Wisdom Stories Aren’t Necessarily True Stories

25 Jan

Why do people fight over the truth of religious stories? Religious stories, by their very nature, are wisdom stories. They represent more than a mere representation of the facts. They try to teach us how to live. They are not designed to be a factual account of history.Wisdom Stories Aren't Necessarily True Stories (3)

Last night I saw the “Life of Pi”. I had not read the book (yet). The twist of stories so strongly made this point; that we “believe” certain stories when they fit our view of how we should live. We believe certain stories when they challenge us in just the right way.

If the story we hear is too far outside our current belief system, we may reject it. If the timing in our life is not quite right, we may reject the story. If the characters in the story don’t sit well with us, we may reject the story.

In fact, we may reject a story because the other people who “believe” the story are too different than us. This particular bias is especially scary to me. Our chances of being open to the wisdom in the story may be limited not by the story itself, but by our own fear of others.

The lesson for me is that I should reflect even more thoroughly on wisdom stories that seem too challenging. I suspect that the chance of a challenging story pointing me toward my own biases is even better. The chance seems even greater that a challenging wisdom story will help me lead a more open and good life.

Instead of shutting down and closing off when a story challenges me, I would do well to pay attention, reflect on my own reaction, and grow from the experience.

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