Tuesday, March 6, 2012
One of my often repeated rants has to do with how everybody has such a good laugh mocking alternative religions, like Mormonism or even Scientology, or for that matter Greek Myths, while smugly considering their own religion normal.
I'm sure you've heard people say the following before and you may even have said something like this yourself: "The Old Testament has all that macabre stuff in it, but the New Testament is not like that and doesn't have anything weird in it." And now this is where you probably think I'm going to pull out some bible esoterica, and I could do that... but I don't have to.
We glory in repeating the absurd Momon teachings of Joseph Smith with a snide remark and a chuckle and everybody laughs right along with us (except Mormons, of course). We can't even say these things with a straight face. Yet, at the same time, we accept Christian absurdities as completely everyday and normal. I will take three very well known examples... no need for digging out any arcane biblical passages. Every westerner on earth knows these stories, even if they are not religious:
- The virgin birth
- Jesus walking on water
- Jesus turning water into wine
We enthusiastically laugh about stories like Jesus coming to America in 1820 to set Joseph Smith to writing his Book of Mormon, but the simple fact is, as Trey Parker says: "It's no sillier than any other religion, it's just newer."
And that's my point. If you're going to mock the Mormons because their book is silly and absurd, you need to look in the mirror. If the Jesus walking on water story wasn't in the bible and the first time you ever heard of anything about a man walking on water was Joseph Smith or L. Ron Hubbard, would you be so sanguine about it? No, you would mock the shit out of it.
The only reason these outlandish New Testament claims seem "normal" to us is because they have been repeated, with a straight face, since we were kids, and for generations before that, to the point where we now calmly say, with a straight face: "there is nothing weird in the New Testament" - and we actually believe it! These claims transcend church and religious writings and have become part of our common secular language. They are preserved in thousands of years of art, music, architecture, and literature making them seem normal to us when in reality they are no less absurd than believing that 75 million years ago the tyrant ruler of the galaxy, Xenu, brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft and blew them up with atomic bombs.
So before you mock the Mormons and cover yourself in the thought that the New Testament "doesn't have anything weird in it" you might want to think again.