Saturday, February 21, 2015
My friend Eric posted this to Facebook from a Robert Kirby archive in the Salt Lake Tribune:
For the uninitiated: Robert Kirby is a columnist for the SL Tribune, a practicing Mormon, and one of the few publicly VOCAL questioners of the Mormon faith from within the church fold. There are PLENTY of detractors outside of the LDS faith, but the church is (argue if you will) notorious for shaming and excommunicating members who too often publicly display “significantly questionable faith”.
If you make it all the way to the end of this diatribe, I have an interesting personal tidbit on why EVERYONE of EVERY BELIEF should feel free and supported to question any doctrine respectfully.
This is an edited version of the original article:
Here's another important gospel question for people of "only one way" faiths.
How much does your unshakable faith comfort you in moments of genuine pain and uncertainty about eternity? A lot? Some? Only a little? Not a bit?
Now the question. Is your religious faith ever a major factor in causing that pain? Is there a time when what you believe isn't a comfort and, in fact, actually makes things worse?
For example, suppose a son — let's call him Buddy — you raised to be a devout Latter-day Saint, a superstar kid through Primary, Boy Scouts, a mission, etc., suddenly announces that he's an atheist? And he's not kidding.
Not only is Buddy now an atheist, so is his new wife. Furthermore, all of your grandchildren from them will be reared as atheists.
I'm not picking on atheists here. I could have used Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Democrats and anything else that puts a loved one crossways to your core beliefs.
I'm also not singling out sons. The person in question could be your father, your spouse, a sister, a daughter, a best friend or anyone else you hope to see in heaven when you get there.
In every other regard, Buddy is still the same kid you raised. He's happy, smart, loving and even respectful of your beliefs.
Does your faith make you feel better about him, or is your belief in your theology a constant source of worry and sorrow for you now?
Hey, Buddy's not following the plan. He's going to hell (or wherever true believers like you don't go). There, he'll either sulk forever that he's no longer welcome at eternal family reunions, or every morning his entrails will be torn out again and used to floss Satan's teeth. Anyway, it will be bad.
But let's not worry about forever. Let's stick with right now. Do you believe you're so right about Buddy's new godless situation that it detracts from a healthy and loving relationship in the here and now?
Every time you look at Buddy now does your unshakable faith automatically remind you that he's doomed, that this theological rift is so important that mostly you just feel sorry for him and sorrier for yourself?
Maybe you've decided to grudgingly accept this "lesser" Buddy for who he is now out of the goodness of your heart; that if you can't love him the way your faith mandates, you can at least tolerantly pity him in a Christ-like way.
If so, consider the very real possibility that you're an idiot. First for letting theology get in the way of love, and second for believing in a plan/god/spirit that would condemn Buddy for being a wonderful human being but unfortunately, not a believer.
This also applies to nonbelievers who so firmly suppose they're smarter than believers that they can't relate to their loved ones anymore either.
Religion (or whatever you choose to call it) isn't just divisive because we exclude and sometimes even kill one another over it. It's also great at silently torturing loving relationships to death. ~Robert Kirby~
Okay: So here is my juicy parable- It's known in Psychology as the Pot Roast Principle and the story goes something like this:
A young woman is preparing a pot roast while her friend looks on. She cuts off both ends of the roast, prepares it and puts it in the pan. “Why do you cut off the ends?” her friend asks. “I don’t know”, she replies. “My mother always did it that way and I learned how to cook it from her”.
Her friend’s question made her curious about her pot roast preparation. During her next visit home, she asked her mother, “How do you cook a pot roast?” Her mother proceeded to explain and added, “You cut off both ends, prepare it and put it in the pot and then in the oven”. “Why do you cut off the ends?” the daughter asked. Baffled, the mother offered, “That’s how my mother did it and I learned it from her!”
Her daughter’s inquiry made the mother think more about the pot roast preparation. When she next visited her mother in the nursing home, she asked, “Mom, how do you cook a pot roast?” The mother slowly answered, thinking between sentences. “Well, you prepare it with spices, cut off both ends and put it in the pot”. The mother asked, “But why do you cut off the ends?” The grandmother’s eyes sparkled as she remembered. “Well, the roasts were always bigger than the pot that we had back then. I had to cut off the ends to fit it into the pot that I owned”.
If we never question doctrine, we may well find out that we've created already outdated gospel to address an ever-changing world. I know that there are those of you out there who believe that the word of the Bible is the end all, be all for time and eternity- and there are those who believe that God sent an updated version of the Bible 2.0 in the form of the LDS Scriptures.
Both of these beliefs are fine and dandy if they get you through the day- but even the Mormons believe that they can still receive 'updates', in the form of Divine Revelations, to further clarify ambiguous texts of the past as they apply to today's world.
Frankly, the Mormons are far more forward thinking in my mind, than the religions that believe that the Bible holds every answer to every question that will ever be asked from the beginning of Humanity to present- yet still eat shellfish, wear Rayon and don't own slaves or beat their wives for back-talk.
The Carl Sagan quote, “If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth", should absolutely hold true for any belief that a human dares to pin the entire context of his or her life upon.
Katrina and I were speaking on this subject the other day and discussing how many people (not all) spend this lifetime as holier than thou, sanctimonious assholes- in the belief that they are going to be Gods of their own worlds in the after-life (LDS belief), or sit on a golden cloud in a perpetual fit of bliss for eternity (general Christianity?.
They can be judgmental, condescending, homophobic, self-serving, misogynistic abusers of humanity and the environment, simply because they focus on an archaic text that tells them to look to the heavens and their eyes are on the spectral promise of an eternal afterlife.
But what if they're wrong?