Monday, May 16, 2011

Word-Worship

Word-Worship
by Scott Bradley


"In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God. And the Word was God...And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." (The Gospel of John)

The revealed religions, ones in which God speaks her mind, all have a Book. Islam calls Jews, Christians and Muslims, people of the Book. All three believe the other two have somehow got the message wrong, of course, but still, God has spoken. "It is written... "

These Books are holy and to desecrate them in any way is to commit a sin worthy of death. And if we can't get the actual sinners, then members of their tribe will do.

The real focus of this post is the fundamentalist Christian belief in the 'literal', 'plenary', 'inerrant' Word of God. This doctrine has become so fundamental to this belief system, that to doubt it is to fail of the Faith entirely. If it is not 'inerrant', how could we know that what we read is true? We might reply, Through experience? But that's far too subjective; people would willy-nilly believe all manner of things. (Look what happened after the Reformation and its suggestion you could read it for yourself in your own language! Sects popped up everywhere, like mushrooms.

The Catholic (i.e., 'Universal'; forget those Orthodox heretics to the East) Church-State lost power and wealth. The problem is that one so paints himself into a corner, there is no means of escape, save the loss of all. "Jesus loves me. This I know. For the Bible tells me so." In the end, the Word itself becomes the object of our worship.

We seek absolute certitude. And there is no better way to have it than to possess an immutable holy Book from the very mouth of God.

This is all quite human, and we deceive ourselves if we think that because we have no Book, we are immune to similar forms of belief. Sutras, guru-speak, Zhuangzi-words...whatever -- the mind naturally clings to words that tell us the Truth. We cherish the fish-trap and forget the fish.

All of this is (relatively) important to me personally (i.e., apart from the pain it causes the world) because I see the lack of certitude as the very gate through which to realize a life of carefree, thankful wandering.

"The Radiance of Drift and Doubt is the sage's only map." -- Zhuangzi
There is no faith
deeper
than at the end of all belief.
--Chen Jen
Might you indulge me, and really think on, and perhaps experience, these last words?

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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