What happens when the stories we’ve grown up with turn out to not be as historically accurate as we thought they were? For many, this not only causes cognitive dissonance, but plenty of pain. Carl Youngblood joins A Thoughtful Faith contributor James Patterson to talk about the hermeneutic concept of “demythologization” also known as breaking myths. Carl wrote a fascinating paper about how this process can apply to Mormonism.
Carl is also serves as co-Director and Vice President of the Mormon Transhumanist Association. As an appetizer, James and Carl talk a bit about transhumanism and its relationship to the unique theology of Mormonism
Young Carl Youngblood: the test for your new revelation to de-mythologize the details etc is still support by the anchors which can only be termed as truth. You mentioned it as one of Joseph’s pillars of mormonism just before he died and I agree. I wanted desperately to hear you say what you think about your own anchor truths of God etc, but it sounds like everything is reset. That would be scary, so I can’t imagine you have changed your entire faith paradyme. In declaring a new and splendid philosophy worthy of acceptation, it is your responsibility and privilege to state what you believe. Therefore, I will assume God remains greater than you are now; that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are separate beings both of them capable of interacting with your spirit which is not the same as your body. Thus the essence of your relationship with God is largely the same as it’s always been; a miracle and full of things to discover. I look forward to hearing how your philosophy develops.
Thanks for your message Jonathan. I want to make it clear that there are many aspects of the Church’s claims that I continue to think are historical or even literal, although in many cases there are slight differences between the reality and the mythologized narrative. My main point is that focusing on the most important aspects of our narratives (those that bring us closer to God) is more effective and more important than quibbling over historicity or fighting about mistaken assumptions. I still very much believe in God, although I think that many assumptions people make about God are hasty. However, I don’t think it’s important to argue over these. I may have misunderstood your comment but I would challenge you to look at whatever aspects of your faith paradigm seem most “scary” to discard and try to imagine what it would be like to disbelieve in them. I’m not suggesting you take this position permanently, but I strongly agree with Socrates that the “unexamined life” is not worth living. I think that questioning fundamental beliefs with the goal of finding more truth is a worthy endeavor, and I think that any quest that is undertaken charitably and humbly will not go wrong. Even if your mind changes for a while, that doesn’t mean that the process isn’t fruitful and beneficial. Any belief worth holding onto won’t be lost in this process.
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