Are bi-lingual or multi-lingual people less inclined to base beliefs on religious writings?
There are religions who base beliefs on century old written documents. We even refer to an utterance as "gospel truth". I'm thinking of those who study the Bible, or Koran, or other scriptures. Those I know who are most interested in Bible study, seem to be people who are mono-lingual.People who have studied languages or understand the nuances of linguistic interpretation seem to be less inclined to base their Christian or other beliefs on the Bible,etc. 1. Does this assumption have some validity? 2. Are there other factors such as knowledge of other cultures, travel...?
I believe all could have a part. I definitely agree that those who understand that languages interpret differently would be more inclined to look at holy books a lot less "literal". I definitely believe that exploring other cultures and travel definitely opens the mind/heart to other possibilities. That being said, not all of us speak more than one language or are able to travel to many cultures, but we still seek out that information, to learn from different peoples etc.
I think those with a mind to grow beyond their own backyard will typically be the ones who are more liberal in their interpretations and will be the ones who realize books that old are not intended to address modern life. There is such a broad range of human experience and understanding, to limit oneself is so, .. well, limiting! I find it kind of sad those who are perfectly content to never learn the ways of other people, or to explore beyond what they've been told or taught.
Something else has also always baffled me about literalism. When we seek to heal an ailment for example or learn how to do something, we typically look for the newest books and information on the subject. How on Earth is it that some believe the Bible/Koran etc are the way things should be done now when they are ancient texts? If I want to fix my cell phone, I'm not going to go try to find the answer in literature from the first telephone ever created - I don't understand the logic of that need to take ancient texts so literally. Like everything else, we evolve and gain new understanding.
I'm not very comfortable getting into these types of conversations, but this one is right up my alley. I speak Russian, Uighur and English fluently and have lived in several different countries. I have also studied Greek and Hebrew and a couple other random languages I love working with refugees from all over when I live in the US. And the more I learn about other cultures, the more I believe in the God of the Bible.
I am constantly amazed at the way God has woven His truth into languages and cultures. He is in all of them if you just look under the surface. Did you know that in Russian the word for "thank you" is "spacibo"? Comes from the phrase "May God save you." There are dozens more examples also. I just think it's interesting that no matter what the people in a culture do to try to cover up God, there is still plenty of evidence that He is exactly Who the Bible says He is, and anyone can find Him if they only look.
And may God bless you on your search for answers
EGT, thank you so much for your response. Your background in languages is impressive! Did you know that studies have shown that people who are bilingual process Math differently! Joseph Campbell came up with the same conclusion
Joseph Campbell was somewhere in the back of my memory, but I couldn't recall anything about him. Thanks for mentioning him; it was interesting learning about him again. By the way, you might like my hub on my 1 Year Anniversary. I appreciate you
I have found many examples of both -- less belief and more belief from people who are multi-lingual. Many scholars from 300-400 years ago were multi-lingual. My wife knows 3 languages fluently (Tagalog, Cebuano and English) and is studying Japanese. She is one of the most religious and spiritual people I know -- not blindly dogmatic, but loving and open.
This topic reminds me of another question about intelligence and religion. I have known very intelligent people who were atheists, but also know of many people who are very religious or spiritual. I have an IQ of 139 (above average), but my 3 younger brothers are far more intelligent (149, 169, 200+ unmeasurable). Each one of them are religious (not dogmatically) and highly spiritual, as am I. We have each experienced miracles.
Greater knowledge (acquaintance with differing cultures and viewpoints) can help us appreciate nuances of meaning. For instance, my journey has led me Southern Baptist (my grandfather was a minister), to Scientology, Buddhism, Judaism, ancient Kabbalah, Taoism and now Christianity (non-denominational). I have also been a Hollywood artist with screen credit, a published author, an award-winning essayist and a software engineer with a degree summa cum laude. All of these experiences have helped me in my spirituality.
I have even discovered a biblical timeline compatible with those of science, the target of Noah's flood, and the real meaning of the seemingly outrageous longevity of the early patriarchs.
I think they key ingredient for me has been humility and a hunger for answers. Without humility, we become stuck in one belief system and cannot easily see beyond it.
Very lovely answer, Lone Star. I miss having long talks with friends about religion and life like John Denver's "Poems and Prayers and Promises". I think humility can also be a reason for disbelief. I can't understand quarks, so God is beyond me.
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