desert fathers, psychology, ppl were never stupid.

I was lucky. I was raised Methodist, which didn’t have a literal view of the Bible and in my mid 20s, I spent a few years as Eastern Orthodox Christian, learning a lot about the Greek/Russian/Coptic Christian view of history… after ALMOST going into seminary to become a Roman Catholic priest (but I hadn’t converted yet – I found “Eastern Orthodox in the yellow pages, called up the priest, his wife answered, I was instantly impressed).

Anyway – while I’m not involved with any of that now [I don’t have a particular religion at present] – while I was obsessing for a few years, I read EVERYTHING by the Desert Monks of the 5th-12th centuries that I could find. These ppl spent their lives n the desert, or in caves – and just, well, thought about stuff a lot.

A lot of the best of theology came from those dirty hermits in the Eastern Church, and one of the best things is some pretty intense symbolic interpretations of … well… just about everything in the Bible.

I don’t know as much about the Roman Catholic way, but from what I understand, taking the Bible as “Gospel Truth” is a _really_ modern thing… starting in America at some point after the Reformation.

But for 1500 years before that, nope, wasn’t generally literal. Maybe to a few but the people back then didn’t have TV, internet, newspapers and such, so they were REALLY BIG into other types of symbolism to fill up their minds – to help them deal with the sometimes great, sometimes cruddy world we’re plopped into and giving it meaning.

“Dashing your children against the rocks” was symbolic of stopping bad thoughts before they grow too powerful in the mind. Psychology isn’t new; religions have been practicing it for thousands of years. People were never *stupid*; we have the same brain capacities we had 1000 years ago, 5000 years ago, 10,000 years ago and we had to fill it up with _something_ to keep it going.

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