A Parable of Memoirs
Recently I’ve been reading and listening to some historical information on how the Bible as we know it came to be. From the historian/scientist standpoint, it’s very difficult to accept the collection as literal true history once the facts surrounding the origin and compilation are made known.
It simply isn’t logical given what we know about how the human mind and memory work.
Yet Christianity has developed a very effective means of getting around the lack of logical. We simply ignore the facts of the matter, claim divine inspiration and guidance, and call it faith.
The result is a collection of contradictions and conflicting opinions that become the absolute inerrant Word of God.
Be sure to make a note of the words contradictions, conflicting opinions, and inerrant. Not words that typically fit well together.
In order to better illustrate to the faithful why this might not be quite as accurate as most want to believe, I’d like to share a little story, or parable of sorts. That’s how Jesus made his point to the hard headed and under-educated of the times. Remember, the story that follows is total fiction.
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Angie. She had three friends and a cousin with whom she had been quite close when she was between the ages of 10 and 13.
When Angie was 43, her three friends and a cousin decided they each wanted to write a memoir of the times they had with Angie between the ages of 10 and 13. There was only one small problem. They all had serious learning disabilities, and had never really mastered the whole reading and writing thing very well.
Tales of Angie’s life between the ages of 10 and 13 had become legendary, so the three friends and a cousin each told their stories to a ghost writer who recorded the memories each had of the events that happened 30 years ago.
Fast forward 100 years. Angie had become quite a legend all over the world. Tales of her escapades as a pre-teen were shared around summer campfires. Ghost stories involving her and her friends grew the legend even more. Her story was known far and wide and was told in many different languages.
One day, the Society for the Preservation of Angie’s Story decided to compile all of the stories into a novel. The dug through old documents that were faded, torn, and dusty. They hosted evidence hearings to evaluate all the different versions. They hired linguists to translate the various stories from other languages and cultures.
Many of the stories and sources were rejected. They did not align with the ideals held by the leadership of the Society. In order to prevent them from ever polluting Angie’s Story, the Society decided to burn every document that was deemed false.
And so the story was compiled.
Unfortunately, the memoirs used to compile Angie’s story had many contradictions. They showed her to be in multiple places at once. They contradicted each other as to who her great grandparents were. They even added in details that defied the laws of nature. Miraculous tales of time travel and flying through the air without wings.
It was an amazing story.
The Society proclaimed it was historically accurate and convinced a world leader to side with them. As people came forward to question the inconsistencies and the implausibilities, they were discredited or even put to death.
And so the legend grew. Two thousand years later, a nation’s government decided that Angie’s Story should be taught in schools as historical truth. Many people continued to point out the inaccuracies and inconsistencies, but the majority ignored them and claimed Angie’s Story MUST be true because she was divine and the story had been properly preserved and protected by her divinity.
Those who didn’t believe were labeled as evil-doers and unfaithful.
Sadly, the true message that stood to be gained from the adventures of Angie’s pre-teen years were totally lost in all of the fussing and fighting about the authenticity of the story. Everyone focused on the fight to defend her story as literal true history, and totally missed the point of her life and message.