Webster's New World Dictionary defines an allegory as such: "A story in which people, things, and happenings have a hidden or symbolic meaning: allegories are used for teaching or explaining ideas, moral principles, etc."
Now, I'm going to ask the reader to bear with me, and for as long as you wish, and regard the whole Bible - in general - as an allegory. Nothing more. As such, the parables accredited to Jesus are simply allegories. The person of "Jesus" is an allegory. Many of the references in the Bible are also allegories. Allegories are there to explain something (and sometimes to people who need it more fully), but are NOT to be taken literally. As such, the Bible is NOT to be taken literally.
A wise writer (I've forgotten now who it was) said: "When you read the Bible, do it from a spiritual sense, and forget the literal word." As such, only the lessons from such a book are valuable, and not all the folderol in between. If we derive the spirit of what's been written in any book, then we can literally throw away the rest. Now, the actual book itself is of no value to those who have learned the spiritual lessons.
We all know, according to the more zealous and righteous Christians, that all those "pagan scientists" will burn in hell anyhow. Right? But in fact, true and proven science will always set us free. Five hundred years ago, we'd have been burnt at the stake, in some countries, for even suggesting that the world was round. Please check out the late Carl Sagan's book THE DEMON HAUNTED WORLD. In this book, Carl talks of true science as being provable. However, the world is cluttered with pseudo-science, and unprovable theories. It's also haunted with allegories that people take for literal truth, and stumble into gross error as a result. The Bible is one of those books.
By now, most of us know that the universe wasn't created in seven days. At least I hope so. To the best of our knowledge, the universe is about fifteen billion years old, and started from a sperm of something (probably Infinite intelligent thot), and exploded into a now expanding universe of particulate matter, with all its countless trillions of galaxies. Scientists figure it will collapse in about a hundred billion years, plus or minus a few days, and by that time, our mortgages will definitely be paid off. When the universe collapses into - again - the sperm of thot, it'll probably pass the time-space X-axis and explode into the negative side of the creative ether, and into a future and similar, but anti-matter universe.
complete Earthly disaster. But there's no evidence of this disaster, since people in Africa have been around for about 40k years, and the Oriental peoples claim about a 20k year heritage. Mayans crossed the Bering Strait over 12k years ago and migrated south. The post Mesozoic era catastrophe did not wipe out all life on Earth. From any geological, anthropological, scientific, or common sense perspective, the Worldwide Church of God idea doesn't make any sense.
Yet if we are to look at the early part of Genesis, and accept it for what it is - an allegory - we can see that any formation of our galaxy, solar system, and planet could have easily taken place over billions of years. This is scientific fact, and it's also where the modern fundamentalist "Christian," and Worldwide Church of God+ers are in gross error. They take the seven day story as literal, because the Bible is supposedly "God's word," and as such, cannot be contradicted.
When common sense, or science, doesn't match the facts, I remember that Worldwide Church of God (and others do too), simply spiritually whitewashed the whole thing by saying that "But God can do anything." And they looked no further.
There's so much stuff in the Old Testament that's nothing more than allegory. The OT was written from the Jewish point of view, with their personal God going with them always, and them also being "God's own people." So, with all the in-between legends of greatness, accomplishments, the general BS simply grew and grew and grew. Who's to stop those ancient Jewish scribes to embellish all the stories a bit? Hell, after all. Weren't they God's people?
But if we are to read, even the OT from a spiritual point of view, we can learn any lessons that may be applicable without getting hooked on the literal happenings that have been reported by redactors who've been shown to be less than honest. If any can put the personalities aside and remember the education (and maybe history) learned, then it will be of more value. Let's face it. Who cares if David danced naked? Who cares if Saul went potty in a cave?
The Book of Job is an interesting book, but again, is an allegory. But, Apostle Herbert used to talk about Job as if he were an old friend. The parallel, you know. Poooooor suffering but forever patient Herbie! Worldwide Church of God firmly taught that this book was a literal happening. Were they kidding? When all Job's buddies came to see him, we are told that they were so distraught at his condition, that they all sat down with him and said or did nothing for seven days. While this may be fine for an allegory, can anyone in their right minds imagine a group of guys sitting silently together on a pile of putrid, stinking, cow dung for seven days and nights without even using Mrs. Job's restroom? Yet Worldwide Church of God+ insists that this story is for real.
The New Testament gives us a similar scenario. If we look at the four gospels as allegories, then, for whatever it's worth, they could be of more use. Instead of looking at the people involved, we look at the lessons taught. Lessons of love to fellow man, how to handle problems, family love, how to find peace in the midst of anger, and how to respect all mankind, no matter what race, color, or creed.
Since these gospels now become allegories, then so do many of the characters. That goes for the person of "Jesus of Nazareth." This character then becomes an allegory and nothing more. He's a fictional character that can (from the allegorical perspective) give instruction as to the way of living that has been well known to Buddhists, sages, and mystics since the beginning of time. It doesn't matter if there was a real master waltzing around at that time, or if his name was Jesus, Apollonius, Freddy the freeloader, or if it was Donald Duck. What is being said in the allegorical teaching is far more important that the teacher. FORGET THE TEACHER.
