"How Biblical Literalism Took Root" by Stephen Tomkins

What is the genesis, if you will, of the habit of mind that makes many Christians read the Bible with a different brain to the one they'd use with any other writing? ...The highest claim the Bible makes for itself is when the writer of Paul's letter to Timothy says the Hebrew scriptures were "God-breathed", which is wonderfully suggestive but hardly precise or dogmatic. ...Hence the ludicrous situation where many evangelical organizations, such as the Southern Baptist Convention, have statements of faith where the first point is the Bible, before any mention of, for example, God. ...So those in search of religious certainty have to find it all in the text: if it says the earth was created in six days, or that gay sex is an abomination, them's the facts, end of story. ...The other practical problem is that for more moderate Christians, Christ is the heart of the faith, and the Bible offers information and ideas about him and is one of the things that point us in his direction. But if the Bible itself is the heart, then to read it is to enter the Holy of Holies, making it that much harder to accept any normal human ambiguity or inaccuracy in its words. ...Even among evangelicals who don't speak in tongues or put their hands in the air when the sing Shine Jesus Shine, the movement has had profound effects, one of which is that they don't read the Bible just to be reminded and shaped by its teaching, but to hear what God has to say to them today. ...People who convert to evangelical Christianity, including those who grow up with it, are persuaded by the experience of a religious community, and by finding that evangelical theology seems to hold water. ...It's generally much later that a convert will have to consider concrete evidence that biblical writers were human beings, capable of being one-sided, of writing myth, of exaggerating, of guessing, of having opinions it's impossible to agree with. Some of us, faced with this evidence, shape our faith in the light of it, making the Bible a far more fascinating, revealing and diverse record of human religious experience. But it's not surprising if for others the evidence comes as an attack that threatens to undermine the foundation of their faith, and has to be beaten off blindfold.
Original author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
"Private "I," Private Property" (excerpt) THE TAO ...
"Christian Mysticism as a Threat to Papal Traditio...
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Monday, 03 August 2020
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.