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Science & The Supernatural: A Discussion of the World Around us - Based on Science with an Interest in the Supernatural ...
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PostPosted: 11 Dec 2007, 00:10 
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Grand High Lord Admiral of Hell
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Perhaps it's just me, but after some of the discussants here (dramatic examples could be IIDB's Larsguy and afdave) have gone to great links to reconcile a literal belief of the Bible (especially the OT) with the factual evidence of archaeology/ historical documentation.

As an archaeologist, I'm of course of the opinion that artifacts trump documents, and a wealth of agreeing documentation trumps a single source. In this instance, I have issues with a literal view of the OT. The lack of geological/ genetic evidence of a 'great flood' and the lack of archaeological/ documentary evidence for the plagues of Egypt or the ensuing exodus cast enough doubt in my mind that I just logically couldn't see a literal interpretation of the OT, case closed.

Now, with that in mind, when I see something like Harpur's work getting such publicity, I can only think that Christians are looking for ways to discount a literal view in order to hang onto the structure/worldview of the NT and thus have a basis for the messages encoded within.

Why is it that so many people cannot simple push the OT into the 'myth/legend' category, but seem to need to have it all, word for word (in the KJV :tongue3: ) be true?

I just don't get it. :dontknow:


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PostPosted: 09 Oct 2008, 20:05 
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Acolyte

Joined: 09 Oct 2008, 11:25
Posts: 24
Location: Deepest, Darkest NZ
Perhaps an article I wrote recently might help?

Quote:
Genesis 1 & 2: Fact or Parable?
by: Ray McIntyre

As a Christian living today there are a number of voices who claim to be speaking for all of us, they assail science and insist that we must literally accept every word in the Bible as true. In doing so they fail both themselves and others for much in the Bible is parable or metaphor. When we, as Christians, insist that parable must be accepted as literally true we put a stumbling block of, well, biblical proportions in the way of earnest seekers.

It is for such seekers that I write this article.

Should you happen to visit the Answers in Genesis site you will find, among other things the following comment,

"... We return to the question which forms the title of this article. Should Genesis be taken literally?

Answer: If we apply the normal principles of biblical exegesis (ignoring pressure to make the text conform to the evolutionary prejudices of our age), it is overwhelmingly obvious that Genesis was meant to be taken in a straightforward, obvious sense as an authentic, literal, historical record of what actually happened..."

But are they right?

Modern science shows that the earth is billions of years in age, it comes to this conclusion in a number of ways and I recommend the following site for information even a non-scientist can understand, http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-age-of-earth.html .

Is there then a meeting place between science and the Book of Genesis? Yes, there is and it comes from the understanding that Genesis is not a science text-book, that it was written in order to understand, not HOW the world came to be but WHY.

Genesis 1 & 2 are parables, they are parables about why there is an earth, why humans and animals and plants share it in common and why there is pain and suffering in the world. Parables are stories which may or may not be literally true but which imparts to us an important spiritual truth. In the New Testament we have parables such as the Good Samaritan, the evil vine-dressers; the parable of the prodigal son.

None of those New Testament stories are literal fact but they are true in a deeper, more meaningful way. So it is with the parables of Genesis 1 & 2. In them we are not being told that the world was created in six days, six thousand years ago. We are, however, being told that the world was created by God's intention, that human beings are made in the image and likeness of God and that God is a close to us as a friend who walks and talks with us in the cool of the day.

Adam and Eve, the Fall, the Serpent, Noah and his Ark may or may not be literal truth but they are markers of ultimate truth, of truth which can be held only in the imagination, of truth which can only be shown in images and symbols.

Genesis can only be understood in that it is our story, each of us is Adam, each of us is Eve, we misunderstand the Genesis parables when we fail to realize that they are addressed to US individually. Genesis, then, is our unique, individual story told as parable it is not some pre-scientific attempt to explain how all things came to be but rather a profound series of meditations on why things should be in the first place.

Once we realize this, we can see there are no contradictions, can be no contradictions between the findings of science and God's word to us in Genesis. Let us happily give up our insistence on a literal Genesis and seek the deeper, religious truths that await us there.

Ray McIntyre is a Priest and Theologian living in New Zealand.

_________________
"If the cross is the sign of anything, it's the sign that God has gone out of the religion business and solved all of the world's problems without requiring a single human being to do a single religious thing." Robert Farrar Capon


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PostPosted: 11 Oct 2008, 21:10 
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Grand High Lord Admiral of Hell
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Joined: 10 Sep 2007, 13:14
Posts: 5726
Location: Buffalo, NY
Well, the parable aspect works nicely to reconcile the two. I've heard plenty of explanations that work out to 'Well, seven days for God could be millions of years for us', which I can see people rationalizing.

I guess what I'm really looking to here is more of the literal, 'It's ALL the absolute truth of GOD' sort of stuff, where they blindly bend or warp facts and data, or go through convoluted arguments to make the same fit. :dontknow:

All parable, I can see fitting with science. :thumbright:

All literal, I just don't get ... :umm:

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If you can't stand the heat, don't tickle the dragon ...


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PostPosted: 12 Oct 2008, 09:29 
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Neighbor of the Beast

Joined: 03 Nov 2007, 09:17
Posts: 667
I think one of the difficulties with most of the individuals that require "literal truth" is that they lack in imagination. I do not say that this is so for all, but it is true for some. I know people that fall into this category that simply plod through life thinking and doing in all things, from their faith in the divine to brushing their teeth, simply because that is what they have been told to think and do.

Others find comfort it assigning order to the chaotic world that science embraces. They have so little meaning in their lives that they need someone to tell them that it is all for a purpose, it all has meaning. If they do not accept the bible as literal truth, they may be asked to admit that their belief simply requires them to have "faith". They would rather have assurances and guarantees.

I have always believed that true Faith will stand the test of time and the challenges of those that do not believe.

I do not possess such faith in any dogmatic religion, however, so I am using the outsider's view...


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