Thursday, July 5, 2007

False Religion, Mitt Romney, and George W. Bush

In discussing Mitt Romney's religion (Mormonism) and whether or not voters have a right to or should make it part of their consideration before they vote Richard John Neuhaus says:

I believe that many Mormons are Christians as broadly defined by historic markers of Christian faith. That does not mean that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christian. It is indisputably derived from Christianity and variations on Christianity, but its distinctive and constituting doctrines are irreconcilable with even a very liberal construal of biblical Christianity. It is, as Rodney Stark and many others have argued, a new religion and, by the lights of historic Christianity, a false religion. It is true that there are Mormon scholars who are working mightily to reconcile the LDS with Christianity, and one wishes them well, but they have their work cut out for them.
I wonder if he has considered that all of the Christians who voted for Bush because of his professed deep faith in Christian values and Jesus, his favorite philosopher, might be feeling the slightest bit betrayed to discover they helped to elect a torturing, mass-murdering, corrupt, lying criminal to the presidency of the United States. I wonder...

I also wonder how anyone can rationally describe one religion as false and another as true. Religions are man-made and man-used, and, often, contrary to their most fervent professions, for the most deeply evil ends.

I use the word religion here to mean "an institutionalized system of attitudes, beliefs, and practices relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity*" with heavy emphasis on the word "institutionalized." These are structures dedicated to creating and exercising power through force.

*The definition is cobbled together from two entries in the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition.

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