Three Peas in a Pod: Mormonism, Transhumanism & Pelagianism

I have been challenged here by a Mormon on the topic of “Christian Transhumanism” on which my research is published at Raiders News here .  A foundational problem is that my paper was written to Christian Bible believers. My challenger is neither. While he seems to claim the term “Christian”, there are profound inconsistencies in his reasoning. They are so fundamental to his worldview, that an exchange is not likely to be fruitful. It is my sincere hope that he might recognize his error and turn to Christ but realistically my goal for responding is simply that those who are in Christ might learn from seeing his errors exposed. Perhaps I can put a stone in his shoe? Snippets of his response are in red, my responses are in black. In the first paragraph he reveals:

One aspect of this critique is accurate: Christian transhumanists do tend to be driven by a Pelegian view of sin, which is nonetheless compatible with Christianity. However, the other two aspects of the critique are inaccurate; some biblical anthropologies and educated understandings of Christian theology are quite compatible with Transhumanism.

With his blatant embrace of heresy in the very first paragraph, it’s quite tempting to say “check mate, thesis proven” and leave it at that. The British monk Pelagius (c. 354–415) declared that human effort and merit could bring about salvation without divine grace. Pelagius was vigorously opposed by the church father Augustine and deemed a heretic in 418 at the Council of Carthage.  A proper definition of Pelagianism includes that it is heretical:

Theologically, Pelagianism is the heresy which holds that man can take the initial and fundamental steps towards salvation by his own efforts, apart from Divine grace.[i]

The law of non-contradiction is quite clear that ‘A’ cannot be ‘B’ and ‘non-B’ at the same time and same place.  Thus, my opponents next statement that “some biblical anthropologies are compatible” is rendered incoherent since Pelagianism is an unbiblical anthropology. It can not be biblical and Pelagian. That said, he seems to believe that Mormons are Christians as well. Of course, that is demonstrably false and Pelagianism is a key factor. Mormon theologian Sterling M. McMurrin stated “The theology of Mormonism is completely Pelagian.”[ii] The nineteenth century work of cultic fiction known as the Book of Mormon even went so far as to alter the clear words of scripture:

Bible: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” (Ephesians 2:8)

Book of Mormon: “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (II Nephi 25:23).

Of course, Mormonism is no more Christian than Islam, in fact they are quite similar, see this video here. Furthermore, it is really quite odd that there are Mormon Transhumanists being that most transhumanists are scientifically literate. DNA testing has conclusively proven the book of Mormon is a work of fiction, as there are no traces of Semitic DNA markers in North American Indians. This evidence is so damning that even high level Mormon scholars have left the cult. For an excellent documentary expose’ I highly recommend: DNA vs. the Book of Mormon.

From the beginning, Cris creates a false dichotomy between technology and Christ, claiming the two are incompatible means of conquering death and creating utopia.

There is no false dichotomy presented but a real one.  Quite the contrary, I wrote, “Thus, we have a mandate to engage in some of technologies discussed but with the explicit caveat of when it is exclusively directed toward the healing aspect of medicine.” I love technology. I just don’t agree with making an idol of it or myself. I especially do not agree with using it to supplant Christ’s job description in scripture. The Bible is crystal clear about how, when and by whom death will be conquered:

“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. ” (1 Corinthians 15:22–26)

The Mormon transhumanist hopes to do this through man made technology, not God.  However, it is Christ’s destiny to abolish death, not sinful fallen mankind.  He has demonstrated my point for me. It is a biblical dichotomy.

Also from the beginning, Cris establishes a narrow interpretation of Christianity, thereby assuming his own conclusion that Christianity is incompatible with Transhumanism. This is well illustrated by the one sentence of dismissive attention that he gives to the Mormon Transhumanist Association, despite the fact that it is by far the largest group of Transhumanists that identify as Christians.

