Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Two men walk into a bar. The first one says, "I'm the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!" The second one says, "No, I'm the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!" Which one is telling the truth? The answer is: it doesn't matter.
If you believe Jesus of Nazareth of whom the New Testament was written is the true Son of God, you must also acknowledge that there were many who also believed and, in His name did unspeakably horrible things, from the Inquisitions, to persecution of Galileo, to the Crusades, to Fred Phelps. You likely also acknowledge that tremendous good comes from the Church of England, the Anglican church that was founded by an arrogant monarch that wanted a divorce.
If you claim to follow Jesus, but do harm to your fellow being, then it matters not if Jesus is truly divine. If you follow Henry VIII and do good and bring others to God, then it matters not that Henry was a murderer just trying to take the easy road. Similarly, it doesn't matter which of the two men of my story are really the Son of God - what matters is your response.
If the Book of Mormon/Book of Abraham are hoaxes perpetrated by an arrogant treasure hunter, and they lead you to change the world and bring about communities of love, then the books are as divine as any Bible. If the Book of Mormon/Book of Abraham were written by God's fiery finger and lead you to advance hate (as they once did with respect to African Americans) then they are worthless.
Because God manifests Himself, for whatever reasons, in ways indistinguishable from mental illness and delusion, the only way we can distinguish the Truth from the false is to judge them by their effect on the World. And if that effect is to bring forth the Love of which Jesus spoke, then it is Truth, regardless of origin.