Is this normal, sanctioned behaviour? August 6, 2007 8:20 AM   Subscribe

MetaFilter seems rife with religious intolerance and disinformation under the guise of intelligent conversation. Is this a flaw or a feature of Metafilter?
posted by JaySunSee to Etiquette/Policy at 8:20 AM (250 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Its intelligent design.
posted by ND¢ at 8:23 AM on August 6, 2007 [7 favorites]


Welcome to the internet. It would be helpful to provide specific incidents so you don't invite further trouble, hmm?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:23 AM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Disinformation about Mormonism is a feature of Mormonism, n'est pas?
posted by nevercalm at 8:23 AM on August 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


Look, how many internet sites manage even the guise of intelligent conversation? Feature.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:24 AM on August 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


Perhaps you are begging the question, as the admins have been deleting religion-focused posts of late.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:24 AM on August 6, 2007


Also, welcome to a community of intelligent people who ask questions. Much of what is religious doesn't hold up under rigorous questioning, which is why those who question are and have been scared away/locked up/executed/harassed by they who are religious, I imagine.
posted by nevercalm at 8:26 AM on August 6, 2007 [6 favorites]


In other words, you're Hitler for even asking.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:30 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


On the internets, atheists are the evangelists.
posted by smackwich at 8:31 AM on August 6, 2007 [10 favorites]


MetaFilter seems rife with religious intolerance and disinformation under the guise of intelligent conversation.

It's often useful to link to examples of the subject of your callout so people can determine whether you have a point or are full of crap.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:31 AM on August 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


You know who else was Hitler?
posted by ND¢ at 8:31 AM on August 6, 2007 [14 favorites]


I assume you are referring to this thread. People who disagree with your cherished beliefs does not constitute intolerance.
posted by euphorb at 8:32 AM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Are you upset because people disagree with your viewpoint in the Mitt Romney thread? While I would agree that many knee-jerk religion-haterzzz on Metafilter don't actually know that much about the religions they hate nor appreciate the nuances of faith, polyhedron does not seem to be one of these. He's being pretty respectful, has made carefully measured arguments, and his polite disagreement with you is hardly in line with your assertion of a site-wide blanket intolerance of faith-based belief systems.
posted by schroedinger at 8:35 AM on August 6, 2007


MetaFilter: rife with intolerance of religious disinformation under the guise of intelligent conversation
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:36 AM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Ah, yes. Remember that not everyone share's your religious views, so don't go around trying to defend them. If you really are convinced of them, it won't matter a damn what other people think. The best approach I've found here is to simply offer clarification in a dispassionate way about something that seems to be misrepresented about your religion. Otherwise, why are you bothering?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:37 AM on August 6, 2007


Why did I put an apostrophe there?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:38 AM on August 6, 2007


But, you know, like, EVERYBODY thinks they're RIGHT and so, like, you have to AGREE with them whatever they say or you're a BIG MEAN POOPIEHEAD. And if somebody ELSE says something totally different you have to agree with THEM too because like everything's RELATIVE even Absolute Truth! Nobody's ever WRONG except people who don't agree with everybody!
posted by davy at 8:38 AM on August 6, 2007 [5 favorites]


People who disagree with your cherished beliefs does not constitute intolerance.

euphorb: Disagreement of my beliefs doesn't bother me one bit. It's the carefully-worded, crazy lies that some members of MetaFilter seem to happily gorge on.

But I think I've got my answer, thank you.
posted by JaySunSee at 8:39 AM on August 6, 2007


Wrong.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:39 AM on August 6, 2007


Ha. That "Wrong" was meant for Davy, but feel free to coopt it for any belief system.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:40 AM on August 6, 2007


I'm through discussing this in public.

This would have been a better decision than an ill conceived callout.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 8:42 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's the carefully-worded, crazy lies that some members of MetaFilter seem to happily gorge on.

Could you give an example?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:43 AM on August 6, 2007


Why did I put an apostrophe there?

You didn't. It wondered away from the first comment. It's lost its way.
posted by mimo at 8:43 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


JaySunSee, I will only take you seriously when you start posting in Reformed Egyptian. And provide photos of you in funny Mormon underpants so I know you're a real Mormon.

I've actually lived under Mitt Romney's form of government. It's basically a Panderocracy, where leadership tells you what it thinks the populace wants to hear and the only action it takes is robbing from schools to give lavish-but-ineffectual incentives to corporations. Mitt Romney is a well-spoken, rich haircut that believes that Native Americans are descended from a lost tribe of Israel. Nothing else.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:44 AM on August 6, 2007 [11 favorites]


JaySunSee: hoping to see examples of your complaint.
posted by boo_radley at 8:44 AM on August 6, 2007


I find it unfortunate you characterize their arguments as "crazy lies"--that is the kind of language rabid anti-religionists usually attribute to religious beliefs. Rather than counter their arguments with facts and scriptures, your posts are the equivalent of saying "YOU'RE WRONG SO THERE" and when pressed further you tell everyone to look it up for themselves because you don't know enough and what you do know you won't reveal because it's sacred. This is not a convincing argument.

I have seem some pretty rabidly anti-religion stuff on Metafilter and I have defended faith-based belief systems--especially Christianity--against them. This is not one of those rabid anti-religious threads. If you're having problems with this particular discussion I would argue perhaps the problem is not in those who disagree with you, but that you lack the knowledge and faith in your beliefs to comfortably defend them.
posted by schroedinger at 8:48 AM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Tell me Mayor Curley is the black sheep here. He's the crazy uncle you keep locked in the basement during family socials, right?
posted by JaySunSee at 8:48 AM on August 6, 2007


Well, you're being wrong in lots of ways.

First, there was precious little mocking in that thread. A few people made the tired old "Mormon doesn't need the second M" gag. Otherwise, mostly people were just disagreeing with you, and pretty politely for this thread. If you cannot handle that level of disagreement -- if people stating that mormon ritual is derived from masonic ritual really is intolerable to you -- you probably should not go anywhere on the internet that is not run by Mormons, or at the very least should be certain to never read anything about mormonism that isn't written exclusively by Mormons, because you are a very, very sensitive person.

Second, your argument is silly. What you said boils down to "No, mormon ritual is not derived from masonic ritual, because mormon ritual comes straight from God." On the one hand, this makes you appear simple-minded, because we have reports of people who have been through both mormon and masonic rituals that they do, in fact, share some important common elements, and that the masonic rituals were there first. So you just seem like a ninny because you're actually denying the apparently-obvious: there are connections between the two rituals. You also seem like a crude, obnoxious ninny because the only real point in your argument is that your faith is the one true one, so we should shut up about it.

Now, you could have dealt with this in more nuanced ways. You could have pointed out that even if mormon and masonic ritual do share some elements, these elements are immediately obvious from their shared basis in Solomon's temple. Or you might have argued that even if they do share elements, that the masonic elements are just cruder versions, prototypes, of the really divinely-inspired rituals of the mormon faith. That they are echoes of the truth.

But you didn't. You simply said "My holy men tell me this isn't so, because Mormonism is the true faith. Therefore its rituals could not possibly be inspired by or derived from masonic rituals." This is a deeply silly argument to make to people who, by and large, do not accept the underlying assumption that mormonism is the true faith.

So congratulations. Not only have you gotten yourself annoyed with people who are annoyed with you, you've also put Mormonism in a bad light be acting like an obnoxious simpleton in its name.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:48 AM on August 6, 2007 [42 favorites]


No, wait. This is about Mormonism? Someone's complaining because not enough people are taking Joseph Smith's claims seriously here?

Feature, then. Feature feature feature.
posted by mediareport at 8:49 AM on August 6, 2007 [11 favorites]


Surely IRFH know's I'm kidding.
posted by davy at 8:50 AM on August 6, 2007


Mayor Curley is our Prophet from the God Atheism. We have to agree with him or we don't get any virgins.
posted by davy at 8:52 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is as much an introspective question than anything people. Besides, I've noticed blatantly false statements about various religions well before I was even a member.
posted by JaySunSee at 8:52 AM on August 6, 2007


I learned everything I need to know about the Mormons from South Park.
posted by smackfu at 8:52 AM on August 6, 2007


It's the carefully-worded, crazy lies that some members of MetaFilter seem to happily gorge on.

Here are some crazy lies that I have worded carefully:

-Mormonism is not a secretive cult and would never keep its rituals secret.

-Reformed Egyptian is a real language, and not something Joseph Smith made up to keep people from trying to decipher his works on their own.

-Mormonism has no history of opportunist Revelations from God. It's a total coincidence that the Civil Rights Movement happened just before the LDS Church decided to declare that blacks were human beings. Likewise, it is a coincidence that God told the Mormons to forgo plural marriage right when it was the major obstacle for Utah's statehood.

-Mormons don't stress an increasingly crowded planet with huge litters of children.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:53 AM on August 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


*shrug*
The people who post on Metafilter, by and large, don't seem to be into religion.
as someone who is, yeah, sometimes the snarky "invisible sky wizard" comments and generalizations about all religious people (or members of certain religious sects) do get pretty damn tiresome. But when it bothers you, the easiest thing in the world to do is close the window, go outside, and ride your bike or something.
posted by dismas at 8:53 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Just answering in kind, davy.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:54 AM on August 6, 2007


I don't think there's a problem with this site's handle on religious matters; you just have to be willing to wade in, say what you have to say, back it up the best you can. Don't be afraid to get a little blood on your clothes (yours or theirs), but be respectful and know when to walk away. I've gone round and round with people in various Atheist cock-worshiping threads and while I am eager to provide opposing viewpoints for posterity, ultimately I learn way more from the views of others than I may ever seem to-- which is important to me, and is why I return to them, no matter how tired the whole business gets.

Then again, that's just my incoherent personal philosophy at work again, no doubt.
posted by hermitosis at 8:54 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Right!
posted by davy at 8:56 AM on August 6, 2007


"Atheist cock-worshiping"

Is that a requirement of the Atheist religion? Doesn't that discriminate against hens?
posted by davy at 8:57 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've noticed blatantly false statements about various religions well before I was even a member.

