Monday, April 29, 2013

CONFRONTING MY PREJUDICE IN A PARKING LOT

HE WAS SEATED IN HIS VAN--DOOR OPEN--HEAD BACK--MOUTH OPEN--SOUND ASLEEP---BEVERAGE CAN ON THE PAVEMENT--FALLEN FROM HIS HANDS.  (so sorry to miss the picture).
I reported to my companion:  "I can see the story here:  Guy's a drunk---wife probably kicked him out---he's adrift in the world ---sleeping in his van---staying drunk to cope with his lost-ness.

Then I went back later to see this:

He was reading the Bible it seemed.  Was friendly and rational---does not even drink alcohol---was just dog tired from his second job.  I engaged him a bit and learned he's sleeping here to avoid a 40 mile drive home---has to attend a safety course in the morning at the nearby Pima mine.

I asked and he showed me what he was reading.

 
Now I know he is a Mormon---Told me the story of his conversion at age 27.  I asked him to read a bit to me---and he did---something about King somebody going forth to somewhere---very boring---but I listened politely.  Let him evangelize a bit---considered for a fleeting second informing him of the infamous and faith destroying
BOOK OF ABRAHAM which is contained in the PEARL OF GREAT PRICE---which he's holding in his hands. The number one best evidence that Mormonism is a fraud.

Here's the story for those interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Abraham

Even Mormon Theologians are compelled to admit that it's a fraud.  (why they still believe in that unbelievable religion is beyond me)  Here is their lame response:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/mor/tboa/

But I stray from my topic:  I built up pictures in my head about his character but WAS DEAD WRONG.  He is a solid citizen---family man--with a pension and property---with a fascinating hobby---rockhounding. (showed me some samples) He's making his way in the world perhaps more successfully than me.  I really am adrift in the world.
So I did not tamper with his religion. 

I have been at this crossroads before and chosen differently.
http://mobilecodgers.blogspot.com/2009/05/tampering-with-innocents.html

So I chose differently this time.

12 comments:

Chris said...

Thought-provoking post, Randy. In my opinion, you were wise and correct in not "tampering with his religion". Religion serves many purposes - some good, some bad. Trying to change people's inherent religious beliefs usually serves no purpose. Free thinkers like you (and me) find it hard to understand how folks can accept and believe the biases, discrimination and unscientific doctrine of most religions. If people are good citizens, pleasant and non-proselytizers, then I am willing to overlook their religious menticide. That said, for the life of me I can't understand how Mormons swallow the patently untrue and scientifically challenged doctrine of their church. It boggles the mind.

Chris H

Randy said...

Thank you Chris: You've expanded my vocabulary--MENTICIDE-- A great word and I presume it means killing one's own mentality. Appreciate your thoughtful comment---we agree.

Randy said...

And Oh Yes----wouldn't it be great if some rational Mormon wrote in and helped us understand why sensible people believe and participate in so obvious a fraud.

Tesaje said...

Having a brother who converted at a young age, I have little patience with the Mormons. And here I thought the obvious falsity of the claims was that golden tablets that only Joe could see by reading in his hat. I mean, really? How could anyone swallow such an obvious con? The answer to why they believe such a ridiculous story - cognitive dissonance. When it comes to believing the stories, there is no such thing as rational, even if they are otherwise quite rational. But they will go on and on about how real it all is.

I only engage if they are proselytizing to me. In that case, they are intruding and trying to push silly beliefs that are anti-female freedom. But in this case where he was just being himself and not pushing his religion on anyone, I would have said nothing too. I like that menticide term too.

George said...

