In his controversial book No God but God, muslim Reza Aslan suggests that all great faiths are good stories.
Whatever truths religious myths "convey have little to do with historical fact. To ask whether Moses actually parted the Red Sea, or whether Jesus truly raised Lazarus from the dead, or whether the word of God indeed poured through the lips of Muhammad, is to ask totally irrelevant questions. The only question that matters with regard to a religion and its mythology is 'What do these stories mean?'"
On the one hand, I agree. Whatever the story of my faith means, it had better be good. It should have the allure and the passion and the power to transform my life.
Yet, on the other hand, I completely disagree with Aslan.
Indeed, I find the incredulous question of atheist Sam Harris apt in reply, "How is it that, in this one area of our lives [faith], we have convinced ourselves that our beliefs about the world can float entirely free of...evidence?"
For if I'm going to live a mature Christian life, saying no to temptations and yes to the work of justice and grace, there will be much at stake. And I have to admit that I wouldn't stake my life on any old story, even a really good one.
Otherworldly photo by Gail Nadeau. Used with permission.
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Mark Roberts' The Quantity and Quality of Textual Variants