Is this about the time I claimed some Catholics are friendly?
posted by yerfatma at 8:57 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Tell me Mayor Curley is the black sheep here. He's the crazy uncle you keep locked in the basement during family socials, right?

That's fine though, right? Black sheep were allowed full participation in the late 70's, yeah? I'm pretty sure God decided we were deserving of equal treatment about 25 years after the US Supreme Court did.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:59 AM on August 6, 2007 [7 favorites]


I'd say skepticism and even outright ridicule of religion is a feature of any conversation between smart people.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 9:02 AM on August 6, 2007 [6 favorites]


religious intolerance and disinformation under the guise of intelligent conversation.

carsonb could hardly believe his eyes.
"Intelligent converstaion?" he wondered. He went very close for a better look. "Look like intelligent conversation," he said.
He listened to one. "Sound like intelligent conversation," he said.
He smelled one. "Smell like intelligent converstaion!"
He touched one. "Feel like intelligent conversation!"
Then he tried to taste one.

Pbbbtlah! Gross! Needs examples.
posted by carsonb at 9:02 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've noticed blatantly false statements about various religions well before I was even a member.

Such as that they were divinely inspired?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:02 AM on August 6, 2007 [5 favorites]


I'd say skepticism and even outright ridicule of religion is a feature of any conversation between smart people.

Try not helping. See if that works.
posted by yerfatma at 9:02 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wait, if we ever fail to bring up religion in every conversation we're suddenly stupid?
posted by davy at 9:03 AM on August 6, 2007


He's the crazy uncle you keep locked in the basement during family socials, right?

After what he did to the dog last Thanksgiving, HELL YEAH.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:06 AM on August 6, 2007


I've noticed blatantly false statements about various religions well before I was even a member.

wow. i'll bet if you pay close attention on a sunny day, you'll even detect a huge ball of fire in the sky.
posted by quonsar at 9:06 AM on August 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


Wait, if we ever fail to bring up religion in every conversation we're suddenly stupid?

We're all educated stupid, anyway.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:06 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, I read through the thread that JSS was obliquely referring to. Man, what a trainwreck.
posted by boo_radley at 9:07 AM on August 6, 2007


I think JaySunSee is referring to the criticism of Mormonism in that Romney thread.

Here's the problem, JaySunSee. What is happening in that thread isn't religious intolerance, at least not the serious comments, which are the bulk of the thread.

What is happening in that thread is a critique of Mormonism, the text, its history, its major religious and lay figures, etc.

What I think you don't appreciate is how much of a gag rule there is on this type of discussion there is in the mainstream media. The discussions on the internet seem outrageous in contrast to the forced silence.

What you, (and I'm going to use you as the proxy for the entire right wing blogosphere that thinks any criticism of religion is anti-religious, sorry) don't realize is that we have every single right to criticize any religion anywhere and at anytime, but that furthermore, some people believe that it is there duty as educated, intelligent, analytical people to criticize religion when they see it interfering with science, and policies that have a scientific underpinning.

Let me give you an example. If I had never heard of the Lord of the Rings story, and someone told me to read the books, I would ask them what they are about. If they told me about hobbits and orcs and wizards, etc. and my response was "I'm not interested, that sounds like kids' stuff," there is nothing wrong with that. But if the person recommending the story to me proceeded to say that they believed the story was true, I would then think that person crazy or stupid, and everyone would agree with me.

But if this person invoked the magic word, and said that they believe the story was true AND it is their religion, well, according to you, I'm screwed. I can't criticize that belief, because everyone is entitiled to their religious beliefs. Furthermore, you'd admonish me for being intolerant of their religion. ONLY because the magic word "religion" has attached to this belief do I now become the target of criticism because I pointed out that the factually unsupported belief is ridiculous.

JaySunSee, have you ever criticized scientology, or UFOlogy, or some 9/11 conspiracy theory?

You have to understand that many people think that grownups who believe very strongly in fanciful tales of the supernatural should not be taken seriously. Furthermore, you need to understand that you are one of those people as well. Scientology is no more or less ridiculous than Mormonism, or Judaism, or Christianity or any of the others. It's just newer.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:08 AM on August 6, 2007 [38 favorites]


It's the carefully-worded, crazy lies that some members of MetaFilter seem to happily gorge on.

By "lies" you apparently mean "statements I as a believing Mormon disagree with." Surely you can see this is not a useful attitude? I agree with schroedinger:

I have seem some pretty rabidly anti-religion stuff on Metafilter and I have defended faith-based belief systems--especially Christianity--against them. This is not one of those rabid anti-religious threads. If you're having problems with this particular discussion I would argue perhaps the problem is not in those who disagree with you, but that you lack the knowledge and faith in your beliefs to comfortably defend them.

posted by languagehat at 9:10 AM on August 6, 2007


Yeah, the discussion is serious and respectful, it's just not credulous. Feature, not bug.
posted by grobstein at 9:15 AM on August 6, 2007


This is sure weird. Of all the religious people I've ever met, Mormons have consistently been the friendliest, the nicest, the least likely to prostelytize, and the least hypersensitive. I've told people many times that Mormons are my favorite religious people, and I say that as a radical lefty atheist.

JaySunSee, please relax—you're giving your people a bad reputation. You're acting like a Protestant, for god's sake. Calm down.
posted by interrobang at 9:18 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


it's a feature. i regard proselytizing faiths as a form of mass, contagious mental illness, consequently i am equally intolerant toward christians, muslims, and yes, mormons.
posted by bruce at 9:18 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


You have to understand that many people think that grownups who believe very strongly in fanciful tales of the supernatural should not be taken seriously. Furthermore, you need to understand that you are one of those people as well. Scientology is no more or less ridiculous than Mormonism, or Judaism, or Christianity or any of the others. It's just newer.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:08 PM on August 6


I want to clarify something here, also. This isn't an anti-religious stance. Religion is an extremely important and valuable personal and social phenomenon. It allows people to structure and order their lives and emotions, and view themselves within the context of the greater universe (either physically or metaphysically). People derive strength from it, it connects people to their past and ties them to their progeny's future. This is religion taken basically as myth in the context of living a tradition.

That isn't what my comment or the thread was about, which focused on the particular mythology of Mormon religion, and a presidential candidate's belief in the literal truth of that mythology.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:19 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


JaySunSee: by "introspective question," do you mean that each mefite should take this opportunity to analyze their own anti-religious tendencies? If you think the flaw is in the users, then why did you frame your question as something intrinsic in the site design?

You really need to stop pressing this issue unless you give us some examples to support your objections. You may be surprised to find that most of us don't agree with mormon/moron jokes but don't generally deem them intelligent enough to respond.

Here's the twist: you're not entirely wrong. There's plenty of lolxtians content that slips through the cracks and FSM only knows how bad it would be if things weren't moderated. But by and large, people discuss these topics more respectfully here than you're likely to find anywhere (and I don't just mean "anywhere on the internet").

You're mostly only going to get into trouble if you can't or won't back up your own words with evidence or an acknowledgment that you might be mistaken.
posted by Riki tiki at 9:19 AM on August 6, 2007


Sorry, proselytize.
posted by interrobang at 9:20 AM on August 6, 2007


Man, it would be nice if people who regard religion as a mental illness would stop lumping the rest of Metafilter in with themselves as holding their anti-religion beliefs. And I say this as an agnostic.
posted by schroedinger at 9:21 AM on August 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


fanciful tales of the supernatural

yah, that one about the primordial ooze that evolves into human beings, what rational person could swallow shit like that whole?
posted by quonsar at 9:21 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'd say something but I'm too full of carefully-worded, crazy lies. Maybe later.
posted by tommasz at 9:21 AM on August 6, 2007


I can understand a Mormon getting defensive whenever MeFi discusses Mormonism -- with all due respect, Mormonism suffers from the problems all "young" religions have -- because Judaism's or Christianity's or Islam's have the cleasr advantage that their various claims to historical truth generally take a backseat to a well-established intellectual tradition -- most mainstream Christians (Christians in the current, non-evangelical usage of the term, ie the 2 billion Catholics-Protestants-Eastern Orthodox-Maronites, etc) can concede that Scripture is neither a history book nor a science book, and is not an inerrant document but a book that contains spiritual truths put into literary forms by men (and women, maybe, if you listen to Harold Bloom) who lived millenia ago and were influenced by outdated scientific beliefs and now-unacceptable acceptance of, say, slavery and other forms of discrimination. Same for Judaism -- I guess very very few non-Orthodox Jews believe in, say, the literal truth of most scriptural accounts, and I'm sure even many Orthodox must privately wonder about that issue.

But those "old" religions -- except for their fundamentalist strains -- don't have to carry around their necks the weight that, for example, Mormons have to -- their religion is so young, the events of its foundation happened only yesterday if you compare it to, say, the birth of Judaism.

a Jew can safely admit that Exodus is not literal historical truth; a Christian can safely say that miracle stories in New Testament are, essentially, parables -- metaphorical stories that teach a spiritual truth -- and that Jesus didn't physically walk on water.

but Mormonism's problem is that its founders lived in an era that's much better documented, historically. that Reformed Egyptian really doesn't make any sense, unlike Hebrew or koiné. and that DNA is really interfering with its teachings, no matter how many Mormon universities try to argue otherwise.

there's a reason why the Vatican, as soon as they figured out science had completely debunked Genesis and nothing could be done about that, they quickly (immediately after WWII) dumped Creationism -- they didn't want to paint themselves into a corner. they're smarter than that. Mormonism cannot really afford that luxury -- it's much more tightly bound to the historical truth of its teachings.

that's why it's so much easier to make fun of it, if one is so inclined.
posted by matteo at 9:23 AM on August 6, 2007 [10 favorites]


Well, I read through the thread that JSS was obliquely referring to. Man, what a trainwreck.

Politics leaves the train station in Washington D.C. at 11:00 AM, EST, heading West at Bloviate 1, the Speed of Gaseous Eloquence. Religion leaves the train station in Provo, Utah, at 11:57 AM, heading East on the same track, at Mock Nein, the Speed of Credulity. At what time will the afterworld be expecting new dinner guests?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:23 AM on August 6, 2007 [11 favorites]


This is sure weird. Of all the religious people I've ever met, Mormons have consistently been ... the least likely to prostelytize...

