The truth of sacred writings

The great religions advance great and noble truths. There is remarkable similarity in the messages of sages and saintly people with entirely unrelated ethnic backgrounds, and this is Truth.

Each version was composed by humans, designed for a particular culture. The words were passed on, in some cases orally for many hundreds of years, and even those written down were copied by hand until the invention of printing. This led to inevitable mistakes and false translations. Just one example: you know the bit about a camel going through the eye of a needle? In Aramaic, writing only represented consonants. Vowels were signalled with dots above and below. Well, the Aramaic word for “camel” and the one for “rope” have the same consonants: gml. Here is an interesting, amusing and well-researched essay about this by Stant Litore.

There is also internal evidence of the deliberate distortion of religious traditions. Read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. It claims that Lot offered his two virgin daughters to the mob for gang rape, in order to protect the visiting angels. For this, he and his family were rewarded with escape, while the city was blasted. Later, the two girls got Lot drunk, then committed incest with him.

If that is the word of the same God Who composed the Ten Commandments, whose Son in the Christian tradition said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone,” then I’ll eat ten copies of the St. James bible. It just has to be an evil insertion.

This is why a literal interpretation of any sacred writing is… unwise, though I am tempted to use much stronger terms. Even if the message is divine, the words are human. “It ain’t necessarily true.”

One way of sorting out the nonsense from the wisdom is to study other people’s religions. Accept the commonalities. Take into account the historical background and level of knowledge it comes from. Look at the motives of the (known or unknown) authors.

This will lead you to accept universal, unconditional love for all. It will make you forgiving without tolerating evil, accepting differences, and being of service to everyone. It will negate greed, aggression, and fear of the other. One of my clichés is: we are all apprentice Buddhas, on the way to eventual enlightenment, whether we know it or not. If you study a few religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism… you will find yourself growing.

There are many hundreds of versions of the various religions. They have only one thing in common: the belief that the others are wrong.

This is correct.

Extract the seed, let go of the dross.

About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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3 Responses to The truth of sacred writings

  1. svenaake says:

    You are right, Bob. But let’s delve a bit more into literal interpretation. Have you noticed that those orthodox, literal people, as a rule enjoy talking about Satan, but strongly dislike discussing Lucifer? Why? Lucifer was the head of the archangels;, the one closest to God. According to some myths Lucifer claimed to know all words from God. Literally all words, and thereby also knowing God’s will.
    Am I very wrong if I claim that as a rule, the religious fanatics, using literal interpretation word by word,to gain power over others, are Lucifer-christians, Lucifer-muslims, maybe even Lucifer-Buddhists?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      Thank you Sven.
      There are many kinds of fundamentalists, each with their own belief systems. Some of these actually do a great deal of good, while others use their beliefs to justify discrimination, cruelty, savagery.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wise words from you indeed! Thank you, Dr Bob Rich. I shall head over to Stant Litore’s post entitled “A Camel Through the Eye of a Needle, and Other Wild Tales of Translation”. I wonder whether it is more than a coincidence that you have also visited my post about translation with the title “💨 Strong Wind Knows Tough Grass 🌾 疾風知勁草”.

    On a facetious note and as my counterpoint to “Extract the seed, let go of the dross.”:

    Extract the teeth, let go of the floss.

    Suggestion for your Sunday pleasure: A visit to my special post entitled “🎴 If My Name Were Moon Tonight… 🌛🌝🎑🈷 with Clair de Lune 🌕”, where I hope that you and your family will snap up the chance to watch my dynamic animation produced in high resolution (1920 x 1280) at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2020/10/10/if-my-name-were-moon-tonight-with-clair-de-lune/

    The animation starts calmly and will gradually climax. The post also comes with my rhyming poem and musical performance. Please enjoy the animation on the big screen of your desktop or laptop computer.

    Happy Sunday to you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

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