One of the biggest criticisms that I’ve gotten on my “Why I Can’t Agree With the Bible” series is that I’m taking the Bible as literal. So lets discuss this.
I am trying not to only focus on the most literal translation, but I am looking at the literal translation a fair bit. I have a number of reasons for doing this.
1) The number of Christians who are Biblical literalists. They may not be the majority of Christians, but they are the most vocal. They are also the most problematic. Let’s face it, the majority of Christians can get along just fine with those that don’t share their beliefs. They also happily admit that their holy book isn’t perfect. What’s the point in addressing their view? They aren’t discriminating against people and using the Bible as their excuse to do so. They aren’t trying to tell people what they can and can’t do based on the Bible. They aren’t toting the Bible as infallible. My criticisms of the Bible are directed at people who want to use it to force their beliefs on others (at least to a large extent).2) I’m reading it like I would read any other book that is claimed to be factually accurate. That is, I’m reading it critically and pointing out where it is inaccurate. This is how any honest intellectual would read any other historical text. The only difference is I’m not looking for other sources to either corroborate or disprove the Bible. This is because doing so would take far too long, and I’m not planning to get these posts peer-reviewed and added to any scholarly journals.
3) How else can I read it? Should I not take it at face value when it makes a claim? How else should I take it? What other works would we take this way (by which I mean, what else would we take not at face value when it makes truth claims)?
However, like I said, I’m not solely reading the Bible literally. When I ask “how is this moral,” I’m saying “regardless of whether or not this actually happened, where’s the moral lesson to be learned here and how is it a moral lesson.” Basically, if the Bible isn’t literal, why should I take it as a book worth revering. Why should I not just ignore it?