The more I learn about language, the more I realise the importance of religious narrative as an ethical framework to support our linguistic structure of reality. A question I often come across in relation to this, is: Can we reliably attach an idea of absolute truth to certain written pieces like sacred texts?
Absolute truth suggests that there is something permanent at the core of our experience. There is a problem here though: things don’t exist – if by existence we mean something that does not require something else to support its reality. There is nothing that we experience as fixed today that will not be un-fixed sometime in the future. Mountains crumble. Continents move. Tables rot. People too. Even fundamental particles – which are mostly, in fact, forms of energy – will eventually change to become something else. The ever-changing nature of reality brought us here and will carry us, like a wave, into the future.
God (or Ultimate Reality, Brahman, the Tao…) does not belong to the order of things (or of no-things). The closest we can get to understanding the nature of God is to look at the nature of reality. (Although I imagine this is far from really grasping what God is, but it is the best we can hope for). And, as we can see, the nature of reality is not about fixed-ness but about ever-changing-ness.
Love, goodness, kindness… are not things, they are part of the nature of the wave. Religious language and practice, points us towards the true nature of our movement towards God. But it is a movement, not a fixed thing. Whether we like it or not, religious language must change and it must never stop pointing us to the wave that moves us forward.
Religious language acts as an ever-expanding frame that enables our minds to wander through history and present experience, exploring the reality of God – the reality of the spiritual wave that is moving us towards… who knows. My guess is that even God has no real plans for reality. He’s an artist who works, as all artists do, with chance.