Well . . . the punchline to The Book of Mormon musical comes when the Ugandan villagers find out that many of the stories that a missionary with an over-active imagination has told them are not true. The Ugandan heroine is devastated. But the villagers, come to her rescue. They tell her that the stories are a metaphor, not literally true. And the villagers go ahead and join the LDS Church.
I guess this is where we all are. We need to decide what is real and what is metaphor, and then make a decision. I think most of us would agree that the Book of Genesis in the OT is a collection of metaphors. That is a leap that requires little effort. But what about other religious stories, other histories, other scriptures, other miracles, etc.? When we decide that maybe some of these are metaphors, what are we to do? How important is reality?
Some GAs in the Mormon Church have decided that metaphors are more important than reality. Stories need to be faith promoting, no matter how inaccurate they are. Do we need accurate history, or do we need inspirational stories?
Ultimately, the Ugandans in TBofM musical see the good, and accept the metaphors. In a twenty-first-century world is this a practical solution? What happens to the individual member when he or she finds out that much of his or her religion’s history, scripture, and faith-promoting stories are, in fact, metaphors?
This is a question that all thinking conservative believers will face eventually. And it took the South-Park boys to ask the question.