Friday, January 29, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Food for Thought

The following is a quote from slate in 2006

"Others, myself included, would not, under most imaginable circumstances, vote for a fanatic or fundamentalist-a Hassidic Jew who regards Rabbi Menachem Schneerson as the Messiah, a Christian literalist who thinks that the Earth is less than 7,000 years old, or a Scientologist who thinks it is haunted by the souls of space aliens sent by the evil lord Xenu. Such views are disqualifying because they're dogmatic, irrational, and absurd. By holding them, someone indicates a basic failure to think for himself or see the world as it is.

By the same token, I wouldn't vote for someone who truly believed in the founding whoppers of Mormonism. The LDS church holds that Joseph Smith, directed by the angel Moroni, unearthed a book of golden plates buried in a hillside in Western New York in 1827. The plates were inscribed in "reformed" Egyptian hieroglyphics-a nonexistent version of the ancient language that had yet to be decoded. If you don't know the story, it's worth spending some time with Fawn Brodie's wonderful biography No Man Knows My History. Smith was able to dictate his "translation" of the Book of Mormon first by looking through diamond-encrusted decoder glasses and then by burying his face in a hat with a brown rock at the bottom of it. He was an obvious con man. Romney has every right to believe in con men, but I want to know if he does, and if so, I don't want him running the country.

One may object that all religious beliefs are irrational-what's the difference between Smith's "seer stone" and the virgin birth or the parting of the Red Sea? But Mormonism is different because it is based on such a transparent and recent fraud. It's Scientology plus 125 years. Perhaps Christianity and Judaism are merely more venerable and poetic versions of the same. But a few eons makes a big difference. The world's greater religions have had time to splinter, moderate, and turn their myths into metaphor. The Church of Latter-day Saints is expanding rapidly and liberalizing in various ways, but it remains fundamentally an orthodox creed with no visible reform wing."
Jacob Weisberg

There is much in this quote with which I agree. In fact, I’ll bet my supper that anyone reading this can find something with which to agree. However, I’d like to take in a bit further. I like others who have discussed this subject, do not agree that Christianity or Judaism get a free pass just because they have been around for a while. Just like Mormonism, they too teach intolerance and bigotry. And, like Mormonism, they do have some very strange beliefs. Let’s look at a few:

1. The earth was created in 7 days…Less than 6000 years ago
2. Snakes can talk
3. The Red sea parted long enough for the jews to escape but closed just in time to kill the enemies
4. A virgin can give birth to a half man, half god
5. A 12 - year old boy can convince a bunch of wise men in a temple to stop and listen to him
6. A man/god can walk on water
7. A man can turn water into wine and feed thousands with a few fishes and a loaf of bread
8. A man can cast out evil spirits and send them into a bunch of pigs
9. A dead person can rise after three days in a tomb
10. Three persons can be one person but still three persons in one,,,whew!
And, that is just a few.
I’m reading “The God Virus” by Darrel W. Ray and he compares religion to disease. When we had not knowledge of disease it was natural and normal to blame the supernatural. Humanity has progressed beyond that. We know that disease is caused by bacteria or virus and that many can be cured by medicines and treatments. But even those that do not have cures are not blamed on god; we continue to look for a cure.
I hope to live long enough to see the god virus cured.