Literature as Authority

Teaching / Scholarship / Literature / Bible /

Illiterate Authority
2017 03 19

Just watching a doc on a temple-roof full of MSs of the Koran: early texts. Muslims say that Allah dictated the Koran to Mohammed; Christians say that God dictated the Bible to believers, the believers thereby inspired by God (and maybe in other ways too).

Good. Still, I ask: where’s God’s testiony on the matter? Ditto Allah?
(Furthermore, how do we test God’s authority in this — or in any other — matter? How do we know God is telling the truth? How do we know we’re competent to understand? this, or anything?)

If the weatherman tells his audience that it’s 68o in Sebring, and then the weatherman drops dead, it’s no big deal: I can buy a thermometer at Walmart, located it in shade in Sebring, and expect a compatlble reading: 67o, or 71 degrees: thereabouts. And someone needs to remind everyone that a reading for Sebring of 68o F doesn’t mean — and never meant — that it’s 67o F at every point in Sebring, let alone at every hour. Point is: you measure a sample of points, and average them: note what representative of the many locaions.

It’s different whan there’s only one thermometer, or only one weatherman who can read the thermomenter. The weathermen dont have to obey some ritual about data gathering; no, just gather the data, and post it. Offer an explanation if something seems out of whack. You don’d need an expert on Sebring weather with magical access to the universe’s one thermometer. Indeed, if there’s only one expert, you can’t have reason, there’s no science: no one needs to take the concept of “termperature” too seriously.

So: with the Bible, ask God. Or ask Allah.

If there’s no answer, then remove Allah, or God, as a resource: you have no resources: unless you invent a better.

So, what do we make of Mohammed’s Koran? or Moses’, or Peter’s Bible?
Turns out there’s not much of anything we should make much of.

Ah, but what if you want to make a living? What if you want your family’s share of crops … game … and husbandery? Why then you’d better make a sharp guess as to who has the magical secret unconfirmable thermometer: then back whatever they say.

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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