THE RELEVANCE OF RELIGIOUS SCRIPTURE

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Many argue that religious scripture has lost its relevance and has little to teach us citizens of the modern world. The reasoning being that such scripture is tied too tightly to the era and culture in which the content took place or the text was written. I concede that the context of the stories and circumstances around their recording should be taken into consideration when reading and interpreting scripture. But I am a firm believer that there is a timeless value to volumes like the Bible, the Torah, the Upanishads, the Koran, the Tao Te Ching, the Yoga Sutra, and pagan mythologies that were not always considered ‘mythologies’. The reason being that across time and the cultural landscape of the world, humanity does not change all that much.

In all times and places, people’s level of humanity is about the same. All people have the capacity for kindness and wickedness, bravery and cowardliness, faith and doubt. Humans of today often struggle with the same questions as their ancient counter parts. Religious scripture provides many examples of ancient humans struggling with moral dilemmas and often their failure to discern right action, most often due to their broken relationship with the divine. The same scripture provides guidance rooted in a greater good. We make many of the same mistakes as our ancient counterparts, so why would we not consult the same stories and advice to better ourselves? How scripture manifests will depend on the times and cultural background of the audience. But all readers’ intentions should be the same: to become better people, and to act in the interest of something bigger than ourselves. I believe these intentions are innate to humanity, which ensures the continuing relevance of religious scripture.

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