Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Easier To Believe In 4000 Year Old Miracles

“Our test to see if a similar story would be written about others’ religion is to substitute ‘Jew’ or ‘Jewish,’ ” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul wrote in objection to a Washington Post article last fall about the candidate’s role as a church leader in Boston.
“Would you write this sentence in describing the Jewish faith?” Saul asked in a November e-mail, adding: “ ‘Jews believe their prophet Moses was delivered tablets on a mountain top
directly from G-d after he appeared to him in a burning bush.’ Of course not, yet you reference a similar story in Mormonism.” (Jason Horowitz, Washington Post)

Fair enough. Every religion has its somewhat bizzare beliefs. But why do we accept Judaism's beliefs but roll our eyes when we hear of certain Mormon beliefs? Jeffery Goldberg gives the following answer:

The Mormon tradition dates back less than 200 years, to Palmyra, New York. What Mormons suffer from more than any other major religion is proximity. The foundation stories of Mormonism took place in the age of skeptical journalism, and they took place in the U.S. Most Christians believe in a Second Coming. Mormons believe the Second Coming will be inMissouri. Many Muslims believe that Muhammad ascended to heaven from Jerusalem on a winged animal, which has the ring of something mystical and transcendent. If Muhammad had departed for heaven from Tenafly, New Jersey, well, that would open up Islam to some level of derision.
 Why is it easier to believe that something miraculous (or weird if you insist) happened 4000 years ago, rather than 200?

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