Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ignorance of Biblical Proportion

Recently an atheist challenged me: “How can you accept the modern re-interpretation of bible verses previously taken literally . . .”

She asked this in regards to my contention that there is no “war” between science and scripture. It’s difficult to answer a question so laden with erroneous assumptions. Know what I mean? The query contains more errors than words!

I’ll limit myself to three corrections.

First, it is wrong-headed to conflate “literal” with “literalistic” or “literalism.”  (This is a fairly common mistake.) To interpret the Bible “literally” is not at all the same thing as to understand it “literalistically” or to subscribe to “literalism.”

Second, it is embarrassingly uninformed to allege that Christians “previously” interpreted the Bible all alike and literalistically. Christians throughout history—like today—have enjoyed a wide range of interpretations and understandings of scripture. Hermeneutics today and yesterday are far from monolithic.

Third—and this should be painfully obvious by now—there’s nothing whatsoever “modern” about the “re-interpretation” of biblical passages. Even a cursory knowledge of church history reveals this. For example, multiple approaches to Genesis 1 predate Darwin by literally (yes, I mean literally) centuries upon centuries. 

This is a problem I run into time and again: Atheists know next to nothing about the Bible and even less about church history. And yet they can’t stop blathering about the Faith.


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