Is Faith Compatible with Reason?

Great podcast!  Faith is reasonable.  And is a choice.

Abstract: In this article I argue that faith is not only rationally justifiable but also inescapable simply because our decisions regarding ultimate questions must necessarily be made under conditions of objective uncertainty. I review remarks by several prominent thinkers on the subject — both avowed atheists and several writers who have addressed the challenge implicit in issues related to faith and reason. I end my discussion by citing William James, who articulated clearly the choices we must make in addressing these “ultimate questions.”

Is Faith Compatible with Reason?

Peterson likely used notes from this talk in this debate with Michael Shermer.  Many of his points and some stories appear identical:

Creeds (and the Trinity) in Christianity

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Elder Holland discusses the LDS doctrine of the Godhead here:

Wikipedia lists the many creeds and highlights the important historical ones here.

The creeds evolved over centuries.  From the Apostles’ Creed (180 AD) to the Athanasian Creed (500 AD).  Latter-day Saints can agree with the early creeds.  The later creeds, however, are deeply influenced by the dominant (at the time) Greek philosophy.

The creed in 180 AD is simple and clear.  The creed in 500 AD is not clear.  Not simple.

Mormons believe in the revealed truth about the Godhead.

Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell.

On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Athanasian Creed:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Substance [Essence] of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Substance [Essence] of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood. Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood into God. One altogether; not by confusion of Substance [Essence]; but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the living and the dead. At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.

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From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, History of Trinitarian Doctrines:

Very first paragraph:

“This supplementary document discusses the history of Trinity theories. Although early Christian theologians speculated in many ways on the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, no one clearly and fully asserted the doctrine of the Trinity as explained at the top of the main entry until around the end of the so-called Arian Controversy. (See 3.2 below and section 3.1 of the supplementary document on unitarianism.)

Nonetheless, proponents of such theories always claim them to be in some sense founded on, or at least illustrated by, biblical texts.


David Paulsen focuses on  the LDS understanding of God.   He explains that Origin, Augustine (though reluctantly), early Christians, and Jews that God believed was corporeal.   This is not a Trinitarian view.

Blake Ostler has written extensively on this topic.  Fortunately, he created easy-to-listen-to podcasts on the topic here:

A short essay by Blake Ostler:  The Logical Incoherence of Traditional Christianity.

Kerry Shirts always provides fun, enlightening insight:


Jesus Christ should be our focus

We teach lots of things in our church.  But nothing is more important than Jesus Christ and the grace he extends to us through his sacrifice.

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I’ve recently heard critics say that Mormons worship their prophets and don’t speak enough about Jesus.  It caused me to reflect.

Much was restored in the restoration, which we must share with our members and others.  So, perhaps we have a few additional topics we have to teach on Sundays:  the plan of salvation (pre-earth life, 3 degrees of glory, etc), Word of Wisdom, temple work, and other topics.  Despite this new material, let us never forget the importance of Jesus Christ.

Non-Mormon scholar, Stephen Webb, shares his thoughts below:

Professor Says Mormons are Obsessed with Christ, Are “More Christian than Many Mainstream Christians”

“Mormon Christianity: What Other Christians Can Learn from the Latter-day Saints”

Grace, Salvation, Works, All we can do?

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The above  image embodies the LDS concepts relating to this subject, in my opinion.

Take the bolt out of the middle of these scissors.  Which blade will work well on its own?

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Summary:  LDS people believe only the redemption of Jesus or His grace cleanses us from sin.  However, to show our love and obedience to His commandments and Gospel we do our best!  And, yes, we believed we are saved!

“After all we can do?”

Four talks on the subject.

#1:  March 2005 New Era (youth magazine)Tough Topics: Are You Saved by Grace or Works?

Key paragraph:  To gain eternal life, we need both grace and works. A Christian author, C. S. Lewis, compared grace and works to the blades of a pair of scissors. Both are necessary. To ask “Are you saved by grace or works?” is like asking “Do you cut with this blade or that one?”


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#2:  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland discussed the impossible pursuit of mortal perfection,  and that the gift of grace is the only way we are saved:

Key paragraph:  Except for Jesus Christ, there have been no “flawless performances” during mortality. “So while in mortality, let’s strive for steady improvement without obsessing over what behavioral scientists call ‘toxic perfectionism’.”

Watch the talk by clicking the link below:

The Gift of Grace, the Impossible Pursuit of Mortal Perfection, and Salvation


Dallin H. Oaks

#3:  April 1998, Elder Dallin H. Oaks:  Have You Been Saved?

Read the entire thing above (click underlined text)!


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#4:  Elder Uchtdorf in 2015:  The Gift of Grace

Couple great paragraphs:

Because we have all “sinned, and come short of the glory of God”10 and because “there cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God,”11 every one of us is unworthy to return to God’s presence.

Even if we were to serve God with our whole souls, it is not enough, for we would still be “unprofitable servants.”12 We cannot earn our way into heaven; the demands of justice stand as a barrier, which we are powerless to overcome on our own.

After all we can do:

The prophet Nephi made an important contribution to our understanding of God’s grace when he declared, “We labor diligently … to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.31

However, I wonder if sometimes we misinterpret the phrase “after all we can do.” We must understand that “after” does not equal “because.”

We are not saved “because” of all that we can do. Have any of us done all that we can do? Does God wait until we’ve expended every effort before He will intervene in our lives with His saving grace?

Many people feel discouraged because they constantly fall short. They know firsthand that “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”32 They raise their voices with Nephi in proclaiming, “My soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.”33

I am certain Nephi knew that the Savior’s grace allows and enables us to overcome sin.34 This is why Nephi labored so diligently to persuade his children and brethren “to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God.”35

After all, that is what we can do! And that is our task in mortality!

In this podcast, Brother Scarisbrick illustrates the various stages of life and how our choices determine what we receive in the life to come from an LDS perspective. From our entrance into the world of spirits when we pass from this life into the next, to the final judgment at the last day, Brother Scarisbrick uses common sense answers in a conversational style that makes this topic easy to understand.

LDS Truth Claims on the atonement and grace:

I’ll share quotes from three Christians below who share their view on the appropriate balance between faith and works.

#1) Robert Charles Sproul was an American theologian, author, and ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America. He was the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries and could be heard daily on the Renewing Your Mind radio broadcast in the United States and internationally.

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#2)  This pastor below, Mark Driscoll, explains the complementary principles of faith and works.  The primary area of disagreement Latter-day Saints would have with him is with his belief that grace can’t be taken away (seemingly, no matter how destructive a person is) and that those without an opportunity to learn of Jesus are damned.  Otherwise, we agree with this fellow!

Further, he points out that most Christians he knows love to quote Ephesians 2:8-9 (works don’t save, only grace of Christ does), but forget verse 10 (we were created in Jesus Christ for good works).

His final slide:  “Internal devotion to God (faith) produces external devotion to God (works)”.  In other word, faith produces works.  Don’t Latter-day Saints teach that?  I believe so.

#3)  Latter-day Saints agree with this West Virginia Christian’s blog post, “Did Paul Teach Faith Without Works?

His conclusion:   In conclusion, Paul worked and taught believers to work. These works were not works of merit like in the Law of Moses but works of faith, or works growing out of faith. Paul’s faith was a working faith in which he “labored more abundantly than they all …” (1 Corinthians 15:10) Paul’s teaching and the other New Testament writers’ teachings agree. Faith-only salvation is a misconception; it is foreign to the New Testament.