Published: Sunday, Feb. 24 2013 5:00 a.m. MST
Interesting religion… a google search showed the following to be their
main commandment:"Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave,
insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being."It’s not hard to imagine how different our world (and our history) would
be if this were the main moral precept of all the world’s believers.
Tyler D,Most come close. The problem is not the precepts but
following the tenets.
In Jainism, the soul is uncreated, eternal and has infinite power and knowledge.
It therefore has the inherent potential of divinity.Death and Afterlife,
Depending on one's karma and level of spiritual development, death may mean
being reborn in another physical appearance in the earthly realm. Unlike Judeo-Christianity which is monotheism, Creation ex nihlio
Twin Lights – “Most come close. The problem is not the precepts but
following the tenets.”I have to disagree… at least in
part. The scared books of the monotheistic religions certainly contain positive
teachings, but any critical reading of these texts makes clear just how much
tribalism, barbarism, and theological justifications for treating others badly,
is prevalent in these books.In some ways the West evolved our moral
codes in spite of these texts (e.g., Slavery – Southern preachers were
extremely pious and used to say ad nauseam “what the OT sanctioned and the
NT permitted, let us not alter” or words to that affect.)And
what about the Koran and Islam? They are likely going through their
“Enlightenment” period now but it could be decades (and do we have
decades given modern weapons?) before they learn to “reinterpret”
(or ignore) the more barbaric portions of their sacred texts (just as we
have… which is why we don’t stone sinners anymore).Sorry, but I think ideas have consequences, and the main religions today are
filled (at least their Iron Age writings) with bad ones.
Tyler D,I think you would have to look long and hard in the NT to
find much of tribalism, barbarism, or justification for treating others badly.
Quite the opposite.Slavery was a fact of life in the NT.
Paul’s two strong statements about being a servant (slave) and how to
treat your master were both followed with strong warnings on how masters should
treat their slaves.This may well not be what we would like, but the
point is that Paul was endorsing good treatment on both sides rather than the
institution. Paul’s letter to Philemon is a long petition for an escaped
slave to be treated well.I am not sufficiently familiar with Islam
to offer much. However, the Moorish and Mughal Empires (and perhaps the Ottoman
empire) were probably more the zenith of the Islam and its enlightenment than
today.No argument that ideas have consequences.
@Twin Lights – “I think you would have to look long and hard in the
NT to find much of tribalism, barbarism, or justification for treating others
badly. Quite the opposite.”That’s a fair point (although
the Book of Revelation is as “wrathful” as anything in the OT) and
certainly the NT is a tremendous improvement on the so-called ethics in the
OT.But I brought up slavery for the reason that it is perhaps the
easiest moral question society has ever had to answer, and yet the Bible simply
gets it wrong. Even Jesus never repudiates it. So while the Southern
slave owners could have spent more time in the NT (certainly for advice on how
to treat their “property”), they were, it seems to me, on the
winning side of a theological argument (again, if we include the OT as
scripture).There were large early Christian groups (e.g., the
Marcionites) who wanted to jettison the OT altogether. I think on ethical
grounds that might have been the wise move… lot less bloody stones.
Tyler D,I think the instructions from Paul would have been different
had the politics been different. Remember, he was a member of a subjugated
race/religion in an empire that brooked no opposition.The slave
holders of the south were in a very different place politically.
Twin Lights,When LDS scripture preaches that the LDS Church will
roll forth and consume the entire world, and Doctrine and Covenants 87:6 says an
"end to all nations" will be accomplished through war and bloodshed:"And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed...shall the inhabitants
of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of
an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all
nations;"And Doctrine and Covenants 1:14 adds:"...the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord,
neither the voice of his servants (the Mormon leaders), neither give heed to the
words of the prophets and apostles (the Mormon leaders), shall be cut off from
among the people;"...well, those ideas have consequences, and
they cannot possibly be good ones. The intolerance for "outsiders" and
"nonbelievers" is explicit, as is the violence.And all I
have ever heard from Mormons in defense of these ideas is "that is God
talking" -- so if it is allegedly god talking, it makes violence and
A Scientist,It is reflective of what is also seen in the book of
Revelation.As to what causes this, Mormon says it best “But,
behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked
that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of
the children of men unto bloodshed.”From D&C 45:“And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will
not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.
And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it
shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.”So, yes there will be violence. But it won’t be coming from the
LDS. The LDS will form a community where folks can be protected.But
you knew most of this, right?
Twin Lights wrote:"It is reflective of what is also seen in the
book of Revelation."That does not make it less inhumane.The "wicked" - by which you mean nonbelievers... will destroy
the wicked?How convenient... and on the same week that Deseret
Family Deals sent out an advertisement that contained an offer for "Book of
Mormon Story Books" (complete with Nephi slashing off the head of a
defenseless Laban at the command of an angel) and an offer for "Concealed
Carry Permit Class"... hmmmm. No violence in Mormonism, you say?"Zion...shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with
another."Says nothing about being at war with "the
wicked" (by which you mean the nonbelievers)..."So, yes
there will be violence. But it won’t be coming from the LDS. The LDS will
form a community where folks can be protected."And your insular
little zionist community will "be protected" how exactly?Your arguments are far from convincing.
