Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Great Publisher

The Almighty must have too much time on her/his/their hands. That’s the only explanation that makes much sense when one considers that most religions believe their sacred text[s] were handed down directly from “up above”. The deity either wrote it with divine penmanship OR the deity commandeered a few mortal scribes to do the actual work.

Since the Almighty is supposedly almighty, why in heaven would this entity use the written word as its vehicle to inform humanity of the right ways to live?

Think about this for a moment. The written word is a most indefinite animal. String a few words together on a piece of paper or a blog and have 20 people read the words. Chances are those 20 people will understand the words in 20 different ways AND none of these ways may come close to what the writer intended!

Reading, as with all things intellectual, is colored by our biases, prejudices, experiences, observations and perspectives. Consequently, the written word – whether written by mere mortals or not – cannot bestow upon the reader anything that is absolute.

If we humans can understand this point, don’t you think that God knows it too? And if God is aware of this imprecision, doesn’t it follow that, if she/he/them really wanted to inform people of the rules of life, she/he/them would choose a far better mode of communication?

Taoist don’t pretend that our foundational texts came from some celestial being. The Tao Te Ching was written by a sage, a person with keen insights. But neither the sage himself nor the followers of Tao believe that the sage was compiling words directed from the heavens.

He was simply one person sharing his thoughts with others. Period. End of story.


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