In a recent video dialogue between two of the The Atlantic Monthly‘s stable of talented writers, left-wing blogger Matthew Yglesias argued that the Book of Mormon was “a remarkably crude and obvious forgery“. Right-wing blogger Ross Douthat essentially agreed with him.
Not long afterwards, Ross Douthat volunteered that he actually wasn’t that informed about the Book of Mormon and asked for help from “smart Mormons” . You may think that this admission makes Ross Douthat look ridiculous but you’re wrong. Having strong opinions based on deep ignorance is a universal human trait. Recognizing one’s ignorance and trying to correct it is not.
Having listened to the dialogue (so you wouldn’t have to, my chickadees–I care for you), Ross Douthat probably needs help most on the following points:
(1) The fact that the Book of Mormon mentions horses which the Conquistadores are thought to have introduced;
(2) The fact–if it is a fact–that the Book of Mormon describes two massive, New World-dominating empires that don’t seem to be reflected in the archaelogical record; and
(3) The fact–if it is a fact–that various sections of the Book of Mormon that purport to cite ancient biblical records include KJV mistranslations of the original biblical texts.
As I understand it, he’s not actually interested in converting at this time, poor, misguided fellow. But he is interested in understanding the case that the Book of Mormon isn’t obvious nonsense. Be brotherly, or sisterly, as the case may be; though I wouldn’t let civility stop you from saying “Some forgery!” after each piece of evidence that you adduce. Citations to published material, or some discussion of your own credentials, will probably make your case more convincing.
P.S. Matt Y. and Ross D. have also adopted Fr. Neuhaus’ silly position that the Church is “not recognizably Christian.” They have also taken the defensible but, I believe, un-American position that theological disagreements per se are a proper basis for distinguishing between candidates. Ross D. has not asked for further enlightenment on these subjects, but I’m not sure that will prevent him from getting it.