Truth, Myths, and Lies

Myth, Lies, and Truth

  1. CNN’s ad on promoting truth is a good one: “This is an apple. Some people might try to tell you that it’s a banana. They might scream, ‘Banana, banana, banana,’ over and over and over again. They might put banana in all caps. You might even start to believe it’s a banana, but it’s not. This is an apple.”
  2. But its new ad is terrific.
  3. It begins with a full frame of a classic Adam and Eve painting, but she is handing him a rather symbolic banana instead of the apple from the Tree of Knowledge. We have all seen that classic pre-modern image.
  4. The narrator says, “If a lie is said early and often, it may be believed, but that doesn’t make it true.”
  5. The frame switches to a wide-eyed 12 year old girl, in the museum, studying the painting, banana and all. Then she lifts her hand and takes a big bite from a large red apple. Point made!
  6. Woman did not lead man into “original sin”!
  7. She was not made from Adam’s rib! A patriarchal myth cannot make it so.
  8. Scott Simon this morning on NPR’s “All Things Considered” today commented on an exhibit at “The Satanic Temple” in Chicago.  A similar image, but the “Satanists” are making the point that even if the story is true, the “good guy” was Satan for leading humankind out of ignorance.
  9. Time and again ancient Judeo-Christian teaching elevates blind faith, ignorance, and obeisance to religious authority. Even in the beautiful Christmas Cantata that my wife and I sang at our church, the narrator emphasizes that the Lord reached out to the uneducated shepherds because they were too doltish to understand that angels could not sing to sheep.
  10. Later, of course, the “wise men” arrive and believe also, but one can only hope that 90% of the people our church understand that the supernatural stuff is metaphor, because Angels really do not sing to sheep or to anyone else! I am there because the message, the ideas, not the gimmicks, “sing” to me.
  11. If I were “in charge” and handing out assignments for all protestant ministers to present for the Christmas sermon, I would have them soft pedal the “super hero” and supernatural Jesus and stress the “miracle” of his insights and teaching, compassion, tolerance, non-violence, “the golden rule”, and turning the other cheek.
  12. The historical precedent of wise religious and philosophical figures, all over the globe, coming up with these ideas as our civilizations matured is profoundly important, even though the myths used to convey them are lame and false.
  13. In a tribal, myth-filled, brutal, violent, and ignorant, world, such ideas truly were revolutionary. That was the amazing thing, that these ideas would occur to brilliant people around the world and spread. Perhaps some day they will prevail.
  14. The “Satanists” are, in my opinion, tongue in cheek, with their temple and their message, and I won’t be singing in their choir. But promoting and insisting on ignorance is not a feature I want in my church. I want objective truth and clarity of thought.
  15. So instead of miracles, in my sermon, I would announce that the creation myth and Adam and Eve are lies, damnable, false, and sexist, lies. Then I would get started on the rest, “demons” causing mental illness, slavery being acceptable, and all the rest. Modern religion simply can’t afford to depend on ignorance or lies to survive. There is enough truly “fake” news out there already.
  16. Don’t expect to hear my message in most churches, at least not for a while, but that’s the sermon I would give.

This post was written by Burton Hunter

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