Wednesday, March 29, 2017

All Religion is Bologna

Source: Wikipedia
The year was 1997, and I was sitting in the living room with my parents watching the news.  The breaking news of the day was that of the Heaven's Gate cult committing mass suicide in California.  Heaven's Gate was a religious group founded by Marshall Applewhite, and it was their sincere belief that an Alien ship was tailing behind the Hale-Bopp comet and was there to receive those true believers and bring them to their next stage in human evolution.  In classic cult fashion, 39 Heaven's Gate members, including Applewhite, took their leave from this world by consuming phenobarbital with apple sauce, washed down with vodka.  They all wore the same outfits, and placed bags over their heads to ensure their "transition".

My Mom jumped at the news; not because of the story itself, but because her brother was a member of this cult, and she had no clue if he was among the dead.  She was a mess of emotions, as she hadn't spoken to her brother Chuck in years since he had been a part of this faction.  The only communication she had from him was from letters he had written years ago explaining the group he had found and their beliefs.  Chuck had alienated himself from his loved ones, and fully embraced his new life as a member of Heaven's Gate.

My Mom soon learned that my uncle Chuck was not a part of the 39 that killed themselves.  He called the house and spoke to my Mother shortly after this incident and explained how he missed his moment.  A couple months later, he would try and kill himself alongside another Heaven's Gate member who was also absent the day of the mass suicide.  That guy was successful, but my Uncle was not.  It would be another few months, if I remember correctly, that my uncle would finally succeed at killing himself.  Obviously, by this time, the Hale-Bopp comet was long gone, so I can't fathom why he would do this, except for some emotional remorse for feeling like a failure by not being there with the rest of his cult family.

Pretty much anyone can look at the Heaven's Gate group and see what nut jobs they are.  My Mom certainly knew it.  It's easy to see really.  Their ideology was literally out of this world.  Looking back on it now, I see the humor in my Mom calling uncle Chuck's "religious" beliefs a sham.  Here's my Mom, a devout Mormon who believes one day she will help produce billions of spirit children for my Dad the God, saying Heaven's Gate is silly.

Isn't this really the same with all religions though?  Growing up I found everybody else's religious beliefs to be silly, but mine was not.  It's even easier to cry bullshit, when the religion promotes mass suicide.  I feel like this is the ironic state of religious world.  But is what Heaven's Gate asked of its members really all that different than the other religions?

Nephi slaying Prince Laban
In Mormonism, the members are still waiting for the day their prophet commands them to drop everything and travel to Missouri to set up "Zion".  I've asked my parents if they would obey this command should it ever happen, and they would.  It causes me pause, because what would they not do, if commanded by their prophet?  In the Book of Mormon, Nephi was commanded by an angel to behead a Jewish prince called Laban, so that Nephi could steal a set of brass plates containing the Old Testament to date.  The angel's rationale was that it were better for one man to die, than a nation to dwindle in unbelief.  This is the best way an all powerful God can provide this record for Nephi?

Please, it's all just silly when you take a look in from the outside.  This sets up this precedence among Mormons that they will "go and do the things which the Lord commands", like Nephi.  This mantra is repeated over and over and over again to Mormons, so it's no surprise they would follow their prophet without hesitation.

It wasn't until I was able to step out of the proverbial box and look back at Mormonism with a skeptical eye, that I saw it for what it really is, a sham.  There are many examples of people committing atrocities in the name of their God.  The Old Testament is plagued with these "honor killings", yet Christians don't bat an eye.  Jephthah's daughter anyone?  When Parents kill their kids nowadays because God told them to, we see it as mental illness.  What has changed?

At the end of the day it is all bullshit.  Every religion is bullshit, including Heaven's Gate.  In fact, if Christianity hadn't changed and evolved over time, and was the same as it were in the dark ages, it wouldn't be highly believed anymore either.  The only difference between me now, and my Mother, is I believe one more religion is bat shit crazy than she does.

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