Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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Dialogues on Science and Religion I 12$ to take many, many things on faith rather than on fact. There are very few facts in life. So most things come down to faith and I think that I have to rely on this principle of the gospel. Would you give me an expression of your personal testimony then? Do you feel that it is most appropriate to say "I believe" the principles of the gospel or "I know"—as a scientist? Is there a clear distinction between what you believe and what you know in the Church? "Know" is an interesting word. I have never had a vision. I have never had some of these extraordinary things that some people base their faith upon, or their knowledge upon. I guess I have probably used the term "belief" more than the term "knowledge" because there are very few facts. I guess to sum up my total concept, I would have to say when I bear my testimony that I believe with all my heart, with all my conviction, that this or that is true. There are very, very few facts, if any. Can you name me a fact? You can say there is a law of gravity. There is no law of gravity really. There is a law of gravity for this earth, but you go out 180 miles and there is no gravity. So almost nothing is a fact in my mind. And this is one of the lovely things that keeps me going. Being as there is really no fact, then you can discard evolution, you can discard a lot of things, can't you? But now, if I turned around and said, "I know that this is a fact in my religious philosophy," I think I would be a hypocrite. I believe that Jesus Christ existed and exists. All right? I have not seen Him so I cannot say I know. I have faith that He exists. So my belief is very, very strong. But again, my knowledge of this—I know that there are a lot of people that know, and I know that they feel very strongly toward this thing. And I think it is a lovely thing if they know. But I know nothing really for a fact. How does one overcome this? I do not know. Maybe you can give me the answer to it. I think that you feel that you know some of the things about which people bear their testimony, but I am not sure that they really know. They say this. And, unfortunately, I cannot say it exactly. I see there are certain bits of evidence. Now take the Book of Mormon, for example. You see, to me one of the wonderful things is that we have witnesses to it. It would be quite difficult for me to believe some of those stories. But they have signed witnesses. Now, to me, this is science. This is scientific. There were witnesses who said, "This is what occurred." More than one. Now this becomes more of a fact to me, you see, more of a fact. Because there is more evidence in support of it? Yes, there is more evidence for the support of the whole thing. When I perform an experiment, I do it over and over and over and other people do it over and over and over, and it almost becomes a fact, you see. Then it becomes a documented kind of thing. Likewise, something in the Church becomes more of a fact because we have certain witnesses for it. Replication is possible by independent observers, and this is characteristic of scientific knowledge. That final clarification will be very helpful and I appreciate the sincerity and the honesty that has been evident in our discussion together.