glenn morton wrote:
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Howard J. Van Till [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> > Sent: Thursday, November 02, 2000 2:14 PM
> > 2. Forcing the Bible (or any other sample of religious literature
> > written in
> > historical and cultural contexts vastly different from our own) to conform
> > to our modern Western expectations for "matter-of-factness," or scientific
> > relevance, or historical precision is sure to generate far more heat than
> > light and to distract readers from the valuable religious insights that
> > could otherwise be found there.
> > 3. It is time for evangelical Christianity to shed the biblicism
> > (bordering
> > on bibliolatry) that it now practices and to display a more appropriate
> > humility regarding the certainty and completeness of its grasp on human
> > knowledge of God and of how the human race might apprehend and worship the
> > Source of our being, the Standard of our daily life, and the Hope of our
> > future.
> Hi Howard,
> I simply don't agree that it is 'bibliolatry' to expect that there is some
> objective information in the Scripture. I have asked this sequence of
> questions before but will do it again.
> 1. If there was no evidence for ancient Egypt, Sumer, the Hebrews, King
> David, Babylon, the exile etc. would one really see the Bible as being worth
> I don't think so. If everything in the OT was wrong or without evidence, no
> one would pay attention to it. I don't pay attention to the book of Mormon
> because almost everything in it is objectively wrong--but it has great moral
> If we decide to change the interpretation of the Bible away from objective
> reality and make it only a book of morality tales, let's read Aesop's
> 2. How much of the Bible can be objectively false and still believe that it
> really is the communication of an omnipotent God?
> Can we be told that the mating of two salamanders created the world and
> understand it as a beautiful story of creation showing God's love and
> 3. If we move away from objective data, what, other than our personal
> prejudices from our own culture, makes Christianity any different than
> Bhuddism, sikkism or animism?
> All of the above religions yield "valuable religious insights " just
> different ones from Judeo-Christianity. Why should we try to tell them our
> religion is the true one when all playing fields have been leveled by this
> flight from objective data?
Glenn, you often present quite penetrating insights into the arguments
and fallacies of others. It's unfortunate that you don't seem to be able to see
that your argument here, which reproduces what you have often said on this list,
depends in a critical way on illegitimate use of words like "everything" and
"only", as in "If everything in the OT was wrong" or "only a book of morality
tales." Neither Howard nor I nor anybody on the ASA list that I can recall has
ever expressed such views of Scripture. You are belaboring a caricature.
A second, & distinct, point: You seem unwilling to differentiate
between morality and theology. The morality taught by many other religions does
indeed have a great deal in common with that of the Judaeo-Christian tradition.
The same cannot be said for understandings of God and God's relationship with
humanity and the world. The belief that God is revealed in the historical
reality (N.B.) of the crucifixion of Jesus as the Trinity is not even
approximated by other religions.
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