Contradictory Aphorism and Biblical Texts
A strong argument for why we should do away with them.
What realm of human endeavour is not morally ambiguous? Even folk institutions that purport to give us advice on behaviour and ethics seem fraught with contradictions. Consider aphorisms - haste makes waste; yes, but a stitch in time saves nine. Better safe than sorry; but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Where there's smoke, there's fire; but you can't tell a book by its cover. A penny saved is a penny earned; but you can't take it with you. He who hesitates is lost; but fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Two heads are better than one; but too many cooks spoil the broth. There was a time when people planned or justified their actions on the basis of such contradictory platitudes. What is the moral responsibility of the aphorist? Or the Sun-sign astrologer, the Tarot card reader, the tabloid prophet?
Or consider the mainstream religions. We are enjoined in Micah to do justly and love mercy; in Exodus we are forbidden to commit murder; in Leviticus we are commanded to love our neighbour as ourselves; and in the Gospels we are urged to love our enemies. Yet think of the rivers of blood spilled by fervent followers of the books in which these well-meaning exhortations are embedded.