What is a Holy Scripture?
Books acquire the designation " Holy Scripture" by virtue of being dedicated to God (or 'set apart' to holy purpose--the literal translation of the word holy). Humans decide for what reasons any particular book may be designated Holy, and as of when the book should be regarded as such.
|DAODEJING||"Not knowing is true knowledge. Presuming to know is a disease. First realize that you are sick; then you can move toward health." (The Eastern Bible: Tao Teh Ching, 71)|
Because we need a special reason why a book is holy, it is easy to understand why there are so many myths about the origin of holy books. Humans often need these myths because truth and historical fact usually seem to devalue the otherwise holy book.
The Book of Mormon was written on gold plates by an angel, and information about its whereabouts was delivered to a man when God and Jesus visited him. This is true; in fact, it is Truth…for most members of that denomination. Similar myths about the Western Bible abound and any attempt to convince its believers otherwise by pointing to well recorded historical fact are fruitless because they need that myth to be their Truth. In fact, as long as a people believe their Truth and heir belief does not hurt others it must be the right thing to do to respect their beliefs.
Church of the East holds various books as holy, and the collection called The Eastern Bible is especially dear to us. Why? Probably for the same reason why others regard their holy books as holy. Because its contents speak to our mystical selves, uplifts us, liberates us, challenges us, guides and purifies us.
Even though literacy is regarded as common only during this century, some humans of this epoch acquired the ability to write almost six thousand years ago. Almost every first script was first used to write about humankind's relationship (or attempts to relate) with God. We humans have been creating Scripture right from the day we could first explain our mystical experiences in pictures or writings. Theoretically, the world should thus abound with Holy Scripture... but not quite.
Human groups like to believe they have sole franchise to Truth. Combine this notion with the human tendency to annihilate people who think differently than their group, and add the political power that religion held over the past 5000 years--and we have an endless saga of the rise and fall (annihilation) of dominant cultures--each bearing its own brand of religion and Holy Scripture—each annihilating the other’s holy things.
Those cultures who are only now learning to write like much of Africa for instance, inherit the Holy Scripture of those who desire for them to join their group. Christians and Moslems make it a holy crusade to sell their particular Holy Scripture to these 'late writers'.
We trust God would not let us live in darkness and therefore we know the essential Holy Scriptures that should serve the human race will be present with us at the right time. When is the right time? For you and me the right time is now, of course. Volumes and volumes of holy books from traditions of the Avesta, the Veda, Confucianism, Egypt, the Hebrew, Buddhist and eastern and western Christianity are all alive-and-well and serving their divine purpose.
Does this mean we should embrace all these different cultural expressions of the One Truth? Oh no! Emphatically not. The list of Holy Scripture is much more than any person can get to read or understand in one lifetime.
"When the disciple is ready the guru will appear", says the sage of the Upanishads. We are brought into contact with that which we have need of, and only that which jump at us as Truth, is truth for us at the time.