I gave the following response to someone about the bible which I thought contained some interesting info. The response I got was just scripture saying the bible is infallible… Oh well. I thought I’d share the comment anyway:
“One would not even be able to define theism or fundamentalism unless one believes the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself.”
It doesn’t take a specific belief to simply define a term. Theism is belief in a personal god (as opposed to deism, atheism, polytheism or pantheism) and fundamentalism is belief in a strict, literal interpretation of the bible or some other scripture. You do not have to be a fundamentalist to believe there is truth or meaning in scripture.
“And to do so, one has to believe whole the Bible is infallable about God.”
The bible contains poetry, the word infallible doesn’t even apply to something like music or poetry, which is subjective and interpretive and doesn’t have one set meaning that can be true or false. Not everything in the bible is literal, or if it is then we should literally own slaves, literally carry around swords, literally not let women have authority over men (ie vote, run for office or be a boss in any job) and many other things you probably would find distasteful.
“The question is not what parts in the Bible are correct about God, and what parts are wrong. I believe the whole Bible is the Spirit-inspired Word of God, without first of all trying to decide which parts should be taken literally or otherwise.”
I try not to start out an inquiry with a huge assumption. And if the entire bible is inspired by god which bible is that? The original king james bible contained 15 extra books including stories like “bel and the dragon”, and there are often multiple versions of the same texts, in some versions it was a literal dragon that was slain by daniel and in others it was a false idol that was debunked by daniel. Which one is infallible? Genesis 1 and 2 are two versions of the creation account, one says god created the plants and animals and the other says he “let the earth bring forth” the plants and animals (which suggests theistic evolution), which version is infallible? There may be texts that are inspired by god or sent down by aliens, for all I know this could be true – but the only way to know if a particular text contains truth or fiction is to test it against facts, evidence and logic. If a book of the bible or a particular theology contradicts the world we observe around us isn’t it better to see that as a tool for understanding rather than as a threat to our preconceptions? I read a quote the other day someone posted about how creationists used to be pro-science and see science as being a way to better understand scripture because they thought that the physical world and scripture were “two books written by the same author”. I think that is a much more open and healthy attitude and that it’s lost on most american creationists.
“Without this premise the fact of Christ’s redemption and His procurement of righteousness for lost sinners will not make sense.”
Maybe it doesn’t make sense. Maybe it will make sense later and it just doesn’t make sense to you right now. I am not a theologian or an expert on the bible, but when I read the miracle stories metaphors and symbolism jump out at me. When jesus healed the blind man and then talked about spiritual blindness and told the pharisees that they are accountable because they claim to understand this seemed to echo the message of adam and eve (being naked and disobeying god was only a sin once they had the knowledge of good and evil) and the message of jesus dying on the cross (forgive them father for they know not what they do), that sin is not simply doing a bad thing but that it is understanding that something is wrong and doing it anyway. That we can forgive many so-called sinners because they simply do not understand because their eyes have not been opened yet. A virus can kill a million people, but it is not evil because it doesn’t have a brain or a choice, it’s just a chemical process. So with this interpretation in mind rather than seeing the garden of eden as the moment death and pain and crappy behavior entered the world (which we know did not happen a few thousand years ago) what really entered the world was understanding and the responsibility that comes with it. Historically you know what happened 6-10,000 years ago? Not the dawn of time – the dawn of human civilization. It was the period where we went from nomads chasing migrating animals to building permanent settlements and established a division of labor which allowed us invent technology, explore science and try to understand spirituality, morality, philosophy, art, beauty and higher meaning. It is the time we began to take responsibility for our existence.
“If the first Adam was fiction, what about the second Adam (Christ)?”
Christ has been treated as a symbol and a metaphor for thousands of years and the ideas about him are bound to be fictionalized whether he was a real person or not. Or do you think he was white with long hair and a trimmed beard as he is generally depicted? A trimmed beard and long hair both violate the laws of the religion he preached, and he was not of european descent. In reality he probably looked like a cross between osama bin laden and zz top. Similarly if you read about religious leaders and political leaders of 2,000 years ago their stories are almost always part fact and part legend. Alexander the great was said to be the son of zeus, immaculately conceived by a lightning bolt and born of a virgin, and he was said to fulfill prophecies, some from the bible. Nobody doubts that alexander the great was a real person but we have to take the claims about him with a grain of salt.