A Scientist,This is Twin LightsI did not say the wicked
are non-believers. Nor are all those who gather to Zion believers. You are
over reading the text.I never said that violence is never
necessary.I think that it is clear Zion will not be at war in the
text cited.How will Zion be protected? I only know what it says in
verse 70: "And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle
against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot
stand."Note that it is Zion, not Zionist. The latter is quite
different.Sorry they are not convincing. Are you open to being
Semi-Strong/Twin Lights wrote:"Sorry they are not convincing.
Are you open to being convinced?"Of course I am. Of what would
you aspire to convince me? That your religion's ideology is NOT
totalitarian, fascist, and violent (at least historically, and certainly
potentially)?It will take some strong convincing, especially in
light of scriptures, doctrines, history, and contemporary attitudes in LDS
Culture.But I am always "open" -- more importantly, are you?
A Scientist,Do you believe your wife and those you go to church with
are totalitarian, fascist, and violent? Really?As to the attitudes
you find. Are none of them due to your attitudes?
@Tyler D and Twin Lights -- My thanks for the generally respectful dialogues you
have in your comments to religious articles, even when you have fundamental
disagreements with each other. It's refreshing to see in contrast to so
many others' attempts to score rhetorical points and belittle others.
Semi-Strong/Twin Lights wrote:"A Scientist, Do you believe your
wife and those you go to church with are totalitarian, fascist, and violent?
Really? As to the attitudes you find. Are none of them due to your
attitudes?"Please read more carefully. I never mentioned any
specific people. I merely pointed out a core theme of the ideology.Ideologies have consequences. Contrary to your initial claim, "tenets"
DO make a huge difference in whether or not a religious group is or is not prone
The ScientistNo, you never did mention anyone specific. But if the
ideology is totalitarian, fascist, and violent then surely it should be manifest
@Twin Light (aka Semi-Strong)I think Scientist makes a fair point in
terms of what we find in the scriptures of not just Mormonism but most religious
(Jainism and Buddhism being standout exceptions).While I agree that
the vast majority of believers are not any of these things (fascist,
etc…), the relevant question in my mind is “what would happen if the
stuff really starts to hit the fan?”If the world were coming
apart, would a significant number of believers (enough to cause problems) start
to take literally some of the apocalyptic writings and perhaps be more likely to
be a “soldier of God.”Obviously these are not questions
you or anyone else can answer (can’t predict the future), but I think
it’s fair to say that there is no scriptural basis for violence in
religions like Jainism and Buddhism, whereas the same cannot be said for
“religions of the Book.”Personally, I do think there are
a significant percentage of believers who, if they saw a mushroom cloud over
Jerusalem, would feel more elation (anticipating the 2nd coming) than
horror… too cynical?
Tyler D,Your observation is duly noted. I honestly did not think the
comment would get posted. It was a testing of the waters of the monitors.I have recently posted a number of comments in response to Twin Lights,
who has had many "strident" comments posted himself, but mine have been
denied, despite their being far less "disappointing" than this one on
this article.It is a source of frustration that my side of the
"hard-hitting debates" is censored by the DN Editorial Staff in such a
way as to leave me feeling like a basketball player playing against a team that
has all the referees on the other side.It has left me unable to
fairly defend many of my comments and positions.But I do appreciate
your reproval, and I do not disagree with it.Having said that,
Daniel Peterson's article here is really little more than (yet) another
straw man ("the critics say JS is shallow...") with some warmed up,
regurgitated Hugh Nibley -- who is known to have been only slightly less
strident and over the top than Daniel Peterson himself!
Tyler DI think the issue is that Scientist makes it seem as if the
LDS are somehow far different than other Christians in terms of their
apocalyptic beliefs or their adherence to violence. Overall, the LDS have not
been so. After the martyrdom of Joseph, folks thought there would be backlash.
When Johnsons Army entered the valley, they could have been very differently
met. Not to say all is perfect, but just noting some key points when violence
could have been chosen and was not.I think that Christianity (as a
religious movement vs. the history) is not very violent. Look at the
interaction of Christ with his more firebrand disciples when he was about to be
taken. For Christianity as a whole, the problem has been in not following the
teachings.I think the reverse is also true. The top ten Buddhist
countries (by percentage) include Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and
Japan. Countries not necessarily known for their peacefulness.As
for the mushroom cloud scenario? No joy. But likely some relief if it does
signal the end. “And except those days should be shortened, there should
no flesh be saved”.This is it for me.
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