For years, I’ve observed how difficult it is to communicate with people through statements of fact, but it’s only now that I understand why we struggle to make choices based entirely on facts. factual information.
If you notice it, successful politicians know that most of us would rather be told what we want to hear than be told about the realities that might disrupt our favorite story.
Go to public libraries and see how their fiction section is usually larger compared to other categories that books are placed in. While there is a wide range of preferences in story types – we’re drawn to certain writers or not depending on our particular interests, we all like to get lost in a story.
People prefer to read stories rather than facts. This is not a critique of the intelligence of readers, but a recognition that as humans most of us are a set of contradictions fueled more by emotion than by constantly evolving technical information.
Today’s world seems complicated by a bewildering multitude of voices, all claiming their own ‘truth’. The most appropriate word here is not “truth”, but opinion. It is our opinion of the truth, which we seem to reject or accept on the basis of a multitude of reasons.
Education and religion are powerful cultural influences, but personal experience over time helps moderate or intensify how we value what we learn in all areas. Even within the same family, we are different according to our individuality, our abilities and our relationships with one another.
It is no coincidence that the ancient Bible stories in the collection Christians call the Old Testament are filled with family stories that demonstrate both the best and the worst of human choices and outcomes.
It is through history that we identify those who make “good” or “bad” choices, according to the abridged accounts of sibling interaction and rivalry. Many years ago I read a lot in the field of human behavior development, both in textbooks and in popular versions, which promised ânewâ understandings of the family unit.
âThis is nothing new,â I wrote in the margins of my psychology books when I recognized the information contained in familiar stories of Biblical figures.
Biblical literature does far more than many realize in describing human nature as it is shaped by circumstances and culture, hence the warnings for a particular people chosen by God to resist the cultural influence of other groups lest they forget their legacy of revelation.
Even more difficult is the constant illustration of how easily a group of people can be lost. But that was a long time ago and a long time ago. We live in a very different world now.
Is that so?
If we are honest we can identify most of the errors that lead to judgment on people in today’s multiplicity of culture, race, language, geography, educational status, and our own extended families.
The Old Testament and an accompanying volume that Christians call the New Testament are prophetic about the direction humanity is taking. We must put aside our prejudices and our pride to allow the whole to speak clearly on the judgment of our time. Above all, she tells us, humanity is not at all alone or “accidental” in the Universe.
We talk about science fiction and we wonder what is really “out there”. The Bible, throughout history, speaks of the original reality and purpose beyond our powers of imagination or investigation. Since some of us get wiser as we get older, I recommend re-acquainting ourselves with these early Bible stories.
Beth Pratt retired after 25 years as a religious editor of the Avalanche-Journal.