Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Evil Deeds and Visions

The other day I put an atheist quote on my facebook page. I wasn't quite sure what the response would be. One of my cousins "liked" it (which I never would have expected), and a relative that I don't really even know left a comment about how religion give hope and leads to good desires and good deeds.

My reply to this distant relative was that religion might give you hope, but so does the lottery! Just because something gives you hope, it doesn't mean that it's actually doing you any good. I then asked if good deeds included the flying of airplanes into buildings. So far, no reply.

On facebook, another relative of mine (an atheist) posted the following quote: "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

I found myself asking, "Is it okay to use that argument (that religion influences people to do evil things), when most religions and religious people actually believe in doing good?"

Yes it is.

Because you have to define good. The terrorists who flew airplanes into the twin towers believe that they were serving their god. Even though they were killing thousands of people, they believed it was good and that they would be rewarded for it.

Now I realize (or at least hope) that MOST religious people would realize how terribly hypocritical that is. If god did create people, then he created ALL people and loves them equally. Only a very shallow god would command his followers to kill everyone who doesn't believe in him.

What about Mormonism? Brigham Young taught that the only way to atone for adultry was to be put to death. Mormons are genuinely good people for the most part. But I wonder how many of them would take the prophet seriously if he commanded them to kill everyone living in the SLC area who was not LDS.

Just imagine that Thomas S. Monson made a statement that SLC was too wicked and that god had commanded that everyone who was not living LDS standards should be put to death. Most Mormons would argue, of course, that no commandment would ever be given. Oh really? Have you ever read the Old Testament? Ever hear of Mountain Meadows? But anyway, I would hope that most of them would turn on their brains and realize how loony their prophet is, but I am sure that at least a few would take him seriously. So, yes, even Mormonism could lead to very fanatical and extreme behavior. I seriously hope that it never does, but who knows?

Anyone who kills other people in the name of their god have no idea what god and religion are supposed to be about.

So, yes, I am justified in using the argument that religion does and can sometimes lead to violent acts. I hope that MOST Mormons would not engage in such behavior even if commanded by their profit. But you must always follow the prophet... Who knows?

The other thing I wanted to talk about briefly was an interesting story that a TBM told me today. But a little background is required first.

This TBM had a daughter who was born with... problems. She only lived a few months. Of course, they believe that she is in heaven now with other family members who have passed on and is waiting for them. Now on to the story.

This TBM related a vision which she said came in the form of a dream. In this dream, she saw her daughter in the pre-existance with other family members. The daughter knew that she would have a short life and expressed that she was a little scared to go. The family members reassured her, telling her that families are forever and that it was all part of the plan. Nice dream... if you're TBM.

I just have a few questions. First of all, it was a dream! When you're asleep, you dream all sorts of wierd shit. You wake up and realize (thankfully) that it was only a dream and that it didn't really happen. Dreams are bizzare and when you wake up, you fully accept that it was nothing more than your wild imagination. So, that being said, why is it taken so literally if it pertains to religion and any other time it is disregarded as just nonsense?

My second question is even better. If this TBM was having visions of what the great plan was for her life, why does she only get said visions after they have happened? Having a vision about something that has already happened (especially in dream form) is not really that impressive. In fact, it's lame. If you're so in touch with god that he reveals his will for your life to you, how come he only shares things that have already happened?


You'll have to do a lot better than that if you're trying to impress me!