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Oral Teachings of the Messengers—Do They Turn into Written Truths?

 (The following is excerpted from Dr. Husfelt’s forthcoming book The Greatest Lie Ever Told - a Manifesto for a Religious Revolution and a New Consciousness)

What is preached in today’s churches as the gospel truth, I would ask you—is it the truth of Jesus’ teachings and message? And are Moses Commandments, known today as the Ten Commandments, the actual ones that Moses brought to his people? Is the Bible the word of God?

The simple answer is no! The prime purpose of this revelation is that what we know today is not the total truth of the messages or most importantly, the mind and heart of the messengers. And to take written accounts from oral (even though the culture might have been steeped in orally transmitted knowledge where memorization of the spoken word is better in preliterate [oral] cultures rather than in written cultures) teachings and stories years, and sometimes even decades, after the events have happened and the messengers have passed over is the height of folly and egotism, and one more thing, laziness—the laziness of the ones that accept and blindly follow the dogma and doctrine of institutionalized religion or in today’s world—Capitalistic Religions.

Judaism assumes that the stories and teachings that stand behind the written texts were transmitted orally for many generations and sometimes even longer. Accordingly, they acknowledge this and do not attempt to cover up this fact.

However, in deference to factual history, and the truth that the books of the New Testament were written decades, and sometimes even longer, after Jesus had passed over, Christianity still insists and promotes as absolute truth that the New Testament is the ‘word of God:’ i.e. the ‘word of Jesus.’ If the New Testament is ‘the word’ of Jesus, then who was Jesus and how could he be described?

Pure and simple, Jesus was an enigma, not only to the ones that he encountered daily but, most importantly, to his own students: 

Jesus is the Jewish Socrates, and surpasses Plato’s mentor as the supreme master of dark wisdom….

 

Jesus confronts us, nonbelievers and believers alike, with an array of enigmas. Yet how could it be otherwise? Islam accepts Muhammad as the Seal of the Prophets, but grants Jesus a unique status among the precursors of the ultimate, definitive prophet in a line that stems from Abraham. Jews have a negative relationship to Christ, but not necessarily to Jesus, who is scarcely responsible for what supposed Christianity has done in his name….

 

William Tyndale, Protestant martyr and greatest of Bible translators (at least since St. Jerome), rendered what we read in the Authorized Version as St. Paul’s “For now we see a glass darkly” even more powerfully: “now we see in a glass even in a dark speaking.” “Dark speaking” interprets the Greek for “enigma.” Albert Schweitzer, preaching in 1905, said, “The glorified body of Jesus is to be found in his sayings.” But there is a difficulty Jesus never intended: which are his authentic sayings?

 

…. Jesus’ words are frequently enigmatic. What is an enigma? It can be a verbal riddle, or a puzzling thing, or an inexplicable person. Jesus speaks the first almost invariably, his actions give us the second, and he himself is the third….[i]

How can any person ever replicate the exact words of an enigmatic person and come up with their authentic sayings and teachings? In addition, Jesus was bringing to his students as well as teaching, to whoever would listen, radical mystical ideas; not radical mundane stuff but something far more difficult to understand—a revolutionary spiritual philosophy clothed in symbolic metaphor.

Symbolism is the language of mysticism and philosophy that may help us transcend the limitation of words. Symbolic metaphor may open vistas of meaning within our minds but may also hide truths that we may not understand without having the speaker or writer give further clarification.

We may readily see the quick-sand bogs that magically appear under our feet once we transverse any type of landscape that is dotted with radical symbolic religious metaphors: “The value of a metaphor is in the meaning that it can create. Meaning happens inside the mind and as such is an individual experience.”[ii] 

Even more troubling in determining truth, is the translation from oral teachings to written words—especially words spoken in symbolic metaphor. When they are written, they have the potential to open up a Pandora’s Box of manipulation and corruption. The original meaning of the words, which in all accounts may not be known, may be twisted to suit the writers own egotistical mind. And the sheep, desperate to be led while asleep, will metaphorically ‘bow-down’ to the supposed truth.



[i] Ibid, pp. 26 – 29

[ii] http://changingminds.org/techniques/language/metaphor/metaphor_definition.htm