of Joseph Campbell last night
........... and think I might have learned something ...
I tend to be very object-oriented and very yes/no;black/white in my assessment of things. I've had a difficult time accommodating the possibility of Bible being written as metaphor when -to me- it seems so absolutely clear that the authors wrote down what they actually BELIEVED to be material and true when they wrote what they did.
After watching Campbell expound for a couple of hours, I've come away with a new impression that's rather revealing and relieving!~ It lets me reconcile BOTH sides of the possibilities.
Yes, definitely the people who wrote what they did were totally convinced they were writing facts. Even their beliefs were perceived as facts to them. They weren't writing any obscure prose or poetry (except for Psalms and Proverbs and SoSolomon). They were totally serious that what they said was vitally important. Like science today is SERIOUS about finding the origin of things, these people were serious about knowing the nature of their God.
However, WHERE the metaphor comes into play is in "review" .... LOL.
What they said reveals what they thought
and therefore, their writing is a metaphor of the prevailing attitude of the times in which the writings occurred. Much like psychological tests are conducted on people today, to assess their TRUE nature (since people don't know themselves well enough to describe themselves) ... the words, the choice of words, the descriptions of things and events, the perceptions etc. ......... metaphorically represent the tested people .... by what they openly articulate.
And so, in that sense, YES ........ the Bible is totally a metaphorical representation of beliefs of those who wrote the material. I never saw this so clearly before.
Therefore too, you can see how perception of God changed over time. The NTestament God is no longer Jahveh at all! He has become kinder and more predictable. Even his name is no longer invoked. "Eli" is used by Jesus on the cross instead of "Jahveh" ........and the real God appears to be predominantly "light" and probably sun. The writers themselves aren't aware that their belief about the identity of God has changed but what they express in their writing, reveals that it has.
Jump ahead to today, where Christians BELIEVE they are still adhering to "bible God" and perhaps you can see it even more clearly. The nature of this God has changed dramatically. People are no longer killing each other, nor plotting to kill ... in a wholesale "lawless" fashion they did in Herods' day. (Man, in those days, if a ruler lived more than 5 years, it was bordering on miraculous!~). Where the preoccupation of philosophy was focused heavily on retribution and death at that time, ("without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin"), such a philosophy is largely hollow today. People are no longer killed willy-nilly in our legal structure and so remission of sin has to occur in the absence of blood-letting. Regardless of what Christians might quote, their perception of the blood-sacrifice no longer means what it meant to people in the day when those words were written in the New Testament.
Today, "God" is pretty well ........... money. Regardless of what Christians might claim to the contrary, whatever is the central focus and controlling/driving force of their present life ...... THAT is their God. And thus, they will perceive and speak of God in a money-metaphor! The Christian God today is entirely different from the Christian God of the NTestament. There's no point even TRYING to turn back the hands of the clock; it's a reality ....... and it's born out metaphorically by the way people relate their thoughts in speech and writing.