Mormons believe that the fastest and best improvements to the quality of life of an individual come through conversion to the church. That being said, the LDS church in general does a lot of humanitarian aid and Mormon missionaries in particular spend significant chunks of time engaged in charitable service.
Source: I served a mission in NYC and we spent plenty of time at soup kitchens, food pantries, and just helping out anyone who needed a hand.
I would think it's fairly natural that one's belief in God comes with belief that obedience to His teachings and commandments would result in the best outcome. If one believes in Christ, specifically, then it's also natural to combine this belief with service of all kinds - not just proselyting - as the GP comment is suggesting should happen.
I volunteer some of my time overseeing LDS missionary efforts in the Bay Area and they did recently instruct missionaries to step up volunteer efforts in other charitable organizations, with the specific instruction to not make a big deal of who they were or to proselyte during service - so as to make it a sincere effort to improve other people's lives in other ways as well with no hidden or ulterior motives. That being said, it saddens me when people who don't believe in God criticize such efforts as an irrational waste of the human race's resources. You have a right to be atheist, and I would defend that to any other religious person, but I also have every right to continue to be a Christian. I recognize that religion has been used as an excuse to violate the rights of others in the past, but there's no reason why we need to swing society the other way.
Yes but why not just do good for the sake of good because of a belief that it will be for the benefit of all, the self included. It gives you something to believe in without having a "church" to follow and be told what to do from.
That's what has always struck me negatively, at least from Christianity. When I went to Church, the only reason they told me to follow the commandments or accept Christ was so that I can go to heaven. They were only trying to appeal to my inner-selfishness. I've since changed, and simplified that teaching. Doing good is the natural order and will benefit myself in the long-term for the least amount of total effort invested. It's as simple as that, and no lying required (I say lying because none of the Christians could honestly verify going to heaven, but presented it as if it was basically fact to tons of young impressionable children).
Many pastors I've met always had amazing stories about how they used to be really bad, and gave examples of their previous life behaviors. What's funny is that this did not relate to me at all, as I was never that bad and couldn't imagine why someone would do those (in my opinion) horrible things. It led me to believe that Christianity appealed to those who sinned, because it promised that one thing, forgiveness and salvation, regardless of whether you deserved it. All you had to say was "I believe..."
Not all atheists lack spirituality, and not all are moral-less. You can totally believe in a greater cause without having to invent things.
Well I (and probably most Mormons, and IMO the Old and New Testament) would absolutely agree with you that service out of sincere love for others and a desire to do good is far more noble than serving with the thought of reward. I don't believe "all you have to say is I believe", because I think faith is not faith if you're not willing to back it up with your actions. Likewise, serving for a reward is better than no service - but it misses the point of actually becoming a happier, more loving person. I think a person who sincerely believes in God and believes we are, in any sense, his children, should feel a natural love towards others and a desire to serve Him and them. I think if a pastor feels they need to motivate with the thought of reward, they've already missed out on that very fundamental point. Going to heaven would be nice, but it shouldn't be the only reason you do good. If it gets you to start serving, great, but I don't believe anyone's going to heaven who doesn't sincerely love their fellow man.
The thing is, though, it's not like I invented my beliefs because I needed a reason to serve - I believe because of (though you may disgaree) rational reasons and experiences I've had that although I can't reproduce them or verify them to others, I consider empirical as far as myself is concerned. If I sincerely believe that to be the truth and a source of great happiness, I wouldn't call it a waste that I spent 2 years inviting others to try achieve the same. If they decline, that's fine and I think no less of them, but it's not like my beliefs are the only reason I have for trying to serve others. I still serve in other ways and for other reasons - believing in God doesn't mean I wouldn't try to do good otherwise.
>> Not all atheists lack spirituality, and not all are moral-less. You can totally believe in a greater cause without having to invent things.
Wholeheartedly agree - I hope I have not implied anything to the contrary.
> Likewise, serving for a reward is better than no service - but it misses the point of actually becoming a happier, more loving person.
My point of contention is the belief that tricking people into doing good as an end that justifies the means is acceptable. I don't believe people should be tricked into doing good. I don't believe they are even doing good when they don't fundamentally understand why they should be doing good. What results from this process is just a bunch of bad and evil people trying to forgive themselves of their sins. They'll invade the religion, corrupt it, and pretty soon over time organized religion will just be filled with these types of people. THAT'S the reason why it's bad to just trick people into doing good. Your religion will just start attracting these false worshippers, and you end up with religions filled with hypocrites. Religion is not objective. It is subjective, so it is very prone to be distorted and bent and shaped to satisfy the needs of both good and evil people. If you start making compromises and just get people who want to "serve for a reward," you'll end up slowly corrupting the religion and letting those evil people infiltrate, shape, and dominate it. This obviously hasn't just started happening, it's been happening over centuries. And yes, there ARE actual good Christians, but it's harder to tell them apart from the corrupted ones. The corrupted ones are the ones the liberals and the atheists hate, because they are at the forefront of intolerance, outdated traditionalism, and hypocrisy. They give the GOOD Christians a bad name. Unfortunately, this easy corruption of religion is fundamental to the way it operates. If you indiscriminately acquire new religion members, your religion is prone to infection, like an open wound. This is why religions who don't go out with a sales force, adding whoever and whenever they can, are less prone to infection and corruption.
This is why religion that lacks a sales team has more credence because honestly, a religion that sells itself is more believable as divine and correct.
One of the goals of the Mormon Church is to teach people "what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come" [Introduction, The Book of Mormon]. I think a lot of people miss one of the two sides of the coin. That peace I feel is what motivated me to give up two years of my life as a missionary. Not because I wanted a reward after this life, but because there is nothing more valuable than that peace. It's the same peace I feel in my family, with my wife and children. I feel it in my personal relationship with God. It's a common thread through everything good in my life.
That's why I believe and live my life this way. Not for an eternal reward, but for the day to day.
That's why I, along with many others in the Mormon Church, feel that there is no better way we could spend our time than inviting others to feel the same peace.
As far as religion appealing only to those who sinned, a frequently quoted phrase in the Mormon church is that our mission is to "make a bad person good and a good person better". Nobody is perfect, and it is my personal conviction that religion, the Mormon faith in particular, is the best (not the only) way for someone to better themselves.
This is my personal belief and I realize it is not shared by most people. I share it with you not with the intention to preach or incite guilt, but to clarify and explain why we feel so strongly about our beliefs. I'm more than happy to answer any questions via email (in my profile).
> “If this is done correctly, an organization can get to a person who is having personal issues or problems that if not addressed by a variety of social means may lead that individual to violence, theft or espionage before it even gets to that point,” said a senior Pentagon official, who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly.
Looks like there's some senior Pentagon officials who have a peer they can snitch on.
This sort of change would only be necessary if the value of a bitcoin grows significantly making today's dust into tomorrow's crumbs. I don't generally pick up pennies, but I've never ignored a dollar before.
There are many reasons why kids get bullied. There is no unified theory of bullying that explains it all.
For years I thought I was picked on because I was smarter than my peers. Looking back, it seems more likely that I was really kind of a brat about getting better scores on things. There were plenty of smart kids at my school who didn't get picked on.
I'm pretty sure the people who bullied you were to blame for you being bullied! Continue to be a brat about those better scores, it encourages the rest of us and sometimes it puts a bigger brat in their place.