Wednesday, August 22, 2007

On Literal Interpretation

"The theologians who hold this [liberal] view usually claim that large parts of the Bible, or whatever other text, should not be read literally and were never meant to be read literally. Instead, they should be interpreted as allegory meant to convey a spiritual message. [Still] there remains an irreducible core of verses that should be interpreted literally. Usually, these verses are the ones that convey the message of God's existence, his providence, and his love for all of humanity.


However, though the theologians are pointed in the right direction, I think they have not gone far enough. Their progressive mythologization of the Bible is a good idea, but it stops at an arbitrary point for no good reason. Why don't they go further and admit that the concept of "God" is itself just a metaphor for the way ancient cultures viewed the world? If they were to do this, they'd finally have a theology that is rational and in accord with the evidence, and one with which an atheist could agree without qualm.


Our response to liberal believers, who want us to take a certain set of scriptural verses literally, is the same as our response to fundamentalists, who want us to take a somewhat larger set of verses literally. If you want to go there and no further, what is your evidence? What are the facts that give us reason to believe that what you say is true?

Daylight Atheism, 20. August 2007

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