Monday, July 22, 2013

The LDS church and Newton's third law of motion

A week ago some LDS missionaries came by our house. Cork usually gets all the missionaries, which sucks because he has no interest in talking to them. I, on the other hand, love talking about religion with people. I usually lack a receptive audience (you know, religion and politics). So I invited them in, offered them something to drink, and listened to their story. I wanted to ask some question (about their church's views on homosexuality, for example) but felt like I should probably let them get on their way. But it was weird: just like the last time I really explored and considered the Mormon faith, it made me start to doubt religion in general even more.

Maybe it is just considering a different religion makes me look at my childhood religion in the same critical light that stuff you've just "known" since childhood usually isn't subject to. (Someone, please help me make sense of the proxy human sacrifice, for example. Sending your kid somewhere to die, seems a tad bit like child abuse. I just, ick. I don't know. It really isn't my favorite part, even though it seems like it should be if you're going to be a Christian. Was their no less gruesome alternatives?? I mean, sheesh. That is some rated "R" for mature audiences only stuff, right there.)

Or maybe it is just thinking about an afterlife. And what if there is none? I use to feel sad for non-religious people, because they didn't believe in "our" afterlife. How could you deal with death and injustice without it? But now I sometimes feel sad for religious people's views of the afterlife. Because what if they are wrong, and they are looking at life as though it were a warm up, or a preamble to an eternity that doesn't exist? Instead of valuing every precious moment for what it is, they saw it as a means to an impossible end?

And maybe it is considering the more appealing aspects of Mormonism (e.g., families are forever) that makes me wonder, is religion just some massive, feel-good lie we tell ourselves to cope with the uncertainty of life? Except it has all these super unfortunate side effects (like oppression, war, and stuff like what happened in Dubai this month). So, you know, maybe we should find a better way to cope?

But a piece of me just isn't ready to dismiss religion completely. A piece of me just keeps waiting for it to make more sense to me. Or something. Not quite sure how, or when, or what would even make that happen. But it doesn't seem like such a bad thing: the uncertainty. I think learning to be okay with uncertainty is a pretty useful skill. So I'll just keep working on that one, for now.



  1. You know, I can't escape the thought that if thee *is* any true justice to be had in this universe, then there will be an afterlife.

    I mean, so many people's lives get cut short - kids and young adults, people who are victims of war and murder and famine and disease...there is so much misery on this planet. True justice to me would be a happy place to go after one dies, in order to have the chance to really *live*.

    To be honest, the thought of simply ceasing to exist after I die is terrifying to me. And intellectually, it just doesn't add up. I don't want my time here to be all that there is - essentially pointless. I just hate that.

    So I choose to believe there is an afterlife. Deluded or not, I really don't care. Because that is what helps me see everything I go through as *not* ultimately pointless.

    Kwim? :-)

  2. Babies and kids dying especially, YES! Ah. So heartbreaking. omg, I totally know what you mean. have you read these posts? (I feel like a tool recommending old posts of mine, I hope that's not weird)

    1. Thanks for directing me to those posts - and no, it isn't weird! ;-)

      In any case, I let go of the idea of hell a long time ago. It doesn't make any sense to me - infinite mercy and love (as I understand God to be) doesn't allow for sending people who don't agree with you to eternal torment. Fundagelicals call it "justice" - ok, well, but to what end? So whether or not I steal a paperclip from the office, or go on a 10-state killing spree and also don't take the time to "invite Jesus into my heart" - that means I'm going to burn forever? For stealing a paperclip? Maybe for the killing spree, but.....c'mon. Let's get real. Retributive (did I say that right?) justice isn't really justice - it's revenge. It has nothing to do with rehabilitation, which to me - especially when we are talking about human life/souls/spirit - should be the point of justice.

      Are we really to believe that God is seriously that petty? That because someone doesn't believe in Him then down they go, so to speak? That's what 5-year-olds would do. I used to be somewhat in line with CS Lewis and his idea of hell being this sort of grey limbo deviod of the presence of God, and the "unsaved" drawing further and further away into the mist, completely by their own choice and devices, until they simply cease to exist...but I can't even buy that one anymore.

      I am of the idea that once one is actually face-to-face with God after they die, they literally have no choice but to believe He exists - I mean, there He is, right there in front of you, so to speak. But this is where the infinite mercy comes in....and where God's general infinite state also comes could you possibly deny infinite and merciful love when it's staring at you, right in the face? I do not believe that in the end we can deny Him (so yes, I do not believe in total free will), therefore everyone's in the club - everyone has a seat at the table, regardless of his life's path on earth. So I guess that makes me a heritical, blasphemous Universalist (going to a hell that I am pretty sure doesn't exist)..... ;-D And as far as I am concerned, my definitive Christian leanings don't interfere with that in the least. For to live as *Jesus* defined true and genuine life is a far different cry that what many Christians believe to be true.

      To which I say, if being a Universalist is wrong, I don't want to be right.

    2. Omg it is like you are in my head. This is how I hope god/afterlife/etc play out. If only organized religion could do a better job of letting go of all the hell and shame and oppression crap.

    3. Amen, and amen. ;-)

      Hey, pretty cool here inside your head! Got any snacks?