Quantcast
Faith

Southern Baptists to discuss their divide over Calvinism, working with Mormons at annual meeting

Comments

Return To Article
  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 10, 2013 5:02 p.m.

    "....the term 'evangelical' is reserved only for those who affirm the exclusivity of salvation alone, by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone, according to the scriptures alone...."
    _____________________________

    They might as well have added "as decided by Baptists alone."

    Sometimes it seems that Christianity is doomed to forever be held hostage by its creeds.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 10, 2013 5:44 p.m.

    I like the Dire Straits tune that goes "two men say they're jesus; one of them must be wrong". I also got a kick out of a sign I saw on the weekend in a casino in great falls: "The customer is always right. The bartender will determine when you're no longer a customer". Religion divides us like nothing else man has devised. It offers no proof, bodes no challenge, yet expects deference in all things.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    June 10, 2013 6:53 p.m.

    The Calvinist's view of "predestination" is similar to the "select few" ideology that Jehovah's Witnesses espouse. If Christianity has become this exclusive, the religion is doomed. Religions have been a double-edged sword in serving a positive role in people's lives but also serving a negative role. They seem to spend more time creating labels and finding ways to judge other rather than to simply live the tenets of their faiths.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    June 10, 2013 9:53 p.m.

    There is so much evil throughout our nation now and all religions and people who have good values need to not dwell on how they disagree, but how they agree. I believe that my daughter is an atheist, she doesn't confirm this with me. I am a very devout Mormon, I enjoy talking to her on the phone about four days a week, we both differ on politics also, but we focus on the positives and what we share and agree with. I could not ask for a more wonderful child.

  • Samuel B Martineau Bountiful, UT
    June 11, 2013 3:35 a.m.

    Hutterite

    You claim that religion divides mankind like nothing else. I disagree. While it is true that some people use religion as an excuse to dislike or shutout others, consider what organizations outside of religious organizations have done more to promote the golden rule. Consider the charitable hospitals, disaster relief efforts, food and housing assistance and any number of other charitable works all organized by religious organizations in an effort to love their neighbors. When I go to church I do not feel divided from the people with whom I worship. I feel a great brotherhood with them. I also do not feel divided from those outside of my church. By going to church and learning christian doctrines I feel a greater desire to love and help them. Some people have used religion as a tool of hate, but don't let that blind you to the overwhelming message of love that the Christian religion and other world religions promote.

  • TA1 Alexandria, VA
    June 11, 2013 7:23 a.m.

    It is interesting that the Southern Baptist Convention has everything so well taken care of - especially their poor, their sick and their afflicted that they can devote so much of their resources to the subtle nuances of theology. Those people that are in their twenties today and even those over 30 are not so much interested in theological nuances, but rather in making a difference in each other lives, helping each other and making the world better – which is something that the rest of us might give a real hard look at helping out with as well.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    June 11, 2013 7:50 a.m.

    Faith without works is dead.

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    June 11, 2013 8:22 a.m.

    Calvinism/predestination is a huge heresy. So interesting that according to the SBC, that doctrine is OK, but heaven forbid any modern revelation. When in fact, modern revelation could clear up the heresy of predestination. The SBC and most protestants insist on a closed canon, but ironically, the Bible itself never does. In other words, they rely on extra Biblical teachings to back up their belief that the Bible is all there is. They claim the middle ages creeds accurately reflect Biblical teaching, but they don't. (So these creeds also run contrary to their claim of sola scriptura.) One of my formerly favorite conservative columnists, Mike Adams, just wrote an antiMormon column last week, which garnered well over 3000 comments (mostly by the same people arguing with each other). I was amazed at the near rabid, foaming at the mouth attitude some individualas have expressed to the LDS church, and doctrines such as modern prophets or extraBiblical scripture (even if that scripture leads people to Christ). Reminds me of how the Pharisees rejected Christ.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    June 11, 2013 8:23 a.m.

    Baptist friends and relatives of our family are some of the most devoted, service-driven people we know. Their congregations serve each other in ways that equal Mormon congregations. Their families are loving, respectful, and worshipful. They read scriptures together and pray together and attend church together. We love them and they love us. We know we have different theological beliefs, but we also respect each others' effort to follow our own versions of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have many things in common and can love each other for those things as well as our differences.

  • JLFuller Boise, ID
    June 11, 2013 8:24 a.m.

