Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Arresting Idea in Religion

Mormon President Thomas S. Munson is not expected to be in an English courtroom March 14 to answer charges that “key tenets of the LDS faith are untrue and have been used to secure financial contributions.”

Mormon text
 It would be great to hear how Munson defends his church’s claim that prophet Joseph Smith somehow found and translated golden tablets that contain, as multiple experts have testified, complete gibberish. One Egyptologist called the characters "doodlings.”  Another said they were just “deformed English."  Yet, the Church has the gall to demand 10 percent of all income from members to support a religion based on that book.

They’re paying an awful lot for scribbles.

Personally, I wouldn’t see any reason to stop with the Church of Latter Day Saints.  Why not subpoena Heber Jentzsch, the president of Scientology, and have him explain how an empty black box somehow can “clear” people hooked up to it or why the church’s theology was plucked from founder L. Ron Hubbard’s science fiction books.

Even that’s small potatoes compared to the far older Christian Science, whose founder Mary Baker Eddy described herself as a messiah and created her religion using apparently plagiarized material. President Bosebe Bakarey is bound to have some fascinating answers, particularly since the church believes nothing in the real world actually exists, especially illnesses, but somehow likes to fatten its bank account with very real cash.

How about asking Joseph Tkach, president and pastor general Grace Communion Church, why the world hasn’t ended as repeatedly predicted by the late founder Herbert Armstrong and his late son Garner Ted?  That failure hasn't stopped the renamed World Wide Church of God from draining purses of the poor saps who don’t wonder why a religious organization constantly anticipating an apocalypse needs money.

I’m on a roll here.  Why not speak to Matthew Harrison, the president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and ask him why the church continues to insist the Bible is accurate when evidence is overwhelming that it’s not?  Most recently, scholars pointed out that the Bible claims that Joseph went down to Egypt on a camel when camels weren’t tamed then. Of course, that information has been known for decades, but then so has that the Earth is about 4.6 billion years old.

In fact, despite solid, undisputed evidence, the Lutheran Synod continues to reap untold millions from followers sold denials as fact.

A recent study found that 21 percent of Americans believe the Sun orbits the Earth.  Harrison must be so pleased by such results: more fools, more income.

He should have to answer in court, too.

Pope Francis
Why end the legal probe with the Synod?  There’s the Catholic Church, too.  Pope Francis can explain how a Church that believes that God is responsible for everything can oppose gay people, as if they also were not created by the same God.  Or can argue that only belief in Jesus gets someone into a nonexistent heaven when millions of humans lived long before anyone ever thought of transforming an itinerant Judean preacher into a deity. 

Actually, when you think about it, very head of every religion should be prosecuted for stealing money under false pretenses and preying on the trusting sensibilities of a gullible public.

Of course, these scofflaws believe they are telling the “revealed” truth.   However, their ignorance is no excuse, especially when their snake oil is being used to smooth wallet extractions.

Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history.  He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida.  You can reach him at www.williamplazarus.net.  He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion.  His books are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers.  He can also be followed on Twitter.

You can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at http://www.udemy.com/comparative-religion-for-dummies/?promote=1