In my travels around the blogosphere today (yeah, work is going really well – NOT), I have come across a certain saying – twice; once from a Muslim and once from a Christian. The saying is that scriptures are like a mirror – what we see in them is really a reflection of ourselves.
Maybe it’s just my habit of being superstitious about the voice of God, but seeing it in two places from people of two faiths in one day made me pay attention.
A few of you have been telling me similar things in response to the question “is there an ideal?” In other words, no there’s not. There is not one particular view on a religion that is the correct view. There is not an absolute at the bottom of all the layers of interpretation that people have put on it over the centuries. Perhaps those layers of interpretation just give the illusion that it’s all neatly wrapped up – an ideal life, a complete package, a closed case, a done deal. Which I don’t think it is.
I think if there is a “true nature of a religion”, it is what the original prophet/founder of the religion understood the religion to be. But it’s pretty difficult to determine that through historical documents which have issues with preservation. Or you can read scriptures which are attributed to God in the religion, and decide from that what you think it was supposed to be about; but you are reading it through the lens of the translator’s understanding, and you then put your own twist on top of that as it reflects your own values back at you. So how can you be sure that what you understand bears any relation to the original? Is there enough clarity to constrain the message?
And then even if you think you understand the original, there’s the question of whether it’s from God, or man-made.
I have to admit, I’m really lost now.