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Superstition, Rationality, and the Merits of Religion: A Facebook Debate

Last month, I was engaged in yet another Facebook debate — this time with an old work colleague of mine, who’s non-LDS. It turned out to be a great example of the kind of debate in which I wish I could engage my family and close friends, since I found it to be both intellectually challenging and amicable. Unfortunately these days, my family and friends rarely engage me in anything other than idle chit-chat, fearing that I’ll bring something up that will make them “uncomfortable”; but I digress.

The debate started off discussing whether irrationality and/or superstition is a requirement to do others harm; branched into a debate on whether Hitler was a theist or not; then came to a comparison of definitions of religion & other philosophies.

With permission from the other parties, I have decided to include the entire debate below; I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

[Note: due to Facebook’s limited abilities, I’ve taken the liberty of re-formatting the text of the debate for my blog. I’ve modified paragraph & line breaks, fixed typos, added emphasis, etc. Other than this, the debate remains unedited in terms of content. I’ve also colour-coded each speaker to make it easier to follow the conversation: I (Tom) am red, Travis is blue, and Jason is green.]

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Conditions on Friendship

Now that a couple of weeks have gone by, since I made the announcement that I was leaving the Church, I thought I’d make some observations about the responses that I’ve received from family and friends.

First off, I’d like to say how grateful I am to the numerous supportive responses that I have received; these have been most kind, and needed in this time of transition. I have had many old friends, as well as distant family members, step up and openly support my decision by commenting on my various Facebook & blog posts. I’ve also been surprised so see how many people I know who have gone through a very similar process in their own lives. I’ve even been discussing some of my own cousins’ exit stories with them, of which I was either not aware, or was only told the Mormon perspective (as many of these events happened while I was much younger). This discussion has brought me closer with my cousins than I ever have been, which is the result I hoped for when releasing my essay.
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Instruction Manual for Life

I’ve been really busy trying to respond to all the emails and messages I’ve been receiving over the past few days. So, I just wanted to post a video that I think is extremely well done. It’s an animated short (about 8 minutes, which I know is longer than the average internet user’s attention span), which tells the story of a young man who grows up being taught one way of doing things, only the find that others don’t do it the same way… and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Here it is, for your viewing pleasure…

Let me know what you think.

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