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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %RELIGIOUS LEADER INTERPRET SCRIPTURE EXPERIENCE 930421 Beware of religious leaders who encourage you to take seriously their interpretations and the interpretations of other persons like them when they presume to say what the real meaning of scriptures are, without encouraging their listeners to evaluate what is said by them and the scriptures in terms of common people's experiences talked about in open and honest dialogue among common people. Such religious leaders are setting up situations in which great power will be concentrated in them by taking the power away from common people. They are power hungry rather than full of wisdom. The true meaning of scriptures cannot be known apart from relating them to the daily personal experiences of common people in open and honest dialogue with the common people. It is arrogant of anyone to claim to know what the meaning of scriptures is to the common people without being involved in intimate open and honest dialogue with the common people in regards to their personal experiences. In such arrogance religious people presume to know how to prescribe what is good behavior and what is evil behavior on the part of people whose personal experiences they do not know. Such prescriptions are often pretentious and uninformed. Religious leaders do not reduce the level of pretense when they claim to be speaking on behalf of God with the authority of God. Personal and communal integrity cannot be promoted by prescriptions and proscriptions imposed upon people from the outside; for such prescriptions and proscriptions engender alienation which is disintegrative and evil. Thus no system of rules, regulations, morals, ethics, prescriptions, proscriptions, taboos, etc. can be imposed from the outside upon people as individuals or communities apart from open and honest dialogue about their real personal experiences---and the results of such an imposition be the promotion of personal and communal integrity. People who claim otherwise should be considered carefully to see if they are participants in disintegrative collusions, addictions, and patterns of codependency. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================