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I'm bored. Let's start a fight.

Great work of literature? Inerrant word of God? End result of a centuries-long game of Chinese whispers? Handy-dandy collection of myths and legends? Cause of all the world's problems?

How many of those are actually mutually exclusive? ;) - MoonShadow

Seconds out... go!  --ChiarkPerson

Sorry, you have to be slightly less blatant, and slightly more provocative to get these things started.  Try phrasing it as a legitimate debate, but hinting that your axioms are from another planet.  --Vitenka

I've had a thought.  I know that way back in the mists of time, it was the done thing to obfuscate your meaning as much as possible, use metaphor and hide your message.  And this has since become associated with mysterious cults - who find it convenient to be able to change the message without changing the texts.  So why are no organisations publicising "Here is the message, and here is what it means" books?  I know they exist - but they fail on two major flaws.  Firstly, they reference older works and thus fall into people's preconceptions of those works.  (A gloss on the bible is, after all, still Christianity) and secondly - they aren't publicised well.  Those that are pushed are usually pushed with a very obvious agenda (Oppose abortion!  Eat biscuits!  Become a mormon!  Whatever!) and often contradict their very text.
So, may I propose that a new book of morality is written, with plenty of flowery and lovely myth - but with footnotes explaining unambiguously what the message is?  --Vitenka

Presuming that this had been done two thousand years ago, what would be the result today?




People would be arguing over whether the footnotes were meant literally or poetically, I expect!  Although that would also of course depend on what the message was.  If the message has its very basis in an event that people with different axioms two thousand years later decide must be mythical, then people are going to accuse it of a flowery message in myth because they don't understand or accept that you are meant to understand these things as facts. --MJ

Then, more people will come along and ask even sillier questions about the definition of "myths" and "facts"... AR

I can't help but wonder, on further reflection, whether a deliberately obfsucated message actually survives better.  'x hence moral y' seems more memorable than just 'y'.  Hmmm.  --Vitenka
I think I once said to AngelaRayner that I think the truth of the Bible is more than just the brittle truth of literalness. It's the truth of myth and story that survives bad translations and people forgetting names and cultural differences and so on. That doesn't mean I think it's all false, but I do think that absolute literalness (what's the word I want??) is too brittle to survive what's happened to the Biblical texts intact. If that makes sense - SunKitten
You seem to be saying: Direct instruction does not survive translation as well as a concept or moral described in a story. Thus the truth of the bible are the morals and concepts in the stories rather than the literal interpretations. Or is that reading too much into the statement? --Edith.
A bit too much. General instructions are fine - do not kill, do not steal etc. But yes, direct instructions may be specific to time/place/culture/person (ones like the Ten Commandments are more obviously - IMV - general to all humanity). However, the truth of any bit of the Bible may indeed be the literal instruction. That's why it's important to study it carefully, to discern which is which (and it's possible to have both at once). And normally direct instruction has no surrounding bumf, whereas, for example, in Jesus' parables there's a surrounding context and one is left to pick out the meaning for oneself. Your interpretation of what I said has a bit too much of the 'let's toss the literal meaning and see what we can invent for it' for my liking, although I realise that's in turn an exaggeration of your words. I would prefer to seek out the underlying truths while maintaining the direct instruction unless I'm sure it doesn't apply. Does that make sense? It's a bit jumbled - sorry - SunKitten
Makes sense to me --Edith.



ReligionMatters
SeeAlso: AuthorityOfScripture, KnowingGodsWill, God

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