Friday, June 29, 2012

A Further Note on Atonement Symbolism

The religion professor I mentioned in my last post, at the end of the class, gave us an assignment to write our own parables, stories that would have meaning and power in our own world.

The one I will remember until the day I die was written by a young woman who wrote about a certain farmer who cared for his animals lovingly whenever they expressed discomfort or pain or loneliness - then beat his children whenever they cried. That lesson was totally symbolic within the context of a parable, but it was powerful to me - and it carries great meaning as I interact with my own children.  

Did it really happen? I don't know. I don't know the background of the person who wrote it. It doesn't matter, really, since, like the story of Job, the message is more important to me than the historical veracity.

Within Mormonism, some people have derided Stephen Robinson's parable of the bicycle in "Believing Christ". They say things like, "That cheapens the atonement." I've even read some comments in various posts throughout the Bloggernacle saying that same basic thing about various interpretations of the Atonement. My only caution is the same thing I say in lots of other contexts - that we need to be careful of the human tendency to censor or eliminate things that don't make sense to us or match our own perspectives.

If a certain symbolic representation resonates with some people - if a particular symbolism gives meaning and peace and power and liberation to some people - if a particular symbolism helps some people "get it" in some way - why do we need to challenge or belittle or reject it? Why can't we say something like:

"Cool. I'm glad that works for them. Here's what works for me - at least right now at this point in my life."


Anonymous said...

Ah Papa, you find the love don't you? Thanks for the learning.ngmdtsp

Patty said...

If we all got the same thing out of every parable and story in the scriptures, God wouldn't have given us so many- we would have gotten His point with only one or two. :)