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Well, look at the parable and see if either of the interpretations would sound reasonable to someone who wasn't desperately trying to rationalize the parable with whatever other beliefs you want to make it consistent with? Also, look at it from the point of view of the author, would an author who had your supposed interpretation in mind have written the parable that way (or written it at all)?

While I'm not saying that it's always possible to find a unique right interpretation, there are many potential interpretations that are clearly wrong. Including ones that I've seen cited by religious authorities.

For those that others find extreme the meaning might perfectly natural to the one that is making it. Usually if a person is rationalizing something they are not aware that they are rationalizing.
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