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Old 12-16-2001, 09:58 AM   #11
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Originally posted by Makai:
<strong>Exactly. I have never read anywhere on what basis people decide what is 'The True Word of God', and what is some 'learning-parable, translation error, or whatnot'. On what authority do so many Christians get to decide what parts are divine, what parts are misunderstood, and what parts are metaphorical??
As I've said before, at least fundamentalists can say they actually stick by their text. While they have to face the enormous, overwhelming, and amazing problems created by the stance of biblical least they maintain some sort of standard. It's not buffet-style scripture for them. Can some non-fundamentalist Christian give me a reasonable explanation as to how you decide what is literal?


[ December 11, 2001: Message edited by: Makai ]</strong>
To add, I wonder at the cognitive dissonance of those non-fundies who interpret the bible in a way that "just makes sense," accuse me (ex-fundie and now hard-core atheist) of "interpreting the bible in such a way that it doesn't make sense [i.e., literally] in an effort to discredit it," then turn around and proclaim that without God, we wouldn't know good from bad.

In fact, they read the bible (God's word, presumably) in such a way that the obviously nasty things God does/commands/condones are written off as "excusable for God because he's above morality" (whatever that means).

It never ceases to amaze me that the "We need God to teach us morals" crowd are the same ones who second-guess Holy Writ because it clearly is in opposition to the morals they accept.

Perhaps a poor example, but Jesus commanded, "If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, etc." Only the nutjobs (ref. recent Filippino news release) take this literally, but there's no indication whatsoever that it was meant metaphorically. Thus, in interpreting this, they have the choice to either take it at face value or to interpret it according to what they know to be right/wrong/common sense.

Except in extreme cases, they go with "common sense" then have the gall to insist that their morals come from God.

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Old 12-16-2001, 07:52 PM   #12
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Originally posted by MadMordigan:
<strong>Can some non-fundamentalist Christian give me a reasonable explanation as to how you decide what is literal?

What god tells them is literal.</strong>
I'm not a Xian nor even a believer in god, but I can tell you that it is pretty obvious which passages are literal and which are not in the NT. Passages that start "And he told them this parable" or some such are parables. Otherwise it's literal. That's an over simplification though, because we are looking at a 1st century text with 21st century eyes. Much of the synoptics appears to be midrashical or theological tractate. Early believers would not have been interested in whether the stories were historico-biographical with only a few exceptions. Clearly if Paul is any evidence there was some controversy over wether or not the resurrection was literal or spiritual-metaphorical.

As to the OT, most of it is literal unless it's poetic or apocalyptic. We're dealing with preliterate tribal myths about creation and other facets of life. Apologetics, however, has to change the interpretation for things which clearly don't fit with reality.
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