Is the Truth Really Found “Within”?

5 thoughts on “Is the Truth Really Found “Within”?”

  1. I agree with most of what you say in your posts, Bryce, and I understand that your underlying message points to where the faiths of the world are in alignment as opposed to dischordance. That said, you have a tendency to re-interpret Christian scripture in order to suit this purpose. I agree with you insofar as I understand you to say that the divine flame within us all is the same, and that that which ignited a soul to seek God in Palestine, for example, is the same as that which ignites a soul to seek the Self in India. In each case, the seeker and the sought are the same. But I think that we have to be careful and respectful in understanding scripture within the context of that scripture’s tradition. Some of what you claim Christian scripture to be saying is not what Christian scripture intends to say. My intention is not to put that forth as a judgment about the veracity of your claims, or the Christian claims, or any other, but as a statement of incongruence between the two, at times. I always look forward to your posts, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Walt. Yes, I openly admit that I am reinterpreting scripture and traditions in new ways. That is the essence of my translation of the scriptures too (BHT). It is all my interpretation, and it won’t necessarily agree with tradition. In fact, it may not agree in many ways. That’s on purpose. My purpose is not to rehash the way the traditions traditionally view their scriptures and beliefs, but to see them in new light according to my own personal experiences and studies. That, I think, is actually a more vibrant and living religiosity than is found in many religions today, but which was more common in times past. When spiritual understanding is not continually reinterpreted in the present according to present circumstances and experience, it can become old, stale, meaningless, and dead to us. I think this has unfortunately happened in many religions.

      Karen Armstrong points this out well in her book The Case for God. Particularly in the case of the Jews, they “discovered that religious discourse was essentially interpretive.” It is a “religion that focuses not merely on the reception and preservation of revelation but on its constant reinterpretation.” In fact, midrash was even “unconcerned about the original intention of the biblical author.” It is in that spirit that I reinterpret many things. It’s not just to make it fit my purpose, but because I believe I see a deeper meaning in the text or tradition which has not been voiced. I am being that voice. I try to intuit what the original author may have intended, but more importantly, I interpret according to my experience in the present, and what meaning the scripture may have to us today. Of course, anyone is free to disagree with my interpretation, but it is precisely in those spaces of dialogue and discussion that I think we may learn and grow. If what I say is not how others say it, it is because I’m offering the opportunity to think in new ways.

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    2. Speaking of dialogue, Walt, I would love to talk about what scriptures you think I interpret different than what you think the scriptures really intend to say. I don’t think my interpretations are necessarily the “right” ones, or the only ones. But I think it is in this crossroads of differing thoughts about the meaning of scripture where we may expand our minds and open our views.

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      1. Thank you for your thoughtful and considered responses, Bryce. I agree that differing views leads to assumptions being challenged, and that this facilitates growth and learning. In the future as I continue to read your posts I might chime in if it seems an interpretation has strayed too far from the original intent of the authors or the tradition. Granted, any discussion of scripture or tradition must involve interpretation, and these will often differ, sometimes to a great degree. One of my favorite reinterpretations of Christian scripture is John Dominic Crossan’s take on the story of the Gerasene demon in Mark 5:1-20, which he considers to be a parable about resisting Roman occupation. Such reinterpretations can and do invigorate one’s spirituality and lead us to think in new ways. The more deeply I think about these things, however, the more I realize that there is a fundamental worldview underlying much of the Biblical account that it is often not reconcilable with certain reinterpretations, and in those cases it’s might be more appropriate to address those deep, fundamental presuppositions head on as opposed to reinterpreting something at the surface-level.

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      2. Thank you, Walt, for sharing your insights about this.

        I think one of the remarkable things about these stories is that they seem to have many layers of meaning and interpretation that can be peeled back. No one interpretation is final, it seems. And we each bring our own personal experiences, insights, perspectives to the text which may shed new light. It really is a living word, never static.

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