Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bibliolatry... and how to live happily ever after


Once upon a time there was a Land with Many Great Minds. They devoted themselves to a Huge Book, which had been written and edited by Hundreds of People over thousands of years.

The Huge Book

The Huge Book
The Huge Book told how those hundreds of writers and editors understood God and the other People of the Land. The Book contained stories of the People when they were strong and victorious. The Book told stories of the People when they were defeated and scorned. Sometimes the Book gave the official account, and sometimes it told what really happened. The Book contained stories about the Kings, the Reformers, the Intellectuals, the Poor and Rich, and the Villains and Heroes of the Land.

The Great Minds and their Truth Systems

Now each of the Great Minds wanted the People now living in the Land to understand the Huge Book.  Each Great Mind wrote books explaining the Huge Book. These books were called Truth Systems. The Great Minds devoted much of their lives to composing these Systems.  Sometimes they loved their work, and sometimes they hated it, as the Huge Book predicted. A Truth System demonstrated the prowess and mastery of the Great Mind who produced it.

Some Great Minds had Truth Systems based on as few as 8 or 9 Essential Verses in the Huge Book. Other Great Minds had Systems based on as many as 85 to 100 Essential Verses.

The Contests

Sometimes the Great Minds would have a contest to see whose System was best. Sometimes these contests got out of hand. When that happened, people were sometimes badly hurt.  The People didn’t like that. To avoid this problem, the Great Minds created new contests, and some of them suggested less violent Criteria for judging the winners.
  • First, a Truth System that accounted for more Verses was better than one accounting for fewer.
  • Second, a Truth System with fewer internal contradictions was better than one with more.
  • Third, a Truth System which could explain away Essential Verses that contradicted it’s own was better than one which could not.
  • Fourth, a Truth System which could logically explain the most faults and contradictions in other Truth Systems was better.
  • Fifth, a system that could defend itself against the most criticisms of the other Systems was better than others.
  • Sixth, an older Truth System that was supported by many Great Minds was better than a newer one supported by fewer Great Minds.
Thus, each Truth System was based on many Verses, was free from Internal Contradictions, could explain away Key Verses that threatened it’s internal logic, could defend itself against the criticisms of other Truth Systems, and was Old and supported by many Great Minds.

The Problem and the Solution

Some Great Minds saw a big problem: each of the Truth Systems still contradicted the other Truth Systems, and the Minds could not make their words agree.  Some of them said to themselves, “We have 36 Truth Systems developed by Great Minds, and each Truth System meets the Key Tests for Internal, Logical Consistency. There are many areas of agreement, but no systems agree perfectly. Each Truth System contradicts other Truth Systems.”
They came to a conclusion.

“Whereas we see that the Internal, Logical Consistency of the Truth Systems proves nothing except the prowess and mastery of the Great Minds that created them; and
“Whereas understanding the history of God’s dealings with the People of the Land is not necessarily enhanced nor effectively communicated by the Great Minds and their Truth Systems; and
“Whereas People sometimes get hurt during the contests between the Great Minds;
“Therefore, we must be wary of placing too much emphasis on the Truth Systems developed by Great Minds. We must individually decide how much valuable time and energy we will devote to understanding the Truth Systems, and we must decide to what degree we will allow the Truth Systems to divide us from other people in the Land.”

The People of the Land did well

And the People who believed in the Huge Book and followed the Truth Systems did well. They loved other people, despite their differences. They helped the poor and needy. They were patient with people who troubled them. Many of them lived by the most important rules in the Huge Book, even though most of them had not read it.

And the People who ignored the Huge Book and the Truth Systems did well, too.  They loved other people, despite their differences. They helped the poor and needy. They were patient with people who troubled them. Many of them lived by the most important rules in the Huge Book, even though most of them had not read it.

The Great Minds did well

The Great Minds did well, too. They never did agree, but were allowed to pursue their hobbies and hold their contests in peace. They learned not to hurt one another, and hardly any of the People got hurt at the contests.

And they all lived happily after.

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