Posted by Cobourg Atheist.
Most Christians accept that a large part of the bible is a metaphor, analogy or parable; whatever you call it, a lot is not meant to be taken literally. In some parts of the gospels, Jesus spells out that he's telling a parable - e.g. the prodigal son, good Samaritan etc. but in others we have to hear the priest or minister explain that the story should be interpreted as a story that teaches us something. One major example is the story of creation which is only accepted 100% literally by a small minority of Christians (except maybe in the U.S. bible belt). Science tells us that the world did not come about in 6 days - at least not 24 hour days. Most Christians accept that days meant "God's days" of some other duration or that the whole story simply means that God caused the Universe to happen. We can argue about this (and I do elsewhere on this site) but let's think about the implications. If some parts of the bible are subject to interpretation and should not be taken literally, then how do we know other parts should be accepted as they are?
Maybe the miracles in the gospels did not happen as described? Maybe Lazarus was in a coma or maybe the story was invented to iillustrate the conquest of Jesus over death? Maybe the story of the loaves and fishes was meant to embellish the preaching Jesus was doing? Maybe the walking on water and the miraculous catch while fishing were exaggerations or invented? How can we tell which was literally true and which was meant to be interpreted? There are no footnotes spelling this out! The same is true of the old Testament when God was forever talking to people like Abraham and Moses (without witnesses) - maybe he didn't but it makes a better way of telling the story?
But of course the BIG story of the Gospel is the resurrection. Maybe that was invented too? The early apostles needed something to grab the attention of listeners. How do we know that the resurrection, of all the stories in the Bible, was one that needed no interpretation and was not a metaphor or parable?
The short answer of course is that there is no sure way of knowing - that one has to have faith. But once you have faith, you could believe the whole bible literally word for word. If you find some of it hard to accept, how do you decide which bits to have faith in?
There's a simple answer for that too - you believe what you are told by your favourite priest, theologian, pastor or minister. And if you don't like what he says, go see if the one in the next Church down the road preaches stuff more in tune with what you think.
Doesn't this sound ridiculous? I can only conclude that the Christian Faith is blind and people who think they are applying reason or logic to religion are applying it selectively, to prove what they have already decided.
In : Religion
Tags: bible metaphor
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