RE: Is Jonah to be taken literally?

From: Joel Z Bandstra (
Date: Mon Aug 13 2001 - 12:32:19 EDT

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    OK, I'll bite...Why would a literal reading of Jonah cause you to reject Christianity?

    -----Original Message-----
    From: John W Burgeson []
    Sent: Monday, August 13, 2001 7:52 AM
    Subject: Is Jonah to be taken literally?

    Is Jonah to be taken literally, or as a story/parable/myth or play?

    Guy indicated that it is to be taken as sober, literal, historical truth,
    when he wrote: "The style of literature in the book of Jonah lends itself
    to take the 'fish story' literally."

    It is difficult for me to take it literally, but for sake of argument,
    I'll assume, for the purposes of this post, that it is litereal history.
    That is, I'll assume that the author meant to write the literal
    historical truth, and that the intent of the Bible is to tell me that
    literal, historical truth, and that Christianity insists I accept this

    With this assumption, I must conclude that Christianity is worthless, and
    not worth bothering with. I see it as possible, even probable, that some
    events in history are the basis for the story, but a literal historical
    reading of it asks me to check my brain at the door.

    If, however, I am allowed to use my God-given intellect to read Jonah, I
    can recognize it as a "story" and its historicity is simply not of much
    interest. And then the claims of Christianity again are worth looking at.

    John Burgeson (Burgy)
           (science/theology, quantum mechanics, baseball, ethics,
            humor, cars, God's intervention into natural causation, etc.)

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