Saturday, October 11, 2014

Around here we do things by the Book: Luke Skywalker & the Planet of the Lawgivers

Fundamentalist Biblical Literalism be damned. Our young'uns are smarter'n that.

Compared to my generation and those before me, our young at heart in America seem to have a much smaller span of mythical images with which to relate to contemporary society. Yet there are some images which, almost by contemporary definition, must be inseparably linked to the medium through which they are best absorbed.

One sample of 20th-century myth-making - received via dark, popcorn-&-pepsi theater settings - comes to us as famed entertainment.

One ponders that perhaps entertainment is the only venue from which can come any holistic view of human spirituality. It's is a holistic need that goes beyond the scientific and logical literalism that seems to focus our attention and learning span. This literalism permeates contemporary perception for all of us. Precisely through the logic and literal propaganda that modern spiritless corporate economics markets its products leads to dependence on outside sources to tell us what to think, how to belong, how/why to conform and thereby avoid any nuisance of personal independence and freedom.
"Trust the force, Luke!"
In the original Star Wars film the climactic scenes are defined only after that the spiritual prompting voice of Skywalker's mentor can be heard. Subsequent group salvation thru the hero's triumph is achieved only after the young prophet lets go of doing things by the Book.

I suspect that though perhaps not a conscious awareness, our youngest adult generation today has an internal grasp of that particular concept.

We need more of that and less spiritual literalism that looks mostly like the old Simian Prophet who asserts and flexes his authority based on long-term social programming in the film Planet of the Apes.

We have our own kind of old farts constantly quoting a historical lawgiver who no longer needs credibility proven because of long-term social programming. How heretical to question the validity of that lawgiver as told through contemporary old-fart-tales!

In knee-jerk fashion the lawgivers contemporary minions demand submission to the get-back-in-line social orthodoxy that authorizes those who are seemingly in charge to remain in the driver's seat.

"Luke, don't you ever turn off your scripture machine, you can't trust the force!" is the suggestion of those who worship the idol of inerrant scripture that was never the intent of Christ.

Jesus was never the "lawgiving" autocratic authoritarian described by those who historically and currently walk around dragging a leather-bound lawgiver's manual to justify one of those most fundamental, limited and useless letter-of-the law texts that plague us today. Such is not and was never Jesus' intended use of the Bible.

Why isn't that mythical image of letting go the biblical training wheels and trusting the spirit the integral part of raising children to become spiritual adults rather than future aged children afraid of deeper waters?

The Bible is not useful as a literalist construct of "shoulds, shouldn'ts" or rewards-&-punishments that gets dragged around in a knuckle-scratching manner by strutting simian/human demagogues who are afraid of deep waters.

"Stay here in the shallow end of the pool kids, where we're in charge and you can have fun splashing without ever having to risk deeper waters. Sure the shallow end of the pool doesn't have much room to explore, but you don't need to explore since your pulpit pounders will tell you - by the Book - all the important stuff you need to know.

Their Inerrant Biblical Life Jacket leaves them stuck in the shallow end of the pool.

When most literalist Christian evangelical preachers and politicos make their accusations and advocacies they do so based on a traditional assumption that is not traditional to the broad spectrum of American Christians:

This from the website of the American Family Association:

Philosophical Statement
The American Family Association believes that God has communicated absolute truth to man through the Bible, and that all men everywhere at all times are subject to the authority of God's Word. Therefore, a culture based on Biblical truth best serves the well-being of our country, in accordance with the vision of our founding fathers.

This is kindergarten religion at its most immature and adolescent.

This is also the shallow end of the pool, where splashing around without really getting wet is supposed to be the most fulfilling thing God desires for you.

This is the fear-based and limited view that remains terrified of any venture into deeper waters where the ultimate discovery is that the biblical water wings are absolutely unnecessary and in fact an encumbrance.

If a person bases their faith on an innerant Bible then let them be honest.
Let them stop calling themselves "Christians" as if all Christians were literalists and those of us who doubt innerancy are merely back-sliding literalists.

Let them admit that they are Biblicists and nothing more than Kindergarten Christians.
Let them admit that they have the Bible as their only basis of proof which is not the same faith in God. Literalists can only believe in canned answers - as if their life jackets automatically deflate if they venture out of shallow waters.

Concerning my own experience, I suppose one could use the word "deprogramming" in that my initial bout with innerancy had more to do with how scripture was quoted to motivate or coerce me into socially acceptable conformity within my church.

I confess that as a child and up into my 40's, scriptural meaning as interpreted by my church had an absoluteness about it that brooked little dissent.

When I discovered Joseph Campbell and his book entitled "The Power Of Myth," I was advised not to read that book. But since I was in dissent and had become a non-literalist doubter, I swallowed my religious guilt, girded up my intellectual loins and read it anyway.

When I read in Campbell about myths older than Hebrew Scripture referring to floods, arks, babies in baskets rescued from rivers by princesses, African stories about God asking man why fruit was eaten and the man blaming the woman who blamed a snake ...

... I realized that as a literalist with no appreciation for the blessings of myth, I was on a dead-end path.

But to reject the Bible and scripture because you've found them not to be innerant - not to be the literal and absolute "Word of God" as preached from many Christian pulpits - is a mistake in my opinion.

Once able to remove the limitation of literal interpretation, I learned how to bring Scripture to life. I learned about my own natural mystical bent as something all humanity possesses but only a minority actually trust to awaken.

I learned how scripture is best appreciated as a "living" document that speaks through spirit.

"Luke, don't you ever turn off your scripture machine, you can't trust the force!"


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