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Old 03 Feb 2018, 02:53 PM   #683415 / #1
Jobar
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Default Literalism vs. postmodernism

Lately I've been reading articles from the Christian Post; here's one about the Moody Bible Institute, a Chicago seminary well known for its conservative theology, where the professors are required to sign a statement saying they accept the Bible as inerrant.

https://www.christianpost.com/news/m...ipture-215528/

Quote:
In a post on her blog late Thursday, Julie Roys, formerly the host of Moody Radio broadcast "Up for Debate," a show that has been canceled, noted that despite assurances from leadership of "no [doctrinal] drift" at the school, some professors at Moody now sign their names to statements of faith while saying they believe otherwise.

As confusion swirls over definitional minutiae, at particular issue is the school's stated position on biblical inerrancy, the doctrine that the Bible is "free from error." Roys explained that the theological statement pertaining to inerrancy that the Moody uses was written 90 years ago, long before anyone could have foreseen how the influence of postmodernism would render the meanings of words meaningless.
...
She elaborated on her blog that MBI has never formally adopted the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, a 1978 consensus document signed by over 300 evangelical scholars that was published in defense of the inerrancy of Scripture against what many considered to be a liberal trajectory within evangelical Christianity. But that statement has served as the standard that they have affirmed in all of their theology classes, according to MBI theology professor Richard Weber. He told Roys when he was interviewed for his position 15 years ago, MBI adheres to the Chicago Statement.

Yet at a Bible/Theology Division meeting just over a year ago, Weber said he was surprised to hear two theology professors — Ashish Varma and David Tae-Kyung Rim say that they did not hold to a "correspondence view of truth," the view on which the Chicago Statement is based. The two have also reportedly disclosed that they also reject the Chicago Statement's definition of inerrancy.

Weber, who is said to be one of the staunchest defenders of inerrancy at Moody, was one of the professors who was let go in November. Moody has said previously that the staff reductions were necessary and part of the new strategic choices the school made and their initiatives to better position the institution for future ministry and "continued Kingdom impact." Weber has been stripped of all his classroom responsibilities for the remainder of this year.
So apparently there are those at Moody who hold to a postmodernist understanding of the Bible- which seems to me to be diametrically opposed to a literalist one.

Over the years I've seen a few believers attempt to justify their faith in a postmodern way. (Some here may recall Gamera, from Talk Rational; I don't think the debates I had with him there are still extant.)

This dispute both amuses and interests me. If one of the most famous literalist institutions in the US can't seem to hold to its doctrine, whence literalism?
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Old 03 Feb 2018, 04:08 PM   #683418 / #2
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I think both you and Dr Roys are rather over-extending the reach of post-modernism, considering that this definition of inerrancy is older than modernism. Christianity's very first systematic theologian, Origen, openly mocked the idea that Genesis' tree of life was a literal tree with leaves and so forth rather than the much more important allegory for knowledge that it actually was, and Augustine backed him up on this centuries later in what became some of the foundational texts of the post-Roman Latin church. Both would argue that the "truth" the metaphor expresses is ultimately much more important than truths about vulgar botany. Even in the fourth and fifth centuries, scholars were arguing vehemently about what it meant for the printed word to be "true", in and out of the Christian world, and everything exploded again during the Enlightenment years. But it pleases and amuses me to hear that such a conflict is brewing in what ten years ago would have seemed like the most unlikely of places.

It really is past time for textual inerrancy to lose some ground, and in more than one faith.

Note: This view that certain stories are true as midrash but not as a historical fact is what we have always applied to Jesus' parables, with few exceptions. The application of a literal interpretation to Scripture is always a matter of degree, not category, whatever one claims about one's position.
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Old 03 Feb 2018, 05:04 PM   #683419 / #3
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Dr. Bart Ehrman, author of The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, is a distinguished graduate of Moody Bible Institute, as well as Wheaton College and Princeton Theological Seminary, and he seems to have shed his inerrantist past well enough.
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Old 03 Feb 2018, 05:37 PM   #683420 / #4
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Well, there is some hope in that there are a record number of Americans who do not believe the Bible is the literal word of god:

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Fewer than one in four Americans (24%) now believe the Bible is "the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word," similar to the 26% who view it as "a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man." This is the first time in Gallup's four-decade trend that biblical literalism has not surpassed biblical skepticism. Meanwhile, about half of Americans -- a proportion largely unchanged over the years -- fall in the middle, saying the Bible is the inspired word of God but that not all of it should be taken literally.
But of course, what that actually translates into is never specified. What shouldn’t be take literally and what should (and what is the criterion, other than in any obvious sections where it’s outright stated that something is a parable)?