Identifying themselves as “Christian” is not enough (Matt 7:22). This is the crux of matter. He criticizes me for having a narrow view. This is a charge I am more than happy to accept. If it were up to me it would not be so narrow, but I have submitted to higher authority. For it is not my idea, it was that of my Lord and Savior who said,

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13)

Of course Mormon transhumanism only merited this one sentence in my paper, “There is a Mormon Transhumanist association, which is hardly surprising in light of their polytheism and apotheosis doctrine.” My paper was a critique of “Christian Transhumanism” not Mormon Transhumanism. Carl Teichrib recently covered that topic. I was addressing alleged Christians. Mormons are not Christians in any sense of the word. Nearly all of his argumentation further proves my point. For example:

Also, there is potential for irony in Cris’ appeal to self-denial and humility: as it can be self-indulgent and arrogant to focus exclusively on improving one’s self, so it can be to refuse and resist improving one’s self. In positive terms, the Bible tells of a time when the dead will be raised and the living changed to spiritual bodies, incorruptible and immortal in comparison to our present bodies. This is enhancement, and it is by definition compatible with biblical ethics.

God does these things, not man! The dead will be raised by God at Christ’s return:

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51–53)

We will be transformed by God at Christ’s return, not by Lincoln Cannon, Ray Kurzweil or Max More’s materialistic musings.

Cris compounds the problems with his criticism by claiming that transhumanists consider our bodies simple hardware or biological prostheses. The problem with this claim is its irony, given that he presumably holds to the common Christian notion that our bodies are precisely that: prostheses for our souls.

Again he seems woefully ignorant of what orthodox biblical Christianity holds true. I will let scripture make my case once again:

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

Christians do not live for themselves but for Christ. This is why things like posthuman enhancement are opposed to sound biblical doctrine; as followers of Jesus we “present our bodies as a living sacrifice.” (Rom 12:1)

The real substance (pun intended) of Cris’ criticism is that he considers philosophical materialism to be incompatible with Christianity.

Yes, absolutely I do!

In the actual world, apart from his particular brand of Christianity, he’s simply incorrect. Some Christians are philosophical materialists, as are most Transhumanists. Clearly, in practice, the two can be compatible in this area.

This is so profoundly incoherent that I am almost at a loss for words. For meaningful discourse using language to be possible both parties must agree to the law of non-contradiction. If up is down and red is blue, reasoning is no longer possible. Accordingly, if you are a philosophical materialist you are necessarily an atheist. A typical philosophical dictionary defines it as a:

Belief that only physical things truly exist. Materialists claim (or promise) to explain every apparent instance of a mental phenomenon as a feature of some physical object. Prominent materialists in Western thought include the classical atomists, Hobbes, and La Mettrie.[iii]

God is an immaterial being. If you are a philosophical materialist then you do not believe in God. God is spirit (Num. 16:22; 2 Cor. 3:17 Heb. 12:9). God is not a man (Num 23:19). He is not composed of matter. As his attributes like omnipresence imply, he is immaterial or nonphysical. This is very clearly stated by Jesus in John 4:24, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth,” and is also implied in the many references to his invisibility (John 1:18; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:15–16).[iv] Also Jesus reassures the apostles that he is not immaterial after the resurrection in Luke 24:39 by telling them,

See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have. (Luke 24:39)

So we have Jesus explicitly teaching God is a spirit and also that spirits do not have flesh and bones. Thus anyone who believes God is material does not follow Jesus and is necessarily not a Christian. Christians believe Jesus.

No mere theist or even a self respecting deist, let alone Christian, is a philosophical materialist. That is an absurdity on the order of a square circle or a married bachelor. It gives me a headache imagining the massive level of cognitive dissonance that must result from such an internally contradictory worldview. Perhaps he will defend “Christian Atheism” in his next post?  In the end, heretical beliefs such as Pelagianism always lead to larger errors like Mormonism or “Christian Transhumanism.” They are man centered and self-aggrandizing as opposed to Christ centered and God glorifying.  It all leads back to the original lie in the garden,

“The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” ” (Genesis 3:4–5)


[i] F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3rd ed. rev. (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 1257.

[ii],Sterling M. McMurrin. The Theological Foundations of the Mormon Religion 1965.

[iii] “Materialism” in Philosophical Dictionary  http://www.philosophypages.com/dy/m2.htm#mat (accessed 2/20/20011)

[iv]Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), 294.

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.

