Monday, September 1, 2014

Ignorance Catastrophe

Rise of the internet has led to a number of books, speeches and proclamations that there is an End of Faith, Modern Apostasy, Crucible of Doubt, and many versions of faith crisis” all around.  The phrase faith crisis is probably the most commonly used to express a concern that a lot of people currently face doubts about their faith (or their family religion) after viewing contrary information online.  Almost all world religions face this so-called crisis lately, mostly because the internet has made available vast libraries, history and discussions amongst doubters to members of almost all modern religions (those which have not been successful in shutting out the internet from their patrons).

But what, really, is a faith crisis? 

Let’s take the definitions.  Faith, in the religious context, is strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on inward (spiritual) apprehension rather than external evidence.  In fact, most Christians and Mormons define it as “hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” And how do they know it is not true if it is not seen or measured in some valid manner?  They rely on inward belief of what they feel inside is true.  They cannot have evidence and call it faith, “for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.” (Alma 32:18)  

In fact, LDS prophets speak frequently about keeping the faith and enduring to the end.  As one BYU professor explained it: 
“I strongly suspect that this is exactly where the evidentiary situation is divinely intended to remain, pending Judgment Day. If the evidence for those claims were as conclusive as a proof in geometry, no meaningful intellectual freedom would remain to us.”

Never mind how ridiculous are his thoughts on "intellectual freedom", clergy say that without faith there would be no test, and the plan of God would be frustrated.  Because faith is the first principle of most churches, then lacking evidence is necessary to God’s plan.  

I want to explain that in another way so it’s clear what we’re reading. Let me use arithmetic:   
Faith = no evidence + belief
AND,  No evidence = no facts  
ALSO,  No facts = ignorance  

THUS, by the associative law our final answer is:  
Faith = ignorance + belief.

Now onto the second word of the phrase: Crisis.  By definition, a crisis is a time of intense difficulty.  A synonym is Catastrophe, such that:

 Faith Crisis = Ignorance Catastrophe.

I understand that the people raising the alarm of a faith crisis will not like my equating it to an Ignorance Catastrophe.  Is it a catastrophe?  Yes, for those in the faith business, it really is. Their bread and butter of tithing, devotion, voluntary hours, praise, adoration, book sells and more are threatened by diminishing ignorance as the internet floods their members with actual facts and rational thinking.  The ignorance smashing has reached such a level it is looking to them like a crisis or a catastrophe.

How dare others remove the ignorance of their members and cause these difficulties in their power position within the religions?

On the other hand, expats of the faith industry are enjoy the opposite of a catastrophe, once they work through their own religious self-identity crisis[1].   Former members of most religions enjoy extra time, extra money, more freedom of choice, and less guilt about not believing or following rituals on ignorance.  They’re not having a faith crisis anymore.  Quite the opposite, they are often having a fact advantage or even a knowledge breakthrough.

Sure some people live in such conditions of poverty or depression that they need to feel a higher power has a plan for them.  Yes, we all enjoy a social network and community like those found within religions. But why must the impoverished and depressed be subjected to so much guilt, tithing and hours of praising leaders and God in order to get a lift out of that depression or have a social community?  Is ignorance+belief really the most effective “crutch” we can come up with?  The LDS corporation has probably over $60 Billion in assets and liquid cash on hand.  How are they really helping the impoverished and depressed in ways found in a true charity devoted to helping the despairing among us?

If religions were to actually sit down with the ex-members who’ve left, would they find most of them with their lives in crisis?  Well, they might if they’re a cult and they caused the crisis by pitting other members and even the family of that “faithless” ex-member against them.  How can I be sure?  I can’t be absolutely sure in every case but if you look at examples of people the world over without faith, religion or mystical belief and compare them to those with high degree of faith and belief, you won’t find the non-believers in any bigger crisis or life problems. Except, perhaps, for the prejudice against atheist that believers have.

The faith crisis is not a crisis that most ex-members believe in.  They have personal evidence against this so-called crisis; evidence they can count directly in their increased bank account, their higher number of free hours, their lower need for anti-depression meds and more.

The evidence tells us that the Ignorance Catastrophe only truly affects those who believe in it.

In the middle of the night, I go walking in my sleep, through the desert of truth.

[1] Religious Self Identity Crisis is a phrase I use to describe the effects of removing yourself from your religion when its leaders have encouraged you to define yourself by the beliefs they teach you.  It is an insidious practice.  Dallin Oaks, apostle, lawyer and former judge who should know from all those years in law school and sitting on the bench that manipulation is psychologically damaging, practices a form of psychological abuse in speeches, such as this one at general conference, in which he says:
"We should also strengthen our children by encouraging them to define themselves by their growing testimonies."
Once that child finds out they can no longer remain in the LDS church and have integrity of truth, what happens to their cult-induced religious self-identity?  It is in crisis.  Leaving the church is the psychological equivalent of cutting off an arm.


  1. In the age of information, ignorance is a CHOICE!!

  2. define yourself by your testimony? - I understand why they want that, but why would anybody be dumb enough to buy it? As if you have no worth without a testimony. Could that be why the TBM's magically jump to the point where they already know beyond a shadow of a doubt at age 4 and never change their mindset?

  3. I like the alternate take on the faith crisis, of a "fact advantage". I get really irritated when people describe me with phrases like faith crisis, or struggling with testimony, etc. Those are labels used to serve the Church and its followers agenda, not at all to accurately represent the person(s) they are actually describing. I am not in a faith crisis nor am I struggling with my testimony. I simply have no faith in Mormonism, nor do I have any kind of a Mormon testimony. No crisis and no faith. Just that simple.

  4. One can embark on a quest to find, "truth," and discover that not everyone finds the same truth. You call it ignorance if someone if someone finds the Mormon church or other religions to be true. By doing so, you set yourself as your own God, believing your way of thinking is the right, intelligent and correct way.

    Your mind was closed in the LDS faith, and it is also closed in your unbelief.

    1. Are you saying all truths are equal? Are you saying that any belief leads to a "truth"? Are you then saying all beliefs deserve equal respect?

      If not then your mind is closed by your own definitions.

    2. If stating I would rather follow fact than superstition causes some to call me closed minded, I'll respect their views while still speaking my views.

  5. Anonymous said, "That in an age of information, ignorance is a choice." While I understand his/her meaning, I don't agree. When people are conditioned to believe a certain way with "fear and trembling" they can become so deeply entrenched in that belief that to even consider other points of view is simply impossible. When someone identifies so deeply with a point of view, to consider anything else is unlikely to even consider. It takes incredible courage to consider a new way of looking at life when you've allowed your world to be defined by a religion.

  6. I totally believe everyone should fully vent their religion. No matter what religion you are born into, I believe people should investigate and learn what other religions believe and why. Even people of the LDS faith should investigate and explore other religions.
    That said, I do not believe that science disproves there is a God. I don't believe science has caught up with the intelligence of God. However, if you are looking for reasons NOT to believe, you are going to find it.

    1. Correct. Science does not disprove nor prove the existence of a God. However, it does explain how the Earth, sun, moon and stars were created. It does explain how old the universe is, how long humans have existed, how animals, plants and humans have evolved, and so many more things. To believe in a God is acceptable. To believe in religious teachings that contradict scientific evidence is not.

  7. Concolor,

    You're correct, I meant to type vet, though venting must have been on my mind after reading the posts from David T.

    You are making a blanket statement for all science and scientist. There are scientist that seek to prove and/or disprove God exist.You admit that science is every changing, but refuse to believe that it is proving that God exist, despite the fact that there are scientist that do prove the existence of God.

    You also seem to be tied up in correct English and grammar, even though this too is ever changing. Men, change things, name things, classify things. Just as the scriptures teach. You and your writings prove God exist!

    1. "Just as the scriptures teach. You and your writings prove God exist!"

      That's quite a logic leap you have there.

      There's a man who said that he speaks with invisible aliens. There are good and evil ones. And if you're infected with evil aliens, you will accuse him of lies and criticize him. He says that anyone who dares speak negatively on his revelation about aliens is confirming their presence by their own predictions about how others would react to his alien-doctrines.

      Is he correct?