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    "You Don't Quote Too Much Scripture..." by Constantin Baracca

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    Lunarisse Aspenstar

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    "You Don't Quote Too Much Scripture..." by Constantin Baracca

    Post by Lunarisse Aspenstar on Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:01 pm

    (posted with permission)

    This might be a long one, but it's very important.

    I really enjoy speaking with all of you here in these general posts. Some of you have even done me the honor of speaking to me in private. I've had quite a few questions about the Amarr faith lately, but one of the comments stuck out at me. After quite a bit of explanation about the role of servitude, how we view the Empire's defeat at the hands of the Jovian, the breakaway of the Matari, and so on, my companion in this conversation asked me why I never quote any of the Scriptures. Apparently, he thought I didn't actually know any. In fact, I had a long education in Scriptural doctrine at school. The House of Baracca fields hundreds of high-ranking clergy. I learned Scripture from a very young age and still read and study it today. It forms the foundation of our religion and I would be a very different man without it.

    It seems strange when compared to other religions that those of us who preach the Word very rarely start actively reciting Scripture. There are really only a handful of phrases in common lexicon, mostly quoted by people who don't know much about the tendons and bones of our religion. Since this is a fairly common question, I've decided to line up some answers. Maybe it will explain a bit more about us as a people.

    So why don't I quote much Scripture in my ministry?

    The first and most obvious answer is that the passages are nearly indecipherable without context. The Scriptures are, essentially, anything our Theology Council deems religiously significant from our history. There are millions (at my last count) pieces of Scripture in the Theology Council's many libraries. Some theologians will study for centuries and will only be able to claim that they are a specialist in some particular field. It is truly a religion that only an entire Empire can teach. It is a huge industry. Whole teams of archaeologists spend their entire lives reaching deep into ancient ruins to try to recover some piece of period pottery. Then another team of theorists and theologists will look over the pottery and translate the text or decipher the images on it. Then a team of historians will look at it all in context, to see if it relates to any of the other millions of pieces of Scripture they have. It will then be assigned a place in the library and will be officially sanctioned.

    In essence, If you get a piece of lone Scripture, you really don't necessarily understand the context it is written in. The Book of Missions is actually a compendium of individual stories, compiled over almost a millenium. It is noteworthy because it was such a complete text from its time, giving us the complete versions of stories we only had pieces of before. However, there are references in them to events and documents of the time we have only fragments of, if we have them at all.

    Essentially, if you quote a line or passage, you're talking about a bit of an entire story in an entire book from a completely different era of history. Whole passages have different meanings as you delve further into the history.

    At the same time, the opposite is also true. If you need to know what the Scriptures say, there is such a thing as too much information. Imagine if your child asked you what "stealing" was, and you read aloud from your particular empire's legal codex on property. It isn't often necessary to know precisely where God says you should always work hard for slothfulness is sin, it's only important to know not to sit on your couch and let your servants do everything for you. It isn't necessary to read every single story that directly states or implies that particular piece of information.

    On a similar note, the third reason is that part of the context is cultural. As an example, the line I'm most questioned on from the Scriptures by non-members is:

    "Be Careful. Pure Thought is the Instigator of Sin." Book I, Code of Demeanor

    The usual response to this is, "That doesn't make a bit of sense! How does 'pure' thought instigate sin?" And if I'd written it myself last week, you'd probably be right. To understand the wording here, you have to know some things about ancient Amarrian history, culture, and language.

    Our people spoke a different language when the first books were written. They didn't have as many words; everything depended on context. There was one word, "reducus" which was an adjective that roughly meant, "a thing which is now alone but was not." So a calius reducus is the last cup left after all the others are gone and aquos reducos is pure water. Eventually, we did derive a word more contemporaneously associated with "pure". But because purity had been derived from solitude, not uniformity, the word "purity" is not necessarily looked on positively in early Scriptures.

    Amarrian culture still does not think that thinking on your own and having your own ideas is a good thing. You need to bring them forward for peer review. Peer review is a huge part of our culture, and forms the basis for traditions like confession and scientific review. Believing in something you don't bring to others for their expertise is foolhardy and can lead you to develop wrong ideas that you never have corrected. Imagine if you thought that consuming butterflies aided digestion and never thought to listen to the opinions of doctors or gastric scientists.

    All that because the word "pure" had a different connotation in ancient Amarrian.

    Once you know that, it's fairly obvious and somewhat boring that the line is a warning against coming up with your own ideas without consulting anyone else. Whatever you think of that part of our culture, it is an important part of who we are and tends to iron out the people who think you can drink the soul through the eyes during a booster trip (usually). To get to know that, you need to do much more research.

    (continued)

    (Source with comments: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=3609844#post3609844)
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    Lunarisse Aspenstar

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    Re: "You Don't Quote Too Much Scripture..." by Constantin Baracca

    Post by Lunarisse Aspenstar on Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:02 pm

    (Part Two)

    So you might be wondering how, if Scripture is so difficult, that we ever manage to teach the religion in the first place. This, I can say, is an area I specialized in. I essentially taught religion for years as a bishop on Amarr Prime before heading into the wild black yonder to bring the Word to the rest of the cluster.

    For starters, you cannot teach the Amarrian religion through reciting Scripture. Even Amarrians who are raised from ages three and four reading Scripture don’t actually learn the religion that way. We learn it much more organically. Stories in the Scriptures can go on for pages and pages, but can often be boiled down to, “Pride blinds you to your own sins,” or “Anger is more harmful to you than the people you’re angry at.” Scriptural recitation isn’t as useful as just explaining real-life situations as to why these truths are truths.

    So why is reading Scripture important, even for (and especially for) the servant classes? When you read Scripture alone, you are constantly being confused by a swirl of information that, in the end, you still do not have enough of to reach a proper moral conclusion. In that, the Scriptures really do preach the Amarrian ideal just in the way they are researched. Your stereotypical slave harvesting wheat in the field may read Scripture once a week and report to his school class what bit of information he has gleaned. He may come to understand our religion by ministry and be released as a freedman, but he will never stop reading Scripture. He will never read it all, but together, he and his fellow congregants will come to read and understand a larger part. He becomes an expert on what he reads. In a way, we all do our part to understanding the lessons of the Scriptures.

    It can truly only be learned and understood by all of us. Together. As one.

    In a way, the Scriptures may be the best way to truly understand our culture not because of what they say, but how we read them.

    (Source with comments: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=3609846#post3609846)

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