Diverse Interpretations

By Reuben.

Religion, and religious texts are always open to interpretation; everyone has a different take on the Talmud, the Koran or ‘Dianetics‘ (a Scientology spirituality manual). Science is similar, but not so similar that when a mathematician stumbles across, for example, a strange binomial sequence, they’ll read it as “Traditional Values are Gorgeous; queers are sinners and abortion is evil” as what might happen if you happen to be someone as mentally retarded as this and actively following an ancient book.

This idea is interesting. It tells us two things. One, that religion can be used as a device for evil or good and since it doesn’t rely on any tangible or rational evidence, can remain unquestioned. Two: that when the pope declares that homosexuality is on the same level as Climate Change as far as threats to humanity is concerned, he’s probably been locked indoors too long. But then again, this is hardly surprising. The pope has always been rabidly homophobic, anti-abortion, absolutist and generally fairly senile.

Interesting, then, that lobby groups such as the Christian Family Association of Australia think that the teachings of Jesus were avidly against homosexuality, abortion and equality. Just look at this diagram here:

You can just imagine all these sweaty, fat men with ingrown nasal hair concoting this diagram and then having a ceremonial wank.

Empirical and well-researched. Who could possibly argue?

Unfortunately the diagram is not parody. These people earnestly think that Internet Censorship is carrying out God’s will (ironic, really, seeing as the Internet probably didn’t exist in the time of the bible’s writing).

This excellent blog post further explores the alleged misinterpretation of biblical texts well. But is it a misinterpretation?  Surely, bigotry aside, it’s just another take on a certain book? I can find quotes for and against homophobia; and although the overwhelming majority of religious Christians feel animosity to homosexuals (and secularism), it doesn’t mean the bible is necessary homophobic…if you choose to read it that way. It’d be interesting to see how much overlap or association religiousness has with homophobia (and abortion, etc). Does anyone think that an overlap as such is significant?

Desperately low on ideas, evidence and braincells, the anti-abortionists turn to a replica of Jesus for some assistance; that assistance is yet to come.

Desperately low on ideas, evidence and braincells, the anti-abortionists turn to a replica of Jesus for some assistance; that assistance is yet to come.

And this my main gripe with dogma and religion: if people follow it so devoutly and if it is so contradictory, conflated and confused then, then there can be untold consequences. The Taliban, for example (an extreme one too), distort the message of the Koran to brainwash their militia. The question, then, is would they be able to do it as successfully or as passionately without the Koran? Could they be an irreligious militia and be just as effective? If so, then what’s the point in following (and subsequently misreading) the Koran anyway? And how might one vote differently if they were religious? They would have a different slant on things perhaps.
To conclude, I think it’s ridiculous to follow dogma as a way to guide one’s life. But I think you all know that already.

Advertisements

12 Responses to Diverse Interpretations

  1. Reuben says:

    Not too long I hope.

  2. Reuben says:

    ……

  3. Brian says:

    “…everyone has a different take on the Talmud…”

    Not me. I don’t even know what it is.

  4. Reuben says:

    It’s a religious book for Orthodox Jews that goes alongside the ‘Torah’ as their method for instruction…or so I think.

  5. Brian says:

    Sounds like fun…a bit like Mrs Beaton’s Book of Household Management only considerably less modern in its outlook, no doubt.

  6. Reuben says:

    It’s my turn to be baffled, I have to admit. But yes, it’s a ‘How to Be a Good Jew’ guide…fun only when you’re going ‘Shul hopping’ (where the local teens go to each synagogue, and take the ceremonial wine) during Hanukkah and it’s all kosher.

  7. Brian says:

    Reuben, Mrs Beaton was a Victorian authoress famous for her guide on ‘How to be a good little subservient housewwife’ (although, obviously, it didn’t go under that name). It contained such infinite words of wisdom as ‘Make sure your husband’s pipe and slippers are ready when he gets home. After all, he’s been working hard all day.’ and ‘When your husband is talking keep quiet and listen because he is the master of the household’. That’s the sort of book that never dates in my opinion. I keep trying to get Michelle to adhere to it, but she usually just throws it at my head.

  8. Reuben says:

    Sounds like a bastion of wisdom, Brian, even more than http://www.grods.com/post/4618/

  9. […] (’God’), for an audience whose subjective views espoused off the subjective book are so incredibly diverse, it makes the book seem almost useless as a guide to one’s life. Nay…that was a cheap shot; the operative term of the above quote is “challenged”. […]

  10. […] on how exactly the Bible, Koran etc pines against homosexuality, abortion etc. As discussed here, some have a more liberal interpretation of such texts. But what makes a fundamentalist determine […]

  11. […] on how exactly the Bible, Koran etc pines against homosexuality, abortion etc. As discussed here, some have a more liberal interpretation of such texts. But what makes a fundamentalist determine […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: