Your first category is largely a straw man argument. Literalist is a terribly unhelpful term and I wish people would stop using it. People who call themselves literalists are not actually literalists in the sense that they take every word of the Bible as literally true and devoid of metaphor and hyperbole. This is made obvious by the fact that you don't see any fundamentalists walking around with patched eyes, or chopped off limbs despite the teachings of Jesus .
Furthermore, belief in Sola Scriptura does not equal belief in literalism. Sola Scriptura teaches that the scriptural manuscripts as they were originally written are the only source of inerrant and infallible authority. This allows for interpretation according to the intent of the authors and other factors. What is written as history should be accepted as history and what is written as poetry should be interpreted as such. The mere fact that a passage contains a miracle should not put it outside the category of history if all other aspects of the writing demonstrate that it is a testimonial account (this is in answer to what you claim as the "daunting task" of separating history from metaphor). All that being said it really isn't that difficult to ascertain the broader teachings of the bible. The westminster confession of faith (WCF) a 400 year old document that is arguably the cornerstone of the protestant faith puts it in these terms:Originally Posted by Matthew 18:8-9
Frankly i have never come across any claimed inconsistency the bible that could not be reasonably explained and I've found most of those claims to be downright laughable.Originally Posted by WCF
The list of proposed inconstancies is really relatively short for a collection of documents with around 40 different authors and 800,000 words. What is more amazing is the consistency of such a large collection of literature. Not to mention the overall beauty and heavenliness of its teachings of the redemption of sinners through the sacrifice and love of God. And above all the singular focus throughout all of scripture on the glory of God.
But even the WCF recognizes that these are not sufficient to persuade.
Originally Posted by WCF
For more info on what historically the protestant church has taught about scripture see Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 1: Of The Holy Scriptures
LOL, everyone is bias and everyone brings there own presuppositions into any analysis. There is no such thing as an impartial analysis of scripture.Originally Posted by Mystic Tater
This part of your analysis I heartily agree with.They derive their own meaning from scripture, and always have been, hence the fragmentation of religious sects. However, once they derive subjective meaning from objective claims, they undo objective meaning, which is the gestalt of religion itself. They basically claim to be God by relaying their understanding of "objective truth".
This is what basically happened to Hitler. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, theologian, pastor and the man in my avatar, was famously cut off in a german radio broadcast where he claimed that Hitler had become an idol unto himself.
Martyrdom and blood sacrifice are not absolute proof of objective truth. But, if there is objective truth and [b[If[/b] the teachings of Christ are part of that truth than it is not a waste to sacrifice oneself for them. Moreover, such sacrifice can instill a great deal of hope, courage and bravery in the face of evil.Martyrdom and blood sacrifice does not indicate invariable truth, it only indicates a foolhardy illusion that one has obtained the truth. One should never have to prove one's-self by self-sacrifice!!!
Bonhoeffer's life is an example of this claim. He wrote the following hymn in a nazi concentration camp before he was executed for his preaching against hitler and his part in a Hitler assassination attempt (the same one portrayed in the movie Valkyrie):
Originally Posted by Dietrich BonhoefferThis path is much like the second and only leads one to become a god unto herself.Lastly, there are those who go about their daily lives, mulling over what has been granted to them through this gift that we call life, harboring their own reasons and meanings for being who they are - which, as far as I can tell, is the only responsible, creative, and liberating path to follow. For me, anyway.
From what are you liberated?
More importantly, on what basis do you find such liberation, as well as responsibility and creativity to be values to be held above others... what is your authority... yourself?
How do you know life is a gift?