Friday, December 07, 2007

Some philosophy

It was good to see a piece as sophisticated and clear as Keith Burgess-Jackson's recent piece on torture in the daily press. The world needs more of that. What Burgess-Jackson did for "torture", someone ought to do for "cult" too. While I am not crazy about Romney, or any of the political candidates, for that matter, Romney is plagued with the idea that he belongs to a cult, particularly Mormonism. Perhaps Burgess-Jackson himself would sort this out (he appears to be a fan). Mormonism has had that reputation for a while. Yesterday Romeny had to give a dull speech that seemed to me was designed to placate the right, rather than dispel any myths about his religion.

Discussing whether Mormonism is a cult is akin to discussing whether waterboarding is torture. It depends what you mean by "cult" and it depends on Mormon practices, and all of that is independent of whether or not there is something morally, spiritually, legally, or socially problematic about cults in the first place. A good philosopher would do well to sort this out for the right-wing public.

Look, I recently had a conversation with a (Catholic) friend, M, who was musing why anyone would believe in a religion that someone just made up. I remarked that his sentiment was exactly what my people were thinking when Christianity started.

I am not sure it changed his mind much. And now that I think about it, the inability to change one's mind about religious matters does seem to be the hallmark of cultish behavior. But I got to say, if he ever ran, he'd probably have my vote for president.

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