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The Issue of Literalism

kasmic
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7/27/2015 5:11:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
The Bible:

Evidence is overwhelming that many stories of the Bible are fabricated, ahistorical, and false. The Creation Story immediately comes to mind. If you take the story literally, and believe the earth to be only six thousand years old then you believe that which has been disproven. Another easy example is that of the World Flood in Noah"s story. Not only could it not have happened; it has been demonstrated to have not happened. In February of 2014 Bill Nye authenticates this position in his debate with Ken Ham. (1) Thus we know that Noah"s ark did not happen.

Due to these example and many others it is obvious that scripture should not be taken literally or historically. It is worth noting that there are many who claim parts of these books to be figurative and not literal. This seems to me to be an untenable position. Considering that only taking scripture figuratively seems to undermine the entire concept. If one does not believe the Bible to be literal what reason do they have to believe Christ's suffering brings salvation. How can one say, well obviously the creation and Noah"s flood are figurative, while in the same breath profess the resurrection of the dead and walking on water as literal. It is far past time for someone to point out that to do so is void of logic and is a prime example of the Cherry Picking Fallacy. It seems clear that to believe in scripture implies to take it literally.

To take Scripture literally is to ignore facts and to ignore reason. So why do people believe in scripture?

(1) https://www.youtube.com...
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RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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7/27/2015 5:42:47 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/27/2015 5:11:06 PM, kasmic wrote:
To take Scripture literally is to ignore facts and to ignore reason. So why do people believe in scripture?

Written words have more authority than speech, kasmic, even when they're false. Put the words on paper or vellum, illuminate them, bind them in embossed leather and the words themselves become an object to venerate -- an icon of authority and cultural continuity.

The fantastical also has power -- it kindles wonder, imagination, hope, and a belief in possibility greater than ourselves.

And it's often taught to us by the people we most love and respect -- fathers, mothers, teachers, clergy, grandparents, family, friends. People so precious to us that if we thought them deluded or lying to us, it would damage our self-esteem.

People also love traditions. It gives them a sense of belonging and continuity. They delight in myths, uncaring whether they ever happened, as long as they can live as though they did. Not all traditions and myths are religious, but the religious ones come with dedicated functionaries, art and architecture, music, costumes, literature, custom, festivals and theatre -- culturally, it's a very rich legacy, delighting many.

To call the ideas false -- even when they patently are -- or immoral -- as sadly, they often are too -- sullies that delight. Moreover, a great deal of authority and privilege has been accumulated over centuries on the unsupportable claim of scriptural authority -- including the privilege that it is taboo to challenge the unsupportable claims.

So my answer is that it's very much a mixed bag: despite its evident falsehood, error, inconsistency, immorality, bigotry and outright ignorance, people still cleave to the authority of scripture from habit, from hope, from ignorance and selective scrutiny, from love of its teachers, from cultural sentiment and a grubby desire for privilege.

I hope that may be useful.
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,082
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7/27/2015 5:49:52 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/27/2015 5:11:06 PM, kasmic wrote:
The Bible:

Evidence is overwhelming that many stories of the Bible are fabricated, ahistorical, and false. The Creation Story immediately comes to mind. If you take the story literally, and believe the earth to be only six thousand years old then you believe that which has been disproven. Another easy example is that of the World Flood in Noah"s story. Not only could it not have happened; it has been demonstrated to have not happened. In February of 2014 Bill Nye authenticates this position in his debate with Ken Ham. (1) Thus we know that Noah"s ark did not happen.

Due to these example and many others it is obvious that scripture should not be taken literally or historically. It is worth noting that there are many who claim parts of these books to be figurative and not literal. This seems to me to be an untenable position. Considering that only taking scripture figuratively seems to undermine the entire concept. If one does not believe the Bible to be literal what reason do they have to believe Christ's suffering brings salvation. How can one say, well obviously the creation and Noah"s flood are figurative, while in the same breath profess the resurrection of the dead and walking on water as literal. It is far past time for someone to point out that to do so is void of logic and is a prime example of the Cherry Picking Fallacy. It seems clear that to believe in scripture implies to take it literally.

To take Scripture literally is to ignore facts and to ignore reason. So why do people believe in scripture?

(1) https://www.youtube.com...

Honestly, I think most believers do not test these stories against what we know of the world (present members excluded). When a believer does happen to possess knowledge they consider to be fact and it obviously is contrary to the Bible, then the problem must be in interpretation of the Bible and not the Bible itself.

This is not meant to be malicious - I did this very thing when I was a believer.
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kasmic
Posts: 1,302
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7/27/2015 5:50:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/27/2015 5:42:47 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 7/27/2015 5:11:06 PM, kasmic wrote:
To take Scripture literally is to ignore facts and to ignore reason. So why do people believe in scripture?

Written words have more authority than speech, kasmic, even when they're false. Put the words on paper or vellum, illuminate them, bind them in embossed leather and the words themselves become an object to venerate -- an icon of authority and cultural continuity.

The fantastical also has power -- it kindles wonder, imagination, hope, and a belief in possibility greater than ourselves.

And it's often taught to us by the people we most love and respect -- fathers, mothers, teachers, clergy, grandparents, family, friends. People so precious to us that if we thought them deluded or lying to us, it would damage our self-esteem.

People also love traditions. It gives them a sense of belonging and continuity. They delight in myths, uncaring whether they ever happened, as long as they can live as though they did. Not all traditions and myths are religious, but the religious ones come with dedicated functionaries, art and architecture, music, costumes, literature, custom, festivals and theatre -- culturally, it's a very rich legacy, delighting many.

To call the ideas false -- even when they patently are -- or immoral -- as sadly, they often are too -- sullies that delight. Moreover, a great deal of authority and privilege has been accumulated over centuries on the unsupportable claim of scriptural authority -- including the privilege that it is taboo to challenge the unsupportable claims.

So my answer is that it's very much a mixed bag: despite its evident falsehood, error, inconsistency, immorality, bigotry and outright ignorance, people still cleave to the authority of scripture from habit, from hope, from ignorance and selective scrutiny, from love of its teachers, from cultural sentiment and a grubby desire for privilege.

I hope that may be useful.

Great insight. Thank you!
"Liberalism Defined" http://www.debate.org...
"The Social Contract" http://www.debate.org...
"Intro to IR An Open Discussion" http://www.debate.org...

Check out my website, the Sensible Soapbox http://www.sensiblesoapbox.com...
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kasmic
Posts: 1,302
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7/27/2015 5:51:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
This is not meant to be malicious - I did this very thing when I was a believer.

I long since stopped taking the stories literally, though it was another year or so after that when I actually began to doubt the whole concept.
"Liberalism Defined" http://www.debate.org...
"The Social Contract" http://www.debate.org...
"Intro to IR An Open Discussion" http://www.debate.org...

Check out my website, the Sensible Soapbox http://www.sensiblesoapbox.com...
My latest article: http://www.sensiblesoapbox.com...