Arguing about the Bible
I grew up arguing about the bible.
Son of a preacher-man, raised in one of the most biblically-obsessed religious groups in America, I like to think that I know how to argue it well.
But the toughest argument is always the one with yourself. “Am I reading my own biases into this? What if the other side is right?” There is no real escape from those questions. It might always be that the blindness and ignorance we’re accusing the other side of, is really most present in us.
Or more likely, is present in both sides. Present in all people.
The deeper you go into those questions, the more you realize that humility is needed. Do unto others comes frighteningly alive, as you contemplate your own words being thrown back at you.
If you follow that trail long enough, you might decide that there is very little we can really know. And you would be right. If you really follow it, you might find yourself without much of anything left, holding onto to nothing but your sense of self. And that sense of self will probably be crumbling, too.
But then you come face to face with your own impulses. And you realize that what is needed is not certainty, but action. And so you begin to rebuild.
Action comes first. Action is real.
Then comes behavior, action seen at a distance, and principles, the action of the mind, and beliefs, the projection of our actions onto the cosmos.
And then we realize the richness of what we have to draw from. No longer do we have to arm-wrestle over small interpretations like our lives are on the line. Stories shape our understanding of ourselves, words ignite our imaginations to new possibilities, we begin to understand that inspired writing is more than just factually correct, it is writing that turns our minds to action, to cutting through the indecisiveness, and taking steps.
From the dirt up, everything is reconfigured, everything is illuminated. Real people did real things, and we are real people doing real things after them.
There is no way to end this or wrap it up. It’s simply that you act, and continue to act. It’s that you realize everything has meaning when it translates to concrete reality. That when we’re talking in grandiose words about abstract worlds, that it all comes down to sweat and blood and dirt and food.
And that’s worth arguing about.