Monday, December 16, 2013

#85- Context: The primary excuse for believers.

Context in 1 picture

I will never forget the first time I was shown this example.  It was simple and brilliant.  Now I am showing it to you.  This example is important because it conveys my understanding of context to a believer.

The middle figure is the star of this picture.  Read from top to bottom, the middle figure looks like a "13".  Read from left to right, the middle figure looks like a "B".

The analogy is that one must consider the surrounding information to fully understand how to read the middle figure.  In terms of religious discussion and reading, it means reading the passages before and after a certain verse at the very least.  Often times, it means reading the previous chapter, book, etc.  If this is not done, the verse in question my suffer from personal distortion.

Understanding how to deal with context was part of my education.  We had to read passages and answer questions based on what we read.  It was not difficult to me back then and it is not difficult for me now.

Context is the most popular excuse that is used to apologize for the actions of the gods in the holy books.  The inquirer always seem to be unable to piece together the necessary clues to get the same perspective as the devotee.

This is not to say that this that context is always clearly understood.  For example, both the Bible and Qur'an are NOT written in chronological order.  This is almost never expressly told to the reader.  Those who are not aware of the surrounding circumstances that are not spelled out in the books may indeed get lost.  But this is only a problem for those who choose to study the textbooks in-depth.  Contrary to what Muslims say, one does not need a command of ancient OR modern Arabic to understand the gist Qur'an.  For many people, the main idea is clearly conveyed in the text in their native language.

I highly encourage everyone to read these holy books to get their own perspective of them.  There is nothing wrong with forming your own opinion even if it is unpopular.  The essential thing is to be ready to demonstrate that you took context into consideration and are able to differential fact from opinion.

Just keep in mind that the gods have been silent for a long time and probably won't speak for themselves...ever.

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