Slaves To Metaphor

Christianity rests entirely on two overlapping social metaphors, namely salvation and redemption. The former term, which means “rescue”, is more transparent than the latter, which means “repurchase”, e.g. of a slave or an insurance policy. Consequently, evangelicals ask if you are “saved” but not whether you have been “repurchased”. The reply that one “does not need rescuing” is somewhat weak, because it may mean, and will certainly be taken to mean, that you are indeed in a perilous situation but consider that you can extract yourself from it without external aid. This does not represent the true position of the atheist, who is better advised to decline any exchange that is based on the Christian’s own rescue metaphor. The same goes for redemption: we cannot be repurchased because we were never sold in the first place, whatever Paul might have imagined in consequence of his complex application of Roman law to the human condition. What is wrong with us as a species and as individuals is better described in less loaded ways. One might, on the other hand, be so mischievous as to make a counter-offer, namely to repurchase Christians from their slavery to the Pauline metaphors.

Posted on May 2, 2009 at 09:36 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion And Conceptual Muddle

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