One happy development the new millennium is apparently about to bring is the formal death of the black Muslim belief that whites are "blue-eyed devils" who were specially bred in the laboratory of an evil black scientist with the suspiciously Jewish-sounding name Yacub. This good news comes in an article by Arthur Magida posted on Beliefnet.com. Beliefnet.com is an interesting new religion-oriented Web site founded by Steven Waldman,* a former editor at U.S. News & World Report. According to Magida, Louis Farrakhan is planning to announce in a speech next month that the Nation of Islam must merge with plain-vanilla Islam, and in the process embrace the Koran's teachings on racial equality, which apparently preclude the mad-scientist theory. (For a helpful explication of the other cultlike aspects of the Nation of Islam, click here.) The Nation of Islam is already pretty small--according to Prof. Sulayman Nyang of Howard University, it has only 20,000 to 50,000 followers. It is dwarfed by the following of Elijah Muhammed's son, Warith Deen Mohammed, a mainstream Muslim imam who rejected the "blue-eyed devils" doctrines two decades ago, and who in 1998 told Jonah Blank of U.S. Newsthat he's "almost a fanatical supporter of the U.S. government."
Hoping to encourage what may be a nascent trend toward rationalism, Chatterbox hereby challenges other religions to step forward and discard outdated doctrines, such as, oh, papal infallibility, or Judaism's silly prejudice against crabcakes and Lobster Thermidor. Readers are invited to nominate religious doctrines they'd like to see jettisoned in the new year. Please provide documentation that the objectionable practice you are citing isn't made up.
*personal friend of Chatterbox, as are several other people who write or edit for Beliefnet.com; none of them wish to be associated in any way with Chatterbox's belief that God doesn't actually exist.