I should have realized last week that speaking out against Biblical literalism would earn me some backlash from the overtly literal Christian community. Honestly, I didn’t think anyone would really see it, and I definitely didn’t expect attacks to come from within my own family.
I’m going to spare her the embarrassment of repeating the argument here. She embarrassed herself enough by arguing with me publicly on Facebook. However, I found this rant I wrote a few years ago when I witnessed a stranger (on YouTube, I believe) similarly embarrassing themselves and the entire Christian community. Before I move on to other topics, I’m going to leave this here as a summary of my “Problem with Biblical Literalism” series.
I wish scientists and theologians would stop being so egotistical and ignorant. Both sides need to understand that science does not make religion null, nor is religion an “excuse” to not have to think about how the world works. Science explains how God works. That’s it. Science cannot explain why, nor can blind faith explain how. Science is a gift from God to allow us to understand certain processes so we can see the extent of His greatness. But we will never know everything, because then we will play like we are gods – which some have already started to do.
There is no need for theologians to disparage the scientific community, nor is there any reason to exclude religious people from that community. I’m sick of these banal and ridiculous arguments.
God created the universe, yes? Out of nothing? So He created language? Okay, so that means He created metaphors. Why would He not use these in a book He has written? Why can’t the Bible use similes, metaphors, exaggerations, and still be “infallible?” Why does the Great Flood have to literally cover the whole world? As I said before, that was probably a metaphor for Noah’s “whole world,” the part of the planet that at the time was inhabited by humans. All the animals in the area were saved along with Noah’s family. It would still take a huge rainfall and perhaps a tsunami to do this, but realistically that’s probably what happened. Story-telling allows for a bit of exaggeration to astound the audience, which is entirely logical as the Old Testament (at the very least the Pentateuch) was passed down via oral tradition before being written.
By discounting figures of speech and taking everything at face value, we Christians make ourselves look incredibly ignorant, and willfully so. It’s not fated martyrdom that causes us not to be taken seriously. It’s that we don’t even try to think anymore. God is outside space and time. Seven days is a metaphor for the earth’s time-frame. God is telling His people to take a day every week to relax for our own good. If God had to rest, obviously we do. The point is not, “The earth was created in seven days,” but, “God created everything, and even He rested on His seventh day, and so you should also rest from your work on your seventh day to preserve your energy and recoup.”
God created ex nihilo. He created language; ergo, He created figures of speech, including hyperbole and metaphors. So why is it so offensive to Christians to think maybe He used them in the Book He authored? Oh, I forgot, it’s “heresy” to question what in the Bible is literal and what isn’t. It can’t be infallible if it isn’t literal. What codswallop. Discernment is not heretical.
God bless with mother earth’s bliss.
(Art: “A Swirl of Fog” by Eyvind Earle)