You've never had a front door that opens directly onto the sidewalk, I take it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:25 AM on August 6, 2007 [11 favorites]


Man, it would be nice if people who regard religion as a mental illness would stop lumping the rest of Metafilter in with themselves as holding their anti-religion beliefs.

Agreed. There are plenty of perfectly lovely "religious people" on Metafilter, most of whom are content not to make that their calling card.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:27 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


the least likely to prostelytize

Huh. That's weird. They go on proselytizing missions all the time; it's considered a kind of obligation:

LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball said "Every young man should fill a mission". Young men between the ages of 19 and 25 who meet standards of worthiness are strongly encouraged to consider a two-year, full-time proselytizing mission.
posted by mediareport at 9:28 AM on August 6, 2007


You have to understand that many people think that grownups who believe very strongly in fanciful tales of the supernatural should not be taken seriously.

Also, if you are happy and functional in what you believe, why care whether you are taken seriously at all? You wind up having to take yourself more seriously in order do so, which is a pretty big spiritual obstacle in many religions.
posted by hermitosis at 9:28 AM on August 6, 2007



that one about the primordial ooze that evolves into human beings, what rational person could swallow shit like that whole?

Unusual beliefs aren't wrong just because they're unusual. Where religious myths differ is that they assert correctness despite a lack of supporting evidence or in spite of contradictory evidence.

e=-1 seems as plausible to me as 1+1=3, but one is right and the other is wrong.
posted by Riki tiki at 9:34 AM on August 6, 2007


You've never had a front door that opens directly onto the sidewalk, I take it.

Not if he lived in a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
posted by y2karl at 9:37 AM on August 6, 2007


Whoa, I agree with Delmoi.
posted by These Penises Are Alarmed at 9:39 AM on August 6, 2007


BAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

JaySunSee, you're an asshat.

You're the one who shat all over the Romney thread. It didn't get bad until you kept trying to bring the convoluted "reasoning" taught to you by the church into play.

That would be incorrect polyhedron.

My conversion was based on feelings of my heart, and every fibre of my body, not because I was intellectual ly persuaded.

I am a Latter-Day Saint, and I am not in denial. I only wanted to clear up some misinformation. You seem to know bits and pieces, but the context is wrong and assumptive.

I'm through discussing this in public.

I also know Brigham Young and every other prophet who has ever lived were not perfect and made mistakes

No Mormon doctrine ever said blacks were inferior. Ever. Skin of blackness was a sign of a curse, it was not the curse itself.

Good looks can be a curse too Haruspex. I have to deal with that everyday.

Black Mormon History 101 is the only book I know of regarding the subject, and I have not read it.

Go to a mirror, look into your own face, and ask yourself this: If I mock and insult another person's dearly held beliefs, am I being a decent human being? Would a tolerant person try to undermine the very faith some have died for?

My question was for anyone who reads it, and especially for those who are guilty of it in this thread and on this website.

and my prophetic contribution: I know bits and pieces, sure, but I've neglected specifics out of a respect for practicing members like you and my parents. I also know that you're constantly directed not to pay attention to any outsider commentary on church history (as we are allegedly motivated by Lucifer and an evil desire to mislead believers) and thus will not accept any information I might present to convince you otherwise.
posted by polyhedron at 9:40 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's a website with three atheist mods who aren't particularly interested in defending any particular religion (i.e. their own or the one they were brought up in). So while all of us would prefer that there weren't threads that were just "look at the dumb religious people" the Romney thread was a pretty interesting one because he's so poised to try to make a big power grab and yet a lot of the things he believes -- things that people think are reflected in many of the policies he tried to influence in Massachusetts -- are a direct outcropping of his faith.

There are, as many people have stated here, a whole lot of religious people of various stripes on MeFi (I know a few Mormons at least) who just don't make it their one-note posting agenda. That said, there are many better places to go on the web for a thorough and respectful discussion of the various faiths and styles of worship that exist in the world and even within the web-based community. There's intolerance, which I think is more easily recognized, and there's "disinformation" which is in and of itself an agenda-packed word when you're discussing religion.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:44 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


BAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA
JaySunSee, you're an asshat


Unless that passes for "carefully measured arguments" or "polite disagreement" nowadays, it seems he's not alone.
posted by yerfatma at 9:45 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I agree with the "welcome to the internet" viewpoint. I think Matt, Jessamyn, and Cortex do a good job, but there's no way to stay ahead of everything, and, anonymous or not, people are much more likely to be combative online than in person.

In fact, my last FPP about Uri Geller's failed 1970s Tonight Show appearance got derailed out of the box by the first comment focusing on an introductory line in the video rather than the meat. I can't help but think there is something in a large number of users that looks for something to argue with, and they find it.

The derailers in that thread are users whom I respect, but the temptation to argue must be so great with some people that they can't resist.

I didn't flag anything, because my give-a-shit level isn't high enough. Plus we have often talked about the idea that a poster can never really predict, or even say what the thread should "be about." That it becomes a springboard for a discussion about obliquely related topics, well, that just comes with the territory.
posted by The Deej at 9:48 AM on August 6, 2007


JaySunSee, you handled things OK in that Mitt Romney thread, from what I saw.

Starting this thread doesn't help you out much. First off, it's been kind of whiny here in MetaTalk lately, so people are predisposed to jump on anyone. Also, this post is very nonspecific, and can easily be regarded-- maybe fairly, I don't know, I'm not in the mood to review it all-- as meritless. Even though, as Riki tiki pointed out, you're not entirely wrong.

So, you handled yourself pretty well in a thread on a tough topic. Then you did something that as a new user you wouldn't realize tended to invite negative responses. Hope you hang in there. I think having a Mormon apologist on board would be a fine thing. But you have to be ready for tough, occasionally obnoxious questioning when Mormonism comes up. And you may have to concede a point every now and then.
posted by ibmcginty at 9:48 AM on August 6, 2007


MetaFilter seems rife with religious intolerance and disinformation under the guise of intelligent conversation. Is this a flaw or a feature of Metafilter?
posted by JaySunSee to etiquette/policy at 11:20 AM (68 comments total) [add to favorites] [!]


See, I'm trying to figure out what kind of answer you wanted. Was it something like this:

Why yes, the religious intolerance that Metafilter is rife with is a major flaw! Thank you for pointing that out. Heretofore, we will no longer be tolerant of the rampant religious intolerance that Metafilter is rife with.

Or was it something more like this:

Why yes, the religious intolerance that Metafilter is rife with is a major feature of our community! Good on you for noticing this less than a month after joining - many users take years of being subjected to intolerance of their religion to figure it out. We're really rather proud of our intolerance around these parts.

Would either of those have sufficed?

This is as much an introspective question than anything people.
posted by JaySunSee at 11:52 AM on August 6 [+] [!]


Oh. So I see that you didn't really want the question answered at all. Well then, never mind. My bad.
posted by googly at 9:49 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Religion is an extremely important and valuable personal and social phenomenon. "

Bullshit.
posted by davy at 9:49 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Poor commenting is a sign of an asshat, it is not the asshat itself.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:50 AM on August 6, 2007 [5 favorites]


Every time I see LDS, I get all excited. Then I slow down, and ask myself: did years of drug abuse give me dyslexia?
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:51 AM on August 6, 2007 [9 favorites]


This is as much an introspective question than anything people.

Then why didn't you ask it introspectively?
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:52 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


yerfatma: eponysterical much? :D At the point where I get obliquely called out and slandered, the gloves are off. No need to stay civil with this guy. He can't handle opposing viewpoints, and is determined to let everyone know that we're bad for not thinking like him.

I'm very familiar with this kind of thinking. I was raised as a Mormon. JaySunSee is trapped in the same psychological bind the Mormons attempt to put all their members in. It leads to a lot of guilt, feelings of inadequacy, and depression.

I think I handled myself quite well in the thread. I tend to be more of a loose cannon.
posted by polyhedron at 9:53 AM on August 6, 2007


This is sure weird. Of all the religious people I've ever met, Mormons have consistently been ... the least likely to prostelytize...

You've never had a front door that opens directly onto the sidewalk, I take it.


Yeahbut, in general most mormons seem willing to not proselytize in their personal relationships -- you can know mormons for years and not get the DO YOU WANT TO COME TO CHURCH WITH US? BECAUSE WE WANT YOU TO COME TO CHURCH WITH US!!! that you might get from more "straightforward" evangelical protestants, and they seem less likely to wear Jesusy crap and allatime with the Juh-HAY!!zus.

And in general, most mormons seem to deal with people talking about the peculiarities of their faith with grace and humor -- "Yeah, we get that a lot." Or at most, "Yeah, we get that a lot. But we don't actually believe that. What we believe is X."

This stands in sharp contrast to JaySunSee's didactic OUR IS THE ONE TRUTH tone here.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:56 AM on August 6, 2007


I also know that you're constantly directed not to pay attention to any outsider commentary on church history... and thus will not accept any information I might present to convince you otherwise.

I'm very fascinated by this. A friend of mine who is (was) Jehovah's Witness told me they were similarly forbidden to read any church commentary or history written by outsiders or ex-members. She and her husband were unsatisfied with their religion, especially once they had a child they were supposed to be teaching it to, but were afraid of being cut out of their family and community. Together they elected to break this taboo and do some research for one month.

