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  1. #91
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Someone, somewhere, took the passage in Genesis with all the "begats" and extrapolated a timeline of the Earth from that, which is why young Earthers believe the 6,000 year thing. How much more literal can you get? Granted I don't know anyone who believes Jesus was literally a lamb, as in a four-legged wool-covered baby mammal. But the part of the Bible that makes up "Bible stories," all that OT stuff, plenty of people believe it word-for-word with no allowance for metaphor or analogy. Some of them even think the Parables are real stories of real people, not illustrative of principles and the nature of our relationship with God, like I think it's pretty clear Jesus meant them to be.
    What stories do you mean?

    Any that contain a miracle or certain stand-alone stories like Job or maybe Jonah that stick out from the broader history and have quirky narratives?

    The other puzzling thing to me, is that what is commonly referred to as "Biblical literalism" (which I guess really means taking certain passages literally) seems to require ADDING quite a bit to the Bible, IMO. Like that whole 6,000 year extrapolation- it never says how long most of those people lived, so there have to be some assumptions that aren't written on the page to make that work. Literalists don't even seem to be very good at taking things literally.
    Agreed. They're really bad about that when it comes to the dispensational rapture stuff.

    Ftr, I'm not a biblical literalist or fundamentalist.

    Edit: To be clear I share a lot in common with both groups it's just that they are more recent reactionary groups that focus on 3 or 4 specific doctrines while I view myself as being part of an older and broader tradition of the Reformed Faith. I mean, you never really hear anyone called a reformed fundamentalist or anything like that.
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  2. #92
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Not unsurprisingly N.T. Wright does a much better job than me of unpacking the terms literal, abstract and concrete.

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  3. #93
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    I get frustrated with both hardcore atheists and fundamentalist Christians on this issue. When I read Genesis, I don't see "okay this definitely means the Earth is a few thousand years old, case closed" OR "okay, this says the Earth is a few thousand years old which is stupid, case closed." Maybe because I approach the Bible as literature- meaningful, maybe inspired literature, but literature. Nothing wrong with calling it what it is. If you read it non-literally, as a poem that maybe someone wrote after being given a revelation or vision of the origins of the Earth, it's not really that incompatible with science.

    Now everybody on both sides is going to think (know) I'm crazy. I guess that's okay.

  4. #94
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    What stories do you mean?

    Any that contain a miracle or certain stand-alone stories like Job or maybe Jonah that stick out from the broader history and have quirky narratives?
    I'm thinking of the ones that would have taken place thousands of years before anybody wrote them down, if they happened literally as written. Like thinking that Adam and Eve were literally the first humans, Eve was literally created from Adam's rib, there was a literal snake and a literal apple, etc. Or Noah's Ark- literally all the animals on earth preserved on a single boat, not to mention all that jazz about him being drunk and naked and that's why there are black people (seriously, people think that's written on the page- like I said, a lot of "literalism" requires adding to the text IMO). Tower of Babel. All that stuff.

    Once you get to Abraham I'm thinking things get slightly more historically valid, though I hesitate to consider the Bible a reliable history text any moreso than it is a reliable science text.

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    I get frustrated with both hardcore atheists and fundamentalist Christians on this issue. When I read Genesis, I don't see "okay this definitely means the Earth is a few thousand years old, case closed" OR "okay, this says the Earth is a few thousand years old which is stupid, case closed." Maybe because I approach the Bible as literature- meaningful, maybe inspired literature, but literature. Nothing wrong with calling it what it is. If you read it non-literally, as a poem that maybe someone wrote after being given a revelation or vision of the origins of the Earth, it's not really that incompatible with science.

    Now everybody on both sides is going to think (know) I'm crazy. I guess that's okay.
    I agree with your post - other than the bolded part, which is the only irrational part I can see. But if by revelation/vision you mean "Using their imagination to come up with an interesting story, like any modern storyteller" then I agree with you.

    The idea of taking the Bible seriously as a guide to understanding the objective world, is something I think was almost certainly unintended by the original thinkers. It isn't meant as a scientific or historical textbook, but as a set of ideas that attempt to give people's lives a meaning and purpose, and make them feel significant in the grand scheme of things.

  6. #96
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    I'm thinking of the ones that would have taken place thousands of years before anybody wrote them down, if they happened literally as written. Like thinking that Adam and Eve were literally the first humans, Eve was literally created from Adam's rib, there was a literal snake and a literal apple, etc. Or Noah's Ark- literally all the animals on earth preserved on a single boat, not to mention all that jazz about him being drunk and naked and that's why there are black people (seriously, people think that's written on the page- like I said, a lot of "literalism" requires adding to the text IMO). Tower of Babel. All that stuff.

    Once you get to Abraham I'm thinking things get slightly more historically valid, though I hesitate to consider the Bible a reliable history text any moreso than it is a reliable science text.
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  7. #97
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    The other puzzling thing to me, is that what is commonly referred to as "Biblical literalism" (which I guess really means taking certain passages literally) seems to require ADDING quite a bit to the Bible, IMO. Like that whole 6,000 year extrapolation- it never says how long most of those people lived, so there have to be some assumptions that aren't written on the page to make that work. Literalists don't even seem to be very good at taking things literally.
    This is best exhibited by the literalist's usual take on homosexuality. They have to pack a ton of stuff into the Bible for that.
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  8. #98
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by En Gallop View Post
    I agree with your post - other than the bolded part, which is the only irrational part I can see. But if by revelation/vision you mean "Using their imagination to come up with an interesting story, like any modern storyteller" then I agree with you.
    You didn't bold the "maybe" and that, to me, is the most important part of that part of the sentence. I can't rule out revelation/vision and I don't think it's irrational to remain open to things like that. Saying it's definitely a revelation or vision would be irrational because there's no evidence of it, but I didn't say it definitely was. I say what I mean and I typically avoid certainty like the plague if there's any room for open-endedness or fence-sitting. That's one thing I agree with Mal+ on- certainty is the enemy of creativity and discovery. (I don't know that I've seen Mal+ demonstrate a lack of certainty in his posts, though.)

  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    You didn't bold the "maybe" and that, to me, is the most important part of that part of the sentence. I can't rule out revelation/vision and I don't think it's irrational to remain open to things like that. Saying it's definitely a revelation or vision would be irrational because there's no evidence of it, but I didn't say it definitely was. I say what I mean and I typically avoid certainty like the plague if there's any room for open-endedness or fence-sitting. That's one thing I agree with Mal+ on- certainty is the enemy of creativity and discovery. (I don't know that I've seen Mal+ demonstrate a lack of certainty in his posts, though.)
    I guess it depends just how "open" you are being. Anything is theoretically possible, but some things are more likely than others. For something like God-given visions I think 1/10 (2/10 at the most) is a reasonable amount of openness, as there are many, many difficult questions to answer in order for it to even be possible.

  10. #100
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by En Gallop View Post
    I guess it depends just how "open" you are being. Anything is theoretically possible, but some things are more likely than others. For something like God-given visions I think 1/10 (2/10 at the most) is a reasonable amount of openness, as there are many, many difficult questions to answer in order for it to even be possible.
    And those questions will never be definitively, objectively answered, so I don't bother putting how open I am on a scale of 1-10. It's a toggle switch. Open or not open.

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