Philip Pullman discusses the Bible, Koran and other works



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Philip Pullman discusses the Bible, Koran and other works



Philip Pullman
The secular person does have an advantage here, because we’re not committed to one tradition, one book and one strand of truth alone. We can look around and we can see what’s true here and what’s not so true there. The difficult for a non-religious person, for a humanist perhaps, is that – well I’ll personalise it – the difficulty for me – is that I don’t believe that the entire truth about anything exists in any one single book. The problem with people who make this sort of claim about this book or that book – about the Koran, about the New Testament, about ‘Science and Health: the key to the Scriptures’ or about Scientology – the people who make that sort of claim make it an exclusive claim: ‘The truth is in this book but not in that one’ or ‘This book is true and all the other books are useless’ and I just don’t be believe that. I can find a great deal of truth in many different books. I can find a great deal of truth in the Bible. Not truth about the supernatural claims that it makes but truth about human beings: the wisdom in the Book of Proverbs, for example, it’s wonderful; and the great poetry in the Psalms; and the wonderful story-telling that tells us about what human beings are like. The stories about David and Saul and so on – extraordinary stories. The Bible is a great book because it tells us the truth – the truth about human beings, the truth about what we’re like. That’s why the Bible is true. I haven’t read the Koran, I haven’t read the Book of Mormon or any of these other ‘Holy Books’, but I’m perfectly prepared to believe that there’s some truth in them, but it will be truth for me that is human truth and not truth about supernatural claims, not truth about the Buddha or Allah or anybody else.







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