Comments

  1. shelley says:

    “It is the FIRST PRINCIPAL OF THE GOSPEL to know for certainty the character of God, to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us, yea that God Himself the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ did…Here then is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God, and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, the same as all Gods have done before you.”
    Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp 346, 347.

    Emphasizes on “and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves” Sounds like the same old temptation.

    It is not surprising that the Mormons would see Transhumanism as a way to achieve some sort of advancement towards their ultimate goal of becoming like God themselves. You can’t blame them for becoming defensive, considering The Transhumanist movement seems to fits so perfectly within their doctrine. It seems that Mormonism is a direct result of human pride which was introduced to humanity by the serpent so many years ago. The serpent is still up to his old tricks, make no mistake!

    2Cr 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

    The Mormon Church is a result of the serpents work and until that day when Christ will cast the deceiver into the pit:

    “Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

    We must be on guard against those who utilize today’s advancements to further evil’s agenda!
    Excellent work, Cris! The serpent will look for any way to further his destruction of humanity and Transhumanism would seem to be a great way in changing who God created us to be. We are to become more like Christ however it is God who does the work in transforming our minds, not our bodies!

    “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).”

  2. Lincoln Cannon says:
  3. Will Welch says:

    Wow, I am a Mormon and this is the first I have heard of this group. I do not agree with any thing they are saying or what I see as church doctrine. I see doing what these bone heads are say is sin and offense to God and his Son. So you can trash the Mormons all you want. But, as you every group or religion have some people who do not follow whats is written in the Bible or other text, as Baptists, Methodist Catholics, ect or born again Christians that sell strange doctrines in the new age. Please dont think all Mormons are for this Crap!! and lusifarian in nature. This is a group dabbling with things they are going to get burned in the end. As for my religion is you choice and obligation to criticize what you feel is wrong and thank you for it. I am glad some found this and it out there, but please dont think all of us are for this.

    Will Welch

  4. carlos says:

    thank you for the truth , which comes from the indwelling of the spirit of truth , jesus christ , which mormons do not have .

  5. Lincoln Cannon says:

    Hi Will. I’m sorry to read your opinion that persons will be burned for advocating work to improve the human condition and our world, without the damning constraints of deference to a supposed god that would oppress our charitable interests. That you would prescribe burning for such persons is a horrible thought of the sort that haunted our ancestors for generations. I hope you were just exaggerating and would never act on such a thought, although words DO have consequences. If you’d like to discuss your concerns, I invite you to post them as comments on my blog, or write them in more detail somewhere on the Internet. I’d be happy to look at them.

  6. thomas says:

    IF YOU WOULD SPEND AS MUCH TIME IN DOING WHAT IS RIGHT BEFORE OUR LORD AND SAVIOR AS YOU DO RUNNING DOWN SOMETHING YOU HAVE NO DESIRE TO UNDERSTAND YOU WOULD BE BETTER OFF.

  7. Lincoln Cannon says:

    Hi Thomas. I’m trying to do that. Do you recognize that I also consider antagonism deficient discipleship of Christ?

  8. Chris Putnam:
    You should get on your hands and knees and and ask our Father in Heaven to to lead you to the truth! You certainly need to find out since you know nothing about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    Clare Butterfield

  9. Darrick says:

    Wow Cris did you have to see the doctor to splint your arm for patting yourself on the back? As is typical of most “Christian” religions you seem to have a real pride in your moral superiority over others. I have researched Mormonism as well as Catholicism, Lutherans…etc etc and what I have found is that the basic teachings of the Mormons are very Jesus Christ centered and are in no opposition to what he taught. I am not a Mormon but if I were to choose a church that welcomes strangers, is very family oriented, worships Jesus Christ and is extraordinarily charitable I would choose the LDS. I am very impressed with the fact that the LDS church does not speak negatively toward other churches, they recognize the goal of most is to bring Gentiles to the Saviour. Seems pretty reasonable unlike the rabid hypocritical “Holier than thou” crap espoused today. Best of luck to you because pride cometh before the fall.

