Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Truth Of Myths

In the book “The Once and Future Faith (2001), Karen Armstrong said, “Today we have lost the ability to think mythologically, as people by and large did in the premodern world.  In the 18th and 19th centuries, scientific rationalism made such huge strides and achieved such astounding results in the West that reason and logic became the only valid means of arriving at truth.   The more intuitive approach of myth was discredited.  As a result, in popular parlance, a ‘myth’ simply means something that is not true. 

This means that we interpret our scriptures in a wholly literal way, instead of seeking the metaphysical and allegorical interpretations that mystics, kabbalists, and theologians relished before the advent of modernity.  Not surprisingly, the mythos of the Bible has become incredible to many people.  So has God.”

She concluded, “If the faith is to have a future, we must be creative and selective with our scriptures and doctrines, as religious people have always been.”  Pushing her argument further was her 2011 book, “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.”  Quoting St Augustine she noted his conclusion that scripture taught nothing but charity, and “Whatever the biblical author may originally have intended, any passage that seemed to preach hatred and was not conducive to love must be interpreted allegorically and made to speak of charity.”

Today, perhaps more so than ever before we need to be wary of those preaching hatred – and many appear to do so.  They use the Bible for their justification, but avoid the truth and spread lies such as God is vengeful, and we should be the same.  They appeal to our dark sides and can overcome our defenses through their persistence and clever arguments.  It's easier to hate than to love. 

It's no myth, that we have "failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion."   As Armstrong concluded, "...any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate."

Deacon David Pierce

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