Sunday, February 6, 2011

Latter Day Ramblings

Several weeks ago I got to fly to the land of zion on a business trip.

I woke up in the hotel and was flipping channels to see what Utah TV had to offer. As I was flipping, I came to a lecture being given on a public access channel that I found somewhat compelling. At first I thought the lecture was on ancient archeology and I was intrigued. But then I started to notice some things. For example there were no other textbooks sitting in front of this professor-looking-dude except for an open bible. I could also guess by the thickness of the book (and the fact that I was in Utah) that this was a seminary or institute instructor. I really don't remember much of what was being said except that he was talking about cultures that may have existed prior to Noah and the flood.

Then things got really wacky. The guy on TV then says something like, "I have held for a long time the following view and no one has ever proven me wrong so I will continue to teach it until someone proves me wrong." Then he proposed that the people that existed before and during Noah's time in the bible were actually extremely technologically advanced and may have even had space travel! The funny thing is, I probably sat through similar speculative dissertations all through high school seminary and college institute classes and didn't give it a second thought - except to be glad I actually got fed some meat of the gospel instead of all the milk.

The TV professor then went on to say that these people had all these wonderful technological advances and yet they lacked one thing. They lacked the spiritual maturity that they needed to be able to see their world endure past the condemnation of the world through the flood. (Of course, I had to wonder, if they had space travel, why couldn't they just get on their space ship and fly into orbit until the flood waters subsided? I guess they just weren't THAT technologically advanced...)

It is just amazing to me how some people can get away with such wild and extremely non-evidence based speculation! Not only that, but people eat up everything they say. First, you have to accept the existence of a world wide flood, and if you accept that, then the sky is the limit as far as what could have existed because all the archaeological evidence got wiped out during the flood! How convenient.

I was proud of myself when I eventually changed the channel for two reasons; 1. I don't buy crap like that any longer and 2. I found myself saying to myself, I wish I could ask this guy for his evidence. If there is very little to no evidence for what is being proposed than I will not be likely taking much stock in what is being said, but will categorize it with all other baseless wild speculation that goes on in the name of religion throughout the world. Better than the past where I would have just eaten it all up and felt that I had truly been spiritually fed.

The funny thing to me is that this kind of wild speculation goes on all the time and people hardly ever get called on it (at least in religious circles anyway). In fact, Joseph Smith Jr. played on this a lot of times. One thing that I recall in particular had to do with the Egyptian language. Joseph claimed to be able to interpret and translate Egyptian papyri. Now, Joseph was a pretty smart character because he knew Egyptian was then considered a dead language and that it presently could not be translated by the archealogists of his day (at least not any in the US at the time could interpret it). He was able to make up all kinds of gibberish because no one could say with any authority that he was full of it. I am amazed that he did so plentifully and often to the delight of so many looking for the deeper meaning in all things. Take a look at the following image of some of the translation of the Egyptian Papyrus that Joseph came up with:

Notice that each character is given several sentences to a paragraph of text next to it. People that understand any language can probably deduce that a simple character of a language is not likely to result in several sentences or paragraphs of text. However, Joseph asked everyone to suspend common sense to accept his translation. Feel free to look into this further and you will discover the truth of what I am saying. The problem is, people would rather just accept the word of a man who is making the wild claims while the voice of reason and common sense is boring and largely ignored. I guess the snake oil salesman continues to live on through the TV in Utah...

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