So, I’m very interested in anomalistic psychology as well as the critical analysis of religious texts (the origin of the science of linguistics is in the study of religious texts), so last summer when some Mormon missionaries came through my neighborhood looking for recruits I invited them over for a chat in hopes of getting a free copy of the Book of Mormon. It worked, and I agreed to let them come back for as long as they felt like and teach me about their religion (Americans are notoriously ignorant of Mormonism, which to me is simply another silly form of Christianity). They stopped coming after I got short with them when I was in a bad mood and began attacking their religion. Anyway, they came back tonight after a few months’ absence to see if I have been praying. I told them no, they taught me how to pray their way (insisting that it’s the only right way), and then we had a discussion about God.
The thing about our discussion about God that really struck me was not the fact that my argument for agnosticism went over with a thud, but the fact that we apparently have very different ideas of what the nature of a perfect being might be like. I asked them why they thought God demanded to be worshipped and prayed to and such, and they explained to me that it was an issue of humility. God is our creator, so he wants us to know it. I found their use of the word “humility” very interesting, because my conception of a perfect being is one who is the epitome of humility (among other things). This is the very reason why I think the concept of a perfect being who demands adulation is self-contradictory. I was struck by the difference of opinion. It doesn’t help that perfection is largely subjective (although most people’s ideas of perfection converge on many points). I’ll have to read up on concepts of perfection and synthesize a definition for myself. Honestly, my own conception of perfection comes purely from my own imagination; aside from a few major philosophers who’ve written on the subject, I’m not that well-read in the literature of perfection.
The missionaries are coming back next Saturday and I told them I’d try praying their way. I highly doubt it’ll work, but seeing as it’s simply talking to myself, as long as I don’t do it in public, what harm can it do? I’ll humor them simply to see how it goes.