HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

Bible Literalism
 
Augustine insisted in his On Christian Doctrine that to interpret any part of the Bible you must read the whole book so that you do not have anything out of context. He said that the historical tradition of the Church helps you interpret it. He warns that non-literal things must not be taken literally and literal things must not be taken as figurative.

 

You need to know the whole Bible well and be careful not to pick anything out of context. Taking literal things figuratively is an example of taking parts of the Bible out of context.  Taking figurative things literally is another example. Though the Bible claims to be the word of God it also claims to be the word of man so there is no room for bizarre or anachronistic interpretations.  For example, some lying clergy say the divine command of blood and gore which called for the destruction of the Canaanites does not mean what it says but kill the Canaanite in your own heart.  No sane person believes that the writer of the text meant that!

 

The type of liberalism and fundamentalism we are discussing here is about Bible interpretation.  You can be a fundamentalist and still have a liberal reading of the Bible.  In that case, you are liberal one way and not in another.

 

Too often stories in the Bible are disproven or shown to teach evil lessons allegedly from God.

Then what the believers do is this.

They say the stories are figurative and were never intended to be taken as literally true.

That is just a way of pretending that the story is divinely inspired.

And surely God could make his point without all that figurative stuff?

And why does he not make the allegorical nature of the story clear? Most stories do not read as allegories.
 
The Bible is violent period.

The Church claims that scripture, the Bible, is the word of God. The Bible claims the same thing for itself. The assumption that this claim is true is the reason why Christians can imagine that the Bible interprets itself. If a book is vague they will go to another book to help "interpret" it. In fact, that technique only leads to distortion if it is true that the Bible really has only human authors and God is not involved. The historian cannot interpret the Bible that way or be expected to.


The Bible is believed by the Christian Churches to be the book that God authored so that it is as much the word of God as it is the word of man.
 
A fundamentalist Christian is alleged to take the Bible literally. Now there is no such thing as a Christian who takes the whole Bible literally.
 
Fundamentalists believe that the Bible is to be taken literally except where it indicates clearly that a figurative interpretation is the intended one. The Christians who deny they are fundamentalist tend to impose a symbolic or non-literal interpretation on the Bible just to get around the bits they don't like. They do not really care what the text says except when it suits them.
 
From Exodus 20 where God says,

 

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
 
This command says you must not do any work or even get a pagan slave to do it for you. The reason for the rest is how God made all things in six days and rested on the seventh. The commandment says the Genesis story is literal. It also commands you to work six days. No sane person thinks Genesis is true. Those who say it is not literal are as mad as those who say it is literal for both still say it is true and the story gives no hint of being non-literal. The detail in it in a time when people had no time to read or source books or work out the meaning if the meaning is a bit obscure shows it is indeed meant to be taken literally. The Ten Commandments command a literal interpretation of the Bible. They are meant to be learned as the words of God. Liberals with their lies try to make things more complicated but they care about avoiding embarrassment and being seen as crazy and not about the truth. The truth is that the Bible except where it clearly states otherwise is to be taken literally. 
 
The liberals say things like, "The interpretation of any or some Bible books is multi-layered and conditioned by a complex and long history." The Bible itself does not endorse such a view. And it is not a sincere view. If you take that approach to get around texts which say slave masters can get away with it if they beat their slaves almost to death then you are simply a fraud. Why are you not using such an approach to get around say the resurrection of Jesus in light of the fact that no historian can say history justifies believing Jesus rose? Why do some who take your approach insist that some texts at least undoubtedly do command violence and attribute the command to God? There is something wrong with the approach when nobody agrees on how to apply it and nobody applies it consistently. And the approach is never actually used. It is just a theory put out there to confuse those who see the Bible God is violent. No approach can change the fact that we have no right to read our modern pro-women and pro-equality and pro-abortion and pro-divorce and pro-peace and anti-capital-punishment values back into a book shaped by an era that had no such values. No other book - not even the Koran - gets such treatment. The liberals probably know the Bible is evil and just want to hide that fact as if that can make the evil go away.
 
The so-called fundamentalist can be taken seriously as a believer. The liberal Christian certainly cannot.
 
The Church claims to believe that human reason when correctly used is to be seen as inspired by God. But inspiration is not reason and reason is not inspiration.
 
Inspiration is God putting thoughts in your head. If he is doing that then you are not reasoning.
 
The Church opposes unbiased examination of the Bible's claim to be the word of God. It says it doesn't but when it pretends that reason is divine inspiration it clearly does oppose it. The religionist reasons as follows: "The thoughts I have that this religion is rubbish are from me. The ones that I have that it is the true religion are from God. I choose to rely on God." All that does is make the religious person immune to rational argument.
 
The Christian who treats the Bible only as human text is not a believer in it as the word of God. He thinks parts of it is right but even the atheist thinks that and he is not a Bible believer.
 
The person who picks and chooses out of the Bible and who ignores the bits that don't please him is really saying religion and its morality is a mixture of objective truth and stuff that is only imagined to be objective truth or that religion and morality are just opinion.
 
When Christians are told about contradictions in the Bible, they assume, "The Bible has one ultimate author: God. He does not make mistakes so there are no contradictions in the Bible." If you assume that God wrote the Bible, you are saying that you assume that you will be able to solve the contradictions. For example, three people are called God in the Bible. Yet we are told there is only one God. If the Bible is man-made you will assume that that is a contradiction. People can and do contradict themselves in the craziest of ways. Assuming anything else would be irresponsible. But if you assume God is the inspirer and author of the Bible you will say there is no contradiction for God does not err and we are not as smart as he is so we have to assume there is an answer even if we cannot understand it. Such a doctrine is the justification for authoritarian and obstinate religion.
 
The Christians who claim that the Bible is not literally true are liars for they take parts of it as literally true. For example, its assertion that God is love is taken as literally true. The story of Jesus supposedly refusing to let the adulteress be stoned is taken as true while the story that God made Adam sleep so that he could take one of his ribs and turn it into the first woman is ridiculed.
 
The fundamentalist Christians do not take the words Jesus said over bread, "This is my body" literally. The Catholics do.
 
The Christians who reject Bible teachings they dislike, will nevertheless adopt some teachings they do not like. The Gay Christian will rationalise away the condemnations God issued against homosexuality but may accept the teachings that you must live a minimalist life and give what you have left to the poor. And of course others who profess to be believers who accept the condemnations as clear and impossible to water down but who dilute the teaching of Christ that requires people to live without luxuries so that the money can be handed to the poor.
 
By implication if you take parts of the Bible as revelation you must take it all as revelation. The liberal who opposes this bit of commonsense is being as anti-rational as the fundamentalist. And he is being fundamentalist in his liberalism.
 
Cherry-picking means you are saying, "I will decide what a follower of Christ may believe, not Jesus."
 
The liberal will water down the Bible in order to fit better with science. He is forced to pretend that following his perception of the Bible is the same as following the Bible. It is very unscientific to depend on perception like that. The liberal's devotion to science is unscientific in relation to the Bible. She has that in common with the Bible-thumping fanatical fundamentalist.
 
Liberalism turns religion into mere opinion and not something to be taken seriously. It leads only to confusion and chaos. The "liberals" war against those who believe what they are required to believe or who try to. They are every bit as fearsome as the ones who are more recognisable as fundamentalists. Liberal Christian Tony Blair was a religious warmonger.
 
The fundamentalist and the liberal have this in common, they both pay homage to closed mindedness and distortion of the truth. The liberal is a fundamentalist who just happens to base his fundamentalism on what is fashionable.