Karma reasons for concrete message

Message

kcrady



    Posts: 1197
  • Darwins +333/-1

Just so we're clear: are you saying that your understanding of the passage is the only correct one? Do you interpret everything literally?

The problem isn't "literal" vs. "metaphorical/allegorical/mystical/etc." interpretation.  It's that interpretation--a subjective, un-verifiable, unfalsifiable, "eye-of-the-beholder" process is necessary at all.  At least with regard to any exclusivist monotheistic religion.  Historically, Christianity has been based on the following principles, about as far back as we can go:

1) There is only One True God.
2) There is only One True Understanding of this God (who "He" is, what "He" wants, etc., i.e. "sound doctrinetm")
3) It is necessary to believe in the One True God and have the One True Understanding of "Him" and "His" nature, commandments, etc.--otherwise you're a Vile Heretic
4) If you do not meet condition #3 within fairly close tolerances, you are not "Saved," and it is vitally important that you be "Saved."[1]

Our earliest Christian writings, the authentic epistles of Paul, are filled with thundering denunciations of other Christianities than his own (such as the "Judaizers," and mystics who used the "gifts of the Spirit" in ways he disapproved).  Likewise for the other Epistles, and Jesus as portrayed in the canonical Gospels.  Nowhere do we find room for a whole lot of squishy interpretation or toleration of the diversity of views that necessarily results.  Christianity isn't like Hinduism, where nobody would ever even think it mattered whether or not Hanuman really carried the mountain, because it's a story about his loyalty, dedication, strength, and pragmatism.  And since it's never even asserted as The One, True Truth With a Great Big Capital-T that you have to believe, it's perfectly OK to treat it as a story and interpret it in different ways.  Heck, its OK to worship Krishna or Sita or any of hundreds of other deities if Hanuman isn't your flavor of cuppa.  In Roman-era Paganism, the gods and goddesses weren't fussy.  Call him Mercury, Hermes, Thoth, or Djehuti--the god himself was fine with it whichever way.  You could even kit-bash deities together--e.g. "Amun-Re" or "Ptah-Sokar-Osiris," or "Serapis."

So the problem isn't "Waaah, you atheists take everything so literally!"  It's that you Christians expect everyone to accept the One, True Understanding of your One, True God even though you, and your "interpretations" of your One, True Holy Text are all over the map.  You don't get to say "Believe the right things, or else!" followed by "Well, it's all a matter of interpretation."  The very facts that: the texts are open to a range of interpretation, that extensive scholarship in textual criticism, dead languages, ancient culture and idiom, history, mythology, etc. are necessary to grapple with those texts in an intelligent manner falsify the claim that there is a One, True Omnimax God who is very picky about what humans believe and practice, who revealed the One, True Way through One, True Book.  Or at least, it would prove that such a deity--requiring that we get exact right answers on the Celestial Quiz, then blindfolding us with a veil of subjective interpretation and forcing us to try to pin the tail on his invisible ass under threats of torture (by his human minions now, or by him after we die)--is a gigantic douchebag.  And how many Christians would admit to worshiping a gigantic douchebag?

Edit: That said, I can point to a few counter-examples, Christians who don't hold to the "One, True" aspects, and for whom open-ended interpretation of "Scripture" (and for that matter, atheism, paganism, etc.) wouldn't be as much of a problem.  People like Fred Clark at Slactivist, or Bishop Spong.  But even they would argue that their Christianities are at least in some sense "more correct" than fundamentalist or traditional-hierarchical (Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, etc.) Christianities.  Also, progressive, open-minded, tolerant Christianities like theirs are a bright, shiny, new modern invention that relies on ignoring pretty much the entire history of Christianities, from Paul's onward, to justify their openness.
 1. Even most Christianities that do not feature a Hell of everlasting torment would still argue that becoming the right sort of Christian (theirs, natch) is pretty bloody important.
Changed Change Reason Date
median An absolutely beautiful post... April 09, 2013, 01:08:10 PM
nogodsforme For "pin the tail on his invisible ass". Fell off my chair. April 09, 2013, 03:24:50 PM
Nick Always to the point but prob over their heads. April 09, 2013, 04:46:26 PM
lotanddaughters Same shit, but a fresh, accurately-worded take on it! April 09, 2013, 09:15:45 PM
median Well thought out - Yes, theists always ignore the inconvenient April 11, 2013, 02:01:34 PM