"Napa Valley" Brocken InaGlory. Licensed. Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0
Q goes on at some length about the role of interpretation in life generally, and scripture more specifically.
- Margaret (joined by Snark) says that we have no choice but to interpret what we perceive with our senses . . . that no one can just take in the thing itself, without any filters. Is this a new thought for you? Old hat? Toss this "epistemological" idea around a bit if you like. It's important to do so because those who take religious scripture literally (whether it's the sacred writings of Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists or any others) seem to believe they can get "the straight scoop" just by reading the words alone. No "interpretations" are needed. Indeed, such people usually become quite adamant that interpretations are evil. In every era there are those who read text literally as well as those who exercise their imaginations. Unfortunately, those who take things literally are usually regarded as defining their religion. That's waaay too much of a generalization!
- Margaret says that human beings' need to give meaning to experience is part of the divine image in which they're made . . . that creating meaning is similar to God's creative activity. Do you resonate with what Margaret says? Or is it just her imagination? And if it is, is that a problem? What does the phrase "theological imagination" (used as a partial title of more than one book) mean to you?
- How do you prefer to read literature . . . sacred texts . . . (or even maps!)? Do you approach them looking for metaphors? The literal meanings? Some people would say that even . . . or especially . . . sacred texts are like maps: they are guides for navigation, in this case, navigating life in its depth dimensions. Did you ever follow a map and realize it didn't match the area where you were actually in? A common error is to confuse the map for the territory. Physicians do this frequently when they say to a patient with obvious symptoms, "Well, the tests came back showing everything is okay. Perhaps it's all in your head." Brrrrr! Do you think of sacred texts as "maps," or does that not give them sufficient credit? Some other ways of thinking about them?