Poli raised Origen’s and Augustine’s figurative interpretation of Genesis, for examples, but if that’s the case, then what the hell was Jesus talking about in Matthew 20:28 (“the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”) or in regard to marriage (linked to Adam and Eve) in Matthew 19 or Abel in 23 or Noah in 24? He’s clearly not referring to any of these people as mythical or the events around them as figurative.

And what are we to make of the genealogies in Matthew and Luke, both tracing Jesus to Adam? How could a fictional character be an ancestor to a non-fictional one? Forget about the more important theological aspect of sacrificial atonement (i.e., Jesus dying for Adam’s sin in order to provide some sort of divine excuse to defeat death, supposedly caused by Adam’s sin in paradise), what is the purpose of any of it if Adam and Eve and what happened to them is a work of fiction? That would necessarily make the passion narrative merely an extension of that original work of fiction.
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Old 03 Feb 2018, 07:57 PM   #683429 / #5
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Poli raised Origen’s and Augustine’s figurative interpretation of Genesis, for examples, but if that’s the case, then what the hell was Jesus talking about in Matthew 20:28 (“the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”) or in regard to marriage (linked to Adam and Eve) in Matthew 19 or Abel in 23 or Noah in 24? He’s clearly not referring to any of these people as mythical or the events around them as figurative.'
Figurative = non-literal . Figurative =/= fictional. The account in Genesis is understood as true - Augustine's theology cannot by any means be understood without the guiding concept of original sin - it just isn't literal. Whether or not there was a literal talking snake or literal foliage is irrelevant to the divine-human relationship being expressed through the story.

If I tried to explain general relativity using Einstein's example of the train and platform, would you conclude that general relativity is a lie because the metaphor describing it involved a train and and passenger that in all likelihood never literally existed? Communicating the details of the train station is not the purpose of the story. Even if the person telling it to you happens to actually believe that it was.

As for geneaologies, etc, this only presents a problem if you assume literalism in the first place. No doubt the writers of the gospels, like all Jews of their day, believed themselves to be in direct line of descent from Adam through Abraham. You don't have to agree with them to understand the story, however. Only if someone has already sold you the bill of goods that the Bible must be literally true is this even alarming. It is important that Jesus was a "son of Adam", ie entirely, bodily, human. Indeed, "Son of man/adam" is the only title that he ever accepted. His humanity is important for phenomenological, not genealogical, reasons. It's a book of theology, not a paternity suit.
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Old 03 Feb 2018, 08:08 PM   #683430 / #6
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Poli raised Origen’s and Augustine’s figurative interpretation of Genesis, for examples, but if that’s the case, then what the hell was Jesus talking about in Matthew 20:28 (“the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”) or in regard to marriage (linked to Adam and Eve) in Matthew 19 or Abel in 23 or Noah in 24? He’s clearly not referring to any of these people as mythical or the events around them as figurative.'
Figurative = non-literal . Figurative =/= fictional.
Incoherent.

Quote:
If I tried to explain general relativity using Einstein's example of the train and platform, would you conclude that general relativity is a lie because the metaphor describing it involved a train and and passenger that in all likelihood never literally existed? Communicating the details of the train station is not the purpose of the story. Even if the person telling it to you happens to actually believe that it was.
Inapplicable. General relativity was his theory and he used the analogy of a train station to help explain how the theory worked.

Were Adam and Eve theoretical humans? Did they theoretically disobey a god’s instructions and therefore figuratively instantiated death? Is sacrificial atonement—Jesus’ entire purpose—and our subsequent eternal soul’s salvation after death non-literal and what exactly would that mean?

Quote:
As for geneaologies, etc, this only presents a problem if you assume literalism in the first place.
No, it’s a problem in that either someone was actually descendent from a real person or they were not. If Adam wasn’t real and/or wasn’t the first human, then there is no special claim related to Jesus’ descendancy.
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Old 03 Feb 2018, 09:02 PM   #683432 / #7
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Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
Incoherent.
Are you claiming to be unable to understand what a figurative metaphor is? Here is a useful guide: https://kidskonnect.com/language/figurative-language/

Quote:
Inapplicable. General relativity was his theory and he used the analogy of a train station to help explain how the theory worked.
That is the general idea, yeah. That is what metaphors are and what they are for. I'm not clear what you are confused about.