  10. manaen says:

    RE: It all leads back to the original lie in the garden, “The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, *and you will be like God*, knowing good and evil.” ” (Genesis 3:4–5)
    .
    I’ve seen this use of this verse before, which puzzles me because a few verses later in the same chapter, we have, “Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:22)
    .
    These verses speak of man becoming like God specifically in knowing good and evil
    * Does God know good and evil?
    * Does man know good and evil?
    * Then, is not man like God in that he knows also knows good and evil, as God said in v. 22?
    .
    As a Latter-day Saint, I’ve been puzzled that in the one instance that I recall in scripture in which God and Satan agree on a truth, that our opponents misconstrue it to refer to a future event, even though God says “has become,” and ignore God’s declaration that man already had become like him in knowing good and evil.

  11. D says:

    Manean – You have zeroed in on a significant point… But what you are missing is the understanding that man is man, and God is God, and man was not created with the intention or ability to be able to understand all things the way God does…

    Yes, when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened, and they did then know good and evil, but this knowledge actually corrupted us, rather than make us more like God!

    Having tasted many of the “forbidden fruits” of sin myself, I can personally attest that doing so never resulted in me becoming more “enlightened” or wise, but only more twisted and broken in my spirit… Sin does not set you free, but rather enslaves you… We are all born as slaves to sin, craving to do what we ought not to do, and we are powerless to break free from this by ourselves. Only the Holy Spirit can set us free, and purify us from wickedness that wants to rule in us…

    “Acts of charity” are no remedy for this either Lincoln… In the end, humanity’s problem is not lack of resources, or lack of education, or equality, or any physical circumstance… Our problem is within our own hearts. It is sin that is at the root of every “tangible” problem we find in the world today…

    Mormonism (regardless of what spin you put on it) cannot set anyone free from the bonds of sin, it only tries to cover it up with the veneer of outward religion and outward works. There is no such thing as “works-based” righteousness…

  12. Cris Putnam says:

    @D Brother on that we can certainly agree!

    @Mormons it’s really not personal and I do not think I am better or more righteous than anyone but of course I do believe I am right. You think you are right too. It is not possible for us both to be. Joseph Smith contradicted Jesus Christ, I’m going to side with Jesus.
    http://www.johnankerberg.org/Articles/apologetics/AP0306W1.htm

    Compare Jesus’ character to Smith’s. Joseph Smith was a criminal with a record of being a con man, he’s a lot like a 19th century version of L Ron Hubbard’s Scientology. Why do you trust Smith a documented liar?

    http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon430.htm
    http://www.bibletopics.com/biblestudy/162-4.htm

  13. Paul says:

    I read the Book of Mormon and felt the Holy Ghost testify to me in the most power beautiful way that Jesus Christ is the Savior and that Christ visited ancient America after his death in Jerusalem. The book of Mormon brings myself and my family closer to my Savior.

  14. Shane says:

    The ignorance of “Mormon” doctrine in this article (and most of the commets) is truly astounding.

    The author clearly has little concern for truth, so it would be pretty useless to try and deflate his “obvious” expertise on the matter.

    Do you people REALLY trust so much in the accuracy of the anti-Mormon literature you’ve read?

    What if Hitler wrote a doctrinal summary of the Jewish faith – do you think he’d get it right?

    I (yes a “Mormon”) can tell you that I know that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten of The Father, the Savior of all mankind and the Redeemer of the world. He loves all of us enough that He gave His life for your and my salvation, and this knowledge doesn’t need anyone’s approval – it certainly doesn’t require permission to call myself a Christian. I am a Christian.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Shane,

      Your analogy to Hitler does not follow. Nobody is trying to exterminate you, we simply think you are wrong. We sincerely believe you have been deceived by a 19th century polygamist con man with verifiable a criminal record for fraud named Joseph Smith. Shane if we wanted to harm you, we would leave you alone.

      I’m not going to tell you what you believe. Your position on who Jesus is much more important than empty unsupported claims and emotion. But the Mormon religion does teach the things I wrote about. You say I care little for truth and that my statements about Mormon doctrine are incorrect – yet you offer absolutely no evidence. My claims were supported by evidence. Quotes from Mormon apostles and scholars as well as the BoM.

      Jesus was not a polytheist born of a man. He is eternal. All things were made through him (Jn 1:3). Lucifer (Satan) is not his brother. Mormonism teaches he was born of a fleshy God the Father and one his spirit wives and that Lucifer is his brother.