I see formal religion in much the same way you do with an important exception.
I once knew a woman who was devoutly Catholic. Catholic to the core. She was gentle, kind, generous, supportive, giving. She trusted the goodness of mankind and could never really see evil in anyone. She trusted her God and went to her death quite willingly fully believing that she would see God and hoping that she was good enough to deserve Heaven. (OK, she was my mother.)
Her religion played a huge role in shaping her life. You won't read about her anywhere; she led a little life, as is true of many good people.
Religion can turn to the bad, that is true and I know that is what upsets you. But it is important to remember that it provides good guidance for many, such as the man you interviewed.
When I was younger, I tried to talk my mother out of her beliefs and in the course of that, looking back on it now, I think I said some things to her that she perceived as crude statements, even cruel, especially coming from the child she loved. Finally I got smart and asked myself why would I want to take her beliefs away from her. I got to thinking that it was more for myself that I wanted that. For her, it worked. I don't know why but it did.
I'm afraid I have to admit that she taught me more than I taught her in this regard and she did it by practicing her faith.

Randy said...

Thanks George for sharing. Your experience with your mother almost exactly mirrors my own with my mother. I'm sorry now that I tried to dislodge her beliefs---I made no headway anyway. On her deathbed she looked up at me and said: Ahh Pop don't cry---after all, I'm on my way to heaven.
I wonder if my atheism will sustain me as well in my hour of death.

Sondra said...

Randy Im happy to read that you sustained from picking the old bone with this man, as George said so well, why take away a belief someone holds dear just because it doesnt work for us, it may be working very well for others. We each have to carry what we can and toss away what we cant some can carry more than others. In the end we all move out of the way for new ideas to replace our old.

Wayne (Wirs) said...

Randy, I hope you have learned in your travels that all atheist---at least those that belittle the religious for their beliefs---are hypocrites.

Atheist believe that scientific theories are the same as truth. How silly is that? Science doesn't know the how or why of gravity, doesn't know the how or why of quantum physics, doesn't know the how or why of the origin of the universe. Science only has theories. It only has beliefs.

I categorize atheists in the same class as the fundamentally religious---both have strong beliefs, both call each other fools, both are hypocrites for saying they know the truth when they know they don't.

Sad.

And this coming from someone who isn't the least bit religious, yet acknowledges an intelligence far vaster than our mere mortal brains can fathom.

Chris said...

But Wayne, scientists strive to prove their theories which may eventually lead to "beliefs" which are based on scientific "truth(s)". Often religious "beliefs" are based on faith (some would say blind faith) which has no foundation in the truth. Refer back to what started this conversation, i.e., Mormon doctrine emanating from Joseph Smith.

Chris H

Randy said...

Ah Wayne: Never have you been so thoroughly misguided.
You allege that Atheist who belittle religious beliefs---are hypocrites---because---they (simultaneously)believe that scientific theories are the same as truth.
Atheist believe no such thing.
They simply assert that there is no convincing evidence for a God---and certainly no convincing evidence for MESSAGES FROM GOD.

Atheist understand very well the limitations of science with reference to the ultimate questions of matter, space time and energy. We know very well that theories are only proximate truth--subject always to revision.

Atheist are respectful of the progress science has made in understanding how these forces operate. Were it not for science we would still be in the dark ages.

Atheist are a thousand times more humble about what they don't know than the world of religious believers---who divide, confuse, and contaminate the world with their pretentions to certainty and their pretended messages from God.

Wayne (Wirs) said...

Good points Randy. Being a former atheist, I used to pontificate to "believers" too, so I guess I'm guilty of blaming all atheists of this behavior (ie: I was the hypocrite I spoke of).

I guess what gives me compassion for the religious is that they are simply sharing their beliefs---beliefs of their heart, not necessarily of their head---which makes me wonder, if you heard God, would you share His/Her wisdom with the world?

Drew said...

What gives me compassion for everyone that is different than me is that they are imperfect human beings just like myself, trying to find their way.

That thing about the stranger that annoys the crap out of me and makes me want to tell them how they are wrong invariably points to something in myself that is lying dormant and needs development. Better to expend effort sorting that out than pointing out the speck in my neighbor's eye.

Perhaps all religions can be scientifically or logically disproven, but that does not mean they are not True at some meaningful level that science cannot address.

"There are trivial truths and the great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true." - Neils Bohr