I am currently reading Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, an expose of the ongoing atrocities committed by men of the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints) toward the women and children under their rule. It is a harrowing look at the psychology of zealots who abuse and even kill in the name of God. I find it utterly fascinating.
But what I find more appalling than fascinating is this statement on page XXIII of the book’s prologue:
“Faith is the very antithesis of reason, injudiciousness a crucial component of spiritual devotion.”
Would you like to say that to the two million “irrational” American scientists who call themselves Christians, Mr. Krakauer?
Included in this list is Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, and recently named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.
There’s also Dr. Don Page, theoretical physicist and former doctoral student of Steven Hawking, and the famous paleontologist Conway Morris.
And let’s not forget Galileo, Copernicus, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, and Albert Einstein, to name a few of the many bright minds who have professed faith in God.
Furthermore, this author insulted me. I’m no Einstein (by a long shot), but I’ve got enough brains to recognize Krakauer’s fallacy. You see (for example), I have faith in my husband because he’s given me twenty-one years of reason to trust him.
Faith and reason go hand in hand.
I can likewise put my faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ because the compelling historical evidence and arguments for it make it more reasonable to do so than to not do so. To turn a blind eye to what I’ve discovered through study on the matter would be, for me, simply irrational.
Speaking of study, Krakauer makes an ironically ignorant comparison of The Book of Mormon with The Bible on page 70, stating that “…its veracity is no more dubious than the veracity of the Bible.” Rightly did he point out that “no archaeological artifacts with links to the supposedly advanced and widespread Nephite (Mormon) civilization have ever been found in North America or anywhere else.” But Krakauer is apparently unaware that the number of archeological excavations corresponding to Biblical events is staggering by comparison.*
And that’s just archeology. Krakauer must also be ignorant of the fact that over 24,000 manuscript copies of the New Testament are in existence today, compared to six supposed gold plates from which The Book of Mormon is written, yet no one has ever uncovered.
I’m not expecting us all to agree with each other on matters of faith and/or science. But I am suggesting we respectfully disagree, if need be. And that means cut the insults and unstudied pontification.
And Mr. Krakauer? When you state on the same page in your prologue that understanding the actions of violent murderer and FLDS member Dan Lafferty will help the reader learn more “about the nature of faith,” as if all religious belief (mainstream Mormonism included) is a precursor to terror, you’ve gone too far.
*See Evidence that Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell, for example.
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