Friday, May 30, 2008

Shooting the Koran, Burning the New Testament, Mocking Hillary Clinton from the Pulpit, and Pissing on the Book of Mormon

There are a maelstrom of stories out there right now about "insults" to religion or by religious leaders. I'm sick of hearing about the racist asshole Jeremiah Wright, or about this Catholic priest mocking Hillary Clinton from the pulpit (that's very Christ-like there padre), or about Jews burning copies of the New Testament (have they learned nothing from their own history), or even about a soldier using the Koran for target practice.

Jesus Christ was a peacemaker. He spread love, kindness, long-suffering, and empathy wherever he went. Islam, The Religion of Peace, purports to be about submission to God's will and how we are all children of God, brothers and sisters (at least parts of the Koran say that; others seem to contradict these ideas). Both the Bible and the Koran exort people to do what is right and show consequences for poor behavior, violation of the commandments. These are teachings to be revered, to be cherished, and if they are judiciously implemented in one's life, they can have a positive effect, some would argue a perfect effect, on your growth and satisfaction in life.

But, they are just teachings. Printing them on paper and binding them in a book (the meaning of "bible" incidently) doesn't give them any kind of sacred or holy power. Their power comes from heeding what they say and learning from them. Their physical presence on a printed page is just a means of counteracting our imperfect memories. In Werner Herzog's brilliant, Aguirre, the Wrath of God, a group of conquistadors in the Amazon comes across an indigenous man. Through another Indian interpreter they let him know that they are servants of the most high King Phillip and of God. They show him the Bible and explain to him that "God speaks to us through this book." When the man takes the book, puts it up to his ear to listen, hears nothing, hands it back and says "I don't hear anything," the Spaniards overreact and run him through with a sword. This kind of zealotry of one's religious beliefs is behind all the pissiness currently out there in the world.

That's why I'm grateful that I served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I believe that my Church, is the one, and only, true church on the earth, that it is lead and guided by Jesus Christ through a latter-day prophet. Apparently, the world reacts poorly when you make this claim, as I suffered no small amount of rejection, name-calling, attempts to hit me with cars and buses, throwing boiling water out your door at me before I've even knocked, etc. And yet, in spite of all this antagonism, all this rancor towards me for my beliefs; despite Baylor University and Erskine College (amongst others) telling me, point blank, "We don't hire Mormons;" in spite of the looks in people's eyes I get when I tell them what religion I practice; in spite of people telling me "you're going to hell" (as if hell even existed, it's a metaphor people, read the scriptures!) on numerous occasions in my life, and in spite of out-and-out anger towards me over what I believe, in a country that guarantees me the right to believe whatever the hell I want, I don't get upset when people attack my beliefs. And certainly, most certainly, I would never react with violence or anger, if someone used the Book of Mormon or the Bible for target practice; heaven knows there are enough copies thrown away or given to the Salvation Army everyday for someone to be upset on a continual basis, if they wanted to be. You could heap a pile of copies of the Book of Mormon together, ignite them, and then urinate on them to douse the flames; you could use their pages to wipe your ass after defecating, and it wouldn't offend me to the point of anger.

People need to farking grow up. Religion isn't worth bloodshed; its doctrines, almost universally, would seem to advocate against it.

1 comment:

Paul Dunn said...

Just so you know, I still have the copy of the Book of Mormon that you gave me some 8-10 years ago. Have I read it? No, but I would actually like to.

If someone gave me a copy of the Quran/Koran then I would probably keep it too.

People will do and say what they want. Whether it's Jeremiah Wright, John Hagee, or Rod Parsley... other people are going to disect and analyze comments the way they see fit. Just because you gave me the Book of Mormon or just because John Hagee endorses John McCain doesn't mean that you and I, or that Hagee and McCain, share the same points of view.

Freedom of speech both empowers and enrages the general populace. Quite frankly, those that are insensitive and can't handle other ideas without getting mad, probably should go to this place called "hell".

Praise the Lord, pass the ammo.