Strawberry started it… we’ll blame her… (reference) Hamlet has joined in and made a statement in: The Capricious Cruelty of Mean Anonymous Comments. I had a bit of say in: Second Life: How to Stop Mean Comments… But, we often get things all out of proportion, losing all perspective. I’ll see if I can bring some perspective to a number of related issues.
First, blaming Strawberry is ridiculous, she called our attention to a human behavior I believe we need to consider. But, my first sentence is something we see too often; spin, direction, implied critique, implied wrongness of some unspecified kind… Someone writes something in jest, error, or maliciously then someone else takes it seriously, believes it true-accurate, or for their own reasons and/or agenda finds the maliciousness servers them and jumps on the wagon.
Hamlet brings in the cruelty of anonymous comments. In the news there is lots of emphasis on the anonymous part. If we just get rid of the anonymous part, things will be better. There is no proof of that. I believe history teaches us otherwise. But, there is a problem and anonymous comments are easy to point to.
When it comes to cruelty our issues and problems run deep and the causes are complex and the solutions presented often come from those with an agenda. For members of a republic it is our responsibility to find intelligent ways to live together that benefit us all, protect our freedoms – minority and majority, and recognize the agendas of serving narrow interests.
I’ll use an example I hope few have an emotional attachment to. Today is Easter, the primary celebration of about 2 billion Christians. The religion is based on a book. This book is to believed be the word God. But, the atheists question that. One of the points often in their arguments is the accuracy of the book. This is a 2,000± year old text that has been translated uncountable times. A legitimate question is posed by atheists and many Christians, how can you know you are reading an accurate account of what was written 2,000 years ago?
Once the question is asked, people begin to voice their opinions and take a side. Human nature kicks in and we see all the behaviors we deal with in society. Atheists and Christians both cherish their beliefs and want them to be true. Debates become emotionally charged. We don’t seem to be willing to simply go for the facts and live with truth.
Rather than go for facts we reason through to our personal decision or opinion based on what we know. It is just what we do… mental shortcuts. Let’s follow one through.
When your presented with a reason to think about how well a translation process would work, many of us will think of the game of telephone. This is a fun party game that brings lots of laughs and surprises. The game starts with someone making up a short story. It needs to be about 1 minute or so long. Longer stories produce more dramatic results. The story is whispered to the next person in line and they pass it on the next person and then they to the next and so on. The last person repeats the story out loud and then the one that created the store tells their original story. The difference is always interesting, quite often funny and never accurate.
This is an example often pointed to by the atheist or others arguing against the accuracy of the Bible. Many relate to the idea because they have personal experience with the telephone game. It seems reasonable and thus translations are highly questionable.
But, life is far more complicated. One has to understand the ancient world and understand how different it was from our culture in so many ways. We have to understand our ancestors and how they lived and thought.
The ancient world was mostly illiterate (about a 10% literacy rate 100 AD), but not in the sense we think of illiteracy. People of the time did very little writing. Paper and other writing materials and places to store documents were expensive. Carpenters, masons, other trades men would not have much in the way of writing materials. But, these people did have do business and were oriented toward ‘books’. They hired scribes to read and write documents when needed. Priests read the Holy books at temple and people memorized what they heard. Not living in a world of oral traditions we can’t even imagine the level of memorization in play.