    Has the SBC decided on a new name yet? I have not seen anything about that part of their reformation activities. I believe it was The Tennessean newspaper a while back that ran a story about this issue. According to the writer, the Southern Baptist’s reputation of being soft on civil rights, racial integration and slavery among other things was a turn off to too many people. I can respect that as our church has done a remake as well. Maybe more religious organizations ought to re-examine their past practices and thinking as we LDS have.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 11, 2013 8:45 a.m.

    Mojules,

    "....all religions and people who have good values need to not dwell on how they disagree, but how they agree....."
    ______________________________

    Thanks for reminding us of that. Christian unity is a goal that is not helped by arguing the fine distinction of which creed has its theology exactly right. But a more ecumenical spirit or even just developing attitudes of tolerance and acceptance are big steps forward.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 11, 2013 8:49 a.m.

    RE: Craig Clark, Christianity is doomed to forever be held hostage by its creeds.

    The Baptists have been non-creedal. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, while agreeing with some creeds' substance. Reformation churches are Creedal, which are statements of faith like[ Mormon articles of faith]

    Re: Kings Court, All Christians Churches have a doctrine of predestination because it’s Biblical.

    Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will( Eph 1:5). Romans 8:28-29.i.e...

    Calvinism,Monergism or Non-Calvinism,Synergism is an in-house struggled among the “Pale” of Christianity.

    Regeneration precedes faith and repentance. Saving faith is a gift from God and is a genuine response to God from a regenerate heart God saves sinners monergism.

    Regeneration results from faith. Fallen men and women can save themselves by the simple exercise of faith(decision theology). Synergism God helps sinners save themselves.

    The Manhattan Declaration issued by Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christian leaders who are united in the belief of the Triune God. Excludes JW’s, Mormons.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 11, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    ".... love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long."
    ______________________________

    Wonderful meditation from a great Baptist minister, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    June 11, 2013 9:29 a.m.

    RE "deciding" who are "Christians". Isn't it between each individual and Christ to determine that one??

    @ Hutterite,

    There are plenty of things that divide us. Religion is not the only one. Look at other cultures now and throughout history (including those that are atheistic - esp the 20th Century) and you will find it is just human nature to love, hate, fight, kill, etc. Sadly people have misused religion to do this, but Religion itself is not the cause.

    If we think about the ideal that Christ laid out for us and live after His example as he invited us to do, whhat do you see there?

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    June 11, 2013 9:51 a.m.

    Baptists ought to...
    The GOP ought to...
    As Parley P Pratt explained, The Mormon Creed is to mind your own business exclusively.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 11, 2013 9:57 a.m.

    Thanks to those with reasonable feedback to my first post. I appreciate your discussion, but remain convinced. Religion has done good things, but none of them required religion to be done. But religion can certainly cause or enable good people to do bad things. As for it not dividing us, well Sunni vs. Shia, Orange vs. Green, people talk of bridging a 'religious divide' Well, where did that divide come from? Humanity has the capability to love and hate and fight, ideology justifies it.

  • Denverite Centennial, CO
    June 11, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    Many Baptists are really good people. Anything they come up with that actually recognizes other people can be really good too is a definite improvement--especially if it specifically recognizes that many LDS are also really good people.

    I am really curious to know--though I never will--A) how many rank-and-file Baptists sat home in 2012 and didn't vote at all instead of voting for Romney and B) how many of those people now realize what a giant mistake they made. Perhaps this is an indirect mea culpa, as well as a way to help ensure that they, as a group, will always vote for the better candidate in the future, instead of sitting home in a snit because of some minor preacher/religion-induced difference and letting someone win who is clearly and openly hostile to their religious beliefs. Better late than never.

  • Uncle Rico Sandy, UT
    June 11, 2013 10:32 a.m.

    @Hutterite

    Hutterite, I find the religion argument you make mainly espoused by those who dislike attending church meetings and being held accountable to anything. Non-religion voices view religion as binding, cumbersome activity. For instance one of the 10 commandments states "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy". This commandment however interferes with what people like to do on Sundays, hence organized religion becomes a barrier to serving ones self interest. Rather than say, i don't believe in keeping the sabbath day holy, and whatever other commandments (while your at it) The fact is, religion provides people with a platform to exercise their faith, which as you have observed has accomplished many good things. My hope is that people such as yourselves will not condemn others just because they have the strength and desire to do the thing which requires commitment. Hutterite, anyone can stay home from church on Sunday and do whatever... it is the EASY thing to do. I respect those who have a purpose other than themselves and the excuse of disliking "organized" religion.

  • Freespeech11 WVC, UT
    June 11, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    @ Hutterite
    True religion: Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
    True religion is all about love. We go to church to learn of love...to become loving.
    God is love. We want to be like Him and His Son...so the ultimate is love. You can tell if a person is becoming love by their actions. Christ Himself taught. By this shall men know that ye are my disciples...If ye have love one to another. Therefore...those that use religion as a divider instead of a unifier...must not be a true disciple of Christ. Satan uses whatever he can to divide us.

    For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
    Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 11, 2013 11:11 a.m.

    Say No to BO,

    "....Parley P Pratt explained, The Mormon Creed is to mind your own business...."
    ______________________________

    As I recall, it was Brigham Young who said that. Doesn’t really matter. It expressed Mormon sentiment during Mormonism’s isolationist period. But it’s not a creed. Mormonism’s formal religious creed is the Articles of Faith.
    ______________________________

    Hutterite, your points are well made. The world is a place where people too often kill other people in the name of religion.

    Religious diversity was endorsed by Joseph Smith when he wrote, “We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege. Let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    June 11, 2013 11:35 a.m.

    @Uncle Rico – “I find the religion argument you make mainly espoused by those who dislike attending church meetings and being held accountable to anything.”

    In my experience I have found this to be far down the list for most agnostics or atheists (although it is curiously cited as the #1 issue believers THINK others are not religious). Higher on the list for any non-believer I know would be the following:

    Teachings many find morally repugnant – many examples from the Biblical statements on slavery to the pre-destination doctrine cited here.

    Teachings that contradict science – from the creation story to D&C 77:6 (these and many other examples at least argue strongly against any literal interpretation of the Bible).

    Lack of spiritual fulfillment – religions seem more interested in self-perpetuation than in filling a void many feel.

    Few who walk the walk (but many who talk the talk) – hypocrisy and lack of compassion are big reasons many are turned off by religion.

    Incompatible teachings – not being able to reconcile the fact that religions make many mutually exclusive truth claims so the idea of “one true faith” just strike many as ludicrous.

  • JLFuller Boise, ID
    June 11, 2013 12:09 p.m.

    Maybe folks ought to take into account that ecclesiastical leaders are entitled to their own opinions and that expressing them does not equate to Church doctrine. I use Brigham Young's use of hyperbole when preaching the gospel as an example. Many if not most anti-Mormons like to say he was expressing doctrine which is far from the truth. It makes sense to think this rift among Southern Baptists is all personal opinion. But with so many differing opinions being expressed it is hard for outsiders to know what is doctrinal until the SBC provides an official public statement. Regardless, both of the SBC views as expressed above seem to exclude most of humanity and condemn them to everlasting torment for something they had no control over. Readers can decide for themselves whether that sounds anything like what a loving God would do.

  • RAB Bountiful, UT
    June 11, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    Interesting that when a religion influences good behavior, people like Hutterite devalue it and insist that it had nothing to do with the religion. But if someone claiming to belong to a religion does something unkind, even when it conflicts with the religion's doctrine, we are supposed to believe that it is the religion's fault.

    Reality is, ANY large group sometimes can feel oppressive to those outside the group. It doesn't matter if the group is a religion, a country, a family, a union, a school, a political party, a business, or an association. And any group can do horrible things if led by a persuasive, but bad person. Regardless, the bad behavior is always the fault of individuals--not the groups they belong to.

    Baptists are as creedal as any religion. They adopt the extra-Biblical Nicene creed like all protestant religions. They cannot be against other religion's creeds without simultaneously admitting to an opposing creed.

    My experience is that those who OPPOSE religion offer no proof, bode no challenge, yet expect deference in all things.

  • Samuel B Martineau Bountiful, UT
    June 11, 2013 12:40 p.m.

    Hutterite

    I appreciate your argument that religion is not required for people to do good works, but that misses the point. The question is not whether non religious people can be giving and loving (of course they can), but rather whether religion would make people more inclined to be loving and giving. As far as statistical data goes, a brief search quickly demonstrates that religious people give more liberally and consistently than non religious people.

