Wednesday, February 12, 2014

It's OK for Different People to See Things Literally and/or Figuratively

Some people simply are wired to take things literally - and there can be great power in doing so. The danger is when some things taken literally are proven not to be accurate - or, often, not meant to be taken literally originally. (Fwiw, that's my position relative to many of the Old Testament stories - that they were intended originally to be grand hyperbole / parables that teach lessons but are taken literally by those who are inclined to do so.)

Other people simply are wired to take things figuratively - and there is great power in doing so. The danger is that some things taken figuratively actually might be accurate - and some of the power can disappear if literal things aren't understood literally.

I read an interesting post last year that is thought-provoking in this regard. It is called, "Seeing Jesus in Action".

It opens with the following:

As most people who know me realize, I'm a very literal person. I don't get symbolism and hidden meanings easily. I tend to take things as they are and as they appear to be. This has sometimes made it hard for me to really grasp the deeper meanings of many things I read.

The thing is, this woman is our former Relief Society President and one of the most humble, Christlike people I know.  I think her post illustrates the danger of judging anyone based on how they see things (literally or figuratively).  I think it illustrates that people can see things very differently - even major, central, "important" things - and still be enlightened and inspired in their differing views and exceptional, wonderful, blessed disciples of Christ.

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