Last night (Mar. 22) Lawrence O’Donnell proved that religious training in Catholic schools is not a waste… especially when it comes to puncturing the faith-based pronouncements of a self-inflated pundit like the Fox Network’s Glenn Beck.
“Beck,” says MSNBC host O’Donnell, “has enjoyed the convention that we must never talk about another person’s religious beliefs. That convention is most strictly observed by people who know the least about religion. The more religious education you have, the less trained you are to observe a phony zone of sanctity around this subject. With 12 years of formal religious education behind me, in which matters of doctrine and faith were debated religiously by nuns and priests, I don’t have the fear Beck thrives on, the political media’s fear of discussing religion. Without that collective media fear, Beck’s act would have collapsed a long time ago.”
“Beck has been telling his audience the breakdown of the nuclear reactors in Japan may be signaling the end of the world. he said ‘I don’t know if this is the end of the world.’ He is now enraged that I have told you the truth, that it is not the end of the world, that I know it’s not the end of the world. He’s enraged I would dare to suggest that the Book of Revelation has nothing to do with what is going on in Japan or in the world today, and that I know it has nothing to do with it. He is much more enraged that I have said good and thoughtful Christians do not believe the Book of Revelation, just as no good and thoughtful Christian literally believes everything in the Bible. To believe everything in the Bible, you’d have to believe that the proper penalty for not keeping the Sabbath is death. You’d have to believe that the proper penalty for dishonoring your father and mother is death; that children should be killed for that.”
“…To believe the Book of Revelation literally, you have to believe in dragons. Quote: ‘…and the Earth helped the woman, and the Earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon waxed wroth with the woman and went away to make war with the rest of her seed…’ You also obviously have to believe in riddles because, of course, what I just read makes absolutely no sense.”
In continuing his argument, O’Donnell also cut the ground out from under Beck in his mischaracterizations of at least one founding father:
“Though Beck is constantly citing the genius of the founding fathers, he will never tell you that one of those geniuses, Thomas Jefferson, considered the Book of Revelation, ‘merely the ravings of a maniac no more worthy of explanation than the incoherences of our nightly dreams.’ Jefferson went on to say ‘I do not consider them as revelations of the supreme being, whom I would not so far blaspheme as to impute to him a pretension of revelation, couched at the same time in terms which he would know were never to be understood by those to whom they were addressed.’”
“In Jefferson’s selective view of Christianity, the Book of Revelation, he took as blasphemy. That’s how wide opinion is on the Book of Revelation. I called it a work of fiction. Jefferson called it blasphemy. Beck calls it the word of God.“
Ouch. For those who wish to see the skewering of Beck and his stated beliefs in its entirety, check out the MSNBC video segment accompanying this article.
(Thanks and a tip of the Hatlo Hat to the Friendly Atheist blog for the links and the emphasis)
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