Saturday, 26 February 2011
Stephen Tomkins writes for The Guardian about How biblical literalism took root. “The Bible doesn’t state that it should be read literally – yet an all-or-nothing approach is the core of many Christians’ faith.”
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times: Get to grips with banks’ morality.
David Wolpe writes in The Huffington Post Why Everyone Should Study the Bible.
This week’s The Question in Comment is free belief in The Guardian is What is marriage for?
There are answers from Harriet Baber, Roz Kaveney, Shelina Zahra Janmohamed plus one from Austen Ivereigh that we linked to here.
The Evangelical Alliance has published 21st Century Evangelicals: A snapshot of the beliefs and habits of evangelical Christians in the UK.
Bob Siegel asks in The Washington Times Does Jesus belong on the college campus?
Posted by Peter Owen on
Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 11:00am GMT
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
The piece from the Washington Times is sophomoric at best. I don't know who owns the Times now, but in the past it was owned by the Moonies. It has news coverage of the Diocese of Virginia and CANA has been less than objective. Its editorial stance is very conservative, and this flows into its news coverage. It makes good bird-cage liner.
“The Bible doesn’t state that it should be read literally – yet an all-or-nothing approach is the core of many Christians’ faith.”
And the "nothing" part is also at the core of many anti-theists' faith (!), too.
I had a liberal religious upbrining, so we were taught that the authors of the Bible were God-inspired. We were not taught that the authors were the human equivalent of computer printers, Xerox machines, typewriters, etc.
God is infallible, by theological definition. We humans are not. Therefore, in my most humble opinion, one can argue that transcription errors crept in. That plus human biases, human ways of viewing the world, etc.
The infallibility and absolute truth of the Bible can take bizarre forms. People riding dinosaurs, The Flood's crest was 30,000 ft high (it covered all the mountaintops, no?). The two most bizarre I ever heard were by an Assembly of God minister who told me that
1) Biblical language referring to the four corners of the world had been proven true by geologists (unnamed) writing in a scientific journal (unnamed) who had proven that the Earth had four orthogonal magnetic planes.
2) Early computers running perpetual-calendar programs ran the programs backwards through time, and discovered a day missing about 3,100 years ago. I have heard this from several other conservative Christians as well. The implication is that the Bible is right, and Joshua stopped the Sun. They never think about the implications of the "Joshua stopping the sun" story. One of which is, if Joshua ordered the Sun to stand still, and the Sun itself indeed stood still in the sky, then our solar system must be geocentric. There are angular momentum concerns, concerns about what the physical effects would be if the solar system was heliocentric and the Earth's rotation came to an abrupt halt, etc. Of course, the easiest explanation is that a) this computer story never happened or b) if it did, the computer programmers neglected to account for the inherent error rate of the Gregorian calendar, which is easily off by one day every 3,000 years.
At its heart ( despite a liberal image ) the Cof E is STILL the Tory party at prayer.
"...discovered a day missing about 3,100 years ago."
I remember hearing this a more than once when I was a teenager - it was very popular among Texas fundamentalists.
Re the computer myth: my friend who is a programmer says: Garbage in = garbage out."
The Old Testament came along, and the Jews said, God is done talking.
The New Testament came along, and the Christians said, God is done talking.
The Koran came along, and the Muslims said, God is done talking.
The Book of Mormon came along, and the Mormons said, God is done talking.
They sho' is a whole lotta people saying God has nothing more to say.
For all its pictures of happy smiling faces and funky design, the Evangelical Alliance report contains some chilling information:
"8 out of 10 evangelicals think that homosexual actions are always wrong"
"37% of evangelicals strongly agree that hell is a place where the condemned will suffer eternal conscious pain"
What a repellant and dangerous world view. Have these people any idea of the suffering they cause? Do they stop for an instant to think what effect their supposedly loving religion will have on homosexual adolescents - perhaps their own sons and daughters who've had this poison dripped onto them since birth? Or perhaps they are incapable of connecting the dots when these revolting beliefs result in suicide.