Love this article from Robert Kirby in the Salt Lake Trib on religion and zealotry:
Kirby: No one is fair when it comes to religion
During a recent interview, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (R-Baptist) talked about fellow candidate Mitt Romney (R-Mormon).
Huckabee posed the question: "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"
The question was perceived by some as an opportunity to hold an element of Mormon theology up for ridicule. As a Mormon, I wasn't bothered because, well, it's true.
It gets weirder. Not only is Satan our brother as well, he looks exactly like KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank, only redder.
OK, I made that part up. But Mormons do believe a lot of things that seem pretty strange, if not downright crazy.
So do you.
Imagine that the average presidential candidate rings your doorbell tomorrow. Male, affluent and not visibly deranged, the candidate offers some really cool ideas about running the country. He wants your vote.
Before you can answer, the candidate casually mentions that the driving force in his life is a profound belief in a cosmic walrus that sets the world spinning each new day with the force of its benevolent flatulence.
As the average American voter (Christian), your response would be laughter followed by incredulity. In parts of the country, you might even be legally entitled to assault the candidate.
After all, the real god is a shape-shifting entity, born of a virgin, who cured blindness with spit and busted out of his tomb after being lynched - a god you periodically honor by ritualistically eating him so that he won't kill you when he comes back.
Well, that wasn't really fair, was it? I hope not. Since when did religious belief ever have anything to do with fair?
Muslim, Pagan, Christian, Jew, Buddhist - one of the great ironies of all spiritual belief is that cold, brutal logic should be applied to every version but yours.
If you're Hindu, for example, you might find the idea of Christian communion ludicrous. Why would anyone even pretend to eat a god? Conversely, Christians find the notion of God having the head of an elephant completely ridiculous. Extra arms? Ha! We don't even want to talk about one with multiple sex organs.
What's going on here isn't real logic. It's not even insight. It's simply comparing your beliefs against those of others and egotistically concluding that you are the only one who can't be dismissed as an idiot.
Incidentally, this is a human condition that affects secularists as well. The absence of religion doesn't make people moral anymore than its presence guarantees morality.
Is religious belief bad? It damn sure can be. People are certainly bad when they become contemptuous of others, and religion far too often provides us with the place to do just that.