February 21, 2010

Some thoughts on Understanding the Times

As I read Understanding the Times, I came to a better understanding of some underlying beliefs that are guiding other people's choices. I have on occasion been quite perplexed by the choices people make, but reading about these worldviews helped me come to a better understanding of the beliefs driving those choices.

I was actually appalled by some aspects of the viewpoints, and I continue to be surprised that thinking people hold some of these beliefs. I wonder how many of these beliefs are held because these ideas are unexamined and accepted only on the surface. Reading this book strengthened my belief that homeschooling is the best for my children I can see that many of my opinions as a young person were confused by being taught alternate beliefs in school. Even when I knew I didn't agree, it was often difficult to articulate why. I can see that worldviews in direct opposition to my own are being taught to children every day in school. I can think of examples from my own educational experience.

There was one specific idea in the conclusion of the text that I felt was worth some more in-depth concentration. It had some interesting ideas about the different responsibilities of the state, church and family. The authors state that the state is responsible for justice, the church for God's love and grace on the earth, and the family for God's creativity and community. I mostly agree with these ideas, although I think this is a simplification. I also think the family and the church's roles are somewhat different and that the church is also about community. I enjoyed the following quote. "Because government is an institution of justice, not of grace, community, or creativity, it should not interfere with freedom of religion, attempt to dispense grace through tax-funded handouts, control family size, interfere in the raising of children (including their education), or control the economy." If we agree that government is an institution of justice, it would seem that our government has wandered far afield from its duties. I think that taking these ideas and comparing them to doctrinal sources is important. I turned to Doctrine and Covenants 134 to read again what has been said there about governments. I think that verse two is particularly pertinent to the discussion, so I will quote it here. "We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life." I think that this can help guide our decisions about what we vote for and who we choose to represent us. There is a wealth of information in this chapter of the Doctrine and Covenants, and I think it is a resource that I need to turn to and reread from time to time.

My thoughts are still percolating on the different worldviews presented in this book. I think it is a good text for understanding other people, and also for articulating my own worldview. I feel that it was beneficial to read this book as an adult, and I also think that teenagers might benefit as well.

February 15, 2010

February's Title Swap

Fascinating Womanhood - Helen Andelin
Our Home - C. E. Sargent
The Giver - Lois Lowry

Absolute Truths

When we try to understand the way people think today, it can be very confusing. There are so many opinions that we can find ourselves debating around in circles. Some would demand that we have such high levels of tolerance for the cultural relativism of every person, that they insist that no one can state any absolute truth. But as offensive as this may be, "Absolute Truths" do exist. They always have and always will, no matter what is popular today. The following is a list of some of these truths:

* God Exists. He created the world and each of us.
* The God Head consists of 3 separate beings. (Not the Trinity)
* We have a soul. We will be resurrected, judged and have consequences.
* Families are ordained of God. (1 man married to 1 woman raising children)
* Free agency of Man - Free will
* Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the World
* Modern revelation still occurs today.
* Prophets are still on this Earth.