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The five marks of a holy book

You may recognize a holy book by the five marks of the word of God.

  1. A holy book is written in letters of fire.
  2. The letters of fire speak with tongues of flame.
  3. The tongues of flame speak all the languages of man.
  4. The tongues of flame groom the letters of fire.
  5. The flames ignite but the fire does not consume.

One: A holy book is written in letters of fire.

The works of God are not like the works of man. His holy books gives illumination, both literal and metaphorical. To try to hide his work in the darkness is merely to display them, shining out from the dark. When darkness falls, Gods words seem all the brighter.

Two: The letters of fire speak with tongues of flame.

God speaks to all men, the blind and the illiterate as well as the sighted and lettered. Just hold your copy of the Holy Book to your ear and hear His words.

Three: The tongues of flame speak all the languages of man.

God loves us all equally. His Holy Books are never gifts of power as intermediaries to translators and scribes. All see and hear in their native tongue.

Four: The tongues of flame groom the letters of fire.

His Holy Book is incorruptible. Damage heals. Alterations burn away. The forger can work no deceit.

Five: The flames ignite but the fire does not consume.

A Holy Book is not a rivalrous good. Does God collect money to pay his printers? No. As you give away the copy you carry in your right pocket, God slips a new copy into your left pocket.

What does God say to us? What does be say so loudly that none is too deaf to hear? What does he say so clearly that none is too blind to see? What does he say to men of the past as to men of the present? What does he say to men nearby and to men far away? He says this:

I have not given you a holy book.
He tells us this by his omission, not by his words. We know He has chosen not to give us a holy book.

The four duties of the religious life

The four duties of the religious life are

  1. Humility before Gods silence
  2. Scholarship
  3. Skepticism
  4. Contributing
and the greatest of these duties is humility before his silence.

Duty one, Humility before Gods silence

You practice humility before Gods silence in these three ways

  1. Dwelling on the two contemplations
  2. Embracing the two heart engravings
  3. Abhorring the three crimes against silence
The two contemplations are
Sophistry
What do we do with the texts that we cherish? Do we surrender to them, giving up our own views? Quite the opposite. The more we value a text, the more determined we are to twist its meaning towards our own views. The greater the authority of a text, the greater its value as a stamp of approval for our own, different, opinion. If God actually gave us a Holy Book, each of us would be utterly confirmed in our own error.
The morality of engineering
If we lie, cheat, or steal then the ship will sink, the dam will burst, the bridge will collapse, and the plane will crash. Do we really lie, cheat, and steal because we lack a book to tell us what we already know?
The two heart engravings are
Other peoples pain is painful to us
When you see a child run a fall and cut its knee, you wince with pain. When you read those words you didn't. Now you know why God engraved morality on our hearts and not on a printers plate.
Truth is beautiful
It is hard to put down in words what we mean by truth, not least because we already know.
The three crimes against silence are
  1. Writing your own book and trying to pass it off as the word of God.
  2. Playing along with the pretense that the book is divine.
  3. Accepting such a man made book as divine

The first of these is the Great Crime Against Silence. Arrogant men say "God has not given us a holy book; let us write one ourselves." So they take some sheaves of paper and ink and pens and set to scribbling their own words. Then they say "Look, here is the word of God."

Who could possibly be deceived? If God wanted us to have a holy book he would give us one and it would possess all five characteristics of the word of God. Who does not laugh at a ink on paper. Nor does chiselling your words into stone turn your letters into living fire.

So those who write their own holy books must take up their swords and force others to pretend to believe. Writing a holy book of your own is the original sin and the fount of evil in this world. Writing a holy book of your own is first and worst sin because it violates the first and most certain duty of religion: be humble before God's silence.


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