they went there

I suppose this was inevitable.

I wrote the following on December 7, 2007, and I am re-posting it in full because I think it still stands.

romney's speech on religious (non)tolerance

Here's the problem with Mitt Romney's Mormonism.

Mormons believe strange things. (In broad strokes) they believe that you lived a pre-mortal life, that your life on earth (what the rest of us call "your life") is just one step in the process of learning the difference between good and evil, that you retain your essential personality (and, importantly, gender) after death, that you will get another body at some point in the future depending on how rightous (i.e., Mormon) you are, with Satan and his immediate associates being banished to some place called the outer darkness, the merely wicked to the "telestial kingdom" which is more or less like hell, (but only for 1000 years), the basically good non-Mormons getting to live in the "terrestrial kingdom" which actually sounds pretty decent, and the good Mormons getting to shag and make spirit babies in the celestial kingdom for all eternity. (Compiled and quickly summarized from here and here.)

I've left a lot out here--mostly because I don't care to get much deeper into it myself--but this pretty much covers the really big theological differences that Mormons have with evangelical Christians. (There's also some stuff about God having a body and Jesus showing up in North America to preach to a tribe of white people, not to mention the whole magic underwear thing, but let's not pile on the Mormons, OK? Seriously. They make good neighbors.)

The thing is...none of this is objectively sillier than what evangelical Christians believe. What makes the Mormon four-tiered afterlife stranger than the Christian two-tiered one? What makes a God with a human-like body stranger than an amorphous spirit who is (according to most modern church doctrines) omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent--and yet, is somehow either bound by his own arcane rules of sin and redemption, or disinclined to bend them for the benefit of his people (whom he loves!)

I could go on, but that's a book, not a blog. And it's been written several times over by better writers than me. The only real difference is that there are a lot more evangelicals than Mormons around. So a 2000-year-old Jewish guy preaching a kindler, gentler version of God, being executed by the government, rising from the dead, and ascending to heaven and by so doing making it no longer necessary for people to slit the throats of livestock and set them on fire to make God happy and get into heaven--that makes perfect sense, BUT...that guy showing up in North America a few years later to preach a gospel of celestial procreation is cultish and weird.


Honestly, I have nothing against Mormons or evangelicals. Really, I don't. I just don't share their beliefs. However, neither do I buy into the politically correct nonsense about "respecting the beliefs of others", because respecting the beliefs of others makes absolutely no sense. Either your beliefs are better than everyone else's, or they aren't. And if they aren't then what's the point, exactly?

I believe my beliefs are better than yours. Deal with it.

I do, however, believe in respecting people, if they are worthy of that respect. And I base that judgment not on what people believe, but what they do. Of course, Mitt Romney and the people to whom he was pandering yesterday clearly would not extend me the same courtesy.

Until it becomes socially acceptable and politically feasible for an atheist/agnostic to be out of the closet, this country can lay little claim to meaningful religious tolerance.

1 comment:

Gino said...

i've always loved your phrasing in this post.

but i can laugh at what my beliefs look like to an outsider. it dont bother me.