They were so shocked by what they found that they felt they had no choice but to leave the church, even at the expense of a relationship with their parents and some siblings. I am so proud of them for daring to hold their religion to even modest scrutiny, and for having the courage to act on what they learned. Any religion that is not able to stand on its own without depriving people of this freedom is watching out for itself foremost, the hearts and souls of its followers secondarily.
posted by hermitosis at 9:59 AM on August 6, 2007 [5 favorites]


hermitosis, I found it very troubling when I was a kid. It was pretty hard getting away from the church, I broke my mother's heart and I still feel repercussions from it over a decade later. My mom and I are cool though.
posted by polyhedron at 10:02 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


JaySunSee's didactic OUR IS THE ONE TRUTH tone here

Yeah, you see that a lot in people who are starting to leave the church they were raised in. Let's hope he makes it out ok.
posted by mediareport at 10:03 AM on August 6, 2007

Go to a mirror, look into your own face, and ask yourself this: If I mock and insult another person's dearly held beliefs, am I being a decent human being? Would a tolerant person try to undermine the very faith some have died for?
Yes. Part of the human experience is dealing with those who mock, question, insult, ridicule and lambast our most deeply-held beliefs. I take great pleasure in having my sincerely-held beliefs challenged and questioned because that lets me refine and reexamine them in a new light. If you cannot handle a (frankly very well conducted unless the admyns have been busier than they look) civil discussion that happens to be on a subject near to your heart, I doubt you will have much success here, or indeed in any open discussion forum.
posted by Skorgu at 10:05 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I have certainly been intimated into not posting my amateur ecstatic paeans to the marvellous glory of the Triratna by the prevailing tendencies of the Metafilter community.
So yes, feature.
posted by Abiezer at 10:11 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


My last FPP about Uri Geller's failed 1970s Tonight Show appearance got derailed out of the box by the first comment focusing on an introductory line in the video rather than the meat.

Sorry about that, Deej; but I respectfully disagree that my comment was a derail. The quote I commented on was from the end of the video (which at least implies that I watched the whole thing). I voiced an observation calling into question the character of Randi's personal quest as he explained it, without mentioning science or religion or any agenda whatsoever. From the very first comment after that, there was nonstop taunting and distortion. I'm sorry your thread turned into that, but I'm not sorry that I made that comment. (Though I never considered or intended that it would be the first comment in the thread.)
posted by hermitosis at 10:18 AM on August 6, 2007


Mayor Curley writes "JaySunSee, I will only take you seriously when you start posting in Reformed Egyptian. And provide photos of you in funny Mormon underpants so I know you're a real Mormon."

This is a job for Joyce McKinney! (nsfw)
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:20 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


NSFW
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:22 AM on August 6, 2007


Oh, the link above is probably NSFW. Sorry mods. Can you fix please?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:26 AM on August 6, 2007


With reason, we march courageously towards blindness.
posted by ageispolis at 10:29 AM on August 6, 2007


The problem is that those pics were the kind of thing that we see pretty well every day in our tabloid newspapers. If you told the readers of The Sun or the Daily Star that their daily newspaper wasn't suitable for work, they'd get pretty pissed off over an attempt to limit their freedom to read a newspaper of their choice.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:30 AM on August 6, 2007


JaySunSee:
"I am a Latter-Day Saint, and I am not in denial. I only wanted to clear up some misinformation. You seem to know bits and pieces, but the context is wrong and assumptive.

Your last statement is a jimdandy, and I'd love to help you understand things better, but Metafilter isn't the place for such weighty discussion.
"
So again, why isn't MetaFilter an appropriate place for discussion of Mormonism? You might do your beliefs a service by providing information and your point-of-view in the "give-and-take" of discussion in the Romney thread and in this one. Help us understand what you deem to be "misinformation."
posted by ericb at 10:31 AM on August 6, 2007


JaySunSee is teh funnies. It's like he expects this place to be a church. A Mormon church, even.

Crazy, that.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:33 AM on August 6, 2007


It's a feature. Case closed.
posted by chunking express at 10:34 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


religious intolerance and disinformation under the guise of intelligent conversation.

Religion is the enemy of reasonable conversation. The two cannot coexist - either you believe in magic, or you do not.

Open discussion in which these magical myths are put under the klieg light of reality - this is definitely a feature.
posted by four panels at 10:41 AM on August 6, 2007 [5 favorites]


OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:41 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wha'appen, Pink? Did someone shatter your illusions???questionmark???
posted by Mister_A at 10:47 AM on August 6, 2007


Remember, JaySunSee, no one's being intolerant when they say that perhaps you aren't, um, ready for Metafilter or the internet generally. Maybe it just isn't your time yet.
posted by chinston at 10:48 AM on August 6, 2007 [8 favorites]


There's a difference between tolerance and letting hateful bullshit stand unchallenged.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:49 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


four panels BLEW MY MIND.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:50 AM on August 6, 2007 [6 favorites]


Sorry about that, Deej...

Great. Just great. Now your derailing this thread.
posted by yeti at 10:53 AM on August 6, 2007


It's a website with three atheist mods

then all the downtime wasn't a technical problem, it was God telling you to repent!!! We all got incinerated by Jrun because you guys don't love the Jesus.
posted by matteo at 11:00 AM on August 6, 2007


hermitosis - thanks, but no apologies needed. Your comment itself was not derail; the derail comes later when people start getting personally insulting.

In any case, that's just how it goes here. Whether it's about religion, politics, or even seemingly innocuous subjects, there will be arguments and even flaming.

*crafting FPP about bunnies and ponies and kitties*
posted by The Deej at 11:04 AM on August 6, 2007


Sorry about that, Deej...

Great. Just great. Now your derailing this thread.
posted by yeti


See how he is?

Bastard will probably start name-calling next.
posted by The Deej at 11:05 AM on August 6, 2007


Look, I'm not religious but I'm not one of those people who reflexively bash religion. I think it's fine, and there are lots of decent people who are religious. The problem is people who try to push their religious beliefs and views on others, like evangelicals and their anti-abortion crusade, or Muslim fundamentalists who think everyone should live under Sharia. Mormons are normally pretty good about this, and Mitt actually did a good job explaining why it's OK for a Mormon (such as Harry Reid) to be pro-choice.

But in that thread you were trying to push your views about the history of Mormonism, and you were being annoying about it.

But the other problem is Religious views which are broadly offensive. Religious people shouldn't get a pass to believe things that people would be reviled for if they came up with through an intellectual process. For example, There is no moral difference between secular antisemitism of the Nazis and antisemitism that might be religiously motivated. Islamic misogyny is no better then any other kind.

The kind of racist bullshit you were spouting was, frankly, quite offensive. And I don't think those are the kinds of opinions that deserve any kind of respect, whether they are religiously motivated or not.
posted by delmoi at 11:07 AM on August 6, 2007 [8 favorites]


"Skin of blackness was a sign of a curse, it was not the curse itself."

No, this was good. I was unaware that I still had the capacity to be appalled, pun intended.

But I don't believe that, apart from the "dropped 'm'" comments, that there was much disrespect going on — healthy and vigorous skepticism, yes. And some Twain-quoting, which is like a gateway drug to Voltaire.
posted by Haruspex at 11:09 AM on August 6, 2007


If your religion is too patently ridiculous to stand up to close examination, then maybe you should be having second thoughts about it.
posted by empath at 11:19 AM on August 6, 2007 [5 favorites]


MINE IS THE ONE TRUE RELIGION. BOW DOWN BEFORE THE FISH OF MY PANTS AND HE SHALL ANOINT YOUR HEAD WITH AN IMMISCIBLE AND FRAGRANT TINCTURE SO THAT YOU MAY BE LIFTED ABOVE THE VERBINDUNGSPLATTEN FOR ETERNITY.
posted by quonsar at 11:24 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


In the interest of being a jerk, I should point out that most gods are pretty racist when you get right down to it. Jehovah, for instance, did not like the Assyrians—and now there are no Assyrians! OMG!
posted by Mister_A at 11:25 AM on August 6, 2007


and don't y'all be cursing my negros now, y'all heah?
posted by quonsar at 11:26 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm just coming in here to point out the irony in this comment:

When I was in a rock band many years ago, music publications would sometimes claim we were an obvious derivative to groups we had never even heard of. When we read it, we were like "wha?"

Kinda like now.
posted by JaySunSee at 10:18 PM on August 4 [+] [!] Other [4/20]: «≡»


This means you should maybe brush up on history and figure out the connections, not necessarily that the critics are wrong.

Kinda like now.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:26 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Cut it out, q, we are already converted to the Church of Quonsar's Pants Fish. Every one of us.
posted by The Deej at 11:27 AM on August 6, 2007


Can we get some FPPs about what the other candidates' religious beliefs are, so we can mock them, too?
posted by The World Famous at 11:27 AM on August 6, 2007


mock mock mock.

smock smock smock.

coincidence?
posted by Stynxno at 11:30 AM on August 6, 2007


If your religion is too patently ridiculous to stand up to close examination, then maybe you should be having second thoughts about it.

See, I don't necessarily agree with that sentiment, myself. As an Atheist, I kind of see all religious belief as pretty equal in suspension of disbelief requirements, so I just give everyone a pass on having to back up their faith with logic. If close examination were sufficient, faith would be irrelevant, instead of a near-universal component.

On the other hand, I do have a problem with religious beliefs that make God look dumb. Because if I'm wrong and there is a God, I'm pretty sure He/She/It isn't dumb. And even if an Idiot Lord were to hit me upside the head with the Divine Drool, I don't think I could bring myself to worship Him/Her/It.

Which is my way of saying that for me, if the God of Mormon turns out to be The One True God, I'm going to feel about that pretty much the same way I feel about having George Bush as my president.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:32 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


The problem is people who try to push their religiousbeliefs and views on others,...

You sure only the religious do that?

Religion is the enemy of reasonable conversation.
---
Religion is an extremely important and valuable personal and social phenomenon. "

Bullshit.
---
outright ridicule of religion is a feature of any conversation between smart people.

posted by and hosted from Uranus at 11:35 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


outright ridicule of religion is a feature of any conversation between smart people.

M.C. Lo-Carb! apparently has an extremely narrow definition of "smart people," and doesn't really consider any of the great thinkers, scientists, philosophers, or really anyone in the world to be a "smart person."
posted by The World Famous at 11:43 AM on August 6, 2007


If your religion is too patently ridiculous to stand up to close examination, then maybe you should be having second thoughts about it.