      Do you deny it? Maybe you are not really a Mormon?

      I challenge you to watch the movie The Bible vs. the Book of Mormon.

  15. Lincoln Cannon says:

    D, I agree that works alone are insufficient, as grace alone is insufficient. Reconciliation requires both, whether it is to happen among humans or between humans and God. Charity is this reconciliation. Charity is Christ. God is love. 

    Cris, Joseph Smith did many things I disagree with (although the things I disagree with may not be the things you disagree with). I imagine, as Joseph suggested on one occasion, that if we knew Jesus then we would probably have many disagreements with him too. Clearly, judging from the Bible, just about all of Jesus’ contemporaries disagreed with him at one time or another, with varying degrees of passion. My point is that we should not confuse the character of the messenger with the message. Certainly a message can make a messenger a hypocrite, but a messenger cannot make a message true or false. The message is what it is.

  16. Chapp says:

    May I recommend James’ 2nd chapter? It talks about faith and works. It is a good discourse by the Lord’s brother. I specifically recommend vs. 17 & 22. It IS true that at no time can we gain salvation through our own efforts, but that doesn’t negate our trying to be better persons. If fact, the Saviour stated that we should be perfect (greek word is defined as whole or complete) like our Father in Heaven. What’s wrong with that?

    Don’t accept the words of someone who has no authority to speak for the organization as indicative of all of us. That is prone to error. Cris doesn’t speak for me. I didn’t even know there was a Mormon Transhumanism organization.

    Brother Chris, do you really need to disparage another faith? Is that Christ-like? Why go there? Lets spend our energy on fighting our common enemy, Lucifer and not each other. That doesn’t solve anything.

  17. Lincoln Cannon says:

    I don’t know if Chapp intended part of his comment for me, but I completely agree with him that no one should consider Mormon Transhumanism to be the doctrine of the LDS Church. It’s not. There is no affiliation between the Mormon Transhumanist Association and the LDS Church, although most (but not all) members of the MTA are also members of the LDS Church, and the MTA supports it’s members in their individual affiliations.

  18. Ariel Love says:

    While Mormonism is a hot button for many of us, in all honesty, I really missed out on this one!!! In 1994 I could have moved to Idaho and married not one but two sisters 🙂 wow now thats incredible 🙂 no where in the KJV Bible
    does God or Jesus condemn having more than one wife

  19. bolo says:

    I dare all here (especially Mormons and Roman Catholics) to watch the following:

    Bill Schnoebelen – Ancient Of Days

    Now I mean the ENTIRE one hour, twenty-three minutes, and…. well maybe not necessarily the last twenty-five seconds. The ‘kicker’ for Mormons comes towards the end of the presentation. Now understand dear people. One cannot discuss, in full proper context, ufology without discussing, and coming to full comprehension of what the Nephilim and ‘The Watchers’ truly are. [1] Cris, being a purveyor of Thomas Horn, Steven Quayle, Michael Heiser, et al, knows exactly what I am speaking here.

    Do YOU, have the courage to join us?

    ——————-
    [1] I do believe, as Horn and Quayle will also, that one cannot also discus the topic of transhumanism and post-humanism, without a background in the Nephilim et al.

  20. Jerome Smith says:

    I am much more familiar with the theology of the Jehovah Witnesses than the Mormons. Both groups, as far as I can determine, are in serious doctrinal error.

    I am very curious about the “philosophical materialism” referred to in the main article. Is this the same thing as theological materialism?

    By theological materialism I refer to individuals and groups that do not believe the soul or spirit is an individual continuing conscious entity in man that exists after the death of the body.

    Theological materialists do not believe in the conscious existence of a person after the death of the physical body.

    Of course, Jesus established that the soul is not the body (Matthew 10:28) when He said the soul cannot be killed by man, though the body can be killed by man. Jesus also established that there is consciousness after death when he told the Thief on the Cross, “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

    Of course, leave it to the false cults to attempt to change the punctuation of Luke 23:43!

    Apparently Seventh Day Adventists share a belief in theological materialism similar to the Jehovah Witnesses.

    I was not aware that Mormons have this view. Do they?

  21. Cris Putnam says:

    @Paul – Maybe it was just heartburn? Remember also “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. ” (2 Corinthians 11:14) If Joseph Smith saw an angel Moroni then it was a fallen angel. Please refer to my latest post above this one.

    @Ariel perhaps you should read your KJV a little more often? It’s pretty clear on “one wife” as the biblical ideal.

    “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; ” (1 Timothy 3:2, KJV 1900)

    “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. ” (1 Timothy 3:12, KJV 1900)

    “If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. ” (Titus 1:6, KJV 1900)

    @Chapp,

    If you read James in context he is not talking about works based salvation at all. He is talking about those who claim to believe but do not show any evidence of it.

    “Brother Chris, do you really need to disparage another faith? Is that Christ-like? Why go there?”

    It’s the biblical mandate to refute false religions. Of course it is Christ like, Jesus was more angry about false works based religion than anything else! Is this Christ like? “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. ” (John 8:44)

    Why? Because you lead people astray with a false gospel.

    “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. ” (Galatians 1:8)

  22. Chapp says:

    Brother Putnam, it is not my desire to bible bash with you. My faith is encouraged NOT to do this sort of thing, as it generally creates hard feelings and that isn’t what Christ wanted for His followers. You obviously have your point of view and that is fine. We ALL will know the truth in the hereafter. I’m secure enough in my faith to wait until then and at that time you and I will talk. Fair enough? I hope so. I hold no animosity for you.

    To Jerome Smith, God bless you. The Latter Day Saints (Mormons) differ from most of Christianity in one aspect. We believe that we existed for MANY years, before this world was created, in our heavenly home. We all existed prior to mortality. We will exist afterwards, as well. All will have a chance to accept the gospel of our Saviour, either in this life or the next. All will have a chance at salvation. No one will be damned just because they didn’t hear of Jesus Christ in mortality. That’s why 1 cor. 15:29 says what it does. The ordinance of baptism will be carried out by those in mortality, and if those who are dead accept this, they too, can be saved, on faith in our Saviour. Any questions, go to lds.org.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      There are not any hard feelings but there certainly are disagreements. For instance, “The Latter Day Saints (Mormons) differ from most of Christianity in one aspect.” Really just one? There are a lot more divergences from biblical Christianity than preexistence. “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be.”God was once just a man? Man will become equal to God? God had sex with Mary to conceive Jesus? Jesus and Lucifer are brothers? BTW The preexistence of souls was declared a heresy way back when Origen first came up with it. You are Mormons not Christian please do not confuse the two.

  23. Jerome Smith says:

    Dear Chapp,

    Thank you for noticing my post here and my embedded question!

    I would assume from your answer to my question that theological materialism is not a feature of Mormon belief.

    That would appear to lead to the conclusion that philosophical materialism (mentioned in the article) does not equate to theological materialism.

    My question related directly to the content of Cris Putnam’s article, so I hope he will see this post of mine and address my question to make sure I am correct in my understanding and conclusion on this specific point.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      The definition for philosophical materialism is given above and some new ones below. I looked in a few of the top scholarly theological dictionaries and I do not see “theological materialism” only the philosophical variety which leads me to think they are the same thing.

      You can not be a materialist while believing in God, or a soul, or even consciousness for that matter. This is why most atheistic naturalism is logically incoherent – they are material reductionists (everything reduces to physics and chemistry) but thoughts are not physical.
      —————————————————
      materialism. A philosophical outlook that contends that physical matter is the only reality or category of existence, so that everything that exists is a manifestation of the material (rather than a manifestation of the mind). In more popular parlance, the term refers to pursuit of money and possessions as a central goal of human existence. See also monism.

      Stanley Grenz, David Guretzki and Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 76.

      —————————–
      materialism. The view that only material objects exist. Materialism is sometimes used as a synonym for physicalism, but some thinkers distinguish the two by allowing that physicalism holds that only matter and energy exist. Some materialists define their view in terms of science and claim that ultimate reality consists of whatever particles or entities are discovered by physicists. See also eliminative materialism; nonreductive materialism.

      C. Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 73.

