Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mormons, Finally

Some of the closest friends I've made throughout my travels in the past 8 years have actually been Mormon.  Whatever they believe, they're good people, with, generally, strong Cleaver-esque families.  As someone with a family with more skeletons in the closet than people in the tree, I'm always fascinated with families that aren't nearly as screwed up as my own.

So, when I made new Mormon friends, I let them educate me on their religion.  I actually found it fascinating.  None of my friends gave me any sort of pressure, they just answered my questions the best that they could, and every once in a while, they blew my mind.  Either with a fascinating comeback to what I usually consider strong personal logic, or by having full faith in something that I found absolutely ridiculous.  Most of them were some of the smartest people I've met in their respective fields, yet it was like sometimes they spewed things and believed things that just didn't seem to match the strong intellect that I associated with them.

I've read interesting books regarding the religion, my favorite being Under the Banner of Heaven.  I get excited when I meet a Mormon.  I always point them out when they're biking in pairs.  I'm always a little bit jealous that they're not swinging by my front door.

Until now.

The doorbell rang as I was watching the first USA Olympics Women's Soccer match.  I was butt-ass naked.  The dog started going crazy.  I ran around the house looking for my robe.  It's been a while since I've worn my robe, since it's sweaty as balls in Lexington right now.  I was actually scared that it was my landlord or something.  I wish I peeked out the window, cuz I may have just answered the door in my birthday suit.  That may have made things more interesting.

They introduced themselves as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder-Day Saints.  As if it wasn't obvious, but I expect that some of the peeps in my neighborhood might not have any clue who they are.  I wish I would have recorded the whole interaction, because I have no clue how they transition from one topic to another.  I don't know if they are taught to try and use my vocabulary in their sales pitch, or make it relatable (I told them I was a nuclear physicist), but they were failing miserably.

So, if you thought you could prove or disprove the existence of God, would you do that experiment?
Isn't that what the Book of Job teaches us?  That it's not possible to disprove God.  That devoting your life to disproving Christianity will only make more firm your belief in it.

You know that God made the earth in 6 days, and then rested on the 7th.
Okay, so do you believe that he actually did it in the span of six 24-hour days?
Well, actually, I expect that the time period could be almost anything. Since God is infinite.
If he's perfect, why wouldn't he tell us the actual amount of time in our vernacular instead of confusing us in the interpretation of what he, at the time, considered to be 'one day'.

What do you think will happen to you when you die.
I just die.  It's depressing, yes, but it's logical.  I'm not anti-religion; I think it's good for the masses.  I just tend to devote most of my beliefs to science.

So, you think that the perfect balance of oxygen and trees and people could happen without divine intervention?
Not in a short time period.  But considering the large span of time since we currently estimate the Big Bang or the formation of Earth, I think it starts to become more reasonable.  An infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters should be able to crank out Shakespeare.  A strange set of circumstances and evolution could bring us here just as logically as some sort of divine intervention.

If a printing press exploded, it's hard to believe that what's left over would come together to form a book.
If it was disintegrated into its purely elemental components and left in temperature gradients for a geological time scale in a very reactive environment, then it's more reasonable to believe that it has every possibility of at least turning into a tree, the primary component of a book.  Nobody claimed that the Big Bang made skyscrapers.  Evolved humans made those.

I've never seen a monkey turn into a human.
You also don't appear to understand the Theory of Evolution.  It's not 'monkey today, human tomorrow'.  It claims we have a common ancestor.  With the progression of fossils we have spanning a great deal of time, and the changes that occur, again, evolution seems more and more reasonable.

You know, they teach evolution at BYU-Idaho.
I guess you have to understand what you're going up against.

There are smart people that believe that religion and science can work side-by-side.
Yes, I've actually watched one of those panels.  Too much quoting of the Bible, which I have a hard time defending as a scientific source.

They went on to tell me that they can invite me to church with them, so that I can pray to God and make sure that my decisions are the correct ones.  They notified me that we were once with God and that our progression in life is to return to him.  They asked me if they could do anything for me, and I just told them to be safe and stay hydrated.  I also asked a little about them.  One was from Idaho.  One from Utah.  One was about to hit his 1-year anniversary of being a missionary.  His friend was about to reach 2 months.  All in all, I wish they were a tad-bit older (since I could almost talk to them like teenagers) and just a bit more prepared to battle wits without using scripture.  Hell, I have a Book of Mormon.  I have the New Testament.  My only stance while we were talking was that they couldn't use scripture to defend their points.  Otherwise, we'd just be arguing faith in a small collection of texts, some of which are actually newer than the Declaration of Independence.

It was pleasant, and even a little fun.

Thanks for stopping by, my new Mormon friends,

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