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The Christian Bible, The Hebrew Scripture, The Muslim Koran

2265 words - 9 pages

The Christian Bible, the Hebrew Scripture, The Muslim Koran: Words are Not Important, Our Actions Are


Matt 13:3 "He told them many things in parables.
13:10 "Why do you talk to them in parables?"

That's the crucial question: Did God, should God, have intended direct and final communication with us? If so, Jesus certainly failed his mission. There is little evidence that Jesus' appearance cleared anything up or gave us God directly. Wittgenstein, who wanted our language to be clear, knows well enough that neither the Hebrew nor the Christian God's words could fall within his constructed linguistic net. They would always come from outside, from "the mystical." Thus, where our clarified language is concerned, "never the twain shall meet." Then, was Jesus really a proto-Wittgenstein? Did he use parables as an obscure vehicle for speech which alone might bridge the gap for us between our languages and the mystical always outside of it?

The Christian Bible, the Hebrew Scripture, The Muslim Koran - or any religion's sacred texts for that matter, will remain controversial but still important avenues for divine communication. Somehow all religious faith lies locked up in non-direct discourse. How, then, can we claim to "hear the word of God or gods," as many claim to do? Well, in the first place, we know that we will never all hear exactly the same sacred speech, interpret it in unison, or respond to it in the same way. For all that our enlightened scholars of sacred texts may provide—and there probably are more misreadings of a text than can be recognized—the Modern-Enlightenment goal to clear up all variant interpretations of a text will fail, due to the impossibility of confining living gods to our attempted literal interpretations.

Our major problem, religiously, is that our various divinities do not seem to have employed competent editors, and clearly they did not directly supervise the books that resulted from our "hearing the word." All texts were given up to human hands for compilation and particularly for interpretation. Heaven obviously contains no single, authorized publishing house. And what is now printed in many instances existed first in oral tradition, that notoriously changeable and often obscure medium. Some divine czar of communication should have allowed into written form only the authorized versions, with clear Wittgensteinian definition of all terms. Any authoritarian dictator, bent on preventing discord, could have done a better job, if put in charge of the divinities' printing house. Thus, as the source of a clear, single, religious creed, all sacred texts are failures. They were too loosely compiled.

Our divinities either need a course in exposition and writing or they never intended to offer us a clear text in the first place. In God's name, why not? For Heaven's sake, didn't they realize what confusion would result from their laxity? Wasn't it Nietzsche who remarked: Isn't it strange that, when God decided...

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