Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Religion and the Telephone Game
Remember when you were a little kid and played the Telephone Game? One person would whisper a word into the ear of the person sitting next to them. That person would whisper it to the next person, who would tell the next person and so on. Finally, when it reached the last person sitting in the circle, they would announce the word they had heard. Inevitably, it was not the same word used by the person who started the game.
The more frequently information is shared by people, the faster it is corrupted and becomes an entirely different beast. It is one of the reasons mass media, social media and the internet scare the hell out of me. People seem to think if something has been repeated often enough, then it must be true. Repetition has become the modern-day indicia of truth. And nothing could be further from the truth. Truth often lies buried in old, boring, trivial facts left moldering in some basement file cabinet. Truth also lies buried in one's own personal experience but obscured by emotions like fear, desire, mistrust, and hope.
To find Truth, you must go to the source - whatever it is - and refuse to listen to the noisy parrots of gossip, titillating news, shock value, and propaganda. Read your own damn books! Don't rely on summaries by others. Didn't the intellectual dog named Brian on the cartoon "Family Guy" say that? Or have I inadvertently attributed that tidbit incorrectly to Brian and it was actually the obnoxious baby Stewie? But if you have read it in my blog, then it must be true, right? And you can repeat it in your own blog, right? And your readers will repeat it as gospel, right? Truth is not the same as Repetition.
A couple of days ago, I receive a letter from famed psychologist Dr. Leo Sprinkle. He sent me a translation of the Lord's Prayer from its original ancient Aramaic language. Our Bible has been most commonly translated from Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English. With all the resulting errors of this scholarly game of Telephone. I will give the common version and the Aramaic version (translated by Mark Hathaway). And when you are done, think about what this game of Telephone has done to our concept of religion and God.
Now, compare that with the more "pure" and distinctly more poetic version translated directly from Aramaic:
THE LORD'S PRAYER
O cosmic Brother of all radiance and vibration!
Soften the ground of our being
and carve out a space within us
where your Presence can abide.
Fill us with your creativity
so that we may be empowered
to bear the fruit of our mission.
Let each of our actions bear fruit
in accordance with our desire.
Endow us with the wisdom to produce
and share what each being needs
to grow and flourish.
Untie the tangled threads of destiny
that bind us,
as we release others from
the entanglement of past mistakes.
Do not let us be seduced by that which would
divert us from our true purpose
but illuminate the opportunities
of the present moment.
For you are the ground and the fruitful vision,
the birth power and the fulfillment,
as all is gathered
and made whole once again.
If we had seen the original words in Aramaic, perhaps we would view religion very differently today. Instead, we rely on the "Telephone" version upon which to base our most cherished beliefs. Do you see yourself, or even God or aliens for that matter, differently when you read this translation?