Hello there people of the internet, I come before you today to expand upon the curiosities brought up by religious language. Not because I’m a hero or anything but feel free to come to your own judgements ;)
As most of you guys know, the media these days is filled to the brink with stories about religious fanatics and their reasoning’s for doing what they’re doing, it’s causing a lot of hassle and bad press for a load of religions and although personally I’m not a religious man myself I figured it only fair to give these ideas a fair trial before acceptance or judgement. Anyway, because religious followers nowadays are so varied, even in the same religion, I figured that the only thing that is causing such differentiation is their personal interpretation on what the religion means to them. Although this means that all religious people will differ, because we’re all individuals and all have different interpretations of things (especially those so personal and close to heart like death and the universe and all that jazz) it also means that it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact beliefs of a belief system which is so open to interpretation.
So I figured I’d start here, with language.
Language is the base of all communication and without it we would lack the capability to transfer data from one person to the other. It would be like posting this online when the internet didn’t exist. Communication would fall apart. So when it comes to something as important as you’re entire belief system it would probably be at least a tiny bit important to take a look at the language used to communicate the entire religions beliefs in the first place, through the Holy Texts.
Nope not a book with a hole through it, but in fact texts which various religious traditions considered to be sacred or central to their religious tradition. Books like these are usually created divinely, supernaturally inspired or created from a philosophical belief system. And in these Holy Texts were the words that inspired the actions of billions. Now, if these words of the texts are so open to individual interpretation, what’s not to say these texts could mean anything? I bet you all know that one person who has that skill to twist your words to mean anything they want. Well if there are people like that everywhere preaching and inspiring thousands, then what’s to differentiate between right and wrong in this chaos?
What’s to stop a man killing another and claiming it was simply religious practice?
What’s to cease a woman giving birth to a child conceived through rape because her religion forbade abortion?
Interpretation allows power, and this power has changed vastly over time, with language in religious texts being worded differently in thousands of different publications and even if only a word, a piece of punctuation or the structure of a sentence has been changed it can change the meaning of a sentence completely. For example the classic,
Let’s eat, Grandpa!
Let’s eat Grandpa!
Seriously guys. Punctuation saves lives :P
So a religious text should be even more important not to succumb to change. Over the past 600 years the Bible itself has been changed over 100 times and that’s only the English Bible! I don’t know if any of you guys and gals are religious or ever have been religious, but I myself was a Christian a while ago for a couple of years after my friend was so ecstatic talking about his Church friends and all the fun he had. For those of you who haven’t had that kind of experience, when you’re in a religion, you feel like you’re part of something collective, you feel immune, protected and safe. You feel like if you follow what your church leader says then God will guide you to salvation and nothing can change that. Upon realisation of all of the conflicting beliefs of people all around me (who belonged to the same denomination) I realised that the passion and belief that brought these people together was only driving them apart. I couldn’t understand why a religion that preached peace was only creating conflict (some may suggest God was challenging his believers but that just didn’t seem to cut it), so I took a break and thought a lot for myself, not about religion, just priorities and I figured that if something’s that are so open to interpretation are the rules for billions of people’s lives then it must have solidarity and cannot be constantly changing. Because…
Small changes only allow larger ones which bring about drastic interpretations which have started wars, killed the innocent and caused me to write this post.