  24. Jerome Smith says:

    Dear Cris,

    My term, “theological materialism,” may not be used as widely as it should be, but I don’t think that I am the originator of the terminology. I think I have encountered the term in works on cult apologetics, perhaps older works at that.

    F. W. Grant, in his work Facts and Theories s to Future State, in his Index of Subjects, gives “Materialism, atheistic, page 454,” as well as “Materialism, of Annihilation, page 469.”

    Like you said, atheism is materialistic. They do not believe anything exists beyond the physical nature of man.

    Thus, they could be said to believe in atheistic materialism, which apparently equates to philosophical materialism..

    But some theists are materialists also, for they do not believe anything in man exists beyond the physical nature.

    Jehovah Witnesses have written a chapter in one of their publications with a title something like “Your soul is you.” They teach your body is your soul. They do not believe there is any conscious existence after the death of the body until after the resurrection.

    On these points, Seventh Day Adventists share the same view.

    Therefore, Jehovah Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists are theological materialists.

    I assume that Mormons do not fit this category.

    I think Mormonism violates my “Robinson Crusoe Desert Island Test.” If you search the Internet you will find my discussions of this principle.

    The idea is that God has revealed what He wants us to know in His written Word, the Bible. If unfortunate Robinson had all the time in the world to read without distraction his “three good Bibles,” plain text Bibles at that, he could never come up with the system of belief we know as Mormonism from the Bible alone.

    Mormons might object that if Robinson had the Book of Mormon at hand he could discover their system of belief.

    The problem is, the Book of Mormon is not Divinely Inspired Scripture.

    Now our Jewish friends might happen along and join the discussion and say that the New Testament is not Divinely Inspired either, only the Hebrew Scriptures are.

    Unlike the Book of Mormon, the New Testament can be verified historically, and thus possesses the characteristic of verifiable historicity. Note this latter term most carefully.

    While historicity does not directly prove Divine Inspiration (or all our accurate history books would be Divinely Inspired, which they obviously are not, and don’t claim to be), historicity does prove truthfulness.

    If the New Testament is absolutely true, then it must be Divinely Inspired, and is therefore Scripture.

    The notion that the text of Scripture has been tampered with, leading to the Mormons producing their Inspired Version which has some additions to the text here and there to correct this, is nonsense.

    Ancient manuscripts differing in age as much as a thousand years or more read the same. No tampering is in evidence.

    What variations as do exist are very minor variations, often involving matters of spelling and word order, and in no case do they so affect the text that we have any doubt of what the text originally said, and where there may be some doubt, it does not affect enough texts in Scripture to affect adversely any Christian doctrine.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Jerome, Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I do not think “theological materialism” is any different than the atheist reductionist variety and that is my argument in a nutshell. Sure there may be cults that endorse it, but it is a contradiction because God is spirit as the argument from my post demonstrates. It is logically incoherent with known reality as well. I think you might appreciate this.

  25. Chapp says:

    Like I said, I refuse to bible bash or haggle on what I believe. You have to be intellectually honest to have a good discussion. It has been great talking to you and may God grant you the light you seek. Until we all meet before the bar of God, I do wish you well.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Chapp, There’s no “bashing” going on. My point is that it is not intellectually honest to refer to Mormons as Christian. Mormon doctrine demonstratively contradicts Christ.

  26. Cris, it is dishonest to pretend that your claim is not controversial.

  27. Cris: “. . . it is not intellectually honest to refer to Mormons as Christian. Mormon doctrine demonstratively contradicts Christ.”

    It is dishonest to pretend that this claim is not controversial.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      No it isn’t controversial at all, perhaps it may seem that way to you, but only because you have been indoctrinated by a cult. Mormonism is universally recognized as a cult in Christian circles, it’s not controversial at all, it’s a simple matter of fact.

      ———-
      A CULT is any group that defines itself in Christian terms, but denies one or more of the essentials of historical and biblical Christianity.
      They long to be considered true Christian movements, and even use
      Christian terminology, but with one fatal flaw.
      They may use the Christian vocabulary,
      but they do not use the Christian dictionary.
      —————————————–
      MARK OF A CULT MEANING EXAMPLE
      ADDITION Principle They add books to the Bible which are seen as equally inspired, and these books correct or add to the theological foundation of Christianity Book of Mormon

  28. Cris, your definitions depend on authority that no one outside your group acknowledges. They are not remotely close to being objective definitions, and consequently they are not charitable definitions — there is immorality in the egotistical refusal to account for others’ experience. Below are links to other definitions, the authority of which most would acknowledge as at least an improvement on the fundamentalist dictionary definitions you proposed.

