined to study about animals. I watched the movie the March of the Penguins and was so inspired by the love and sacrifice of the penguins. I enjoy studying Grammar although sometimes my application of it in usuage falls short. I just got a book called "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves" that I am excited to start reading. More in a moment.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Barb said...

In the past I remember reading about a baby growing from a single egg to multi-cells to a zygote and feeling like dew was being distilled upon my brain as the knowledge was so stimulating. I have studied cells in school, but in recent years have stuided on my own. When my mom was a young girl, she believed that a universe lived in each of us. While she did not mean a cell in her child-like thinking, to me our cells are like a universe within. I love intelligent design as it helps one see how much order there is in the created world. We still need to go by faith as you can never prove God.

I want to study more about critical reasoning this year. I believe that it is good to learn of truths in all field and also to study philosphies. There are many truths to be found in philosphy as there are truths in all religions. That is not to say that there is not false doctrine too, but I think it is worthwhile to learn of them. I like comparative religion studies. As President Hinckley has encouraged other from other faiths to bring the good with them as they embrace the truths of the Restored Gospel, I think that we can learn much from them.

I like to study about how the mind processes language and also about the mental lexicon. It is kind of an escape for me from my worries when I study about things that are removed from my day to day life. I am not sure to what end my studies will take me, but I do strongly believe the adage that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. We are to be thinking people while sticking close to the center of the Church. Some things will be hidden until the Lord comes again.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Jeff, I guess it depends on how, precisely, omniscience works. Maybe there won't be any surprises or jokes, but there will be something else better. I just seem to have a lot of faith that these details will work themselves out in a way that we will be happy with. :D

Barb, I always enjoy your comments. I just got that book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves too. I've heard it's a fun read, yet educational.

Sometimes I wonder where my studies in various interests will take me, too, but I think that we are meant to learn what we can so that we gain some insight into how the world works and also how our minds work. We also exercise our thinking processes and refine them. So we gain something no matter what we study, although there are probably some things that are trivial enough or false enough that we shouldn't waste our time on them.

I love it that there are scriptures encouraging us to study all sorts of things. Thanks for mentioning those, Barb.

My, how I do ramble on! :D

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Barb said...

Mary, how great that we will be reading Eat, Shoots, & Leaves around the same time.

Please don't say you ramble. I love what you have to say. I think that I am going to do a post on rambling at my online journal at under Olivia86. My whole blog is mainly brainstorming as I think it is a fun exercise to start at point a and end at point b. Sometimes I do preplan a little. I know that I invited you a long time ago to my journal but kept my identity silent. I thought it would allow me to write more freely to have nobody know it was me. And it did. Now that I have told a few people, I feel more inhibited. Which is funny because I have no proof that anybody even reads it. Well, I have worked out the post on rambling to some degree in my head.

4:55 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Barb, yes, it'll be fun to exchange some comments on Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Maybe we could do that at Nauvoo after awhile! Right now, I've gotten sidetracked by a box arriving from Deseret Book with Sheri Dew's new book, If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard, and I've been reading that. She has some really profound things to say about charity, which are very thought-provoking, and also about seeking spiritual gifts from God (toward the end of the book).

I will go check out your online journal soon--sounds interesting. I know what you mean about being a bit inhibited when there's even a possibility that someone you know is reading your work!!!

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Barb said...

That sounds like a great book too!

I lost my old enteries at when the site crashed. I liked some of my old works better as they were more abstract. But I don't like to revisit things too much in the same capacity to redo what has been done.

My online journal would be so full if I would write about half the ideas that I work up in my head in a weeks time. :)

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... is back online and more secure. Please come check out again :).

10:49 PM  

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