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I find I simply can't read Meridian, for fear of my head exploding (yech!) Those people are completely out of touch with reality.

Dave, you may have come across the author of the article, Geoffrey Biddulph, over at Times and Seasons. He is posting as Geoff B.

While I disagree with the article (at least as you have characterized it--I haven't read it), it seems you have swung the pendulum too far in the opposite direction, judging everyone and everything over at Meridian to be this way. I have read other articles of Geoff's and know that he is not as sinister as you make him out to be. How about a healthy dose of moderation, a virtue that you seem to advocate so vigorously?

I don't see the Meridian article as giving the green light to judging others. It seems to me that the issue is whether we allow morals, values, standards into our public policy decisions. Which of course we do all the time. We just to decide which ones. We need to be very careful of judging people but that shouldn't make us prevent us from judging, evaluating, and advocating policies based on our moral judgments.

People can call for the removal of what we call "traditional morality" from society but that won’t stop whatever becomes the new morality from filling the void. Unless there are to be no standards on which our society is to be based then there has to be some kind of morality and judgment.

Elders Oaks gave a great talk on righteous judgment that I will have to dig up and post on.

Excuse me Carl...Did you really read the article. After reading your take and then reading the article, I was amazed at your interpretation. It didn't say anything at all about judging other people other than that we should "judge the sin and not the sinner." It was a very good article on how sin is not relative. Sin has victims i.e the young females being forced into prostitution etc. Carl is grasping for a reason to bash the LDS church. The only person who has made any unrighteous judgements has been Carl with the name calling. He has taken one members (good) article and perverted its message, while at the same time managing to call Latter-day Saints such things as; "whackos, self-righteous, and holier than thou" I invite everyone to read the article for themselves to see how truly out of line Carl is. This appears to me to be another "anti mormon" bashing the LDS faith with no valid argument. Let's keep this dialogue fair and objective...PLEASE
Tom Sanford AZ

Tom, I don't think the guy who posted this is named Carl. I am named Carl, and I merely commented (in disagreement, I might add) on his posting. So be careful when looking at the "posted by" section of each comment. "Posted by" is at the bottom of each comment posted and does not apply to the article.

I think some context is necessary. As someone pointed out there is a difference between judging individual acts and classes of acts. It may well be, for instance, that protitution is wrong but that the sexually abused women thrown out of her house and living on the street ought to be judged more compassionately, despite the act being wrong. i.e. there is a big difference between judging the sin and judging the person. That's because the acts always occur in a complex context.

Having said that though, it clearly seems that the vast majority of people recognize that some acts are wrong: slavery, genocide, murder, and so forth. Perhaps in certain circumstances they are justified. But recognize that this contextualization isn't moral relativism. One can be an absolutist and even a moral realist yet think right and wrong depend upon context.

Rather moral relativism says that what is right or wrong depends upon what I *believe*. Thus if I *believe* an act of murder is just, it is just. The fact that an other person believes the opposite doesn't matter.

The problem is that very few people defend moral relativism. (Well, anthropologists and then a few muddle headed folks in some humanity departments) Rather the problem is the fact most judgments are underdetermined. i.e. the problem isn't relativism but ignorance. To get back to the case of the prostitute, when do we have enough information so as to make a just judgment?

Concerning judgement, don't many absolutists believe that God's commandments are based on sufficient information. As Clark has phrased it, what absolutists do is determine in which "class of acts" a given situation lies. Then, using God's commandments, "individual acts" will be judged the way God intends. I think the every day absolutist figures God has dealt with the "sufficient information" issue so that they don't have to. All they have to do is figure out the "class" in which it lies. Basically contextual information won't let them do better than an average God's has figured out. This average is indicated by what we are told to do or not to do.

To me, the interesting question is this. How presumptuous is it to think that having determined the class of an act, contextual information can do better than an average God has presumably set out in commandments. For instance it is against the commandments to steal. Is it presumptuous of us to think that there are cases in which it is not wrong? Is it presumpuous of us to think that, on average, our exceptions to this law will be more right than wrong?

Uh whoops...Sorry Carl...I think I meant Chris. Many apologies!!!
Tom Sanford

Dave, Tom. You meant Dave. The writer of the original post is Dave.

Tom, "Dave" (that's me) does the posting, and since I have my name in the title of the blog I don't put "posted by Dave" on the posting line of each post. Sorry if it's a bit confusing.

I'm not a Meridian basher--I have commented rather favorably on some of their articles. On the other hand, they're not BYU Studies or even the Ensign. I see it as kind of an upscale supermarket tabloid directed at religious/LDS readers and edited to conform with family values. But hey, it's more entertaining than official publications, and that's a key ingredient to a successful publication. I tend to highlight the wackier articles because they make good copy. Tell you what--I'll find something nice to say about a Meridian article next week, kind of an equal time approach.

As for my comments themselves, note that I quite directly said the author looks like and no doubt is a nice guy, and I don't believe I misrepresented anything he wrote in the article. The article encourages self-righteous zealots who manage to convince themselves they are without sin and stand on the high moral ground to judge other people. I think that line of thinking is all wrong and ignores most of what Jesus taught on the subject as recorded in the New Testament.

"--I'll find something nice to say about a Meridian article next week..."

Your head will explode...don't say I didn't warn you...

Well, I hate to have to defend Meridian, but some of the authors are well qualified to address their topics and have interesting things to say. And the overall quality of the articles seems to be getting better over time.

Like I said, it's a popular (free, online) publication, so the writers aim at a popular LDS audience, not an academic or even apologetic audience. IMHO, they are doing a much better job at serving that popular market than the Ensign, which has become increasingly uninteresting and irrelevant in recent years.

Personally I think a lot of the stuff is good, but that Pratt guy they have writing on "science" is always kind of frustrating, in my opinion. Lots of *real* fringe stuff.

And then there was the movie review of "Freaky Friday," where the reviewer walked out because of the unrighteous message. When I first read it, I thought it was really subtle satire...

Interestingly, "that Pratt guy" authored the entry in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism on ancient calendars.

He's got a calendar fetish of some kind. I'm sure he's knowledgeable about them. I just think he doesn't have that sense of healthy skepticism that such matters deserve.

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