Episodes

234: Truthseeker

Truth

Today we dissect a talk given at BYU on July 12th 2016 by Michael Goodman.  He talks about the proper way to seek truth.  There is much in this talk to be praised and I think Brother Goodman moves the ball in a positive direction.  That said I also think there are several flawed ideas within it that we find ourselves swimming in at the very present.  We dissect his talk and praise where I think he is helpful and empathetic and offer perspective where I think he missing the mark.

https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/michael-a-goodman_way-truth-life/

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7 thoughts on “234: Truthseeker

  1. Bill,

    Why did you use the an example of 95% to 5% of the evidence goes against the church? Isn’t that ratio unbalanced?

    • Obviously this is in the eye of the beholder. My % is based on # of evidences and which evidences I give most and the littelest amount of weight to. In my mind it is 95% to 5%. This % may differ with each person, but that is where I am at, at present!

  2. In listening to this and other recent General Conference talks, it appears that “doubt” is becoming maligned, that church leaders see little or no virtue in doubt. And to some extent perhaps they are right. Perhaps perpetually doubting isn’t be a healthy thing. I can see how it might not sound productive, might leave people with a constant undertone of anxiety.

    I wonder if we would be better off using “uncertainty” instead of “doubt”. Surely there’s a phase of doubt, one that triggers searching, questioning, study. But having searched and studied and finding no satisfactory answers (or conflicting or incomplete answers) could we say we no longer really doubt, but are no longer certain of the orthodox answer or are at peace with uncertainty?

    Maybe instead of arguing the (de)merits of doubt, we would be better to discuss the virtues of (un)certainty?

  3. Bill,
    Thanks for the pod. I listened to the Micheal Goodman’s talk and really liked it. Your insights were astute, however I don’t think he said or was implying that if you don’t get “my” answer, then you’re not applying the three ways of establishing truth properly.

  4. Charlene,
    I really agree with you. I’ll expand:

    I think the term ‘doubt’ is used very loosely in the Church. Labeling someone as a ‘doubter’ should be avoided as it generally connotes something negative and undesirable and likely is inaccurate. More often the better term is ‘uncertainty.’ Doubt is a degree of uncertainty that yields the view that the proposition in question is more likely than not untrue. Many members are believers with questions with levels of uncertainty varying with each issue, but they still believe and would be offended if described as ‘doubters,’ since they are not ‘doubting’ a given belief, they are just not certain in it.

    The opposite of doubt is belief. Faith is belief extended to trust and action at the risk of being wrong. Belief and faith can and must coexist with uncertainty, but not with real doubt. Certainty is a continuum and there is no reason for faith if there is no uncertainty. Faith and doubt cannot exist at the same time about the same issue, but hope and doubt can.

    Doubt of religious concepts is to be feared because one is never certain that it won’t lead to deception or cognitive dissonance. But, for those who earnestly seek truth, running into some uncertainty and even doubt is unavoidable. And, it is in our response to doubt that determines whether the doubt is efficacious to our soul or not. Doubt should be withheld until inquiry has been conducted and ideally should only be a temporary conclusion. But, if the doubt persists with some uncertainty preventing a knowledge position, one can still choose to have hope that the doubt is wrong, shelve the issue and act as if the proposition is true.

  5. I have abandoned truth seeking in regards to religion. I have decided too focus instead on ensuring that the things I do are good. The church facilitates good actions, thus I will still participate.

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