Re: Believe it even if it isn't true theology

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Sun Feb 19 2006 - 08:23:41 EST

Yes, I did try to answer all your questions but you seem unable to see that at times biblical language is poetic and full of metaphor and that it is in terms of its culture of 2 to 4000 years ago with its inaccurate and outdated cosmogony

As you didn't listen I gave up.

I suggest that instead of ploughing your own furrow you learn a little about biblical interpretation and the context of the Bible.

When itcomes to understanding Genesis 1-2 in its historical
and socioloical context, I also suggest reading these
Christian scholars:

***John Walton, prof. at Wheaton College, and author
of the NIV APPLICATION commentary on Genesis (an
interesting read concerning the primeval history
portions of Genesis), sent me this email: Dear xxx, One
URL that might be of interest to you is the audio of
my keynote address at Wheaton's Cosmology Conference
in 2003 where I presented my view of Genesis 1 to the
conference attendees. It can be accessed at:
I am doing a lot of work these days on ANE ontology
which supports very strongly the theory that I have
that I wrote in 2002. The ontology of ancient Israel
construed in similar terms helps unpack Genesis 1
since, obviously, the understanding of what is
understood by bringing something into existence
depends considerably on how one defines existence. I
have contracted with Eisenbrauns to do a monograph on
Genesis 1 as Ancient Cosmology which will get much
more into the ontology side of the issue as well as
develop Genesis 1 in relationship to the Sumerian
concepts of ME and NAM (the control attributes of the
cosmos and the "destinies"). There are many
intriguing implications to this study. Best Wishes,
John [John H. Walton, Department of Biblical Studies,
Wheaton College and Graduate School]

***Conrad Hyers (retired chair of religion at Gustavus
Adolphus College), author of The Meaning of Creation,
and, the article, "Genesis Knows Nothing of Scientific
Creationism" [google it]

***Frederick Greenspahn's article, "Biblical Views of
Creation" [google it]

***R. Christopher Heard (Pepperdine University
Religion Prof.) on "Why I Am Not A Creationist"

this I pinched from someone but you ought to read Heard.

Meanwhile there is nothing further to say

  ----- Original Message -----
  Sent: Sunday, February 19, 2006 3:51 AM
  Subject: Re: Believe it even if it isn't true theology

  Since we only have 4 posts per day, this is for, Michael, Mervin Bitikofer, Rich Faussette, Bill Hamilton

  For Michael:
  I am a dog when it comes to logic. After all I had formal graduate training in logic. So please answer the question illustrated by the following examples. On that other list you were the dog who tucked his tail between his legs and ran away from these questions:

  "A primitive tribesman who was taught that the innerds of a great green slug formed the earth. He goes to school and learns the scientific view. In order to maintain his belief in the great green slug, he decides that the story must be esconced in a different literary genre. Thus he concludes that his religion is TRUE. Please explain in detail why it is OK for you to say Genesis is a different literary genre and therefore your religion is true (regardless of the scientific mistakes you think it makes) and not ok for the primitive tribesman and great green slug believer to hold that his view is also equally a different genre and his religion is true (regardless of the fact that there was really no Great Green Slug). Both are doing the very same thing. Why is your doing it so much better than when the Great Green Slug believer does it? "

  I would add, to this, why is it ok for us to say our True religion was accommodated to the beliefs of the ancient Hebrew tribesmen but it isn't ok for God to accommodate his message to that of the Great Green slug believer.

  You told that the question is nonsense and the refused to answer the question. I don't think the question is nonsense, so I changed the question to a real life example:

  "A mormon goes to school and learns the scientific truths about New World Archaeology. He finds conflict between his beliefs and the science. He decides that the story outlined in the Book of Mormon is an allegory/accommodation and that is how he resolves his conflict. Why is it ok for you to do that and not ok for the mormon?"

  you didn't answer.

  Or put in terms of the Dalai Lama There was this recent news account of a speech given by the Dalai Lama:

  "Ladies and Gentlemen, His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

  As a child in Tibet, I was keenly curious about how things worked. When I got a toy I would play with it a bit, then take it apart to see how it was put together. As I became older, I applied the same scrutiny to a movie projector and an antique automobile.

  At one point I became particularly intrigued by an old telescope, with which I would study the heavens. One night while looking at the moon I realized that there were shadows on its surface. I corralled my two main tutors to show them, because this was contrary to the ancient version of cosmology I had been taught, which held that the moon was a heavenly body that emitted its own light.

  But through my telescope the moon was clearly just a barren rock, pocked with craters. If the author of that fourth-century treatise were writing today, I'm sure he would write the chapter on cosmology differently.

  If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change. In my view, science and Buddhism share a search for the truth and for understanding reality. By learning from science about aspects of reality where its understanding may be more advanced, I believe that Buddhism enriches its own worldview.

  Say "om," somebody!"
  accessed 1-21-06

  To which I then said and still say:

  "Now, this isn't a great green slug, nor it is Mormonism, but the Dalai Lama realized that his books, which said the moon generated its own light was wrong. Now, he didn't rewrite the text, he believes buddhism is true even though what it taught about nature is wrong. I believe that you too follow such a path. I believe that you believe God accommodated the message to the Hebrews and thus it still teaches truth in theology.

  What is the difference between your position and that of the Dalai Lama?

  This time I will stick around to see if you have the intellectual honesty to actually answer the question rather than go silent like a YEC does when faced with a difficult question or proclaim again that the above questions are nonsense, which they clearly aren't. They are perfectly good questions which my atheist friends ask all the time.

  And please realize that one can not uphold scripture by making it unreal any more than the YECs can uphold scripture by making all science wrong.

Received on Sun Feb 19 08:25:10 2006

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Feb 19 2006 - 08:25:11 EST