Emotionally, I find the concept [of eternal conscious torment] intolerable and do not understand how people can live with it without either cauterizing their feelings or cracking under the strain. But our emotions are a fluctuating, unreliable guide to truth and must not be exalted to the place of supreme authority in determining it . . . my question must be—and is—not what does my heart tell me, but what does God’s word say?
As I argue in Hating God, one needs to believe in God in order to genuinely hate him. True, atheists may hate theidea of God, but their hatred of the figure of God amounts to something comparable to hating a fictional character, say Iago or the Grinch who stole Christmas. This is not the same as believing in the existence of God while denouncing him as a criminal deity.
Yes. Scare quotes for “crisis pregnancy centers.” Scare quotes! Now, is this a reflection of how sensitive theNew York Times is to euphemisms in the “abortion” wars? And I’m not just wondering about the use of the euphemism “abortion,” the word we now use to describe the intentional killing of an unborn child. What does the New York Times do when it’s talking about “family planning”? Do we get scare quotes there? No.
The crucial thing to understand here is that Romney’s Latter Day Saint affiliation isn’t just a potential liability among evangelical voters in Republican primaries. It’s a potential general election liability as well. In a recent Gallup poll, 18 percent of Republicans described themselves as unwilling to vote for a Mormon candidate — but that number actually climbed to 19 percent among Independents, and 27 percent among Democrats.
Who are these non-conservative Mormon skeptics? Well, their ranks probably include a lot of theologically conservative/politically liberal Christians (mainly African American and Hispanic ) who regard Mormonism as a dangerous heresy, and a lot of secular liberals who dislike the L.D.S.’s positions (and politicking) on issues like gay marriage. But most likely some of them are people who don’t have a particular theological or political ax to grind, who know Mormonism primarily through pop culture (from “Big Love” and “Sister Wives” to “South Park” and “The Book of Mormon”) and the occasional encounter with bicycling missionaries, and who have a vague sense of the L.D.S. church as little bit cultish, a little bit outside-the-mainstream, and a little bit, well, weird.