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Welcome To This World

August 13, 2010

Is this what we should be teaching our kids?

Here’s what’s so creepy about the video: Change the credits, and it could easily be shown in many Christian congregations to their approval. Some might object to the presentation, but not the doctrines. For example:

  • The wages of sin is death.
  • Jesus’ death was part of God’s plan.
  • A portion of everything you produce in your lifetime must be given to God, who will never accept your offerings personally.
  • You will listen for him, but his voice will never be heard audibly.
  • He will never show you his face.
  • To truly know God, you must study a book. An ancient book written thousands of years ago in a language that you do not understand.
  • You must fulfill a great commission to make others see the world as you do, to have them believe as you do, to live as you do, and then to go out and convince even more to do the same.
  • Heaven is “a hidden happy place that can only be seen by the dead.”
  • You must pledge your entire life on this earth to your invisible father and his great commission.
  • You must do this not out of fear, but because you love God.
  • One day, you will look into the eyes of your own child and you’ll teach him these very things so that he can teach his own children, and their children, and their children for generations.

I didn’t transcribe the entire video, but I’d estimate that these ideas account for 60%-70% of the narrative.

I have some LDS friends who have objected to the presentation of this video. They insist that LDS beliefs are different from mainstream Christian beliefs. A food analogy comes to mind: Distinguishing between Mormonism and other strands of Christianity is like distinguishing between tacos and burritos. They’re the same ingredients, just presented differently.

Is heaven a hidden happy place that can only be seen by the dead or is it the future earth, returned to its paradisiacal glory? Is there a meaningful difference between saying that Christians “must” do missionary work and members are “called” to serve a mission (by God, whom they wish to be obedient to). Who cares! There’s no need to distinguish between one figment of the imagination and many. The distinction that I make is much broader, that between accepting something based on authority, revelation, or tradition, and accepting something because there is real, verifiable evidence for it.

Clearly, nearly all parents care about teaching their children the truth (although we have different criteria for what makes something true) and nearly all parents love their children. As for me, I wish to pursue evidence-based truth no matter where it leads and I hope my children to do the same. I want to equip them to think critically and rationally, which in my case has led me to reject supernaturalism in all its forms. I don’t think this has to be the case for everyone. And if they choose to accept a particular religious doctrine or philosophy of life that differs from mine, they are free to do so and I’ll love them all the same.

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