Kierkegaard would disagree. I like to think that if there is a God, there has to be some level of ridiculousness inherent in God's existence.
posted by yeti at 11:43 AM on August 6, 2007


There is also a difference between pushing your religious beliefs on others and pointing out that particular beliefs are harmful, ludicrous nonsense.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:43 AM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


You're all going to hell, so just relax.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:49 AM on August 6, 2007


Tell me Mayor Curley is the black sheep here. He's the crazy uncle you keep locked in the basement during family socials, right?

I don't know if Mayor Curley has black wool - I haven't seen his pelt. WRT Mitt Romney, however, The Mayor is 100% correct.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:53 AM on August 6, 2007


well before I was even a member

So, um, June, then?
posted by oaf at 11:56 AM on August 6, 2007


The Intartubes are great for people who get their Thinking Caps and their Asshats confused.

But don't look at me, my output lately consists of filching the fish from quonsar's pants. Mighty tasty, especially boiled.
posted by davy at 11:59 AM on August 6, 2007


Why does this remind me of the "chef" character on Southpark?
posted by signal at 12:01 PM on August 6, 2007


Pastabagel writes "Scientology is no more or less ridiculous than Mormonism, or Judaism, or Christianity or any of the others. It's just newer."

Say what you will about the other three, dude, at least they don't tell you that dead aliens are making you crazy and then charge you money to remove them. I'll take a Mormon over a Scientologist any day of the week.

See, stuff like this is why I tried to encourage JaySunSee to keep talking rather than get pissed off and leave. Sure, I felt that a lot of the things he was defending deserved the "batshitinsane" tag, but as I pointed out a lot of religious beliefs need that tag ("Oh, no, baby, I didn't cheat on you, an angel knocked me up!" - that kind of thing makes sense, sure!) and he was mostly doing a decent job of presenting his side of things, without ending up in a flame-out like we usually get in those kinds of discussions.

Of course, he apparently saw my comment as yet another attack, went all Meta on the thread, and kind of ruined my hope that he'd keep it together and win one for the newbies.

If you're still reading this, JSS, please remember two things: First, most of us are really decent people in real life. I don't want to talk to the 16-year-old "Church Elders" that come to my door to talk to me about the Book of Mormon, but I don't act like an ass and offer them coffee or beer or anything else I know they aren't allowed to have - just a firm "no thanks" and send them on their way. Second, decent people in real life are not necessarily quite as decent online, for a variety of reasons, illustrated effectively by this Penny Arcade cartoon.

Take it for what it's worth. You aren't making enemies here, necessarily; the guy who pissed in your thread yesterday might answer your AskMe tomorrow, that kind of thing, so long as you take a moment, breathe a little, and let some of the shit flow past without feeling the need to respond to everything. Not every thread needs to be read, and sometimes it's better to blow it off, shut up, and let it go.

...and no, Mayor Curley isn't the one to worry about, not so much. He can be an ass, sure, much like the rest of us, but if you haven't been lurking long enough to hear from quonsar...

Don't get me wrong here. I like quonsar for what he is; I think he's often seen as a troll but it isn't that simple. Sometimes he says the shit that everyone needs to hear but nobody will say. Sometimes he just seems off his meds. Either way he helps keep things interesting.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:07 PM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh by the way, have I mentioned racently that I HATE YOU ALL?
posted by davy at 12:09 PM on August 6, 2007


Your hate can keep you company while you're burning in a lake of fire.

Or, you can just wave me over.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:16 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Boiled fish? You sir, will be cleansed with the holy flame of the first type!

Not the holy flame of the second type, nor of the third type, which we cannot abide and which is an abomination.

And also there will be wailing! Much wailing indeed. Perhaps even some whaling, if it be deemed appropriate and suitable for the less fully en-Faithed among us.
posted by aramaic at 12:20 PM on August 6, 2007


I'm sorry. I have to apologize, I seem to have a natural talent for provoking outrageous reactions from people.

I know that the quickest way to get a zealous, defensive reaction from a Mormon is to attack the endowment ritual. It takes place at a very emotional and transformative stage of life and is carefully orchestrated to imprint an acute religious experience in the believer. I'm not really sure what the real effect is on a believer's psyche, but I'm confident it is a top emotional moment for nearly every true and proper Mormon.

Thus it was irresponsible of me to provoke this poor man in such a fashion. I didn't really push him past that but I did put him on the defensive from the get-go. The community took over from there, and a discussion started with such emotion can only degenerate into this sort of noise.
posted by polyhedron at 12:21 PM on August 6, 2007


I think that wants to say I HATE YOU ALL.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:22 PM on August 6, 2007


"MUSIC PUBLICATIONS DISSED MY ROCK BAND"

and

"HOTMAIL HAX0RED MY ISP"

coincidence? i think not.
posted by quonsar at 12:32 PM on August 6, 2007


I HATE YOU ALL!!!!

Now... GROUP HUG!!!!!
posted by The Deej at 12:33 PM on August 6, 2007


in general most mormons seem willing to not proselytize in their personal relationships -- you can know mormons for years and not get the DO YOU WANT TO COME TO CHURCH WITH US? BECAUSE WE WANT YOU TO COME TO CHURCH WITH US!!! that you might get from more "straightforward" evangelical protestants

I don't know about that. I had a Mormon girlfriend who was very much DO YOU WANT TO COME TO CHURCH WITH US? BECAUSE WE WANT YOU TO COME TO CHURCH WITH US!!! She insisted I read the Book of Mormon (and a depressing chore that was—you'd think God could write better than that) and tried hard to convert me, the way she'd converted her entire family. Just my personal experience, but I suspect you're just going by yours.
posted by languagehat at 12:35 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I think most X are not like Y."

"I don't know about that. Of the millions of X, I once knew one of the X who was like Y."
posted by The World Famous at 12:38 PM on August 6, 2007


Did you have a point, or just a desperate need to snark? Did you read my final sentence, or did attention deficit disorder get you before that?
posted by languagehat at 12:45 PM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Speaking as someone who was raised in the LDS faith, and as I decided that I wasn't LDS by the time I was 6 - I'm totally grabbing this soapbox.

Gently, now:

A brief message for the Brothers and Sisters of the LDS faith - from an Apostate.

Please stop making such huge families. The planet? It is populated - and being damaged. Such a message of multiplication may have made sense in a time long, long ago. Now is not it. Also know that such an edict - naturally, logically - works well towards rapidly growing church "membership".

The super-active missionary thing is annoying, obnoxious and ungenuine. The best and purest civil action or discourse comes in real, one-to-one relationships. Not from strangers, or door-to-door. Like a conquering army - you mostly send out your young, unwise men. In uniforms of what appears to be an authority figure.

"The Mountain of Names" - your genealogy project - isn't creepy in and of itself from a scientific or archaeological viewpoint. But your ritualistic use of it is. Rituals such as "Baptisms for the Dead". Your use of spiritual warfare is alarming, and such a thing is the equivalent of spiritual genocide.

Your ethics are often superb and superlative. I cherish what I learned about ethics in the LDS church. But your moral priorities are skewed - particularly when it comes to racism, sexism, classism and human sexuality. You would do well to remember that these are not new issues or facets of humanity, they're old as humankind itself.

Your appreciation of the arts and sciences is renowned and admirable, as is the ease in which you deal with evolution and creationism. Yet as a collective you fail to really, truly apply that same logic to very simple things, like external evidences and histories about the founding and history of the LDS church. This is falsehood, and worse, idolatry. Graven images and idols aren't just statues. They can be can be words, ideas, concepts and beliefs.

Your collective dedication to self-sufficiency, community, social care, survival and healthy living is fantastic and amazing. Your marshaling of resources and careful planning is a thing of wonder. I sometimes wonder what would happen if the LDS faith became a secular institution or collective movement. It would probably be amazing.

However, your use of guilt and dogma is truly appalling. For this reason and the reasons above, there has never been any room for me in your community.

Remember your free agency - use the mind God gave you - know that there is and always has been more wonder in this universe than we will ever know.
posted by loquacious at 12:46 PM on August 6, 2007 [30 favorites]


languagehat: look on the bright side, that meant she liked you. A good mormon girl won't marry a non member.
posted by polyhedron at 12:46 PM on August 6, 2007


Say what you will about the other three, dude, at least they don't tell you that dead aliens are making you crazy and then charge you money to remove them. I'll take a Mormon over a Scientologist any day of the week.
posted by caution live frogs at 3:07 PM on August 6


Really? The old and new testaments both describe possession by evil spirits or the devil. Jesus was visited by the devil, which suggests the devil is alive and walking around. Jesus was conceived when his mother had a close encounter visitation by an alien angel.

What precisely is the difference between a spirit and an alien that makes any kind of difference, unless you believe one is real and the other isn't? What is an angel, or a demon? Aren't they aliens, when alien = intelligent life from somewhere other than earth? What are Heaven and Hell? Not planets, but higher dimensions, planes, what? Does whatever you think the answer is seem more plausible or comfortable to you than if Heaven and Hell were simply other planets?

Are evil spirits and demonic possession more plausible than intelligent life on other planets?
posted by Pastabagel at 12:49 PM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


loquacious has said everything that ever needs to be said to a member of the LDS faith. Deserves a golf clap or two.
posted by polyhedron at 12:53 PM on August 6, 2007


Did you have a point, or just a desperate need to snark? Did you read my final sentence, or did attention deficit disorder get you before that?

Are those the only options?
posted by The World Famous at 12:53 PM on August 6, 2007


I think that I shall never see,
An evangelical who proselytizes
More than an atheist on Mefi.
Something, something,
This poem sucks.
posted by dios at 12:54 PM on August 6, 2007 [5 favorites]


Hey Jaysunsee. How are you? Let's talk about that thread for a second. Do you really think that the MeFites were attacking you or Mormonism? Have you seen the intelligent design threads? Those threads had some attacking in them! Yours? Not so much. But you know what else you'll find in the ID threads? People like me defending the position (it's a reasonable philosophical stance), and attempting to convince the empirically minded atheists that the scientific method is not, thank God, the be all and end all of rational investigation. Do many of the MeFites come to see my point of view, hardly. Though perhaps a few come to see that it's possible to believe that the universe was created by God and to believe that evolution is the mechanism by which the current crop of flora and fauna came to be.