    Definition of “christian”:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=define:christian

    Definition of “cult”:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=define:cult

    • Cris Putnam says:

      When you say “my group” you necessarily mean Christians. There are a set of orthodox beliefs like the monotheism and deity and exclusivity of Christ that properly define membership. These are non negotiable:

      1. God as Creator and Author of the inerrant Word of God.
      2. God as Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent
      3. God as Triune- Father, Son and Holy Spirit in perfect relationship.
      4. Jesus Christ as the virgin-born Incarnate Son of God.
      5. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, working miracles and dying as the spotless Lamb of God.
      6. Jesus Christ died as the sinless Sacrifice for mankind’s sin, was buried and bodily resurrected on the third day.
      7. Salvation by grace through faith through repentance, not works.
      8. Jesus Christ as the returning King in eschatology.

      If any of those fundamental points change, then Christianity changes. For example, if Jesus was not virgin born, then He could not be the spotless Lamb of God. He would have to die for His own sins! A cult, on the other hand, changes one or more of these doctrines. They present a Jesus who is not the Second Person of the Trinity. They deny salvation by grace. They do not believe the Bible is the final and complete written revelation of God. Therefore, they add books that are viewed as equal to the Bible. They subtract from the Person and Work of Christ. They multiply the means of salvation- adding extra actions that earn God’s forgiveness.

      The term Christian first appeared in Acts 11:26 “And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. ” (Acts 11:26) The term properly refers to disciples of Christ. While Mormonism appropriates Christian terms, it does use the biblical definitions. By elevating the Book of Mormon as their holy book, Mormons are disciples of Joseph Smith not Jesus Christ, which makes them a cult as from the definition you linked to says “followers of an unorthodox, extremist, or false religion or sect who often live outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.” In my recent seminary Apologetics course we noted the differences between a cult and a world religion.

      A religion demands allegiance to a set of values.
      A religion offers alternative gods, prophets or worship.
      A religion offers other means of salvation than the Cross of Christ.
      A world religion does not attempt to offer a redaction of Christianity.

      A cult demands to be considered a mainstream Christian group.
      A cult believes it is a redaction or correction of Christianity.
      A cult believes it offers the corrected view of the Christian God.

      It’s your very insistence that you are Christian while contradicting Jesus and classical Christianity that make you a cult. The two google links really do not help your case as Mormonism fails to meet “relating to or characteristic of Christianity” and does meet, “a religion or sect that is generally considered to be unorthodox, extremist, or false.” This has been demonstrated ad nauseum. The harder you fight it, the more you prove my case.

  29. Lincoln Cannon says:

    Good morning, Cris. Mormonism may be a cult, but it doesn’t make your definitions any more objective, it doesn’t change my self-identification as a Christian, and it doesn’t make you representative of anything more than a straining fundamentalism. Of course, I’m not even close to being typical of Christianity or even Mormonism. I just hope fewer of your readers will read your claims uncritically.

    • Cris Putnam says:

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Lincoln,

      In your H+ Interview you stated that “Mormons typically believe that, after death, we continue to exist spiritually while awaiting the resurrection, when we will regain physical bodies.” However, you have also stated that you are a philosophical materialist. These two ideas are contradictory. How can one exist “spiritually” if materialism (everything is matter) is true?

      Also you stated that “76% of Mormon Transhumanists identify as theists, and many of the others think God just doesn’t exist yet.” I suppose that means that 24% of Mormon Transhumanist are indeed atheists. You seem to lean that way from your comments here. Are you an atheist Lincoln? Does God exist… yet?

  30. Hi Chris. I am a theist (google for “New God Argument”), and I consider spirit to be information, which always requires a material substrate.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Perhaps we should take this to a new thread as this is getting to be prohibitively long. I’m going to start a new post. I moved our conversation to here.

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