It seems to me that the old philosophic question, posed, I thought by Socrates, but others have said Aristotle, remains fundamental; and when attached to it’s logical extension, what, if any, is the relationship of how we live this life and what we can expect to find at our death, the combination becomes more relevant today than we seem to notice.
I mean by all of that, simply this: until we recognize that those we call terrorists have definitively resolved those questions for themselves, we are missing a rather large point.
And I suspect that until we resolve those questions, at least tentatively for ourselves, we will flounder about in the seas stirred stormily by people who have done so.
Metaphors are not simply vessels of inconsequential would be meaning. Some metaphors speak directly to our living experience and tell us, sometimes more clearly than we would like, truths about ourselves.
When John, in the new Testament, says, “And the Word became flesh..” he is referring to Jesus, and the relationship of Jesus to God. I would suggest that we all become the flesh of the words that we believe; that in a very real way, we live out the metaphors we have ingested until we recognize that reality, and free ourselves from it.
The words flung carelessly by some pundits and some politicians lead us to misunderstand the motivation of those who disagree or oppose us. We see our opponents as anything from mis-guided to corrupt, which may be true, but largely irrelevant. People live out the truth as they “feel” it, not necessarily always as they think it. Which is why, when presented with irrefutable evidence that contradicts what they believe, they do not change their minds. The belief no longer resides in the mind; the mind at that stage, simply manufactures phrases to defend that which it has taken into its body, heart and soul.
The fulness of certain levels of belief explains the willingness to die for it; and also explains the totality of the experience of conversion. Until we understand that immersion in belief (symbolized in baptism) replaces those areas of action that in less cognitively driven creatures serves as instinct, we will continue to make the same mistakes. As in olden times, exorcism and conversion are closer to the kinds of experiences that change true believers.