March 07, 2012

Two Moralities

After long musing on George Lakoff... I have concluded:

There are two moralities in the Bible: one good, and one evil.

Well-meaning people can support either or (probably) both. And feel they are merely standing for everything good and true and right; that's why it makes sense to call both of them "moralities," or 'concepts of morality.'

And the Bible speaks with both voices. Not only can "the Devil quote Scripture;" he wrote a big chunk of it!

Also, as James Kugel says in How to Read the Bible, people have long read the Bible as God's guide to how He wants us to live.

Now the Bible is truly a fun book! But very few of us would be slogging through the gnarly bits if we didn't agree that God, in some sense, has provided this anthology to help us sort out what's what, Who's Who, and where the little 'You are here' mark ought to go...

But it's a book written by human beings, with all the dirty fingerprints this implies. Interpreters can ignore these, bring out wonderful meanings via the belief that everything in there is meaningful and true... but the conjectures and fudge-factors this requires grow like Pinocchio's nose, like the epicycles of Medieval astronomy, like modern "Skeptics'" efforts to deny the power of Spirit.

Everything on this Earth is divinely created, can speak to us at any moment, whether from a Bible or a children's book. So we are constantly needing to practice discernment: 'What Light can I find in this?' vs 'What interpretations of this might mislead me?'

Two moralities. In the world, people assert: "God says this!" vs "God says that"; and in the Bible it is much the same. We might argue texts for some very long time.

But it cannot be denied, that Jesus is condemned and ultimately killed, by a coalition of the pious and the powerful. And it is Jesus whom God vindicates.

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