Posts Tagged ‘Mormonism’

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Religion: Anachronistic Perhaps, Yet Still Valuable

08.25.10

Andrew Sullivan:

If you see the world as something to be understood, you will seek to understand it through many voices, idioms and perspectives. To dismiss all religion as mere anachronistic bunk is a closure of the mind, not an opening.

While I agree, I don’t know that I agree in the same way that Sullivan means it.  I haven’t used that precise term – anachronistic – to describe religion before, but it’s relatively close to my feelings toward it.  I don’t know that my issue with it is that it’s old-fashioned so much as that the rigid structures of religion are itself closed-minded, ignoring new evidence and thousands of years of human development, ingenuity, and discovery in favor of some ancient texts.

At least, that’s the case for the Abrahamic religions.  One could argue that since their texts are so old, that they must be relevant and worthy if people are still worshiping them after all these centuries of new ideas and new religions have come to pass.

The same can’t be said for new faiths like Mormonism or Scientology.  Those followers intrigue me the most, especially the latter.  To think that people subscribe to a set of beliefs that include some pretty out-there sci-fi babble in an age where we have so much scientific evidence showing that there’s no way the universe is trillions of trillions of trillions of years old stuns me.

So where do I agree with Sullivan?

It’s precisely because those people stun and baffle me that these religions are worthy of studying and investigating.  We’re all so different yet we all have so many traits in common.  Why am I not religious while others are extremely devout?  Why do certain cultures tend to embrace such different faiths?  Or is it their faiths that determine different cultures? These religions, and the human race’s constant desire to believe, offers all kinds of information that we can dissect and study from sociological, anthropological, and psychological perspectives in order to learn how our minds and cultures evolve and function.

Just about everything involves religion.  Just glance at the news and try not to incorporate Islam, Judaism, and Christianity t0 understand what’s going on.  From the two wars we’re fighting in the Middle East to the already-existing mosque near Ground Zero in NYC to award speeches, it’s impossible to separate humans from religion.

And even for those like myself who follows no religious institution, my doing so is notable because of my lack of religious desire.  I admit that I frequently dismiss the concept of religion as anachronistic bunk, as Sullivan says, but I don’t dismiss its impact or its intellectual worth when it comes to understanding our world.   In that sense, I don’t see my beliefs as being a closure of the mind at all because one doesn’t need to give credence to religious faith in order to investigate our world so much as accept religion’s existence and how it affects people, places, and things.

I just keep it in its place along with other myths, legends, and fables that speak volumes about ourselves as self-conscious beings and human nature than they do anything related to defining our existence or explaining the afterlife.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia user Booyabazooka

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68-Year-Old Woman Upholds the Sanctity of (Heterosexual) Marriage

02.19.09

Linda Lou Taylor is 68 years old.  She lives in Anderson, Indiana.  And she has been married 23 times.

Twenty-three times!

And this is the article that we have about it.  A standard, little NBC Chicago slice-of-life piece.  Taylor is a Guinness World Record holder, after all.

I really could care less about Taylor and her nearly two-dozen (failed) marriages.  It doesn’t affect my life in the least.  Nothing has changed for me since having read about her numerous nuptial exploits.

And it shouldn’t matter to anyone else, either.  Other than some bored journalist who thought it’d be interesting to hear Taylor say that she’d get married again because “it gets lonely,” there’s really nothing of interest in this piece any more than there would be of the Guinness record holder of longest fingernails (you remember that picture of that Indian guy – I wonder if he’s still holds the record.) cutting his fingernails and growing them back again.

One of her marriages lasted seven years (the longest) and another less than two days.  Taylor admits that her last marriage wasn’t even done out of love;  it happened because he was the most-married man and she was the most-married woman.  Match made in Guinness heaven!

Granted, this is an anomaly.  Most people don’t marry 23 times in their lives.  But the fact that heterosexuals legally can do this without any uproar from any Evangelical or Mormon groups while homosexuals can’t even legally go into their partner’s hospital deathbed without a fight means that there is something seriously wrong here.

I’m glad that Mormons spent millions of dollars preventing gays from getting married yet seemingly have no problem with Linda Lou Taylor.  She has really upheld that “divine” sanctity of marriage.  All 23 times.

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Anti-Gay Movement Advertisers Should NEVER Work in Advertising

02.18.09

americaforever

This is a full-page, anti-gay advertisement that went out in the Salt Lake Tribune.  Click the picture for the link to a larger version of the image.

I could easily attack just about every single item in this ad (and, wow, there are a LOT) and I would get extremely riled up and upset and wonder how people could be so hateful yet think they’re being so righteous.  But it’s like explaining the fossil record to an Evangelical.  Pointless.

Instead, just take a look at the ad.  Really, just a quick glance.  Where do your eyes go?  Did you just spend five seconds twirling your eyes around trying to figure out just what they wanted you to be reading?

Me, too.

This is one of the worst page designs I’ve ever seen.  I’ve seen better come out of newsletters made by middle-schoolers.  There are at least three different fonts in the header alone!

We’ve got bold font, all caps, all caps AND bold, words outlined in blue, words outlined in red, BOLD words outlined in red…

You get the idea.

This wouldn’t have passed high-school Journalism 1.  There should be some flow to the page.  The layout should guide your eyes from article to article, forcing your eyes to stay on the page in order to absorb everything on the page.  Taking a quick glance should make you want to read all of the items instead of spending your time trying to figure out 1) which article to read, 2) where each article ends, and 3) if you only have time to read one piece, which one is the most important.  This ad accomplishes none of these.

Actually, I’m wrong.  It does, in that the header gives it away.  Despite the hideous design, the words say everything I need to explain to me what this whole ad is about.  The problem is that the same hideous design causes me to not take a word they write seriously.  There might be some facts or interesting ideas worth discussing (actually, I highly doubt it) in the clutter of text on this page, but I immediately assume that it’s total propaganda and misleading rhetoric when it’s put together in such an unprofessional and insulting manner.

Of course, I did look past the disgusting layout to read (mostly) what they had to say and I wasn’t surprised.  The content was just as hideous as the design.  In that sense, they at least managed to keep the design and content on the same level.