Quote:
Were Adam and Eve theoretical humans?
No, they are figurative ones. They are literally named The Man and The Living One. They are in a story with a talking snake. It is not hard to grasp that they might be figurative or allegorical in nature.

Quote:
Did they theoretically disobey a god’s instructions and therefore figuratively instantiated death?
Who is "they", here? They represent humanity in the story, so it is more like a "we" than a "they". And Augustine can actually only really be understood in this light. If it was just those two literal people, the idea that their descendants would be held responsible would be bizarre and unjust; Augustine however was clear that their sin is figurative of our sin, the Original Sin that we are all soaked in equally and without exception. I note that I do not personally agree with Augustine here, but nevertheless his writings are proof that Christians have not always been literalists.

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Is sacrificial atonement—Jesus’ entire purpose—and our subsequent eternal soul’s salvation after death non-literal and what exactly would that mean?
It has to be. If it is not on some level figurative, how how the story even make sense? A literal person eating a literal apple would not, normally, have any impact on their offspring. Eve and all of her 15 billion daughters and sons could, if that were the case, have escaped doom by eating a pear instead. If the literal apple is the problem. Which it isn't. Nor would a literal death on a cross, absent any other factors, have any impact on a 3,000 year old nutritional error. There are obviously figurative and symbolic elements involved, even if you also insist that the figures in question were literal people. Their material reality has little bearing on the meaning of the story.

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No, it’s a problem in that either someone was actually descendent from a real person or they were not. If Adam wasn’t real and/or wasn’t the first human, then there is no special claim related to Jesus’ descendancy.
What "special claim" are we talking about here? All human beings are "sons and daughters of Adam", so aside from clarifying that Jesus is really human (which, in my opinion, is the real and only point of the genealogy), what special status could Jesus claim from that descent, that any one of us couldn't also claim?

Now the involvement of David in that genealogy is a bit more complicated, and perhaps relevant to a claim had Jesus ever tried to physically seize the throne. But connecting him to Adam is not remarkable, every single genealogy in the Jewish nation went back to Adam somehow or other.

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Old 04 Feb 2018, 04:39 AM   #683444 / #8
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I should note that I know literalism is not totally synonymous with inerrancy, which is what the Moody professors are required to affirm belief in. Although the two concepts do seem to be tightly intermeshed, I realize that it's possible to view Jesus' parables (for example) as figurative truths, rather than literal ones. Illustrations, not photographs.

I'm sure I could research it online, but does anyone happen to know what particular translation MBI considers inerrant? I feel sure it's the KJV, but I don't know for certain.

I wonder how they deal with the blatant contradictions, such as the widely variant genealogies that Koy mentions?
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Old 04 Feb 2018, 04:49 AM   #683445 / #9
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Were Adam and Eve theoretical humans?
No, they are figurative ones. They are literally named The Man and The Living One. They are in a story with a talking snake. It is not hard to grasp that they might be figurative or allegorical in nature.
It seems to me you have trouble grasping that about Jesus Christ himself, Poli. Given all the miracle tales about him, which are no more believable than talking snakes, might Jesus be only an extended allegory, not a literal person?

I didn't intend to start yet another historical/mythical argument, but the line between historicism and literalism is a blurry one, you must admit.
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Old 04 Feb 2018, 07:33 AM   #683450 / #10
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Originally Posted by Jobar View Post
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Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
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Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
Were Adam and Eve theoretical humans?
No, they are figurative ones. They are literally named The Man and The Living One. They are in a story with a talking snake. It is not hard to grasp that they might be figurative or allegorical in nature.
It seems to me you have trouble grasping that about Jesus Christ himself, Poli. Given all the miracle tales about him, which are no more believable than talking snakes, might Jesus be only an extended allegory, not a literal person?

I didn't intend to start yet another historical/mythical argument, but the line between historicism and literalism is a blurry one, you must admit.
Of course he might. I don't find it likely, but any figure in history could be mythical or partially mythical, and the literal details of their life should always be assumed to be in doubt. People do not write things down simply for the sake of recording information, every document is a portrayal to suit the purposes of a time and place.
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Old 04 Feb 2018, 07:43 AM   #683451 / #11
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I should note that I know literalism is not totally synonymous with inerrancy, which is what the Moody professors are required to affirm belief in. