Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Arguing with Satan

May 11th, 2017 by G.

Here is a temple thought.

Satan has more than a bit part in the creation story.  But basically all he does is talk.  No one takes what he says seriously. No one enters into discussions with him.   They all just defy him or command him or condemn him.  No one converses with him.  Except Eve–and with all due respect for the recent Mormon trend of affirming the consequent, I am not altogether convinced that she was altogether prudent to do so.

I wonder how much our taste for reasoning with people is just a cultural thing.  Not that there is anything wrong with cultural things.  But they do not convert directly into eternal things.

God reasons some in the scriptures, but mostly not.  Mostly He just offers glory or misery.  He doesn’t offer logic, he offers a choice.  Christ debates the Pharisees and Sadducees–but mostly he ignores their logic with rhetoric and jumps over the conversation they are trying to have to a higher truth.

Comments (16)
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May 11th, 2017 08:48:41

May 11, 2017

At least as I read DC 121; the Lord commands us to reason with people, otherwise “longsuffering” and “persuasion” become meaningless. You’ll note from the teachings noted earlier, that Satan doesn’t engage in any longsuffering, love, or persuasion.

So I disagree with you, God does reason, and I think he expects us to as well..

May 11, 2017

There are all sorts of persuasion; emotional as well as intellectual.

We human beings at our core are not reasonable. We make emotional irrational decisions, and then we rationalize our decisions afterwards.

I’ve been following Scott Adams’ analysis of the 2016 pres campaign since 2015. He had a lot to say about the persuasion (hypnosis) capabilities of Bill Clinton, Obama, and Trump.

There’s an old saying about whoever controls the framework of the conversation wins the argument. That’s why you never let someone with evil intentions set the table. Their “concerns” are never the real issue.

And the adversary is the ultimate troll.

Ugly Mahana
May 11, 2017

Isaiah 1:18 is notable in this regard, and the entirety of Doctrine and Covenants Section 50. Verse 31 is particularly on point, I believe.

I apologize for referencing only, but I do not have time to quote and comment. I would say that v. 31 is probably an appropriate answer to ” What should Eve (and Adam) have done.”

I find thought questions such as propounded here to be very useful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

May 11, 2017

I definitely agree with you about Eve.

Persuasion and logic are most effective when used within relationships of trust. God is most expressive and reasoning with those who have already chosen to love Him and heed His counsel. The scripture about “if any of you lack wisdom” indicates that God is ready and willing to give the reasons, but that we have to have the relationship first, “nothing wavering.”
Much of what passes for reasoning among mortals is just dominance displays. Even a lot of missionary work comes down to telling people that our side will win. And really, given how short-sighted human beings are bound to be, I think that’s a necessary thing. Most of God’s logic would just look like miracles anyway. Like resurrection. He knows how it works even if we don’t.

Western civilization generally has placed strong emphasis on reasoning, which, personally, I really enjoy at times. But your main point is probably true, that reasoning appears to be cultural. I would add that the more pertinent concepts are choice and desire. A big thing to learn in this life is how to know which of our desired choices are even possible, like for instance, not wickedness and happiness.

May 11, 2017

I’m not sure that the Lord commands us to reason.
41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
It seems that the sum of those verses is to love and to show that love through our words and actions. Yes, he tells us to use persuasion, but reasoning is only one kind of persuasion, and oftentimes it isn’t the most effective kind. I know with my 16-year-old son, reasoning goes nowhere, but love and persistence does.

May 11, 2017

I was pondering if I agreed about Eve. I decided (at least for a moment), what she did was not Good. But then, what did I mean by Good?
Did it do God’s Will? Yes and No.
Did it bring us happiness? No, and most definitely Yes.
Was it important and a vital step for Mankind? Absolutely Yes.

Did Eve see or foresee all of that? No, not entirely, probably. But she was still right to do so, and I am thankful she did.

How much reasoning did she do? Arguably not much, but it was a vital CHOICE. While we do some reasoning here on Earth, I doubt it is considered impressive anywhere else. Most of what we do, is Choose. I think it is important that we reason, as much as we are able, but then on the other hand, I have seen people led astray by their reasoning. What is important is that we Choose to Love God First, and above all, even our own mortal fallible reasoning.

The scriptures tell us that Today is the Day of Repentance, and in the Book of Joshua, Today is the Day of Choosing. Those are what we can really excel at in this life. We can repent in the next life, at least a little, but it is far, far harder, because the ideal time for repenting has passed. Likewise, I don’t think this life is really the ultimate when it comes to reasoning. We should exercise that skill as much as possible – God has given us brains and he expects us to use them! But after this life, I expect we will find our mental powers so greatly increased, that we will conclude that we really didn’t do much reasoning in this life. We have just enough reasoning power in this life, to enable us to Choose Right or Wrong, and just enough so we can Repent, and Choose properly between Good and Evil.

May 11, 2017

Maybe we should define “reasoning.”

It could mean talking things through, trying to convince another in a logical way.

It could also mean the process of thinking and making our own choice based on what we know.

When I say the Lord doesn’t necessarily command us to reason with others, I mean the first definition. He most definitely has commanded us to do the second.

May 11, 2017

I think we do need to reason but it still ultimately comes down to a choice, an act of the will. In other words faith. All the reasoning processes in the world don’t add up to a single act of faith.

May 12, 2017

Excellent comments, all.

May 13, 2017

I think you are spot on. Thank you for sharing this.

You can’t have a real dialogue with someone being purposely deceitful, or directly reason with someone trapped in illusion and lies. Hence the either ignoring and condemning, or jumping over and trying to reference something outside the illusion.

A commenter
May 13, 2017

It’s interesting that progressives and SJWs in particular don’t try to reason with those with whom they disagree. They merely attempt to intimidate and silence. They do not assume that their opponents are well-intentioned.

It is the right who gives the left the assumption of being well-intentioned. That may be true for the rank-and-file who have bought into the lies. But the leadership of the progressive movement, especially those who were accolytes of Alinsky, who know what the movement’s goal is, …..

May 13, 2017

Come and let us reason together… LDS scriptures, Isaiah…

Ivan Wolfe
May 14, 2017

Isaiah 1:18: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Interesting, that this “reasoning” is actually a very “unreasonable” idea. Many modern translations say things like “Let’s talk this over” or “let’s settle this” or “let’s discuss this” or even “let’s consider the options.”

In other words, in that context “reason” doesn’t seem to mean what moderns mean by “reason.”

Emily Litella
May 15, 2017

It really bothers me that people are arguing with Santa. Kids should be grateful for whatever gifts they get.

May 15, 2017

I am reminded of the dislexic agnostic insomniac, lying awake at night wondering if there is a Dog.

May 19, 2017

In perelandria, after battling Weston’s body in conversation for days–and losing badly–Ransom simply physically attacks him.

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