I was asked in another forum, “What is the difference between legitimate belief and superstition?
The first answer is that all belief must use metaphor in order to transmit an indescribable mystical experience or spiritual understanding that has presented itself to the psyche of one who is considered a spiritual master. All metaphorical writings, whether they are called myth, parable, or spiritual teachings, describe the workings of the psyche or inner being. Plato’s Atlantis, the Book of Revelations, and Mohamed’s night ride are all metaphorical writings, because they are describing events that happen within the psyche. The historical events and locations are used to emphasize the metaphor of the experience.
The ancient Jewish priesthood had a spiritual model that an adherent had to fully understand in order to be consecrated a prophet. If the student’s spiritual understanding did not follow the universal spiritual model, then they were subjected to further training or declared heretics and destroyed. The Bible tells us that Ezekiel understood the universal spiritual model and became a fully consecrated prophet.
This model has not changed in 4500 years. It has been described by every culture throughout written history and is still relevant today. This system of belief was fully fleshed out in the Sumerian myth of Gilgamesh, which is the oldest known myth of spiritual attainment for a man, king, or animus-based personality. The Book of Revelation is another version of this same spiritual progression.
The customs and language of the culture of the people who wrote or used the metaphorical teaching must also be considered when interpreting metaphorical writings. Ancient cultures did not separate church and state. All of life was spiritually based. “The end of days” was not and was never intended to represent a physical phenomenon like the destruction of life on earth or the zombie apocalypse. The phrase “The end of days” refers to a time when the worries of the world cease to harass an individual’s mind. “The end of days” is equivalent to “The Peace that passes all understanding.” It is a spiritual attainment gained by an individual. It is not a physical or historical event.
The other criteria would include scientific fact. This is the changing variable. Unlike the ancients, we know that eclipses and comets are not omens from the gods. They are common reoccurring phenomenon caused by the dynamics of the physics of the solar system. Our culture, which is saturated with technology, cannot interpret the ancient writings from our viewpoint. 100 years ago everyone would consider talking into a little box and getting an answer from someone from across the country to be magic. Today cell phones are commonplace. All ancient drawings are of the spiritual model and are not light bulbs, airplanes, or alien spaceships. Check out his blog from: http://riversfromeden.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/electricity-in-the-ancient-world/
True spiritual understanding involves all three of these elements. It must be understood that metaphor is the language of the psyche and spiritual attainment. Metaphor uses elements from physical reality or historical events to bring understanding. It does not describe physical outcomes. All true spiritual understanding must follow the universal spiritual model of attainment. Lastly, true spiritual understanding should move with the times and incorporate not just scientific knowledge but also cultural advances, personal freedoms, and civil rights.
Superstition will be proved wrong at some point in the future.
Truth is timeless.