Confessions of an Anonymous Coward

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Planned Peccadillo

So, now that I've finally owned up to the fact I don't really believe in my church. there's no good reason for me to follow its arbitrary rules.

I certainly don't mean rules like "Thou Shalt Not Steal" and "Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you". Even when I did consider myself a faithful Christian, I never put any stock in the argument that religion was the only reason for people to live a moral life. It's always seemed to me that if the only reason you're being a good person is in the hope of some eternal reward (or for fear of eternal punishment), you're not really a good person at all. You're just pretending to be for purely selfish motivations. Besides, it's all too easy to invent reasons for why some particular instance of intolerance could be justified; religious precepts don't really make people act good at all, because it's way too easy to rationalize one's way around them. This isn't to say, of course, that there aren't plenty of good people who are religious, but I'm confident those who among the religious faithful who are truly good and benevolent would be just as good and benevolent without their religious beliefs.

So I'm not referring to the basic foundations of ethics and morality. I think I've always been a basically good and honest person, and I don't think my religion ever had anything to do with that, so that's not going to change. But there are lots of commandments and recommendations in the LDS church that have nothing to do with basic ethics and morality. Such as the stricture to continually wear the official temple garments. (Which stricture, admittedly, I hadn't been following anyway; I never wear the blasted things at home alone.) And such as the Word of Wisdom.

The Word of Wisdom is a set of health guidelines that include some of the LDS church's most famous prohibitions: the forbiddance of smoking and drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol. I say "guidelines", but really they're stronger than that; smoking or otherwise violating the Word of Wisdom won't get you excommunicated, but it will prevent you from being considered worthy to enter the temple. Technically, the Word of Wisdom also includes the injunction to eat meat "sparingly"--even saying that it is pleasing to God "that [meat] should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine"--but that part's pretty much universally ignored. Heck, at my mother's house, it's de rigeur for just about every dinner to include huge slabs of meat of some kind or another.

Anyway, while my newfound atheism isn't going to change anything about my basic principles or my attitude toward my fellow man, I figure things like the Word of Wisdom I don't really have any reason to follow. That certainly doesn't mean I'm going to go out and start smoking; there are health reasons to avoid that quite apart from any supposed divine dictate. But it does mean I'm going to be a bit less scrupulous about avoiding some of the other items on the banned list.

So I decided today I'd order a Mocha Cappuccino shake at Burger King.

Hey, baby steps, man. Baby steps.

As it turned out, though, the local Burger King was out of every shake flavor except vanilla. So I guess I'll be keeping the Word of Wisdom for at least one more day.

Well, except the part about using meat sparingly. It's not winter, and it's definitely not a time of cold, and I did have an Extreme Spicy Tendercrisp.


At 6/04/2006 9:14 AM, Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

Baby steps, maybe. But steps on the right path.

Of course you won't turn into a monster - you've quite correctly realized that morality practiced out of fear of Sky God's threatening thunderbolts isn't morality at all.

Welcome to the wider world, Anonymous Traveler.

At 6/04/2006 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is like how it was for me. Not a sudden change in what I believed just a sudden recognition of what I really believed.

At 1/01/2007 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your bit about the planned peccadillo, not very ambitious though is it. I got plans for a peccadillo which would get me excommed if I hadn't already resigned!

At 4/08/2008 2:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try Starbucks Java Chip Frap. It's divine! Excuse my word play. Haha.

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At 5/02/2010 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without reading the whole post (which I will finish after posting this comment) I wanted to say one thing about your opening: if God exists, and all the things that we "know" about God are true, then how can we say that we are basically "good" people? You may have heard this argument before, but if it's true, then hey? What can I say? God=perfection. The only perfect Being in the universe. Humans=imperfect. Even 99.9999999999999999% isn't 100&. So, God, being holy and pure and, well, 100%, and us being anything shy of 100% aren't going to be able to be together without some kind of mechanism to bridge the gap. Of course, you know that is Jesus, God's Son. That's it. There is no other way. The cross is our way to be with God, if we accept it. It doesn't matter how "good" we are, because at most, we can only be 99.999999999999999999999999999% (you get the picture). Now, talking about how we know all that about Jesus actually happened and how we know the Bible is true and all that is another topic for another day, but that's the bottom line of Christianity. And one more thing. You need to quit looking at people and being turned off to Christianity. Christians aren't perfect. No one is, except God. That doesn't mean that Christianity isn't true. I'm not saying that we can use that as an excuse to sin, I'm just saying that you can't judge God by the actions of His creation. Okay, I'm reading the rest of your blog now.

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