Fascinating. A philosophy professor from the oh-so-leftist New School discusses — rather seriously — the doctrine, theology and world-view of Mormons … with the imprint of The New York Times.
… One thing to which I’ve become rather sensitive in that time is which prejudices New Yorkers are permitted to express in public. Among my horribly overeducated and hugely liberal friends, expressions of racism are completely out of the question, Islamophobia is greeted with a slow shaking of the head and anti-Semitism is a memory associated with distant places that one sometimes visits — like France.
But anti-Mormonism is another matter. It’s really fine to say totally uninformed things about Mormonism in public, at dinner parties or wherever. … This is a casual prejudice [emphasis original]
… After about 45 seconds, sometimes less, it becomes apparent that the prejudice is based on sheer ignorance of the peculiar splendors of Mormon theology. “They are all Republicans anyway,” they add in conclusion, “I mean, just look at that Mitbot Romney. He’s an alien.” As an alien myself, I find this thoughtless anti-Mormon sentiment a little bewildering.
As a non-Mormon living in a heavily Mormon part of Utah, I can confirm that this distasteful behavior if very common here too.
It’s a very hard thing to deal with this politically too: as a conservative who is wholly unconvinced that Romney is the right way to go, I live surrounded by Mormons who are sure he must be, and non-Mormons who are sure he can’t be out of no reason deeper than prejudice.
Mormonism is properly and powerfully post-Christian, as Islam is post-Christian. Where Islam, which also has a prophet, claims the transcendence of God, Mormonism makes God radically immanent. Where Islam unifies all creatures under one mighty God to whom we must submit, Mormonism pluralizes divinity, making it an immanent, corporeal matter and making God a more fragile, hemmed-in and finite being … [the use of immanent is not a typo]
Yet unlike Islam, for whom Muhammad is the last prophet, Mormonism allows for continuing revelation …
… To claim that it is simply Christian is to fail to grasp its theological, poetic and political audacity. It is much more than mere Christianity. Why are Mormons so keen to conceal their pearl of the greatest price? Why is no one really talking about this? In the context of you-know-who’s presidential bid, people appear to be endlessly talking about Mormonism, but its true theological challenge is entirely absent from the discussion.
That’s from the end, but this snippet is from the middle:
Thereby hangs a story. Because of my convivial contact with these philosophers from B.Y.U., I was invited in 1994 to give a series of lectures…
Things went pretty well. But right at the end of the final lecture, something peculiar happened. A member of the audience asked me a question. He said, “What you have been telling us this week about romanticism and the death of God where religion becomes art is premised on a certain understanding of God, namely that God is unitary and infinite. Would you agree?” “Sure,” I said, “At least two of the predicates of the divinity are that he/she/it is unitary and infinite.” Gosh, I was smart back then. “But what if,” he went on, “God were plural and finite?”
There you have it. Is the prejudice of liberals (who are often non-believers) based in the very core, ancient, Middle-Eastern, and monotheistic belief in God rather than god? Maybe
May be indeed.