Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Monday, October 30, 2017

Got to admit it's getting better....


Well, this is just kind of stupid: 
The Bible and its stories about the first man and the creation of the world are not true because there is no physical evidence to back it up, according to a new lengthy investigation from one of Israel's top newspapers. Spanning roughly 5,000 words the article from left leaning Haaretz compares accounts in the Bible, from ancients Jews fleeing Egypt to descriptions of King David, and dismisses them all as fables. 
So all that time in seminary I spent learning this was wasted? Practically the first thing we learned in Old Testament the first year was that there is no "Red Sea" in Egypt, and there never was.  We studied the differences between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 (basically JDEP), but nobody had to be told it wasn't history.   Instead I could have  just waited for the Haaretz article (and believe me (!), I read more than 5000 words on this topic)?  No, that's not the stupid part, this is:

The mounting evidence against the Bible means fewer Americans than ever before are trusting scripture as gospel. Only 35 percent of Americans read the holy book at least once a week, while 45 percent seldom or never do, a Pew Research Center report in April found. About 36 percent of Christians said the Bible should not be taken literally, while 40 percent say it is the word of God. In all, only 24 percent of Americans said the holy book was "the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word," a Gallup poll conducted in May concluded. 

I'm surprised 36% of Christians still think the Bible should be taken literally at all.  And that's definitely an American statistic, not a world-wide one (and what does it say that this article has to hide behind Haaretz to make this claim, and point out Haaretz is "left leaning"?).  Of course, what's really going on is the decline in Biblical literalism, which peaked in the latter part of the last century:

Meanwhile, about half of Americans -- a proportion largely unchanged over the years -- fall in the middle, saying the Bible is the inspired word of God but that not all of it should be taken literally," the poll said. "From the mid-1970s through 1984, close to 40% of Americans considered the Bible the literal word of God, but this has been declining ever since, along with a shrinking percentage of self-identified Christians in the U.S. Meanwhile, the percentage defining the Bible as mere stories has doubled, with much of that change occurring in the past three years."

40 years out of a 200+ year national history ain't that huge a slice of time, to begin with.  I mean, considering the concept has only been with us since the early 1900's.  And the decline doesn't surprise me, either.  Note the first sentence of that last quote, too, which directly contradicts the first sentence of the prior quote.  So once again, nothing to see here; except that an Israeli newspaper has finally caught up with 19th century scholarship.  Oh, and way too many people in America still cling to Biblical literalism as some kind of lifeline; but it's getting better.

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