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Rock star Brandon Flowers defends Mormon faith against famous atheist

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  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 17, 2012 4:35 p.m.

    This article is incomplete as it doesn't indicate what was further said in the dialog between the putative rock star Flowers and the noted atheist Dawkins. Who appeared to win the verbal exchange? I would suppose Dawkins at best "agreed-to-disagree" with Flowers. But I would also assume Dawkins had the edge in this ambush religious debate The only thing I can conclude was that Flowers didn't like Joseph Smith being characterized as a "charlatan".

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 17, 2012 5:12 p.m.

    The debate or at least a synopsis of the this debate is on the Internet. Dawkins thought he'd be discussing belief vs Non-belief not with a lamb but someone with gravitas and Dawkins apologized. If this TV show could have a "do-over" I'd have the Norway Mission president talk with Dawkins on this program. Oh well, c'est la vie.

  • Yorkshire City, Ut
    Sept. 17, 2012 7:52 p.m.

    Good for you, Brandon.
    Way to stand up, in the face of an assault by Dawkins. Boy, thats playing in the Big Time of anti-Christs.
    Many much more experienced than you at attacks by the likes of him would surely have winced.
    But you held your own.
    We salute you!

  • StGtoSLC SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 10:42 p.m.

    Pretty immature behavior for such a learned man. He readily accepts his own colleagues in the field of science who are religious, and says it's not for him, yet denigrates anyone without vast knowledge of the sciences. I love learning about physical and biological sciences, and think that Darwinian theory is the best tool we have right now to learn from, to continue to study, and to explain many phenomena that were unexplainable a hundred years ago, yet I still consider myself religious and spiritual, and see no conflict. Shame on someone for hiding behind degrees to openly attack another's beliefs and opinions, but kudos to Flowers for still being a gracious listener, and still willing to talk to someone that openly disrespectful to him.

  • blackman ozark, AL
    Sept. 17, 2012 11:22 p.m.

    Brandon did a great job against the charlatan Dawkins. If Mr. Dawkins was to study the Book of Mormon as much as he says we need to study science more, perhaps he would view the Book of Mormon as we do in the church. Even his statement on how the book was written defeats his own argument about it not being true. Mr.Dawkins is the charlatan because he is trying to be an expert on religion which he is not. He should stick to science which continues to change as we learn more about science. Maybe Mr.Dawkins has seen some of the scientific facts he knew at the age of 15 change from what he knows today. Science seems to be the subject which changes more due to our lack of understanding. As the apostles have stated,the Book of Mormon has stood through the test of man and time.

  • liberate Sandy, UT
    Sept. 18, 2012 1:54 a.m.

    This was basically an ambush by Dawkins of Flowers, somebody who is woefully prepared to debate the existence of God against a noted atheist. I give Flowers credit for holding is ground but it would be much more interesting to see this debate between Dawkins and Holland for example, rather than a 30 year old rock star. Only then would it be a fair fight.

  • Max Charlotte, NC
    Sept. 18, 2012 6:40 a.m.

    What a dirty trick to ambush him on TV like that. He thought he was there to talk about his music and then they bring in a guy who is all prepared to attach his religion. What a surprise it must have been for him. It was a deliberate set up. One side is highly prepared and the other thinks he is there to talk about something entirely different. Disgraceful.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    Sept. 18, 2012 9:58 a.m.

    What if this singer was catholic, or Jewish?
    Think about it.
    This Dawkins is just scared of being a stand up guy.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 18, 2012 10:07 a.m.

    "And still it stands."

    -- Not really. Fiction is fiction, no matter how much you might believe otherwise.

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    Sept. 18, 2012 10:09 a.m.

    I've seen Dawkins ambush others he disagrees with and I've had other atheists attack me. In response I just ask them what science text I should use to show me how to treat my family, take care of the poor and needy, what happens to me after death, how should humans solve problems, etc. You understand my approach. I have yet to have an atheist suggest any such science book. So I ask where do you find satisfying answers to these questions. They recommend philosophy and ethics texts and I counter exactly, my scriptures are my texts that guide my behavior and they have been proven to work far longer than your sources. Science by its very nature cannot answer the deep questions of the soul but it can enlarge our understanding of our world.

  • Central Texan Buda, TX
    Sept. 18, 2012 11:06 a.m.

    RanchHand, whether the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction or not, the book certainly does still stand today. So from your standpoint, that the Book of Mormon is fiction, you must be in amazement that the book was so cleverly constructed as to withstand decades and decades of assault -- and that still an ever-growing number of people around the globe are willing to stand by it.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Sept. 18, 2012 11:57 a.m.

    "And still it stands"

    The works of L. Ron Hubbard also "still stand". Does that make them true?

    The works of Shakespeare "still stand". That does not make them true.

    The Qu'ran "still stands", but are Mormons ready to confess it is "true" and become Muslims?

    The Epic of Gilgamesh "still stands"...

    The Rigveda "still stands"...

    The Avesta "still stands"...

    The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh "still stands"...

    and FAR more followers believe in these texts than in the Book of Mormon...shall we continue?

  • Kjallbee Orem, UT
    Sept. 18, 2012 1:08 p.m.

    Dawkins tells us nothing about the Book of Mormon, nor of Joseph Smith. He does, however, reveal a great deal about himself. Likewise for all of his ilk, who's pride and ignorance are so painfully obvious to all, but themselves.

  • Ten Send Orem, UT
    Sept. 18, 2012 2:01 p.m.

    @ RanchHand and @ A Scientist
    Its a shame ignorance plagues those who find it necessary to belittle and attack others beliefs. With that said, i do not claim to know everything, especially about others beliefs and frankly i DO NOT care. Believe what you want. As long as you live an honest life and try to be a good person, then you are in the right.
    BUT, to say someone is Wrong in anything, (Even if you don't actually say it in those words, but hint towards it) If that thing is not inherently bad or detrimental, either means you do not know how to show respect, or you are immature. And quite frankly shows YOU are in the wrong.

    What you said is not merely a "comment" or the start of a "discussion" and don't try to pass it as such.
    And unfortunately other comments on this page are not much better than Yours.

    Dawkins, who has made it his life t0 prove to others they are Wrong, is Himself, Wrong. Shame on him and anyone who does that.
    Flowers on the other hand, Good For him. I hold him in high regards.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Sept. 18, 2012 2:35 p.m.

    I saw this one on-line. It was an ambush. Dawkins was smug and snotty, like he always is. He is all about science. I would have asked him to prove to me, using science, what salt tasts like.

    Personally, I could care less what his opinion is. He thinks his opinion is the only one that counts. Flowers did seem a little shell shocked because it was an ambush.

    I do agree that science doesn't cover law, human personality, good and evil, morality, etc.

    A Scientist, yes those stand but those books/epics don't contain that much truth.

  • drbarbiedpm GRAHAM, WA
    Sept. 18, 2012 2:59 p.m.

    Great job, Brandon! I'm glad to see that you stood tall and defended truth. What a great role model for kids to look up to.

  • jane Hereford, AZ
    Sept. 18, 2012 5:02 p.m.

    Golly, gee, how come the Mormons aren't rioting in the streets over this! How dare someone publicly disagree with our beliefs or denigrate Joseph Smith!

  • Stay the Course Salt Lake City, utah
    Sept. 18, 2012 6:23 p.m.

    It's ok Moroni told Joseph Smith there would be days like this when he told Joseph about the plates 180 plus years ago

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    Sept. 18, 2012 7:55 p.m.

    @ Ten Send

    When I was on my mission I told dozens of people everyday that I thought their church (beliefs) were wrong and that I belonged to the one and only true church on the face of the earth. So when you get frustrated when people tell you that they believe your beliefs to be wrong just remember that we also do that :)

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    Sept. 18, 2012 11:21 p.m.

    Brandon Flowers handled himself beautifully. Very impressed.

  • RN4moms Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 19, 2012 6:57 a.m.

    As time goes on we will be more frequently called upon to defend our faith, as he did. Unfortunately he was blindsided but good for him in the way he handled it. Obviously he didn't appear on the show prepared with a defense arsenal or other doctrinal review as his atheistic adversary did, but he did a fine job!! He kept his head. Shame on Skavlan for setting this up and shame on Dawkins for participating in this and for his attacks. Read this month's Ensign. It looks like we will need to be as prepared as possible and keep that prayer constantly in our hearts for God's help in all difficult circumstances.

  • xxwinexx salt lake city, UT
    Sept. 19, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    I'm confused as to how this was deemed "defending" The second that Flowers' agent noticed he was in way over his head, he was called to the back to "prepare".

    How is saying you're offended "defending" your first prophet? At the end of the interview, Flowers says he'd like a followup with Dawkins. If he were really interested in defending his faith, this should be posted.

    "Still it stands"

    -As a work of fiction, and poorly written at that. Dawkins was just warming up. There is absolutely no evidence for the truthfulness, or reality of what this "most correct book on earth" contains (wars, steel swords, horses, Native Americans have no Jewish DNA).

    Here's how it would have gone had Dawkins been given time to expound on his arguments, and Flowers not been thrown to the bench.

    (Dawkins gives some of the arguments that I listed above, maybe adding character flaws of Smith)

    Flowers - "I'm not a historian. But my parents and people I trust fed me this bologna since I was born. I know the Church is true. I love my family. I love the Prophet. InnameofJesusChristAmen".

  • Greenwall Prescott, AZ
    Sept. 19, 2012 12:30 p.m.

    Way to go Brandon. You handled yourself well. It is unfortunate that this program used this ambush technique. Thanks for being a gracious and kind representative of the church.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Sept. 19, 2012 12:53 p.m.

    The host idly wonders, "Isn't there a profound need, a genetic need" to find God? Dawkins dodges the question. CS Lewis did not.

    Lewis suggested that just as the fact that we experience thirst suggests we are creatures for whom drinking water is natural - so too, the fact that we desire something that cannot be supplied by our natural world suggests the existence of a higher or supernatural one. Dawkins says, "There is no evidence for any supernatural being of any kind." Lewis says if we are on a desert island, we may die of thirst, but that is no proof water does not exist. Rather, our thirst is evidence of the supernatural world and God.

    Flowers said the "beauty of faith" is found in knowing "Heavenly Father" and the answers and comfort found in prayer.

    Flowers found the well. Dawkins snorts there is no well (its all a fake). Flowers looks at his cup and takes another drink.

    Evidence is everywhere. The prophets, the scriptures, the witness of friends and millions of converts, the order of the natural world. They all testify of God.

    We swim in evidence. Richard Dawkins is like a fish that discovers water last.

  • BCA Murrieta, CA
    Sept. 19, 2012 1:18 p.m.

    "In their greatest — and last — hour of need, I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had fictitiously created out of whole cloth?"

    While comments on the value of martyrs plays well to believers, they are completely irrelevant in proving the truth of someone's message. Does someone willingly plowing a 747 into a building make their message valid? Of course not. Irrelevant. Millions throughout history have died for a cause. Doesn't make their cause absolute truth.

  • SandeeM Australia, 00
    Sept. 19, 2012 6:55 p.m.

    Brandon, I hope you read this because I would like to say 'thank you!' for standing up for our faith!
    To be fair, it looks as though Dawkins was also misled about the nature of the interview. However, his statements that science and religious faith don't mix are just nonsense. Recent (2009) statistics show that a majority of scientists (51%) do believe in God. Many if not most of our greatest scientists were/are professed believers, or were at the least agnostic. Einstein was one who refused to be labeled an atheist, stating that 'There are people who say there is no God, but what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views.' (Dawkins is one who tries to use Einstein in this way.)
    Interestingly, a 2012 Pew Forum study showed that 'the higher the education of the Mormon, the more active in the Church the person is' - perhaps likewise indicating that the capacity for critical and intellectual study is more rather than less likely to lead one to an acceptance of the LDS religion.

  • bws Dixon, CA
    Sept. 19, 2012 9:02 p.m.

    In my opinion people form beliefs based on their experiences. If Richard Dawkins had experienced what I've experienced, he'd likely come to the same conclusions I have... and maybe vice versa.

    Dawkins is right, he has perceived no evidence of a supernatural being. If Richard Dawkins hasn't perceived God in his life - he has no reason to believe - it would be foolish to do so. Trying to talk him in to it seems ridiculous. Who but God can/should persuade a person to believe in Him?

    I personally feel I have seen/felt evidence of God's existence in my life - not the kind you measure with instruments or quantify with with physical sensors - but evidence all the same. I have a doctorate in physical science - I'm not unfamiliar with the scientific world view. I just don't find it satisfying.

    That was pretty unprofessional gamesmanship of the TV Host IMO.

  • faith in deed Mesa, AZ
    Sept. 19, 2012 10:13 p.m.

    @ A Scientist, you make a good point actually- the fact that it "still stands", by itself, does not actually prove that it is true.

    The only way to really prove that it is true is only by following the advice given in "Moroni's promise" in the Book of Mormon.

  • Levin Hightstown, NJ
    Sept. 20, 2012 4:30 a.m.

    It was a Swedish talk show, not Norwegian. The real charlatans seemed to be the talk show. Bring in Brandon, bring in Dawkins, let Dawkins get in a few potshots, then tell Brandon he has to get ready for the band before he can really respond.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Sept. 20, 2012 6:20 a.m.

    Defending myth and superstition is the way of the world.
    It's why the world is in the mess it's in particularly right now looking at the Middle East.
    Mormonism is no exception, neither is atheism.
    It's all so silly. Humanity believes what it "wants" to believe regardless of how different it may be from others. Once an organization tells you what you want to hear, you're in.

  • Whos Life RU Living? Ogden, UT
    Sept. 20, 2012 6:52 a.m.

    Did you guys really watch the clip?

    It is apparent that Dawkins came out swinging, thinking that the show wanted a debate, but when he found out that Brandon was asked to be excused, Dawkins was very apologetic. Dawkins thought Brandon would get time to provide a rebuttal, but didn't. Dawkins was thinking that the show wanted a debate. The show should have explained more to Dawkins of what they were looking for, or at least give Brandon some time to provide a decent rebuttal.

    To be honest, it was probably good that it just stopped. Brandon would have been torn apart.

  • Capsaicin Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 20, 2012 8:58 a.m.

    Atheists no more can disprove the existence of God than Christians can prove Gods existence. It's a personal choice. Modern day atheists are the new Korihor's,except far worse. They have the internet and mass media to shout their message of destruction from. They choose to go their own way and accept their own intelligence as absolute and without origin. They choose no consequence of action except what is given by the intelligence of man. They choose death as the end, and as the end of existence.

    So where does dawkin's happiness originate? If he has no hope for an immortal soul, no desire to live forever, what motivates him to ridicule Christians? Christians have an answer for that question. Richard Dawkins does not. His motivation is money and notoriety.

    Atheists, whether they intend to or not, have no platform. They have only a platform of ridicule. How one justifies this, is beyond me. The vast majority of us understand that wisdom doesn't include ridiculing the institutions values and religions that make people better neighbors, spouses, and individuals.

  • rogerdpack2 Orem, UT
    Sept. 20, 2012 9:59 a.m.

    Go Brandon!

  • John20000 Cedar Hills, UT
    Sept. 20, 2012 10:59 a.m.

    The first important question we have to ask ourselves is whether there is anything special about humans. If the answer is no, then Dawkins is correct. Unfortunately for Dawkins, the answer is yes. What is special about humans is agency. We are self-determined, not part of an unbroken chain of cause and effect that originated with a big bang. It is impossible for the scientific method to appropriately deal with agency and thus, it calls it an illusion.

    I am not science bashing. It is very good at dealing with natural elements, but falls short when dealing with humans.

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    Sept. 20, 2012 9:23 p.m.

    Dear Dr. Dawkins,
    It's written in King James-style English because it's a translation. Joseph Smith rendered it in scriptural language. Duh.
    The award for Most Audacious Statement goes to you for saying, "I think I have," when Flowers told you to do your research. You admitted in the same conversation that you haven't even read the whole Book of Mormon! How impressed would you be with my biology bona fides if I thought I was an expert based on having read part of one book about biology?
    You're a biologist, not a theologian, and not a philosopher. Your problem is that you think yours represents the intellectual pinnacle of all disciplines, and that you therefore qualify as an expert in inferior fields such as theology despite never having studied them seriously.

  • soulsister houston, 00
    Sept. 21, 2012 9:04 a.m.

    Wow! was this a set up or what? Brandon you were amazing! Good job! Proud to be a Mormon! :)

  • rok San Diego, CA
    Sept. 22, 2012 10:11 p.m.

    What was he ever convicted of? I know he was arrested a number of times, but I'm pretty sure there was never any trial where he was convicted of anything.

  • EnosEugenius Shenandoah, IA
    Sept. 23, 2012 1:16 p.m.

    @jane -- because we don't riot. "Love your enemies," etc.

    It fascinates me how virtually the entire world views religious truths and scientific truths as excluding one another. But there is only truth, regardless of where it comes from, not one kind or another. The more we learn about science and biology, the more I am convinced that it didn't happen due to "natural progression" or evolution. Natural selection is not evolution; we see natural selection all the time. But not once in recorded history have we seen one species become another. To truly understand, then, we must embrace the fact that scientific truth is as much truth as any other, but fully understood, we will find at its origin a Supreme Creator, who, under the laws of physics and science (again, only a portion of which we know or understand), organized and created this Earth and all that is upon it.

  • nanacarol7 Butler, AL
    Sept. 23, 2012 4:15 p.m.

    Very proud of this young man in a very badly "set-up" situation by this show. Shame on them! Hold fast to the rod, Brandon. God Bless you.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2013 9:35 p.m.

    I have no dog in this fight but am not surprised that its devolved into what it has.

    Its interesting that most people sticking up for Brandon would find his music contemptible in most every other situation.

    The Killers (nice name BTW) are that whiney, artsy, emo, synthpop stuff that makes rap appear to downright brilliantbe what the primary genre heard at Mensa meetings.

    The tactics used by the Scandanavian TV show were invented and perfected here in America.

    per terra nova

    CS Lewis? Really? Talk about Christianity's #1 apologist.

    "Flowers said the "beauty of faith" is found in knowing "Heavenly Father" and the answers and comfort found in prayer.

    Flowers found the well. Dawkins snorts there is no well (its all a fake). Flowers looks at his cup and takes another drink."

    God exists. The well doesn't exist. Organized religion is a mirage, a tool frighten the gullible and keep them in line.

    re: Capsaicin

    "So where does dawkin's happiness originate?"

    Pascal's wager, perhaps? A chilled glass of his favorite beverage on sunny day? Who knows?

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    July 8, 2013 9:59 p.m.

    Truthfully, I have never been impressed w/ Dawkins.

    The late Christopher Hitchens was someone who improvise a cogent thesis about the silliness of Religion.