You present an simple, although extreme, solution to this (to some of us,
anyway) vexing problem, by suggesting that "[The Bible] is a book of
instruction about how to live our lives. As such, it is irrelevant whether
the stories "really" happened, or only "appeared" to have happened to the
writers (who may not have understood scientifically that which they
observed). Like all morality tales, the instructions remain valid."
Problem is, though, that I have trouble "buying this" as this puts the
ENTIRE contents of the Bible on a very shaky foundation, including the cross
and the resurrection. Your solution would, then, include the possibility
that the disciples "imagined" the resurrection, that Jesus did not really
die, that his followers stole the body and covered up the crime, that they
"imagined" Jesus walking on the water, that He didn't really healed the
blind or threw out demons, or turned water into wine.
I have no doubt that what draws children to the Bible is the stories about
the Garden of Eden, the Flood, Jonah, Esther, Daniel and his friends in the
fiery furnace, Jesus walking on the water and stilling the storm, etc.
These stories are exciting but, apparently, (some of them) are now
considered to be of questionable authenticity. Now, how do we walk this
thin line between 1) convincing these children (and adults, at times) that
(some of) the stories they were taught, of all places in Sunday School (I'm
not talking here about the myths taught about George Washington in grade
school), are not what they are cracked up to be and 2) making their
acceptance an entrance requirement into a denomination and/or eternal life?
From: Lucy Masters [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday August 14, 2001 1:26 PM
Subject: Jonah et al
Was it John who wrote...?
"Suppose you teach it as such to a young person, who later realizes
that it is simply a story. Because of this, that person may decide to
reject Christ, thinking that to accept him necessarily means one has to
accept Jonah as history also."
For me, the above exemplifies precisely why we should not count as
relevant to our faith whether or not the Bible is objective truth,
subjective truth, or myth. In other words, I believe we should teach
our young people that belief in God is much more internal and much less
external causation - such as the Bible. I had very little Christian
experience or education as a young person, yet I have always had a deep
faith in God. It's just "there." Teaching young people to reach inside
THEMSELVES to maintain their faith in God seems a much more meaningful
lesson than teaching them to believe in a book.
So what good, then, is the Bible? It is a book of instruction about how
to live our lives. As such, it is irrelevant whether the stories
"really" happened, or only "appeared" to have happened to the writers
(who may not have understood scientifically that which they observed).
Like all morality tales, the instructions remain valid.
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