I’m surprised at how easily arguments in favor of Atheism are refuted with simple LDS doctrine. It’s almost as if our doctrine, based on the Bible but clarified by the Book of Mormon, was prepared for a specific day and age, to counter specific arguments that would appear long after Joseph Smith was dead.
One of the latest goes like this.
Person A lives a good life, generally obeying Christ’s teachings by being nice to people and obeying almost all of his commandments. However, Person A refuses to worship God as Creator and Supreme Being. When Person A dies, they suffer eternal punishment for their refusal to accept Christianity.
Person B lives a terrible life, murdering, whoring, and breaking every commandment you can think of. One day, Person B has a “come to Jesus” moment, converts to Christianity, repents of his sins, etc. The next day, he is hit by a bus. He earns eternal salvation.
This is obviously unfair, therefore, I refuse to believe in Christ.
There are, of course, minor variations, but you get the idea.
The problem with the above argument is that the morality of the speaker conflicts with the morality of God, or in other words, the morality of the universe.
His idea is that being mostly good is good enough. I think a lot of people fall into this trap.
I want to ask you a question. If you are “mostly good” in handling your firearm, that is, keeping it secure, keeping the safety on, not pointing it at people you don’t want to kill, keeping it clean, etc… does that mean you get to enjoy the blessings of those people who are perfectly good? Imagine your one digression from being 100% good with your firearm is that you decide it’s a good idea for your kid to play with your gun with the safety off and fully loaded and unsupervised. That one transgression has eternal consequences. Your kid is dead, and is never going to rise from the dead anytime soon. The “mostly good” do not get to enjoy the same blessings as the perfectly good.
That is the way it is with sin. If we are not 100% perfect, then we have committed some sin. Any one of our sins is enough to cut us off from God forever. In that way, the murderer and the mostly good are in the same boat: they are both cut off from God, separated by their sins from their Father.
If you cannot bridge that gap, than you cannot ever hope to return to the Father in favorable circumstances.
Your “mostly good” life is pointless. What can you hope to achieve? Is it possible for you to go back in time and erase even one of your small mistakes? Can any apology or restitution ever fully compensate for your sin? At best, you can weigh your punishment with your sin, and come out even. You’d be able to approach the Father and say, “See, I have paid for my crimes, served my time in your eternal prisons, and now we’re even.” Good, you’re even. Does that make you think you can earn the same reward as someone like Abraham or Moses or even Jesus himself?
Now, this is the kind of life that will get you not only in front of God without begging for him to punish you for your sins, but even allow you to live as he does. First, you must have faith in Jesus Christ. Not just believe that he is the Lamb of God who paid the price for all our sins, but act in accordance with that belief. Once you believe that Jesus is the one who can wipe away our sins and even carry us to God, we then begin the process of satisfying His demands to receive his covering of our sins. That means we walk the path of constant repentance. We consistently turn ourselves towards God, and stop doing anything and everything that is not inline with his perfect teachings and examples. No one can possible repent of all their sins in this life, so what is important is not reaching the eventual end right now, but that we walk the “strait and narrow” path and consistently move towards that end. Those who begin this path must enter into the gates through baptism by one who has authority. Then comes the laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which entitles us to constant companionship of the spirit of God. From there, we’ll be told exactly what we need to do to go all the way back, as long as we continue to walk the path we started on.
If we manage to do the above, then we can be assured that we’ll end up in the highest degree of salvation and glory, living the kind of life Jesus lives now. Nothing less than the above can possibly get us there. It is absurd to suppose that you can work your way back to God through some other method than the method God has described. This is the glory of the sun, the fierce light that creates all life and powers the universe.
For those who believe in Jesus, and start to repent, or those who are generally good and would happily take advantage of Jesus’ offer, but who aren’t the kind of person who would move forward towards God, they can earn their own salvation with Jesus, being united with him. It is not the same as the previous salvation, but still, it’s better than the other alternatives. Like the moon that reflects the sun’s light, these are united but not brilliant.
For those who spend their life in sin and who would never accept Jesus’ sacrifice, they get to pay for their own sins. They end up even before God after they have paid their price. Even, but not united with God. While free from pain and suffering, they enjoy none of the blessings of those who embrace Jesus. They live independent lives, like sparks that stray from the fire, or stars in the sky.
Doesn’t this line up with logic and reason? There are many levels of blessings people can receive in this world, and there are many different behaviors. Each behavior brings its ultimate reward. If you want to be a carpenter, study carpentry under a carpenter. If you want to be a fisherman, study fishing under a fisherman. If you want to be like God, study his works under Him and do them.
There is no injustice except for this temporary time on this world when Jesus allows us to continue in sin, hoping we’ll accept his offering and turn ourselves towards God. Once his mercy has run out, then the full magnitude of God’s justice will be unleashed on the world, and we’ll be left to declare his name merciful and just, because there is no other way to look at things.
I’m interested in other arguments Atheists use to convince themselves they are smarter than everyone else. I’m happy to expose how LDS doctrine crushes each of these deceptions.