One common thing I hear from my more liberal friends and neighbors is that religion is just a preference to them. There is no right or wrong religion, thus you just pick the one that you like the most.
Interestingly, it’s easy to prove that those that say this don’t believe it either.
Consider for example, this post. The writer makes a point of explaining his ah-ha moment where he finally realized that,
…I’d been operating under an assumption that is simply not true! [that assumption] is this: We all believe that a person’s religion ought to work for him or her; that is, that it ought to be a good fit. And if it isn’t, then you search for a religion that is a good fit for you.
In some future post, I’d like to deal with the fact that it’s nothing short of amazing that this well educated gentleman managed to grow up as knowledgeable as he obviously is about religion and never once noticed that most people actually believe in their religion as being a revealed truth. But this is a topic for another time.
The point I want to make in this post is that he is advocating the position that religions are just a preference. They are like ice cream. You may prefer strawberry and I may prefer chocolate, but it doesn’t really matter because we are different people with different preferences. It would (or so he is arguing) be ridiculou to think that one flavor is the true flavor and the rest are lesser flavors (or worse, false flavors.)
In fact, he’s not just claiming this is true, he’s claiming that never prior to this point had the thought ever crossed his mind otherwise.
It’s too bad the name of his post proves this isn’t true. It is:
Can It Truly Be That I Converted a Mormon?
He spends the last paragraph explaining how he helped two Mormon friends challenge their beliefs and more or less change to his instead.
So, now here we are: AdventureGirl and her family have moved overseas (her husband is military) and are taking a year off Mormonism to follow their spiritual paths, and Philomytha and her kids are spending a sabbatical year jumping into my UU congregation.
Now why would that matter at all if religion is, like ice cream, just a preference to him? Certainly you aren’t going to put up a whole blog post celebrating that your friend tried strawberry today and liked it and plans to make that her preference of choice in the future. The existence of this post undermines its content. (Another juicy morsel of a strange loop. I love recursion.)
I once had a boss at work that said something similar to me. I was telling a friend about the movie “The Other Side of Heaven” and he interrupted me to go on a rant about ridiculous it is to become a missionary and go to some other country to teach people about your religion when they already have their own beliefs. After all, religion was just a preference.
But of course, if religion is just a preference as he claims, then his rant doesn’t make sense. Why is he so upset that these missionaries are spending their own money to fly out to other countries to make sure their local religious Baskin-Robins (so to speak) had even more flavors to choose from?