Friday, January 13, 2006

Scriptural Literalism



I’m going to try to be short and to the point. I can’t understand anyone’s attempt to proclaim that the Bible is literal and unvarnished and absolute truth. I’m not going to try to argue this logically. If you see a man sitting on the curb shouting “It’s raining on my furniture*”, you don’t convince him otherwise with a logical argument. There are contradictions in the bible. One of my favorites is, if you're a male, it alternately forbids and demands that you cut your hair. This falls into the realm of the ludicrous. Why would the alleged all-powerful creator of the Universe give a divine crap about the way I wear my hair? This is a far more important question than, “Why would God need a starship?” It makes no sense, except when seen as a method of control. Is the alleged god the instigator of this control? Of course not. It is an obvious attempt at divisiveness, of “us and them”, in a world before colors and do-rags. This is the literal word of God? Nice try.

So why then, do people attempt to proclaim this man-made and multiply edited book as God’s literal truth? I can only think of one reason. Perhaps my readers will offer others, but I am sticking to my gut feeling on this one. Have you ever been to a hypnotist’s stage show? There comes a point, about 15 minutes into the show, after the volunteers have come to the stage, where the hypnotist tests the “victims” to see if they are indeed hypnotized. I can only think that, “The Bible is the literal truth” is the clergyman’s test to see if the parishioner will swallow anything, hook, line, and sinker, that the demagogue cares to feed them. If the brain is sufficiently switched off to accept that information without question, it will accept any other information or instruction without hesitation.

To any and all that noticed and cared that my last submission was part 1, I will indeed be posting part 2 soon.

* If anyone knows the name of the comedian that coined this phrase, please let me know so that I can attribute it properly.

5 Comments:

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Singularity said...

I think the gremlins you are attempting to ferret out really orbit around the concept of faith. Arguing biblical passages is a losing battle I've learned. Better to go straight to the fundamental engine of illogic, i.e., faith.

 
At 4:59 PM, Blogger Singularity said...

I suppose "losing" is really the word I meant. "Futile" is probably more apt.

 
At 1:53 PM, Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

The Bible does not alternately forbid and require males to cut their hair. I'm not sure why you would think this. There is a particular vow that someone in ancient Israel could take that would amount to not cutting one's hair for a certain period of time. That's in one context. There's also a much-debated passage in I Cor 11 that most scholars of all stripes think is unclear enough that little weight should be placed on it, but the predominant view is that it's about head garments and not hair at all. A close look at different translations will reveal the interpretive issues.

Either way, your example is dealing with two different issues in two different contexts, and taking a body of scripture as it was intended to be taken does not require abandoning all sense of context, as your argument requires.

 
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