    I have three links to post, but the comments section won't let me do it.

    As for the fact that religion tends toward division, it is true. But that shouldn't cause us to condemn it.

    Politics divide, but the good of having a political system outweighs that.
    Value systems divide, but we still want values.
    Sports teams divide, but still we can reasonably enjoy sports.

    I urge you to reconsider your stance on religion.

  • RAB Bountiful, UT
    June 11, 2013 12:50 p.m.

    @Tyler,

    All atheists claim they are influenced by their superior intellect. But that does not mean it is the real reason they reject religion. I’m not buying it.

    Claims against the Bible merely expose a determination to find fault rather than seek inspiration. It is silly to judge God’s dealings with illiterate, uneducated ancient civilizations by our current highly educated standards. An so, Bible writers chose not to oppose slavery in writing. Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the deadly Roman empire that was just looking for an excuse to wipe them off the earth.

    Science has not disproven anything. On the contrary, it supports my beliefs.

    Lack of spiritual fulfillment is a personal failing, not the religion’s.

    Hypocrisy is a common human failing, far from limited to the religious and adamantly opposed by scripture. This common tendency to criticize religious people as judgmental is itself judgmental.
    and therefore hypocritical.

    Incompatible teaching are WHY God restored the truth through a modern prophet

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    June 11, 2013 1:46 p.m.

    @RAB – “Bible writers chose not to oppose slavery in writing.”

    They did much more than “chose not to oppose” it… please reread Exodus and Leviticus. I would point to chapter & verse but frankly it gets old to keep telling believers to read their own book.

    @RAB – “Lack of spiritual fulfillment is a personal failing”

    It’s a convenient notion to say that if a person is spiritually fulfilled it proves the church is true, but if they’re not it shows their own failing. Not to mention it is a fool proof way to self-select for believers in a statistically plausible manner (i.e. a simple coin toss exercise).

    @RAB – “to criticize religious people as judgmental is itself judgmental.”

    You’re confusing being judgmental with stating a fact.

    @RAB – “Incompatible teaching are WHY God restored the truth through a modern prophet”

    I have complete faith (pun intended) in religion’s ability to adapt to the fact that people are getting less credulous over time. Where it struggles though is in leaving behind the untenable due to the tendency of treating (your words) “illiterate, uneducated ancient” writings as perfect, sacred and true for all time.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    June 11, 2013 2:25 p.m.

    @Craig Clark
    The Mormon Creed I quoted was from a tract written by P P Pratt in 1844, A Dialog Between Joseph Smith and the Devil.
    The entire piece is satirical.
    My point was that it seems posters are telling the Baptists what they ought to do. I say it's none of our business.

  • RAB Bountiful, UT
    June 11, 2013 3:06 p.m.

    @Tyler,
    You judge primitive laws of primitive people by modern standards. I believe scriptures show God's influence in directing humanity over time towards civility, love, forgiveness, and mercy.

    Since thousands of people testify that they have experienced spiritual fulfillment in their religion, your inability to do so inevitably MUST BE a result of something they did that you failed to do.

    Those you accuse of being judgmental, likewise deem their judgments as "fact".

    Scripture was first spoken by a human, written by a human, selected by a human, copied and recopied by humans, translated by a human, read by a human, and analyzed by a human (you). Humans are not infallible. Every step between the original speaking of the scripture down to your final analysis of it was a step that could have introduced error. That is why you CANNOT understand scripture without accessing the source of the scripture-which is God. Even if God spoke to you directly, you could still twist the words to mean something unintended. If we lack wisdom regarding God, WE HAVE TO ask of God. Those who fail to do that, unsurprisingly have no evidence that God exists.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    June 11, 2013 4:16 p.m.

    @RAB – “I believe scriptures show God's influence in directing humanity over time towards civility, love, forgiveness, and mercy.”

    OK… you do realize though that many believers don’t see the Bible this way. Instead they see it as I described including infallible and without error.

    @RAB – “Since thousands of people testify that they have experienced spiritual fulfillment in their religion, your inability to do so inevitably MUST BE a result of something they did that you failed to do.”

    I wasn’t about me… I was talking about the millions who don’t find spiritual fulfillment in any organized religion, and suggested that this is what we would expect given our understanding of statistics.

    @RAB – “… WE HAVE TO ask of God.”

