Generous translation can help us bridge different view points. For example, take this group of mysterious or sacred expressions:
- God’s will
- Arabic: ‘iiradat allah / إرادة الله
- Spanish: la voluntad de Dios
- German: Gottes Wille
- German: Bestimmung
- Spanish: destino
- Japanese: 縁 en (see my post on “en” here)
- Spanish: destino
- Arabic مصير masir
- German: Schickasl
- Japanese 運命 unmei
My religion-free readers will automatically disagree with the idea of “God’s will”. Similarly they may also see divine control wrapped up in words like “destiny” and “fate”.
But, let me ask you religion-free folks — Do you agree with my following two soft claims?
- Claim #1: We can never fully understand the complexity of what happens in our lives.
- Claim #2: We have far less control of our lives than we can possibly imagine.
Now, to religious or spiritual readers, do any of you also agree with those claims?
For those who do agree, both groups would naturally agree for very different reasons. I contend that though their reasons for holding the claims may be different, they may share similar emotional reactions to these claims such as awe, wonder and/or humility.
It is for this reason that I suggest to religion-free folks that when they hear a believer say words like “God’s Will”, “fate” or “destiny” that they begin by generously translating them to yourself to mean:
“Of course we can never fully understand the complexity of what happens in our live and we have far less control of our lives than we can possibly imagine.”
This generous translation may allow both groups to share emotional agreement even though they surely both have very different cognitive maps. This generous translation will perhaps offer a dialogue bridge of common insights if you choose to discuss these issues further, or just move on in your days peacefully.