Do you really believe?


This is Richard Dawkin's talk from yesterday's Reason Rally in Washington DC.  He makes several good points, but the one that stuck out to me the most was when he told people that they should challenge someone when they say they're religious.  The example he gave is when someone says they're Catholic, ask them if they really believe that when a priest blesses a wafer that it actually turns into the body of Christ, or that the wine actually turns into his blood.  So, this post will be dedicated to me asking any of my reader base who are religious, do you really believe what your religions teach?

For those who are Christian (any denomination thereof),

  1. Do you really believe every word of the Bible to be the word of god?  If so, read every word of the Bible and then come back and answer the question again.
  2. Do you really believe that a snake tricked Eve into eating fruit that made her suddenly unfit to live in the paradisiacal garden god had just made for her?
  3. Do you really believe that one man built a boat big enough to fit two of every single species of animal on the Earth? 
  4. Do you really believe that an all-powerful, loving, compassionate, and forgiving god would kill his only son in the most horrific way imaginable just to allow himself to be able to forgive other people for doing bad things?
  5. Imagine two people who both live good lives--they help other people, sacrifice their time and money for the benefit of mankind, and treat everyone well.  Do you really believe that one of them would be admitted into heaven and the other not admitted simply because he failed to be sprinkled or doused in water?
  6. Do you really believe that someone cannot be a truly good person without believing that Christ is the savior of the world?
  7. Do you really believe that you're making an impact on the world around you when you pray?  That saying "bless the starving children in Africa" will make their bodies any less malnourished?
  8. Do you really believe that a god who loves all people would command one of his followers to kill his own son, just to test his loyalty?  And do you really believe that the satisfactory answer to such a request is "Sure thing", rather than "Hell no!"?
I don't know too much about other religions, so I'll only go on to ask Mormon-specific questions now (and yes, Mormons are Christian, so the first 7 apply to you too--except #1, gladly Joseph Smith didn't try to say that the Bible was infallible).  So, for those who are Mormon,
  1. Do you really believe that the Book of Mormon is a factual, historical document?  That two entire civilizations existed here in the Americas without leaving a single archeological scrap of evidence behind?
  2. Do you really believe that the masonic rites that Joseph Smith took from the freemasons and introduced into Mormonism will help you in your path toward exaltation?
  3. Do you really believe that an all-knowing god will require you to give secret handshakes and passwords to prove that you're worthy to enter heaven?
  4. Do  you really believe that your underwear will save you from the bad things of the world? 
  5. Do you really believe that god cares about what kind of underwear you wear?
  6. Do you really believe that touching your own genitalia is bad but having your spouse touch your genitalia is okay?
  7. Do you really believe that an omnipotent being who created the universe is as obsessed with sex as Spencer W. Kimball was?
  8. Do you really believe that the burial records that Joseph Smith bought from a travelling merchant (which can also be found all over Egypt) contained information about Abraham?
  9. Do you really believe that a god who promotes and encourages love will be angry at a man loving another man?  Or a woman loving another woman?
  10. Do you really believe that god has just enough mercy to let you get baptized on behalf of a deceased person but not enough mercy to simply not require baptism to get into heaven?
Think about it.  Think about your beliefs.  Tell me if you really do believe all of this ridiculous nonsense.

Update.  At the request of my friend, I offer the following modified list of questions for Mormons, together with documentation to the official LDS website indicating that the belief in question is indeed official LDS doctrine.  I have left the original list so that the discussion below makes sense to any who wish to read it.
  1. Do you really believe that your god holds you under condemnation (as a member of his church) because you do not have a sufficient level of emphasis on the Book of Mormon? (See "Another Testament of Jesus Christ" and more specifically D&C 84:54-58)
  2. Do you really believe that the Book of Mormon is "a gift of greater value to mankind than even the many wonderful advances we have seen in modern medicine."? (The Book of Mormon--Keystone of Our Religion)
  3. Do you really believe that "You are never lost when you can see the temple."?  (Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples)
  4. Do you really believe that "how one wears the [temple] garment is the expression of how the individual feels about the Church and everything that relates to it."?  (The Temple Garment)
  5. Do you really believe that the temple garment is a "protective covering for the body"? (also in The Temple Garment)
  6. Do you really believe that "Sometimes masturbation is the introduction to the more serious sins of exhibitionism and the gross sin of homosexuality."?  (President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality)
  7. Do you really believe that "Dating and especially steady dating in the early teens is most hazardous. It distorts the whole picture of life."? (same article as #6)
  8. Do you really believe that the Book of Abraham was actually written by the hand of Abraham while he was in Egypt?  (Book of Abraham)
  9. Do you really believe that homosexuality is a "gross sin" (see the above article from President Kimball), that "homosexuality is not innate and unchangeable", and that factors that affect a person's sexual orientation "may include temperament, personality traits, sexual abuse, familial factors, and treatment by one’s peers"? (see When a Loved One Struggles with Same-Sex Attraction)
  10. Do you really believe that god requires all people to be baptized in order to be saved and yet he allows people to be baptized vicariously for others?  (D&C 128)