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Meditation 472
From where, if not from reading scripture...

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In Meditations 469 and 470, I made the point that I, for one, am not convinced by reading the Bible, in spite of exhortations from believers to do so. I am not going to suggest that absolutely no-one is converted by the reading of scripture, but I suggest this is a small minority. I cannot imagine these texts being convincing to any thinking person.

But people do get converted: they get converted from one belief to another; they get converted from disbelief to belief. How does it happen?

Plato wrote about teaching certain of his beliefs in his Seventh Epistle:

There neither is nor ever will be a treatise of mine on the subject. For it does not admit of exposition like other branches of knowledge; but after much converse about the matter itself and a life lived together, suddenly a light, as it were, is kindled in one soul by a flame that leaps to it from another, and thereafter sustains itself.

He is saying there are some ideas that cannot be fully communicated in writing but only through personal contact. It is not the written words, but the influence of the person that will communicate the idea. It is more the messenger than the message. It is charisma, even.

In general, people are converted to religious belief by other people. Belief in the scripture behind the religion comes later.

Beware of snake-oil salesmen.