Strong Opinions vs Faith

Discussions about holding onto your faith and beliefs, whether by staying LDS or by exploring and participating in other churches or faiths. The belief in any higher power (including God, Christ, Buddha, or Jedi) is true in this forum. Be kind to others.
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Give It Time
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Strong Opinions vs Faith

Post by Give It Time » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:44 pm

A woman in my ward recently described me as having strong opinions. I could tell she was nervous about the possibility of my having strong opinions. I've been asking myself why that is. Why would having strong opinions be a negative thing? If we were to sit down, actually sit down and have the conversation she fears, it would probably come to light that her opinions are every bit as strong as mine. So, why am I the object of fear?

The best I can ascertain is that my strong opinions come about as the result of having opened books, held conversations, knocked on doors until I found answers to my questions that satisfied me and either reassured me or pissed me off, but at least I had answers based on fact.i knew they were fact. They were logical. They explained my experience and the experiences of many others. When I tested them, they held true.

I realized that it we were to have that conversation she fears, all she would be able to fall back on is quotes from prophets, scriptures and faith. She knows I would be able to counter each one, in turn. That is all the strength her opinions have. Not to denigrate faith, because I still believe in it and have it. It's just changed and I believe I understand it better than I did back when my strong opinions relied on faith.

The other day, I posted a thought about the ridiculous future. Basically, I said that in predicting the future, we must first start with an idea we consider ridiculous. I think there's an element of truth to it. I will make a statement to explain my view of faith. The most ridiculous future I can imagine for this church is someday it will be led by a woman of native African heritage. She will be lesbian. She will have been in a same sex marriage and sealed in the temple to her female spouse. She will be divorced. She will be a single parent. She will be our best, most divinely inspired mouthpiece for Heavenly Father and Mother this church has ever seen, including Joseph Smith. She will this church's version of Pope Francis and that just might be her name. Now that I've written that. That's quite a vision. That is the most outlandish scenario I can imagine and now that I've imagined it, I think it's possible.

I don't think faith starts with fact, I think it starts with vision--imagination, if you prefer. I know this "ridiculous scenario" isn't real. I know it isn't on the horizon. However, I know it's possible, because pretty much anything is. I have faith that it could happen. Yet, I don't know for a fact it'll happen and I wouldn't dream of saying otherwise until I saw actual proof that something like this was on the horizon. I hope that something like this will happen, but I don't hold out hope for it--and in the process, paralyze myself. I simply have faith that it could happen (or may not) hope that it will happen and I get on with the business of living.

My view of faith has clearly shifted. I will take my strong opinions founded in fact any time over my former strong opinions founded in faith, any day.
At 70 years-old, my older self would tell my younger self to use the words, "f*ck off" much more frequently. --Helen Mirren

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Corsair
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Re: Strong Opinions vs Faith

Post by Corsair » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:58 am

In both the scenarios of "Strong Opinion" and "Strong Faith", it seems presumptuous when the phrase "I know" is used in connection with the faith or opinion claim. Yet that is the normal phrase used in fast and testimony meeting. The believers use of "I know" seems more about convincing themselves than anyone else.

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Give It Time
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Re: Strong Opinions vs Faith

Post by Give It Time » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:29 pm

Corsair wrote:
Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:58 am
In both the scenarios of "Strong Opinion" and "Strong Faith", it seems presumptuous when the phrase "I know" is used in connection with the faith or opinion claim. Yet that is the normal phrase used in fast and testimony meeting. The believers use of "I know" seems more about convincing themselves than anyone else.
I think you're right on this. I wouldn't dream of saying I know my scenario will come to pass. It would be something more like, when it actually comes come to pass, I'll say something more along the lines of, "well, I'll be darned". I think they are trying to convince themselves when they say, "I know". I think that's why this person is afraid to talk to me. I think she knows her testimony couldn't take it.

Back to the new view of faith and living it. I could even say my faith informs how I approach the world. Were I a leader, I could make sure members of African descent have opportunities to serve in areas of ever wider reach. Were I a local leader, I would push the envelope and do everything the handbook doesn't explicitly say not to do to give women wider reach, more influence and extending callings to them. As a member I could do my part to make sure SSA members are participating and included as far as possible. You get the idea.
At 70 years-old, my older self would tell my younger self to use the words, "f*ck off" much more frequently. --Helen Mirren

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