Monday, July 16, 2007

What kind of a nut is Mitt Romney?

The Mitt Romney issue is becoming bigger as he looks like a more and more promising candidate. I don't mean whether we want to elect a president who can finance his whole campaign by himself, or even what the hell is going on with that hair. No, the obvious question, that hardly anyone is talking about, is how anyone with half a brain can be a Mormon.

Matt Yglesias has a nice discussion of this point on Blogging Heads this week. The point is pretty straightforward, and I've written about it before: in a way that is different from other religions (except Scientology, which is in the same category as Mormonism), Mormonism is based on a palpable fraud. For instance, the history set forth in the Book of Mormon contains all kinds of demonstrably false stories about the people, technology, and politics of pre-Columbian America, and they were all just made up by an itinerant charlatan, who had tried and struck out with a number of other scams before he hit on one that finally worked. Matt says, "I really do think that I could prove to you that the Book of Mormon is not the inspired word of God, and that the guys who founded the religion were frauds who made it up in historical times, in a recorded manner. . . The whole thing is a remarkably crude and obvious forgery . . ."

So what, you ask? If nothing else, you have to question whether someone who really believes in the tenets of Mormonism has enough critical intelligence to hold important elective office. Our recent history demonstrates that a credulous, incurious, uncritical president is a disaster. Assuming that Bush really believed all the claims he made before he invaded Iraq (and I don't really assume this), the only way that could be true is because he was constitutionally uninclined to question implausible claims, even when much smarter people around him, like Colin Powell, were trying as hard as they could to get him to take another look at the true facts.

So if you believe in the stories in the Book of Mormon I don't see how you are at all different from someone who believes that Elvis Presley is working as a cashier at a Seven-Eleven in DesMoines, and if you'll believe that, what else will you believe?

Go and listen to the diavlog.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you mean. I just can't understand how people can believe stories like great seas being parted and entire populations crossing divided waters. Or people being "raised from the dead." Or sit around waiting for someone who died centuries ago to return. Completely baffled. humph

July 17, 2007 12:24 AM  
Blogger Jack McCullough said...

Yup, those things are equally bogus. On the other hand, lots of modern Christians don't believe that stuff literally, whereas I suspect Mormons actually believe the transparently bogus story of the angel and the tablets, and all the nonsense in the story.

July 17, 2007 12:28 AM  
Blogger Jim Sweeney said...

I would suggest that while you can absolutely prove that many of the claims of Joseph Smith are false, thereby demonstrating him to be a charlatan, it is impossible to prove that God never parted the Red Sea, that Jesus did not rise from the dead, or that he will never return.

July 17, 2007 12:33 PM  
Blogger Jack McCullough said...

Quite right. Here's what I said in the original post:
"[I]n a way that is different from other religions (except Scientology, which is in the same category as Mormonism), Mormonism is based on a palpable fraud. For instance, the history set forth in the Book of Mormon contains all kinds of demonstrably false stories about the people, technology, and politics of pre-Columbian America, and they were all just made up by an itinerant charlatan, who had tried and struck out with a number of other scams before he hit on one that finally worked."

July 17, 2007 1:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sweeney said...

Thanks. I was agreeing with your original post. I was disagreeing with the anonymous objections and also noting a difference of opinion with your "those things are equally bogus" comment.

July 17, 2007 2:34 PM  
Blogger Jack McCullough said...

Cool. I hope you stop back again.

July 17, 2007 3:26 PM  

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