Thursday, 8 May 2014

On Interpreting the Bible the Way I Want

One of those interesting ones, when discussing with certain atheists (not the sensible ones) the Bible. Their determination that, if I am a believer, I should read the Bible the way they think I should. Apparently to read it in a discerning manner, trying to understand its context, the situation of the authors of the various books of the wonderful compendium we have, wrestling with what God's scripture said to the generations that wrote it, and then wondering prayerfully what that means for my life in my generation - that's not what I'm meant to do. I should swallow it whole and literally.

Well, you can forget that. I never even took PW Atkins' s "Physical Chemistry" literally. Always assumed its words and diagrams were metaphors, grasping for the awesome, incredible truths our world is made up of.

And if I can keep that in mind reading a science book, how am I going to behave, reading a library of books containing metaphor, poetry, biography, law codes, invective and laments?

Precisely. Have my cake and eat it?  Too right. Have you any idea how nice cake is?


  1. Nothing so dogmatic as some atheists. Keep on reading....

  2. It's unimaginative I know but us poor atheists can't help ourselves, our scripture insists we're dogmatic, only allowing us to hold one position on all Gods, demons, saints and angels! As soon as we start interpreting things we get ex-communicated by Richard Dawkins and his henchmen at the point of a particularly sharp Belemnite. ;)

  3. As a metaphor, it works. A a work of literature, it works. As literal truth, if fails miserably. Unfortunately, many (most believers) take it literally.

    The Eastern Rite at least maintains God's ineffability - Aristotle's and Plato's unmoved mover - but that's Greek philosophy for you.

    It's interesting that in Islam, dogma concerning God is proscribed.


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