The intermediary problem

The problem of knowing what to submit to is connected to the idea that “god” can stand for a kind of person that is better than the human kind and thus a way to focus aspirations. The connection is that both are about knowledge, or transmission. Unless “god” is purely personal and individual, there has to be some way of connecting “god” and humans. There have to be intermediaries.

And there are intermediaries, but what good are they? What do they know that no one else knows? What do clerics know? What is it about them that makes them reliable intermediaries?

What is there? Is there some thing – some bit of esoteric knowledge, some secret ceremony, some garment, that is supposed to transform Mr X into a reliable intermediary? Our friend Eric MacDonald would know, since if there is such a thing, he must have been vouchsafed it at some point.

A few weeks ago, I saw a discussion of Sura 4:34, the usual thing: does “beat” really mean “beat” and all the rest of it. There was a woman who kept saying “Only Allah knows what he meant, we can only interpret.” But in that case, why pay any attention at all? If only Allah knows what Sura 4: 34 means, why should any humans even try to obey it? If someone says to me, “Ooh ooh urrp urrp,” I can’t “obey” that, can I.

The intermediary problem seems to me to be insoluble.

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