This MeTa call out, is lame. Go back to that thread and keep writing. Taking your ball and going home, metaphorically speaking, is no way to get people to see things your way.

Finally, complaining that you are being treated unfairly and then failing to provide examples, even after you've been repeatedly invited to do so, is never going to go over well here or in any other heterogeneous forum in which people of reason congregate.
posted by oddman at 12:56 PM on August 6, 2007


"APOSTLE"

and

"APOSTATE"

coincidence? i think not.
posted by quonsar at 1:09 PM on August 6, 2007


Besides, nobody around here has been treated as unfairly as me. Jeez, all I did was mass-mail the Mods a few death threats.
posted by davy at 1:10 PM on August 6, 2007


Please stop making such huge families. The planet? It is populated - and being damaged. Such a message of multiplication may have made sense in a time long, long ago. Now is not it. Also know that such an edict - naturally, logically - works well towards rapidly growing church "membership".

I really, really liked this comment. I hope that, just as Mormons were eventually shamed into dropping plural marriages, the world's major religions will all someday adopt this philosophy.

If not, we're pretty much all screwed.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 1:15 PM on August 6, 2007


Oh please. The whole overpopulation thing is completely bogus, particularly where the developed world is concerned. I'm blown away that that particular movement survived past the 1970s. What commune do you have to live on to believe such tripe?
posted by The World Famous at 1:24 PM on August 6, 2007


If not, we're pretty much all screwed.

cart. horse.

we're ALREADY pretty much screwed, which is why we have religion.
posted by quonsar at 1:26 PM on August 6, 2007


we're ALREADY pretty much screwed, which is why we have religion.

quonsar obviously did not grow up Catholic.
posted by felix betachat at 1:30 PM on August 6, 2007


Your use of spiritual warfare is alarming, and such a thing is the equivalent of spiritual genocide.

What? That's nuts, and offensive to boot. Otherwise, a great comment.
posted by languagehat at 1:46 PM on August 6, 2007


Jehovah, for instance, did not like the Assyrians—and now there are no Assyrians! OMG!

Ahem: The Assyrians of Iraq
posted by y2karl at 1:50 PM on August 6, 2007


posted by polyhedron Please stop making such huge families. The planet? It is populated - and being damaged. Such a message of multiplication may have made sense in a time long, long ago. Now is not it. Also know that such an edict - naturally, logically - works well towards rapidly growing church "membership".

Remember Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar? They're picking up the slack with Baby #17.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:51 PM on August 6, 2007


I think that I shall never see SPY,
An evangelical who proselytizes
More than an atheist on Mefi.


Fixed that for you and your continental pronounciation.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:59 PM on August 6, 2007


The whole overpopulation thing is completely bogus, particularly where the developed world is concerned.

Hasn't the issue always been about resource consumption?
posted by eddydamascene at 2:09 PM on August 6, 2007


Pastabagel - "at least they don't tell you that dead aliens are making you crazy and then charge you money to remove them."

Calling BS on the comparison based on the fact that three are religions, and one is a get-rich-quick scheme, not based on the particular brand of insanity being peddled. Please also note the next paragraph where I said "Oh, no, baby, I didn't cheat on you, an angel knocked me up!" as an example of Xtian illogic.

I can respect a person's desire to follow a religion that nominally tries to do well for humanity, but I bristle at comparing Scientology to such a religion, as in my mind one is mostly harmless while the other is a money-stealing, brainwashing cult scam that should not benefit from the tax-exempt status given to religious groups.

Most respected religions largely gave up scamming folks out of money back in the Renaissance, see? That makes them more classy.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:16 PM on August 6, 2007


In case this hasn't been said yet, that was a good thread, until everyone got all distracted.
posted by artifarce at 2:20 PM on August 6, 2007


The whole overpopulation thing is completely bogus

Sure! That's why China is so casual about people having as many kids as possible - there's plenty of room for all!
posted by caution live frogs at 2:20 PM on August 6, 2007


Most respected religions largely gave up scamming folks out of money back in the Renaissance, see?

What about Mormon tithing of 10% of one's annual income?
posted by ericb at 2:23 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Tithing by Coercion
“Most people would be offended at any organization which teaches that in order to escape damnation, giving of your financial means is mandatory. Yet, this is exactly what Mormonism teaches.

Mormonism teaches that there are three degrees of glory reserved for those who have passed on from mortality. These are called the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdoms. Within the celestial there are three more levels. LDS leaders have proclaimed that what a person believes and does in this life will be tantamount as to which kingdom that person will abide in the next life. Interestingly enough, any level lower than the top level within the celestial kingdom has been described as damnation.

To clarify this we quote LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie. McConkie stated that salvation has varying degrees just as damnation has varying degrees. According to page 177 of his book ‘Mormon Doctrine,’ he states that those who are damned are, ‘Those who fail to gain exaltation in the highest heaven in the celestial world, even though they do gain a celestial mansion in one of the lower heavens of that world.’ He goes on to say, ‘The rejection of any covenant, the gospel, celestial marriage, or any other, assures the rebellious person of damnation.’

If one hopes to obtain the celestial kingdom in the next life, he must practice what is known as ‘celestial law.’ In the words of third LDS President John Taylor, ‘We are told that if we cannot abide the law of the celestial kingdom we cannot inherit a celestial glory’ (Journal of Discourses, Vol.26, p.133).

Brigham Young, Mormonism's second president, stated that if a person hopes to obtain the celestial kingdom, ‘it requires a strict obedience to every point of law and doctrine and to every ordinance which the Lord reveals: in short, it requires a strict observance of every requirement of Heaven, to fully prepare a people for the possession and enjoyment of the celestial kingdom’ (Journal of Discourses, Vol.10, p.286).

Having said all this, it should be noted that paying a full tithe is a requirement under celestial law. Said Mormon Apostle James E. Talmage, ‘It is important to know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has observed this requirement from the early days of its history--not because it was operative in ancient Israel, nor because it was law and custom among the Jews in the days of Christ, but because it has been authoritatively established through modern revelation in the Church.’ Talmage then quoted Doctrine and Covenants 119: 3-4, which reads, ‘And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my People. And after that, those who have thus been tithed, shall pay one tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them for ever, for my Holy Priesthood, saith the Lord.’ (The Vitality of Mormonism, p.207 - p.208).

Our argument is not against tithing per se, all of us at MRM freely give to the churches we attend. We do so, not as a means to escape ‘damnation,’ but rather as a means of furthering the ministry of the church. Giving to our individual churches enables it to spread the Christian message whether it is at home or abroad. The Mormon may argue that he freely gives of his tithes to his church and that he does not feel he is being coerced into doing so. This may be true; however, it is the letter of Mormon law wherein the coercion lies, not an individual's feelings about the law.”
posted by ericb at 2:27 PM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Multi-level salvation meet multi-level marketing.
posted by ericb at 2:28 PM on August 6, 2007


fandango_matt: That quote belongs to loquacious. He has much more eloquently criticized the LDS faith than I have the composure to manage.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are to my knowledge fundamentalist protestants and not associated with the Mormons, though Mormons are guilty of using weapons of mass reproduction.
posted by polyhedron at 2:30 PM on August 6, 2007


"In the mid 1990s the Church [of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] was reported in the media to be receiving over $5 billion in tithes per year. Church assets were reported to be worth at least $30 billion."*
posted by ericb at 2:30 PM on August 6, 2007


Multi-level salvation meet multi-level marketing.

Because somehow the idea that the afterlife is more complicated than just a heaven/hell dicotomy is kookier. And it's clearly a scam if God commands people to be charitable.
posted by The World Famous at 2:32 PM on August 6, 2007


Whoops! Sorry 'bout that.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:38 PM on August 6, 2007


@languagehat "She insisted I read the Book of Mormon (and a depressing chore that was—you'd think God could write better than that)"

Yes! I tried to read the whole thing - to better myself. But it reads like it was written by someone who has heard preachers talk a whole bunch and tried to emulate the KJV cadence of Genesis, Kings, and all that jazz.
posted by Pants! at 2:56 PM on August 6, 2007


When fat Mormons die, they go to the Cholesterol Kingdom.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:59 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


*targets fandango_matt's house with orbiting antimatter death ray*

*double-checks co-ordinates, curses about pesky overblast problems*

You've won this time. At least until I get my own volcano fortress.
posted by loquacious at 2:59 PM on August 6, 2007


And it's clearly a scam if God commands people to be charitable.

I have never gotten the impression that very much of that tithe goes to charity.
posted by empath at 3:08 PM on August 6, 2007


You know who I miss? I miss that guy JaySunLee. Wonder what ever happened to him?
posted by item at 3:16 PM on August 6, 2007


I have never gotten the impression that very much of that tithe goes to charity.

Where does it go?
posted by The World Famous at 3:23 PM on August 6, 2007


Two can quote this Twain:
The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases the quaint, old-fashioned sound and structure of our King James’s translation of the Scriptures; and the result is a mongrel—half modern glibness, and half ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained; the former natural, but grotesque by the contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too modern—which was about every sentence or two—he ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as “exceeding sore,” “and it came to pass,” etc., and made things satisfactory again. “And it came to pass” was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:23 PM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Correct me if I'm wrong, but does not the Catholic Church also expect to get 10% of its members' earnings? (IANAC)
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:26 PM on August 6, 2007


Ahh, Mr. Twain, thank you. I remember now; something came to pass every few verses.
posted by Pants! at 3:29 PM on August 6, 2007


i tithe, i know many people who tithe - hundreds, in fact. none of us are mormons. the only thing deeper in here than hubris is willful ignorance.
posted by quonsar at 3:33 PM on August 6, 2007


Many years ago a friend's wife said something that really piqued my curiosity. She said she always tithed a little more than ten percent "just in case". I was puzzled about what that meant - like, does a few extra bucks impress God enough to throw a little extra blessing your way?

