There was a time when you couldn’t convince me that the pastor at my church was wrong about anything. It was due to my lack of faith. My lack of connection with the Big Man Upstairs caused me to doubt His will and ask questions that were difficult to answer.
Sometime during high school I stopped going to church. Naturally, I felt guilty. I wasn’t in tune with the Big Guy, and I was most certainly straying from the straight and narrow.
For some reason, answers the pastor offered me weren’t fulfilling, and it was again due to my lack of understanding of the Good Book.
Then I came to college and discovered something unexpected in a logic class – an instructor who took reasoning and applied it to the fundamental Christian beliefs with which I had been raised.
Then I met the very antipode of this reasonable, intelligent instructor who asked tough questions about everything I had ever believed.
It started thus: My roommate invited me to a Bible study at his church. Now, my roommate is a pretty reasonable guy, and I figured I’d be in for some good old-fashioned discussion regarding the good Lord, his good Word and the good Path.
So we went to this meeting, had a little food and waited for the inevitable religious discussion.
A girl at the meeting was obviously experiencing some inner turmoil because one of her friends did not practice Christianity like we did. She asked the group leader what he thought about that.
He proceeded to tell us that, since the friend was a devout Catholic rather than a non-denominational Christian, he was not “saved.”
For those of you not familiar with stereotypical church-going lingo, “unsaved” means “destined to an eternity of pain and suffering in Hell.”
In a matter of minutes, this group leader, declaring himself to be at the forefront of Christian beliefs, saw fit to hear the case, judge the man and sentence him to death within a matter of minutes – without ever meeting him.
Then, to make matters worse, he continued his tirade against any faith that didn’t exactly match ours. He condemned Catholics, Lutherans, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons without flinching.
I think it was in that moment, when this man pretended to be God himself, that I fully severed my ties with organized religion. I listened to this guy who ate Cheetos and drank Diet Coke while telling us who is destined to spend eternity burning in an ethereal oven.
Then he told us how all Mormons were legally insane and how they all believed that they would be receiving their own universe as a gift from God after leaving Earth.
Now, I don’t necessarily think Mormons believe this, but I thought it would be interesting to entertain this idea for a few moments. I asked him why this could not be possible. Scientific evidence has continually lead people to suggest that we live in a sort of multiverse, in which every single decision we make is carried out in other universes.
His response: “The Bible says it’s not possible that other universes exist.”
With one breath he sent his fellow Christian brethren to Hell, and in the very next claimed that he was above the very laws of physics and his claims were all based on a book written by imperfect men.
I suppose we can say that my story today is a defense for those crazy Mormons and all other Christian denominations everywhere.
I find blind faith to be absolutely ludicrous, and to suggest that we shouldn’t use the brain God gave us is borderline mental.
Don’t get me wrong, my faith is very strong, but I don’t rely on some guy behind a pulpit to tell me how to think or feel. I also refuse to dismiss anybody just because their beliefs differ from mine, no matter how ludicrous they may be. If I did, I would certainly miss out on some very worthwhile friendships.
I’ll end this on a note which we should all think about: If you believe in God, good for you. But let Him be the judge.
Josh Phillips is a senior business administration major. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.