Better to seem Atheist
I do not say that this and only this exists, but only that this atleast must exist.
I am offering a way of distinguishing between sensible meaning making and insensisble meaning making. Man is gifted with the power to elucidate meaning and we must know what makes a useful interpretation of anything stated and what makes it useless.
My own roots and the opportunity offered, causes me to use the Bible as an example…though this is not intended in any way to be a Bible lesson.
In these days of real threat, and the looming possibility of uncontrollable outbreak of infection, there are many dooms day predictions and false ideas being bandied.
In the context of the recent development of churchgoers from every denomination increasingly not being able to attend their services or Mass, a Bible verse was proposed as being the pointer of such an occurrence.
Amos 8:11 (a prophecy from the Old Testament) says “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord,“when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.”
Apparently, we are to feel the wonder of God’s Word that this prophecy is now applicable and coming into force as a result of the Corona Virus.
I could not see it and think that such meaning making drives rational people away from religion, and this is the context of this piece.
Science does not need us to elucidate meanings or interpret facts. It tells us plainly two plus two makes four yesterday, today, and forever.
Eking out meaning is the realm of the Arts, of Philosophy, of Truth.
The beauty of a thing lies not in what it simply says but from the understandings it leads us too, which once understood cannot again be expressed in literal words without robbing/reducing the beauty of its proposition.
There are atleast 3 categories that are necessary for sensible meaning making:
1) Firstly, at the very least it must always make literal sense. (For example “Shall I compare thee to a summers day” (I, thee, summers day and compare must all make literal sense.
2) If it makes literal sense then we can proceed to extract some allegorical or moral sense from the thought expressed. So it is a common agreed thought in the Christian world, that “Jesus is the Lion of Judah” Lion, Judah and Jesus makes for literal sense.
The allegorical sense we can make from it is not that He is a lion but that he is a Ruler just as the Lion is seen to be.
3) A third way to gain sensible meaning is to find some truth in the thought expressed that is eternal (for spiritual people) or universal, if we are in a non- religious/spiritual mode of interpretation.
An eternal truth for the Lion of Judah thought, is that “all kings are persons with majesty and glory.”
(…And here Jesus Christ caused people to trip and fall because they wanted only to see outward glory and majesty but whereas true glory and majesty comes from the spirit that is pure and controlled within the individual…in recent times, for me, Mother Theresa was the eptiome of this majestic presence. We are rulers of our own spirit…in this lies our majesty and glory.)
However, to get back to why Amos 8:11 cannot be attributed as a specific prophecy leading to the Corona outbreak and its unfortunate consequences is this:
1) Literal sense: - Days, Lord, I, send, Famine, words. (all good)
2) Moral/Allegorical sense: - Shape up or pay a price to learn the lesson of needing to shape up… a prophecy that was fulfilled and came true already in OT days…no argument here so carrying on.
3) Eternal Truth – Every individual will come across a famine of the Word of God (in modern times we call it “dryness of spirit”) where, when we are wrong or walking away from God we feel the lack of inspiration, the onset of mindlessness, a lack of inner comfort etc.) This prophecy is eternally true in this way for everyone for all time. It has nothing specifically to do with Corona.
When we are not shaping up and cease to work on ourselves, we may experience this famine.
However to reduce it to a specific pointing of the outbreak of Corona, or to reduce it to a specific prophesy waiting to be fulfilled in NT times as is surely incorrect. It could display only the lack of basic understanding and an error of rationality?
Man is created to elucidate meaning and spiritual books from all religions offer a way for man to derive the meaning of existence, Life, and our Creator God.
The Ramayana is an excellent source of finding eternal truth and I love the pearls found within.
All religions eventually point to common truths and the one Creator God.
The danger in religion is the absurdity that people spread which repulses any sensible person who would rather not participate in such useless meaning making than give up the great gift of being rational.
Unfortunately, to counter the spread of irrationality (in itself a far more dangerous virus than Corona with no identified cure to date) the sensible people also tend to go to another extreme of irrationality and thereby lose all desire to exercise faith in any form.
Science is excellent. Without it, we have no literal sense of anything. It is only the very least however and must not be construed to be the end all of everything.
However, it is better to reject faith where it makes no sense to you than to be led up the garden path by people who make insensible meanings…. the blind leading the blind. Blind faith is manna for the superstitious, the foolish and the silly.
“Blind faith” used sensibly could teach a child who has not yet the full strength of rational thinking, but the propositions must be something that when the child grows needs to pass rational investigation. It is too often misused though, to indoctrinate and rob.
It is good to know that the literal bird provides an allegorical and eternal truth for all mankind: To fly we need wings and stuck on earthly needs/worries/desires we will be measley worms that came, ate and died.
To fly we need wings and the wings are of science and reason…propelled with these we become birds of Faith soaring up to our Heavenly destiny.
It is better to be a good human being who is dependable, reliable and helpful, but who rejects the absurdities of those who pound on Bibles and other religious books, and is therefore called an atheist or agnostic.
But it is best for each to use reason and find Faith for himself or herself. God exists and is within you…there is no famine. Just flap your wings and see.