Literal Literary Belief

I found myself debating against Creationism earlier this week. There’s three points – not the usual ones – that I want to cover. I think they’re all imporant ones.

I covered the first point yesterday, which had to do with the nature of scientific inquiry. Today’s is about the text itself. The Bible.

There is a lot of fascinating Biblical scholarship that has been done in the last couple of decades. The Documentary Hypothesis in particular goes a long way towards explaining some of the odder things in the Bible. For example, that there are two creation stories – one in Genesis 1, and another separate story in Genesis 2.

But that’s not my point here.

Another co-worker, overhearing the discussion, asked how I could pick and choose what parts of the Bible to believe in. In response, I asked her if she was wearing blended clothing, or ate pork. “What about stoning?” I asked.

“Well, those parts aren’t important,” she said. “Not like how the world was made.”

“I think how we live our lives today is far more important than how the world was made,” I replied.

There are a lot of contradictions in the Bible. Not just numerical contradictions, but prescriptive contradictions. We are given different commandments at different times.

There are, by the way, good arguments that Judiac kosher laws (the ones I mentioned above) do not apply to Christians. Jesus pointed out the fallacy in stoning others, and in Acts, Peter receives the revelation that cleanliness comes from inside, not what you eat.

Yet capital punishment still exists in this supposedly Christian country. We hear a great outcry about keeping Christ in Christmas. Yet nearly all of those Christians have not given away all of their possessions, as Jesus commanded.

We all pick and choose what to follow from the Bible.

And I still think it’s far more important to choose how to live today than how the world was created.

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