Later on, after I saw Office Space, I got it. She wasn't just wearing the minimum amount of flair, she was expressing herself in a way the boss was sure to notice.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:39 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


The ATM in the Church Lobby
Beginning with gifts given in 2007, the IRS will demand documentation for charitable contributions under $250. Once, all one needed was a diary entry to vouch for such donations. Specially designed ATMs at church will help document such spur-of-the-moment cash gifts, as well as planned giving. Also as a result of the new IRS rule, credit card donations and tithing are likely to increase too because such electronic fund transfers leave a paper trail.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:42 PM on August 6, 2007


I have never gotten the impression that very much of that tithe goes to charity....Where does it go?

"Most of the money is spent on building and maintaining buildings for church activities, and on the Church Educational System [CES].

The rest is spent on missionary and temple work, written materials in dozens of languages and the global administration of the Church.

The distribution of this money is governed by the Council on Disposition of the Tithes [also known as the Council on the Disposition of Tithing]."*
posted by ericb at 3:43 PM on August 6, 2007


languagehat writes "I had a Mormon girlfriend who was very much DO YOU WANT TO COME TO CHURCH WITH US? BECAUSE WE WANT YOU TO COME TO CHURCH WITH US!!! She insisted I read the Book of Mormon (and a depressing chore that was—you'd think God could write better than that) and tried hard to convert me, the way she'd converted her entire family. "

Bit of a difference between Mormon coworkers, neighbours and friends/aquaintences and a Mormon girlfriend who presumably is dating with the intention of getting a husband.

Pants! writes "@languagehat "

Pants! we don't use the @ convention at MetaFilter, just the username is enough.
posted by Mitheral at 4:24 PM on August 6, 2007


Metafilter: Pants!
posted by loquacious at 4:27 PM on August 6, 2007


Kirth: I'm not a (tithing) Catholic (I am a student without any real income, so I just toss a few bucks into the collection plate when I've got it), but I'm pretty sure Catholic churches ask you to tithe 10%, divided up (along some formula) between the parish, the diocese, and charitable organizations of your choosing. (I think).

< /derail>
posted by dismas at 4:31 PM on August 6, 2007


Oh please. The whole overpopulation thing is completely bogus, particularly where the developed world is concerned. I'm blown away that that particular movement survived past the 1970s. What commune do you have to live on to believe such tripe?

I hope so very much this is a poorly conveyed joke.
posted by Arturus at 4:37 PM on August 6, 2007


Jay, I thought the Mitt Romney thread was civil for the most part, and I enjoyed reading the back-and-forth about various LDS customs and beliefs. I would agree with you that, as a whole, Metafilter is not a very friendly place for those who make religion the central aspect of their lives. But that thread in particular stood out as being VERY respectful, considering the topic. I think you started its decline when you said you didn't want to talk more about church customs because that wasn't your area of expertise (the way you said it sounded like you were slamming the door in everyone else's face.)

Anyway, sorry if you got a bloody nose from this whole ordeal, but I would suggest in the future not making a MeTa unless you have concrete examples of what you're talking about. The Romney thread is more of an exception to how MeFi members can rise above intolerance than it is of any prevailing attitude on this site.
posted by Happydaz at 4:40 PM on August 6, 2007


Oh by the way, have I mentioned racently that I HATE YOU ALL?

eyeballkid's going to eat your soul.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:40 PM on August 6, 2007


Kirth: What dismas said, plus the operative difference between Catholic "tithing" and Mormon tithing is that nobody in the Catholic church demands an interview with you at the end of the year to make sure you've paid in full. It's purely an honor system in the RCC. Much different with LDS - you wanna get into that temple, you better have your tithing paid, even if you haven't been in years and just want to attend somebody's wedding. Pay, pray and obey, as the saying goes.
posted by brain cloud at 4:48 PM on August 6, 2007


Kirth Gerson writes "Correct me if I'm wrong, but does not the Catholic Church also expect to get 10% of its members' earnings?"

Catholic theology does not condition salvation upon monetary contributions to the Church. At least not anymore.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:21 PM on August 6, 2007


Here's another (semi-educated) guess as to where just a bit of the tithing has gone.

And a quick personal anecdote: a close friend decided to do his LDS mission only after some deep thought. Because he hadn't been very diligent in his attendance to that point, he was behind on tithing. He was told that he couldn't be accepted as a missionary (and remember — this is volunteer work spreading the word and enlisting new members for two years) until he was fully paid-up. He forked it over.

Color me astounded.

posted by rob511 at 5:23 PM on August 6, 2007


I hope so very much this is a poorly conveyed joke.

Because you drank the overpopulation kool-aid and don't want to be told you're wrong?
posted by The World Famous at 5:33 PM on August 6, 2007


Yeah, in fact, most modern societies have a problem with population decline, not overpopulation. Japan and the EU are in desperate need of increased birth rates if they're going to move their demographics to a place where the working population can support the retired population.

The overpopulation stuff from the 70s has been pretty thoroughly debunked, I think. Structural development is a much bigger issue than carrying capacity, it turns out. There's no real correspondence between population density and standard of living.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:46 PM on August 6, 2007


Sorry, replace "modern societies" with "developed economies".
posted by mr_roboto at 5:46 PM on August 6, 2007


The most densely populated place in the world is Manhattan.
posted by delmoi at 5:57 PM on August 6, 2007


Is this normal, sanctioned behaviour?

The problem with most Mormons is that they want to be normal and sanctioned too.
posted by Brian B. at 6:16 PM on August 6, 2007


The most densely populated place in the world is Manhattan.

Well, it might be the second most densely populated place in the world.
posted by armage at 6:17 PM on August 6, 2007


The most densely populated place in the world is Manhattan.

Actually, no.
Cairo -- 35,420 (population density/km²).

Dhaka -- 30,403

Mumbai -- 29,042

Manhattan -- 26,000.
New York City (all 5 boroughs) -- #13 (10,439 population density/km²).
posted by ericb at 6:19 PM on August 6, 2007


delmoi writes "The most densely populated place in the world is Manhattan."

It really depends how you subdivide things. Here's a chart. New York City isn't even close to the densest city, of course, but Manhattan itself starts to get up there. The densest zip code in Manhattan is denser than Mumbai, Malé, or Manilla overall, but I don't know if the densest districts of those cities would beat Yorkville.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:20 PM on August 6, 2007


Some evidence points to Washington DC having a more dense population than the rest of the world. At least seasonally.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:24 PM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Tour groups and protesters don't count, Flo.
posted by The World Famous at 6:25 PM on August 6, 2007


I was thinking career politicians, being the most dense creatures alive, might tip the scales, TWF.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:27 PM on August 6, 2007


Manhattan -- 26,000/km²

Attribution:
67,000 residents per square mile (almost 26,000/km² -- as per the Federal Reserve Bank of New York).
posted by ericb at 6:31 PM on August 6, 2007


mr_roboto writes "Yeah, in fact, most modern societies have a problem with population decline, not overpopulation."

This is a short term problem caused by the hump that can be managed with immigration. The planet would be better off with a lot less people. We don't exactly have a panda problem and one is unlikely to appear any time soon.
posted by Mitheral at 6:33 PM on August 6, 2007


New York City (all 5 boroughs) -- #13 (10,439 population density/km²).

C'mon now, that's not fair: Staten Island has ten people, a million rats, and a decomissioned landfill.
posted by dame at 6:37 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Yeah, in fact, most modern societies have a problem with population decline, not overpopulation."

Because capitalism is a pyramid scheme.
posted by Brian B. at 6:38 PM on August 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


I was thinking career politicians, being the most dense creatures alive, might tip the scales, TWF.

In that case, I retract my earlier statement and yield the floor. Right you are. In fact, by that logic, the densest population in the world is likely the 20006 zip code.
posted by The World Famous at 6:39 PM on August 6, 2007


Mitheral writes "The planet would be better off with a lot less people."

That's a bold claim. Here are a couple off-the-top-of-my-head counterarguments:

1. High population densities allow for extreme specialization that supports creative classes, furthering the arts and sciences.
2. Large populations lead to agricultural interdependence between nation-states, discouraging conflict.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:42 PM on August 6, 2007


Brian B. writes "Because capitalism is a pyramid scheme."

In all fairness, the pension programs that EU and Japanese governments are going to have to support over the next 30 years are probably better described as "socialist" or "social-democratic".
posted by mr_roboto at 6:44 PM on August 6, 2007


The population density of the Los Angeles urbanized area is greater than that of the New York urbanized area, with 7,009 people per square mile versus 5,239 people per square mile.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:48 PM on August 6, 2007


metafilter has by far the most dense population evar.
posted by quonsar at 7:07 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I will comment on the general asshatery expressed in this thread, but first let me put on my bikini briefs and drink this delicious Coca-Cola.
posted by dw at 7:11 PM on August 6, 2007


I was thinking career politicians, being the most dense creatures alive, might tip the scales, TWF.

You don't ever have to explain your jokes, IRFH. Some people can't understand the rain or the tides, but that won't stop them from getting wet anyways. Carry on.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:13 PM on August 6, 2007


In all fairness, the pension programs that EU and Japanese governments are going to have to support over the next 30 years are probably better described as "socialist" or "social-democratic".

Because they know that a pyramid scheme won't provide for them.
posted by Brian B. at 7:15 PM on August 6, 2007


Wait. What were we talking about again?
posted by Floydd at 7:18 PM on August 6, 2007


No doubt mr_roboto, for example I think you would find few would advocate return to hunter-gatherer population levels. But there probably is some compromise between that level and current world population levels that are leading to an environmental collapse in many areas.
posted by Mitheral at 7:25 PM on August 6, 2007


Mitheral writes "But there probably is some compromise between that level and current world population levels that are leading to an environmental collapse in many areas."

I don't know... I think a lot of the environmental damage is caused not by large populations per se, but by, for instance, primitive farming practices. Take Brazil as a case in point: deforestation is a direct result of unfair land distribution policies and people forced into subsistence farming. Modern farming practices could support a larger population with less environmental damage.

Global warming is another thing altogether, of course. But I actually think that that carbon would have wound up being dumped into the atmosphere regardless of the total global population: it's cheap energy. A smaller population would have dumped in in at a slower rate, though. Maybe. I don't think it's entirely clear.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:30 PM on August 6, 2007


Wait. What were we talking about again?

