Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Case Study of Religious Blinders at Work

I was having lunch today with a bunch of my coworkers, and the topic drifted into the subject of religion (I promise, I didn't do it).  The group consisted of three agnostics (including myself), a Catholic, a liberal Christian, and my boss, who is a Mormon.

Overall, the discussion was a refreshing, open exchange of ideas.  No one was out to hurt anyone else's feelings, and everybody kept it respectful.  However, I found one moment particularly eye-opening when we entered the subject of how religions start.  My boss said something along the lines of, "Islam is obviously fake.  Muhammad just went to his cave and borrowed ideas from Christianity and Judaism, and then added his own twist to it."  Now, I more or less agree with this statement, but I was completely blown away by the mental blinders at work here.  As I said earlier, my boss is a Mormon.  Joseph Smith was an obvious charlatan who created a faith with parts of Christianity and Judaism before adding his own twist to it.  I wonder if my boss even noticed the parallel.  I kind of wish I had pointed it out, but I figured that wouldn't be the best idea.

Still, the whole thing blew me away.  It's amazing how easily the human mind adapts itself to sectarian religious belief.

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