    So how do you explain believers in different religions doing this and getting the same “confirmation” of their beliefs and sacred scriptures?

    Will you grant at least the possibility that these “answers” come from a source other than a particular religion’s concept of God – perhaps a God who is the source of all spirituality (organized or not) or maybe even from our own subconscious mind?

  • coleman51 Orem, UT
    June 11, 2013 4:32 p.m.

    Until the Southern Baptists fully reject Calvinism, they will not thrive in the 21st Century. To claim that their are only a select few who are predestined to be saved will be rejected by more people, particularly the younger people, until the Churches submit to what people in their own congregations really believe. People will not accept that type of doctrine being preached in their Churches. It's like telling Catholics that birth control is wrong and not acceptable to God and actually seeing what they practice. It simply won't stand the test of time.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    June 11, 2013 7:22 p.m.

    Works without faith is dead.

  • donn layton, UT
    June 11, 2013 9:16 p.m.

    RE; coleman51To ,The word predestination,it occurs six times in six verses in the N.T..

    1.Acts 4:28, “to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.”

    2.Romans 8:29-30, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

    3.1 Corinthians 2:7, “but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory.”

    4.Ephesians 1:5, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”

    5.Ephesians 1:11, “also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”

    Many do not like the idea that God predestines people for salvation, but the fact is the Bible teaches it.

  • G L W8 SPRINGVILLE, UT
    June 12, 2013 6:18 a.m.

    Query: the word "predestinated" is the English translation. What are the equivalent Greek terms, and what can a study of their possible derivations, connotations, and an awareness of their usage in historical context(circa 100 CE) add to the understanding of the New Testament verses where they are used?
    Those of us who are only able to understand the verses as they have been translated into English cannot make any assumptions as to their actual meaning from the viewpoint of the original writers (chiefly Paul, but apparently also Luke, the author of Acts).

  • Ghost Writer GILBERT, AZ
    June 12, 2013 9:14 a.m.

    Hutterite states: "Religion divides us like nothing else man has devised." This constant berating of "orrrganized religion" [sic] is getting old. You might as well say, "Thinking divides us like nothing else man has devised." Fact is, we're all individuals, we all think differently, and there are going to be disagreements. I think that people like Hutterite just don't like the service commitments and personal sacrifices that most church's (religions) require, and so he has to justify his position by constant fault finding.

  • Ghost Writer GILBERT, AZ
    June 12, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    . . . We also need to remember that atheists like Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot murdered millions upon millions of people . . . do we blame atheism like many blame religion? Bad people do bad things regardless. I believe if one looks at the historical record as a whole, "true relgion" has done far more good than bad.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    June 12, 2013 10:00 a.m.

    Ghost Writer wrote:

    "...We also need to remember that atheists like Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot murdered millions upon millions of people...do we blame atheism like many blame religion? Bad people do bad things regardless. I believe if one looks at the historical record as a whole, "true relgion" has done far more good than bad."

    Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, and all the other mass murderers the deceptive apologists trot out to justify their hatred of nonbelievers - all of these people were raised IN RELIGION! Their atheism was not the impetus for the atrocities they committed. In other words, they did not do these things "in the name of atheism" - principally because atheism is NOT a belief or a belief system in which anyone can carry out any actions. Atheism is the absence of belief.

    As such, if you aspire to blame atheism for their actions, you must also blame all the other things in which they did NOT believe.

    By contrast, the atrocities we see today (as well as many throughout human history), are being done "in the name of the Lord", largely because religious people think they have the patent on god and morality.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    June 12, 2013 10:06 a.m.

    Craig Clark wrote:

    "Religious diversity was endorsed by Joseph Smith when he wrote, “We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege. Let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

    Smith also called all other religions "abominations" and "all wrong", with their preachers and professors being "all corrupt", and insisted that the Mormon Church is the "only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which [God is well-pleased]".

    Not exactly statements of diversity and tolerance.

  • Ghost Writer GILBERT, AZ
    June 12, 2013 10:25 a.m.

    To "A scientist" -- How can atheism be an absence of belief? Of course it's belief -- belief that there is no God. And I think you're in total denial if you don't think an absence of belief in God (and a total belief in social Darwinism) did not help the dictators I cited above justify slaughtering their enemies. Removing all moral conviction (which atheism does quite nicely) removes accountability for killing those whom one deems unworthy of living, or living freely. Sorry to rain on your parade that religion is always bad, and science is always good,

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    June 12, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    @Ghost Writer – “How can atheism be an absence of belief? Of course it's belief -- belief that there is no God.”

    This is a canard… the absence of a belief in a supreme deity is NOT a belief system.

    Atheist is simply a word we use (falsely to a large extent) to describe non-believers. Do we have words for non-astrologers or non-alchemist?

    Does NOT believing in astrology or alchemy mean you have another belief system that is related to astrology or alchemy? Of course not… you simply don’t believe in astrology or alchemy.

    As far as those “atheist” tyrants you note, they were steeped in dogmatism, irrationality, and used extensively all the perverse tools of religion (i.e., appeal to supreme authority, etc.) to gain and hold power.

    If you truly want an understanding of societies that are largely agnostic/atheistic and are based on secular humanistic values, a far more accurate picture will come from places like Western Europe (the farther north the more agnostic), Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc…

    Or you could simply study the men who founded our country – most were agnostic (they called themselves Deists back then).

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    June 12, 2013 11:39 a.m.

    Ghost Writer wrote:

    "How can atheism be an absence of belief? Of course it's belief -- belief that there is no God."

    Yes, and because you do not believe in Leprechauns, that is a belief; and the same could be said for UFOs, the Easter Bunny, and any other absurd and inane "belief" that you do NOT hold.

    Atheism is simply absence of belief. Only believers say otherwise because they are trying to define what they hate and would like to attack - usually in order to rally their own failing faith.

    But the reality is, you can tell nothing about a person, morally, intellectually, socially, politically, or otherwise, based on the fact that they have NO belief in god.

    Yet you naively assert: "Removing all moral conviction (which atheism does quite nicely) removes accountability for killing..."

    Morality exists independent of religion. It always has and always will. More humans have been moral, ethical, good people without religion than with religion.

    But it is the epitome of immorality to accuse others of being a-/im-moral based on what they do NOT believe, just as it is the pinnacle of absurdity to blame political and military atrocities on absence of deism.

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    June 12, 2013 2:36 p.m.

    @ Donn: Just because the word "predestine" is used in some scriptures does not mean that we are predestined for heaven or hell. The context of those scriptures is completely different. In many cases, a different translation for predestine might be "foreordain" in which people are "supposed" to reach heaven, but still have their own choice.

    @Craig Clark: You said "Smith also called all other religions "abominations" and "all wrong", with their preachers and professors being "all corrupt", and insisted that the Mormon Church is the "only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which [God is well-pleased]".

    Actually, Smith didn't say those things. God did.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    June 12, 2013 4:17 p.m.

    RG wrote:

    "Actually, Smith didn't say those things. God did."

    Please provide proof.

    Actually, realistically, factually... Joseph Smith SAID that god said that.

    But if we had a nickel for every time someone claimed that god said this or god said that... well, we would be filthy rich!

  • donn layton, UT
    June 12, 2013 9:48 p.m.

    RG:Just because the word "predestine" is used in some scriptures does not mean that we are predestined for heaven or hell. The context of those scriptures is completely different. In many cases, a different translation for predestine might be "foreordain" in which people are "supposed" to reach heaven, but still have their own choice.

    Strong's Greek 4309 – proorizō. 1) to predetermine, decide beforehand..2) in the NT of God decreeing from eternity.3) to foreordain, appoint beforehand.

    In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will .( Ephesians 1:11 NIV,ESV,NET)

    he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—(Ephesians 1:5 NIV,ESV,NET).

    ‘To affirm free will[to choose God] is to compromise grace”. Martin Luther

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    June 13, 2013 9:02 a.m.

    They have one thing right: I'm not with them and I'm beyond redemption.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    June 15, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    To our Baptist friends....

    OK, we get it!
    We don't share the same doctrines.
    We've gotten over it.
    Now, maybe you should too.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    June 15, 2013 10:50 a.m.

    As the document states, 'Southern Baptists who stand on either side of these issues should celebrate the freedom to hold their views with passion while granting others the freedom to do the same.'"

    Next up....
    "The Nicene Creed"....."It's origins and why we embrace it".

  • maclouie Falconer, NY
    Aug. 12, 2013 3:24 p.m.

    God has spoken and the Baptists still don't know what He said (ie Calvanist vs SBC).