Anti-religion zealots of the twenty-first century call themselves “New Atheists,” but there is very little that is new in their arguments. In fact, if you've read the Book of Mormon, you may already know their primary justifications.
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Atheism has been on the rise in America in recent decades. Anti-religion books have become bestsellers, the culture has become increasingly secular, and religious affiliation has declined among the population. Fortunately, Latter-day Saints have the doctrines of the restored Gospel, which are powerful tools for refuting atheist arguments.
The Bible has some apparently conflicting statements on the subject of salvation, grace, faith, and works. And while “Mormonism’s” means of resolving them may be different from that of Protestants, Catholics, or other Christians, I believe our teaching is a Biblical Christian belief. As the Bible says, “Come, let us reason together”.
I confess that in some respects I believe in a “different Jesus” from that of many of my dear friends who are part of the Protestant and Catholic “flavors” of Christianity. If their Jesus is one of the “three incomprehensibles yet one incomprehensible” described in some of the so-called Apostolic Creeds that define the traditional Trinity, then my Jesus is indeed different.
For those of us who can remember a time not so long ago when respect for religion was a given in American society, it may be surprising and even disturbing to consider that the character of our society has so changed that religion is now on the defensive.
Some early LDS critics decided to set up a sting operation wherein they hoped to expose Joseph Smith as a fraud. In the spring of 1843, one of these men claimed to have had dreams of a treasure buried in a mound near Kinderhook Illinois.