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Sacred Lore.

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Sacred Lore Carried by the force of his previous practice, a man who seeks to learn discipline passes beyond sacred lore that expresses the infinite spirit in words. The man of discipline, striving with effort, purified of his sins, perfected through many births, finds a higher way. The Bhagavad-Gita; Sixth Teaching, verses 44-45 Synonymous with virtually every religion is a set of teachings or instructions used to help communicate, explain, and/or ground concepts that could otherwise remain lofty and inconceivable. Despite their conceptual differences, each text is important to the faith system it supports. For example, the Bhagavad-Gita, Hinduism's most popular text, chronicles a conversation in which the foundations of non-attachment are laid in metaphors and suggestions, allowing much room for interpretation. The Christian Bible approaches teaching in a different light, offering a literal story for metaphorical application to life and worship. Almost opposite the Bhagavad-Gita is the Koran, a set of concrete Islamic regulations that must be followed in order to obtain righteousness. Muslims believe that the Koran consists of God's word spoken through a series of visions seen by the prophet Mohammed. These divine revelations began in the year 610 AD during a meditative retreat in the Cave of Hira, near Mecca. ...read more.


20:1-17] and the book of Leviticus) the heavily narrative structure of the text often requires interpretation and indirect application. Even Jesus' direct teachings are communicated through stories, such as the Parable of Weeds. (Matt. 13:24-30) Like the Koran, the Bible is presented as the literal Word of God. Paul writes, "All scripture is God-breathed." (2 Tim. 3:16) The logic of this concept is further explained in Peter's charge to "...understand that no prophesy of scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. Prophesy never had its origin in the will of man, but men awoke from God..." (2 Pt. 1:20-21) Since man is only a reflection of God created by God, what man writes of God will be divinely inspired. To eliminate any hang-ups, Psalm 18:30 illustrates the precision of the Bible. "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless." Throughout its pages, the Bible is described as more of a helpful tool than a black and white law book. It "...is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in Webb 4 righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." ...read more.


He teaches that knowing can be reached "by humble submission, by asking questions, and by service; wise men who see reality will give you knowledge." (4:34) Thus, knowledge gained through experience is superior to that communicated in sacred texts. This statement further decreases the necessity of sacred lore. It seems that Hindu scriptures can only be used to their full potential once the seeker has already achieved enlightenment (the Hindu version of heaven or paradise). Therefore, the text is only an accessory to one's own experience. Webb 6 Through this comparison of holy texts, the most obvious conclusion is as follows: as the amount of personal interpretation increases, the necessity of the text will decrease. The Koran, an inflexible text communicating concrete, specific concepts is absolutely essential to the Islamic faith, while the Gita, at once philosophical and abstract, actually points followers away from itself. The Bible lies somewhere between the previous two on both accounts. This makes it not altogether necessary, but still extremely important to the practice of Christianity. As this illustration has shown, religious texts that may seem similar on the surface can have entirely different functions within their respective faiths. Considering this simple fact could be the first step in avoiding religious assumptions and truly understanding the faiths of other peoples. ...read more.

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