Brad DeLong has a disturbing observation about religion and literacy.
The more I think about it, the more terrifying the parallels become between our age — when the first literate generation of urban Arabs have direct unmediated access to their Holy Book — and western Europe's sixteenth century — when printing gave the urban literate their first direct unmediated access to their Holy Book.
Only they had pikes, armor, horses, and gunpowder. While we have nuclear weapons.
This made me think of Lon Milo DuQuette's observation in The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed ben Clifford that Hebrew Bible was written by and for "full-time holy guys" who would have been horrified by the prospect of ordinary folks having access to these materials.
I mean, check this out:
And when I looked, behold the four wheels by the cherubim, one wheel by one cherub, and another wheel by another cherub: and the appearance of the wheels was as the color of a beryl stone. And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides; they turned not as they went, but to the place whither the head looked they followed it; they turned not as they went. And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes round about, even the wheels that they four had. As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel. And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.
Ezekiel 10:7-14 (KJV)
I refuse to believe that this is a literal truth that God wants all of us to know. This is clearly a message written in code by someone who expects his reader to be trained in the reading of that code.