Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dueling Gods

An acquaintance of mine from years ago is involved in a project of sorts that just makes my head spin. I hesitate to write about this out of respect for his good intentions, but will do so without specifics.

A group of Protestant theology students from the south traveled to Salt Lake City to experience Mormon culture. They visited Temple Square, heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform, and saw some of the historical sites related to the church. This is great--I want to do all of the above. Their purpose, though, was to strengthen their abilities in apologetics by talking to LDS missionaries. In short, they were engaging in a sort of reverse proselytizing.

I'm not gonna lie. There was a time when this would have made perfect sense to me. Now, this is my perception of how a conversation might have gone between one of the theology students and one of the missionaries, if boiled down to its simplest form.
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Theo: The man in the sky who you talk to isn't the right one.

Mish: No, yours isn't the right one. Your story about the good place where we go when we die is the wrong story.

Theo: No, ours is right. Yours is made up. Also, you're wrong about the burning place where the man in the sky sends bad people.

Mish: Sorry. We have the right ideas about the burning place.
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I know it's more complicated than this. I know these people are intelligent and kind. But this is just so stupid. The religions are dueling on behalf of their gods, and the world is suffering for it. Hungry people don't need a Bible or a Book of Mormon, they need a sandwich. Ten year old prostitutes don't need saved, they need rescued. Not when they die--now.

I saw a picture of the theology students talking to missionaries outside the Salt Lake Temple. I cried.

I thought, what a magnificent building. What a bunch of bright people, full of potential. What a complete waste of time, energy and privilege.

Dueling gods.

3 comments:

  1. Couldn't agree more. Reminds me of a TED talk I saw recently. Very good stuff I wish more people would attempt ....

    http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_lesser_take_the_other_to_lunch.html#.TkOZWQJcjv0.facebook

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  2. That's a great video--I love a good TED talk! I agree that things would be better if more people took this approach. I guess in keeping with what I was writing about above, an even better scenario would be for those of opposing views to push up their sleeves and start serving those in need together, instead of arguing about invisible concepts. All the more wonderful if they did so without intent to convert people to their respective ways of believing and thinking.

    Thanks for the link, and for stopping by! Drop in any time. :)

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  3. Yes, your better scenario is definitely much more needed than going to lunch together. :)

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