How the reason that New York City is so crowded is that the Mormons keep having babies and the only thing that will save New Yorkers from the hordes of insatiable Mormon babies is Hillary Clinton's unflinching allegiance to the entirely credible and not-at-all-kooky tenets of her Methodist faith, which she refuses to discuss in interviews, in spite of their importance in this election.

Oh, and also, JaySunSee is angry because his attempts at explaining Mormonism were met with the usual garbage.
posted by The World Famous at 7:31 PM on August 6, 2007


I was thinking more of stuff like the ~200 ocean dead zones. At any rate there is a limit somewhere between 0 and say 1 human per square metre. Where that limit is is going to depend on the weight given to priorities such as quality of life, species diversification, or even the value placed on stuff like national parks and nature reserves. (eg: the Amish probably have a lower limit than you or I and Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar would probably state a higher number if asked than me).
posted by Mitheral at 8:00 PM on August 6, 2007




What about Mormon tithing of 10% of one's annual income?

as others have pointed out, it's a common thing among many denominations

the "justification" for it is in leviticus 27:32 and other places, although there are some who say that's no longer operative in the new covenant

i don't recall reading that jesus asked for money
posted by pyramid termite at 9:25 PM on August 6, 2007


i don't recall reading that jesus asked for money

He doesn't need to. Haven't you heard: jesus saves!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:55 PM on August 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


We could do with a couple billion fewer people. And yes I'm aware that might include me. Even if I am a skeptical atheist and anarchist super-genius.
posted by davy at 10:00 PM on August 6, 2007


(Note I did say 'if.')
posted by davy at 10:00 PM on August 6, 2007


I'm late to the party, so let me just say: my faith is truthier than yours, times infinity, no touchbacks!
posted by Krrrlson at 12:12 AM on August 7, 2007


The title of this post is one of the funniest things I've read all week.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:14 AM on August 7, 2007


I don't know... I think a lot of the environmental damage is caused not by large populations per se, but by, for instance, primitive farming practices.

One word: sewage. If only the churches would take 10% of it, and give it to God...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:01 AM on August 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, and also, JaySunSee is angry because his attempts at explaining Mormonism were met with the usual garbage.

Wait, what's the phrase? Oh yeah....garbage in, garbage out.

When you get right down to it, he's just pissed because many of us here not only won't buy the particular fairy tale he's selling, but also aren't going to tell him he's special because he believes in it himself.
posted by nevercalm at 4:54 AM on August 7, 2007


How the reason that New York City is so crowded is that the Mormons keep having babies and the only thing that will save New Yorkers from the hordes of insatiable Mormon babies is Hillary Clinton's unflinching allegiance to the entirely credible and not-at-all-kooky tenets of her Methodist faith, which she refuses to discuss in interviews, in spite of their importance in this election.

Oh, and also, JaySunSee is angry because his attempts at explaining Mormonism were met with the usual garbage.


MORMON ALERT
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:30 AM on August 7, 2007


Calling BS on the comparison based on the fact that three are religions, and one is a get-rich-quick scheme, not based on the particular brand of insanity being peddled.

Have you seen the Vatican?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:33 AM on August 7, 2007


I've seen pictures of the Vatican, sure. And I know they had this whole "pay up and you're forgiven" thing. But at no point in time were Christianity, Judaism, or Mormonism conceived as a brainwashing cult designed to use the religion loophole in American tax law to generate profits for a goddamn science fiction writer. Is that clear enough for everyone? Was I being too subtle before? I didn't think so, personally. I usually figure the lot of you are bright enough to get the point without having it spelled out in small words.

I'm not trying to defend Mormonism here, or claim anything about tithing, or whatever the hell everyone seems to be missing the point on. I'm just saying that we should not lump Scientology in with things that have the potential of actually being a religion. It gives Scientology too much legitimacy to do so. I really wish the US would take the German stance and just declare the whole goddamn thing a pyramid scheme cult, take away the tax exempt status, and go from there.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:11 AM on August 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


The population density of the Los Angeles urbanized area is greater than that of the New York urbanized area, with 7,009 people per square mile versus 5,239 people per square mile.

Yes. Los Angeles and environs tend to have a blanket medium denisty spread over a kazillion miles. NYC has some really dense parts, some moderately dense parts, and then a lot of suburbs with growth regulations. So that statistic doesn't mean what you think it does.
posted by dame at 6:32 AM on August 7, 2007


caution live frogs: I think the point in lumping Scientology with other religions is that they're all based on improbable fair tales, and they've all been used to extract money from fools. Why should Catholicism or any other faith get a pass on their lies and extortion?

What does "actually being a religion" mean?
posted by polyhedron at 8:18 AM on August 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Are we talking about overpopulation? Oh lord. (see, it's not a derail!)

Mitheral, I think the dead zones are more a function of climate change, dams, and bad fishing practices (eg, bottom trawling and forms of fishing with lots of bycatch) than "those fertile Africans are eatin' too much damn fish!" which is where the overpopulation issue tends to focus attention.

(But - "we don't exactly have a panda problem" - I like your way of putting it.)
posted by salvia at 8:41 AM on August 7, 2007


Well, polyhedron. Scientology is a transparent attempt to make money. If you look at the history of a whole bunch of current religions, you don't see them becoming wealthy until many generations on, which indicates the first adherents believed in something other than simply marketing their beliefs for cash.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 8:42 AM on August 7, 2007


What Would Puppy Do?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:48 AM on August 7, 2007


caution live frogs writes "I'm just saying that we should not lump Scientology in with things that have the potential of actually being a religion."

Why? From the perspective of the true believer what is the difference between Scientology and your acceptable religions?
posted by Mitheral at 10:49 AM on August 7, 2007


Why? From the perspective of the true believer what is the difference between Scientology and your acceptable religions?

For one, we have a fairly good historical record of the formation of Scientology. Secondly, Scientology wasn't the major sociological paradigm shift that religions were. You won't (God Willing!) see a state/nation adopt it and the whole community steeped in its rites. I think you can use your brain to extrapolate further.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:16 PM on August 7, 2007


Increasing population of resource gobbling Americans does seem problematic. More gas-guzzling polluting non-biodegradable-substance-disposing factory-farmed-antibiotic-stuffed-meat-eating Americans (not saying anyone who does those things is a bad person!) doesn't figure to be a boon for the world any way I can see it.
posted by polytropos at 12:20 PM on August 7, 2007


Ah, but Death needs time for what it kills to grow in, for Ah Pook’s sweet sake.
posted by jtron at 12:31 PM on August 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


If less population means less noisy suburban idiots at national parks, then bring on the killing mechanisms!
posted by Burhanistan at 12:43 PM on August 7, 2007


I feel it worth pointing out that nonbiodegradable, throwaway consumer goods were not primarily an American development.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:23 PM on August 7, 2007


It's true that several countries have problems with population decline, but there's a key point here: overpopulation is a global problem with resource distribution and consumption. Population decline is a local economic problem. Both problems exist and need to be addressed. It's not a contradiction to have both problems, because they are problems over different scopes.
posted by Arturus at 1:50 PM on August 7, 2007


Well, polyhedron. Scientology is a transparent attempt to make money. If you look at the history of a whole bunch of current religions, you don't see them becoming wealthy until many generations on, which indicates the first adherents believed in something other than simply marketing their beliefs for cash.

Give Scientology a thousand years. I think you give the established religions too much credit. Considering that most major religions have also written the history that portrays them favorably I'm not sure you can draw the conclusion that they weren't founded to control money and power.
posted by polyhedron at 2:38 PM on August 7, 2007


Why? From the perspective of the true believer what is the difference between Scientology and your acceptable religions?

For one, we have a fairly good historical record of the formation of Scientology. Secondly, Scientology wasn't the major sociological paradigm shift that religions were. You won't (God Willing!) see a state/nation adopt it and the whole community steeped in its rites. I think you can use your brain to extrapolate further.


I'm not entirely sure I follow, particularly the second part. Does that mean Baha'i isn't a religion either?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:29 PM on August 7, 2007


Also the origin stories of Scientology and the LDS church are quite similar, depending on how sincere an interpretation you give to Joseph Smith's claims and actions (or Hubbard's, for that matter). Secret teachings, conflicts with the law, abuse of power, claims that man can ascend to godhood, moving to unregulated areas to avoid prosecution (or persecution, again depending on your interpretation), etc.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:33 PM on August 7, 2007


Also the origin stories of Scientology and the LDS church are quite similar, depending on how sincere an interpretation you give to Joseph Smith's claims and actions (or Hubbard's, for that matter).

That can be said for all religions, can't it?
posted by The World Famous at 4:00 PM on August 7, 2007


True-ish, but it's interesting to me that the two major religions founded in America have an awful lot of overlap, perhaps becuase of our fine national tradition of balls-out hucksterism.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:10 PM on August 7, 2007


Funny, you don't look true-ish.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:17 PM on August 7, 2007


Does that mean Baha'i isn't a religion either?

Baha'l is a philosophical monotheistic syncretism posing as religion.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:52 PM on August 7, 2007


Give Scientology a thousand years. I think you give the established religions too much credit.

Just because we've been saddled with a bunch of historic religions doesn't mean we should give new religions some sort of break.

Quite the opposite, in fact.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:11 PM on August 7, 2007


Just because we've been saddled with a bunch of historic religions doesn't mean we should give new religions some sort of break.

Quite the opposite, in fact.


Exactly. God has had his chance, and if he hasn't established the one true religion by now, he's just out of luck. We're not taking any more applications.
posted by The World Famous at 6:33 PM on August 7, 2007


Exactly. God has had his chance, and if he hasn't established the one true religion by now, he's just out of luck. We're not taking any more applications.

Religion has always been for humans, not God. Enjoy the next hurricane or whatever...
posted by Burhanistan at 7:25 PM on August 7, 2007


I really can't see as having a God to blame for the hurricane is going to make me feel any better about it, nor will it improve my odds of coming out of it all a-ok. So, thanks, but no thanks.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:44 PM on August 7, 2007


« Older Uh oh.   |   Metafilter: civil discourse Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments