The Grape Story

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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8 Responses

  1. Lyle says:

    Yes its amazing how much many religions want to put their god into their own nice little box, and restrict what the god can do. Then we have people who believe religious disputes are best handled by killing each other and refering the dispute to God (ala Mark Twain). My contention is that the problem is power hungry clerics in every religion, that once a group of clerics get control they want to get their edifices built and to do this they need an other to attack. This follows the thesis in the closing of the western mind, which to my point of view says that Constantine was the worst thing to ever happen to Christianity. He decided that clergy needed a tax exemption, but then had to decide who was legitimate clergy and who was not, thus the Nicene council, and the war on Arianism. (Of course had the imperial succession gone the other way a couple of times Arianism would have triumphed)Report

    • Rufus in reply to Lyle says:

      @Lyle, I wouldn’t go quite as far on Constantine, but his story has always seemed fishy to me. That struggle does seem to highlight something parallel to Sufism- namely, the tension between the official creedal organization and popular mystics, which definitely persists within Christendom and Jusaism as well as Islam.Report

  2. Will H. says:

    It sounds like a story from an Idries Shah book to me.
    Not familiar with this particular one, and I can’t vouch for its authorship.
    But that’s where I would start to look.Report

    • Rufus in reply to Will H. says:

      @Will H., Good idea! I didn’t think of Idries Shah.Report

      • Will H. in reply to Rufus says:

        @Rufus, “The Travellers and the Grapes” from The Sufis.

        Rumi, in his version of this story (Mathnawi, Bk. II) alludes to the sufi training system when he says that the grapes, pressed together, produce one juice–the wine of Sufism.

        Apparently there were other versions of this story both before and after Rumi.Report

        • Rufus in reply to Will H. says:

          @Will H., Thanks- that makes perfect sense, especially since Nerval said he heard it from a traveling storyteller in a cafe in Constantinople. Possibly the theosophical societies just read it in Nerval. I’m not sure if they’d have been able to read it in Rumi yet, although of course Rauf probably did get it from there. Anyway, that makes sense.Report

  3. E.C. Gach says:

    John Hick’s religious pluralism is similar, arguing that religious language must be viewed as making truth claims not about the absolute, but simply about one’s perception of the absolute. Those varying religions can express varying perceptions of the absolute without one needing a monopoly.

    And yet such an idea makes those who adhere to a particular religion usually very uneasy. How does one argue that they are all a part of the same thing without negating the differences to such a point that the religion in particular is diminished. Most people have a different relationship to their native language than their religion. The analogy feels inadequate.Report

    • Rufus in reply to E.C. Gach says:

      @E.C. Gach, Yeah, I can definitely see that. If you’re an adherent to a particular religious tradition, the differences matter a lot more than what word you use for grapes! Particularly, I’d imagine to a believer the stakes are a lot higher if your terms are wrong.Report