Why is the Bible written in Parables?

[This came out of a discussion I was having with someone online... it's a little out of left-field, so please bear with me].

The reason the Bible is written in Parables is fundamental human psychology, and keys into our unique ability to craft a long-term history for our species.

It's basic human psychology; you want to teach someone something? Wrap it in a narrative - it sticks much more than dishing out the facts ever will. In fact, if you make it a story about someone else, it gets an automatic authority that a story about you never will.

Humans like story. It's the way we passed on information from generation to generation for... well... generations. It's the only thing we had that would stick before we had the written word. So it's not surprising that the Bible is metaphorical; it has to be, otherwise it would have been washed away by the passage of time.

It's also why we like entertainment. From a socio-evolutionary perspective, humans who enjoyed telling stories, and listening to them learned how the seasons changed. They learned how to work with one another. They learned how to avoid childbirth when it was too dangerous. They learned how to work together. Any humans that didn't enjoy storytelling died out quite quickly because they had no method for long-term data storage.

The Bible in the form it was written, and Hollywood Blockbuster movies ultimately exist because of the same psychological trait. Metaphor is one of the most defining human traits we have.

Unfortunately, marketers now know how that machine works, and are fine tuning it. They can seed ideas, and they can seed desires with amazing effectiveness and efficiency. And we're soaking in it all the time.

About the author

Simon Cooke is an occasional video game developer, ex-freelance journalist, screenwriter, film-maker, musician, and software engineer in Seattle, WA.

The views posted on this blog are his and his alone, and have no relation to anything he's working on, his employer, or anything else and are not an official statement of any kind by them (and barely even one by him most of the time).

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