RE: The Problem of Liberal Theology

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Sat May 11 2002 - 13:05:33 EDT

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: What does a liberal think?"

    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: Shuan Rose []
    >Sent: Friday, May 10, 2002 3:00 PM
    >To: george murphy; Glenn Morton
    > A key question raised here by Glenn is what things in the
    >Bible must we
    >believe are true in order to hold on to our Christian faith. I like the
    >statement on inspiration by the Pontifical Bible Commission:
    >Guided by the Holy Spirit and in the light of the living tradition which it
    >has received, the church has discerned the writings which should
    >be regarded
    >as sacred Scripture in the sense that, "having been written under the
    >inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God for author and have been
    >handed on as such to the church" ("Dei Verbum," 11) and contain "that truth
    >which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our
    >I am not Catholic but I would agree that the Bible is inspired in that
    >contains "that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the
    >sake of our salvation". I think that George is right to put the emphasis on
    >the truth and historicity of Christ, not every assertion in the Bible.

    I agree that a very interesting question is what must we believe in order to
    hold our Christian faith. The answer will differ for different people. For
    Burgy, if the entire OT were false, he would find it difficult. It would
    take less for me.

    A related question is how important to our faith are various events in the
    past. To me, the creation is extremely important. No creation, no God, and
    Jesus becomes irrelevant. So, if all of Genesis 1-11 is myth, then the
    statement "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" also
    become myth. And I feel really uncomfortable picking and choosing what
    parts of early Genesis I will believe. It doesn't seem epistemologically
    solid to say, I will believe Gen. 1:1 is real and tells me about history but
    1:2-11:25 is myth with 11:26 on reverting to history. Why should I beleive
    1:1 if it is in a sea of myth--and using myth as you have, meaning not
    telling me history.

    >Moreover, to quote Glenn's words back at him, if we wanted to play the
    >doubting game, we would very quickly come to doubt everything in the Bible
    >( and for that matter all ancient history).

    I won't run from my words which were in a different context. (but I would
    note that that is not a quote). In the context in which they were written
    was one in which there is lots of verification of human-like activity among
    the Neanderthals beyond what was being discussed at the time, which was bear
    sacrifice. Neanderthals built walls, paved floors, built huts, made stone
    tools which only a few modern people are able to make, they made flued
    hearths, they invented coal mining, they invented music (unless it were
    earlier peoples), they made jewelry, they fought each other, they built
    altars, they traded objects over areas as large as 300 km and the doubt was
    about whether or not they sacrificed bears. It was also doubt againsts the
    backdrop of the majority of anthropological opinion about who and what the
    Neanderthals were. Why is it so difficult, given that as a background, to
    believe bear sacrifice occurred with people who did all the above?

    And I believe, I was referring to the verification of the New Testament
    events which can also have the doubting game played at them. But it is
    different with early Genesis.

    In the case you are trying to misuse my stand, it is against the backdrop of
    NO historical verification of Biblical events well past the Judges. There is
    no background of verification against which doubts are being raised. Without
    a background of verification, there is no reason NOT to doubt. To play the
    doubting game on the Book of Mormon which has chariots and horses in
    pre-Columbian North America is a reasonable game to play. There are no
    horse bones or chariots found in archaological sites prior to 1492.

    > I would recommend a look at THE INTERPRETATION OF THE BIBLE IN THE CHURCH
    >by the Pontifical Biblical Commission, available online at
    >The Roman Catholics did a thorough job, and it is mostly free of explicitly
    >Catholic theology.

    I took a look and noticed the constant reference to 'Dei Verbum'
    pronouncements by the popes. Dei verbum as everyone knows means the 'word
    of God'. The question I am concerned with above almost all is, 'How much
    untruth can be in the Word of God before we should no longer trust 'The Word
    of God'. It didn't take much falsehood for me to distrust the 'Word of
    Clinton', nor does it take a lot of untruth for me to distrust the 'Word of
    a Car Salesman/Saleswoman'. So, to me the truly interesting question is, How
    trusting of God should we be if what we are told in what is called God's
    Word is actually false? How much falsity brings the whole thing down like a
    house of cards?


    for lots of creation/evolution information
    personal stories of struggle

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