Jesus, as we know, was not anyone's real name. It was only a title. According to legends, the Jewish Christians called someone by that name. It's highly doubtful that any particular person with that particular name existed. However, if we are to look on the gospels as allegories, then the problem is moot. Certainly no one by the name of Jesus ever claimed to be a Messiah, as modern Christianity would have people believe. But when push came to shove in 380 AD, and the Church of Rome needed an idol, then "Jesus" became IT. A Messiah was now born, and from a string of legends, oral traditions, and allegories.
The Bible is not the only book that is an allegory, that is loaded with fables, exaggerations, or carries allegories as a form of instruction. Many of the past great religions have published their writings in the form of myths and allegories. Stories abounded, both true and false. Legends came and went, and myths were told as true happenings. The mountain, for instance, did not come to Mohammed. Sri Krishna did not ride with Arjuna in any battle of Kurukshetra. Elijah did not go to heaven in any fiery chariot. HWA was never a man of God. And neither are any of his contagious offspring.
So, when sincere people quote Jesus as saying this or that, then for some people, this can be of value if they look to the teaching, prove it to be true, and IF they can forget the messenger. It's Ok to quote Jesus if the message is sound. It doesn't matter who actually said the words if the instruction is of value. In this way, the Bible and other books, may prove of value to a seeker of truth if they can sort out the facts from the hysteria of the idol worship and literal interpretation of modern religious preaching. The rest of the clutter around the such instructional teachings can be allegorical, or simply chaff. Let the reader decide.
When viewed from this perspective, the Bible can take on a whole new meaning. This is not to say that I'm now encouraging Bible reading. We've had enough of that. But if we can remember the teaching lessons rather what the "who did what," and "when did he do it," then we've gleaned the spiritual side of the input, and rejected the insanity of the literal meaning. This goes for any religious book. Worldwide Church of God mainly focused on the details around the teachings, and for the most part, simply ignored the instructions. However, most of the people in other faiths fully realize that their books are allegories and derive the meaning behind the word. Fundamentalist and zealous Christians are still learning this.
But look what's happened in our modern, crazy world. Jesus mania is everywhere. Preachers are sucking in the money and selling God with Jesus as the bait. Therefore, it becomes of paramount importance for them to promote a literal Jesus, everything He did, and the whole New Testament as "God's word."
And thus we move to a further extension of human insanity. It's called "organized religion," and it probably started with the Apostle Paul.
Did we ever notice how much Worldwide Church of God always promoted Paul and his legalistic teachings? This, in turn, geared our thinking that religion MUST be organized. There (naturally) must be Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, etc. Paul had a zillion do's and don'ts for the new converts. Zealous mania was everywhere in those days, and the Benny Hinn of the early NT church was alive, well, and gleefully kicking. Thank God that TBN or CBN weren't around then. Paul's regimented message would have reached into the Milky Way galaxy by now. If there is any alien life out there, then they probably would have concluded that we were totally deranged as a species, sent an "Independence Day" movie type of scenario of vessels, and obliterated us.
And so it came to pass - that all this organized and legalistic muck flowed into the second century from the Jewish Christians, into the Roman Empire and beyond. It emptied over into the third century and it was all over the Roman Empire during the fourth century AD. In the late forth century, the Emperor Constantine, for the sake of peace, prosperity, and profit, made a business marriage between the spread out Christian following and the pagan churches in Rome.
Intercourse followed, and a child was born. It was called "The Holy Bible."
But there was nothing holy about this collection of sayings, legends, oral traditions, and allegories. In both the Catholic Encyclopedia and the more modern protestant ones, mention is clearly made that the Catholics took whatever written info from the Christians that they chose. If it didn't agree with their doctrines, then they burnt all the contradictory papyrus manuscripts on which the original writings were recorded.
Certainly, there were lessons that could be learned from these final writings, but aren't there lessons to be learned from numerous other writings as well?
Modern Christianity - in taking the "literal" sense of the Bible - deliberately takes away the individual's initiative to actually think for themselves. Worldwide Church of God+ is no exception. Their insistence on Bible reading as literal, instead of allegorical, keeps people in subjection, because a literal believer must have a literal teacher. The believer is then in subjection to the teacher's organization. They need to be spoon-fed. They need to be told how to literally interpret the Bible. They need to be told what to do, how to think, and with whom to associate. All initiative is gone, the leader or cultmaster, is in control of a person's belief system, and the church or cult member then becomes a mental, psychological, and moral slave to the "teacher." While this maybe just great and wonderful for the cult's bank account and the cultmaster's ego, it is spiritually deadly for any member who enters into the stickiness of this web.
A simple explanation to any prospective member could be that the Bible, which is worshipped today as "God's Word," is nothing more than a bunch of allegories. This would certainly dissolve any person's interest in any cult and/or religious organization.
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