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Author Topic: Is there any form of Christianity which takes the Bible symbolically?  (Read 9961 times)
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« Topic Start: February 20, 2010, 07:26:29 pm »

One of the things I find most annoying about Christian Fundamentalists is that they take the Bible strictly literally. I mean, wouldn't it make so much more sense if they saw their mythology as what it is - mythology? Of course, some of the stories in the Bible are indeed historically accurate, but what I'm talking about here is the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark etc.
I don't mean to cause any offense, I'm just wondering.
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« Reply #1: February 20, 2010, 07:42:49 pm »


Here in Canada I think quite a few of the more mainstream churches treat the Bible as a symbolic text in which God reveals himself to the world.   

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« Reply #2: February 20, 2010, 07:55:35 pm »

One of the things I find most annoying about Christian Fundamentalists is that they take the Bible strictly literally. I mean, wouldn't it make so much more sense if they saw their mythology as what it is - mythology? Of course, some of the stories in the Bible are indeed historically accurate, but what I'm talking about here is the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark etc.
I don't mean to cause any offense, I'm just wondering.
Blessed Be!

If I remember what our resident Catholic theologeon once said correctly, this is the Roman Catholic Church's stance on the Bible.
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« Reply #3: February 20, 2010, 08:30:10 pm »

One of the things I find most annoying about Christian Fundamentalists is that they take the Bible strictly literally. I mean, wouldn't it make so much more sense if they saw their mythology as what it is - mythology? Of course, some of the stories in the Bible are indeed historically accurate, but what I'm talking about here is the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark etc.
I don't mean to cause any offense, I'm just wondering.
Blessed Be!

I know what you mean!

I was raised Church of Christ (name of denomination, popular in the bible belt), and have wondered about that.

There were a lot of great, and smart people at that church (one worked for Abbot Labs), but they had interesting ways of rationalizing it. The best reasoning was along these lines: "All the miracles of the bible happened and were true, but God did them mostly for people throughout time to understand them, that was why they were recorded down. Once word of God and his miracles started to spread, along with forms of communication, the need for those types of miracles disappeared."

Clearly not the best reasoning, but it's not bad considering the circumstances. There are a lot of smart people that have smart ways to explain it to themselves.

With that said, I don't buy it.  Smiley
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« Reply #4: February 20, 2010, 08:30:33 pm »

One of the things I find most annoying about Christian Fundamentalists is that they take the Bible strictly literally. I mean, wouldn't it make so much more sense if they saw their mythology as what it is - mythology? Of course, some of the stories in the Bible are indeed historically accurate, but what I'm talking about here is the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark etc.
I don't mean to cause any offense, I'm just wondering.
Blessed Be!

Yes, but for people that take the Bible strictly literally, that IS their starting place.  It doesn't really make sense to say that people believe in various gods/fairies/Flying Spaghetti Monster/whatnot - you're starting with the faith issue and going from there.  They take on faith that the Bible is inerrant and literal, and go from there.

I completely DISAGREE with them, but really it only bothers me when they start saying "oh but not this passage" or "oh yes but this means THAT not this OTHER thing" and the like.  If you're going to say something is literal and that's a cornerstone of your faith, treat it as *bleeping* literal!
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« Reply #5: February 20, 2010, 09:59:07 pm »

I don't mean to cause any offense, I'm just wondering.
Blessed Be!

Most non-fundamentalists Christians do not take everything in the Bible literally -- parts of the Bible just don't work when taken literally (and chances are they were never intended to be taken literally).
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« Reply #6: February 20, 2010, 10:16:46 pm »

Most non-fundamentalists Christians do not take everything in the Bible literally -- parts of the Bible just don't work when taken literally (and chances are they were never intended to be taken literally).

And even Jesus says that when he rebukes the disciples for taking the parables too literally.

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« Reply #7: February 21, 2010, 12:49:51 am »

And even Jesus says that when he rebukes the disciples for taking the parables too literally.

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Please do me the favor of quoting the passage(s) where Jesus rebukes the disciples (or anyone else, for that matter) for taking Scripture "too literally".

You might also take some time to review Matthew 24:36-39 (Noah referred to as a historical person); Mark 12:26 (reply hinges upon the tense of a verb); Mark 10:6-8 (Creation story referred to as historical fact) and Luke 24:44 (prophecy has been/must be fulfilled).

Jesus was a fundamentalist.
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« Reply #8: February 21, 2010, 01:01:44 am »

Jesus was a fundamentalist.

Time-travelling prophets!

Fundamentalism derives from a book published in 1910, you know.
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« Reply #9: February 21, 2010, 01:16:42 am »

Time-travelling prophets!

Fundamentalism derives from a book published in 1910, you know.

I am well aware that "Fundamentalism" as a term derives its origin from The Fundamentals, which was published as a series of 12 volumes between 1910 and 1915. As a matter of fact, I own a copy, although I have not read it in its entirety. However, Fundamentalism as a movement did not represent a new direction but was rather a reaffirmation of the beliefs and practices of earlier generations which had been under assault by liberal theology in the late 19th century.

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« Reply #10: February 21, 2010, 01:18:59 am »

You might also take some time to review Matthew 24:36-39 (Noah referred to as a historical person);

This is slightly off subject, but Noah may very well have been an historical figure. I can't say for sure because I wasn't around, but I came across some interesting opinions about Noah's story while doing some research for school.

The guy theorized, assuming Noah was a factual person, that there WAS indeed a flood. (The area in which Noah was said to live -around Mesopotamia- flooded yearly.) His guess was that the flood was a lot worse than normal one year, and it flooded the entire world as Noah knew it, not actually the entire planet.

Like I said, this is just some scientist's opinion......but it kind of makes sense.
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« Reply #11: February 21, 2010, 01:38:01 am »

This is slightly off subject, but Noah may very well have been an historical figure. I can't say for sure because I wasn't around, but I came across some interesting opinions about Noah's story while doing some research for school.

The guy theorized, assuming Noah was a factual person, that there WAS indeed a flood. (The area in which Noah was said to live -around Mesopotamia- flooded yearly.) His guess was that the flood was a lot worse than normal one year, and it flooded the entire world as Noah knew it, not actually the entire planet.

Like I said, this is just some scientist's opinion......but it kind of makes sense.

I've heard this. I don't buy it. It basically strikes me as one of those "have your cake and eat it too" theories which let you attempt to keep one foot in both camps...but when push comes to shove, you end up standing with the modernists.

At the same time I'm not prepared to share my own theory, partly because it's still taking shape. It's wrapped up with my beliefs vis-a-vis alternate realities and timelines. To be brief, I think the world as we see it today is actually a fusion of a great many lines of both the physical and the spiritual...but I also believe that if you were able to unravel the "Gordian knot" and trace events back to their ultimate source, that source would look a lot more like the first chapter of Genesis than the first chapter of Cosmos.
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« Reply #12: February 21, 2010, 01:46:28 am »

I mean, wouldn't it make so much more sense if they saw their mythology as what it is - mythology?
Of course! Mythology isn't meant to be interpreted literally, and I think they would have a lot more luck they did just that(not interpret it literally) It would make a lot more sense about those dinosaur bones, not to mention how much of the OT is snaked from Sumerian creation myth.
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« Reply #13: February 21, 2010, 02:05:26 am »

I've heard this. I don't buy it. It basically strikes me as one of those "have your cake and eat it too" theories which let you attempt to keep one foot in both camps...but when push comes to shove, you end up standing with the modernists.
I was raised hardcore, in church every time the doors were open, non-denominational christian myself, so I can somewhat understand (what comes across as) the need to draw a line between anything Christian and everything else. I rejected anything that had anything to do with Christian philosophy for a while. I guess I think that there is at least the possibility of Noah as a real person because some of the Bible is simply history. Just because I think that he MAY have existed doesn't mean that I don't allow for the fact that humans will be humans and embellish a story as it's passed down to make it sound better.

Quote
At the same time I'm not prepared to share my own theory, partly because it's still taking shape.
To be honest, It really doesn't matter to me whether Noah existed or what his real story is. It in no way alters my belief system. It is an interesting story though.
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« Reply #14: February 21, 2010, 02:40:24 am »

To be honest, It really doesn't matter to me whether Noah existed or what his real story is. It in no way alters my belief system. It is an interesting story though.

I can understand your position. Where I am coming from, though, is an impassioned personal pursuit of the truth. To me, at least, it really makes a difference if there was a Noah, and a Flood, and whether that Deluge was local or global. I really want to know whether the first human was sculpted and then inspired with life by God, or whether generation 92,141,293 of some African ape family went awry. It really does matter whether or not the Israelis do indeed have a divine title deed to all the land between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates. I want to know, to believe, and to share the truth. I want no part of a lie, and while I am willing to enjoy a yarn or two here and there I want to know and to keep in mind the distinction between fact and fable. My own religious path has led me to believe that Orthodox Christian Doctrine is a good starting point...but it's not the finish line. I think that there is a lot more to discover in both the physical and the spiritual world, but at the same time I believe that it really can be harmonized, that there is a way that the pieces all fit together.

If I'm wrong, I want to know where and how and why I'm wrong. If I'm right, I want to know how to share that knowledge with others.

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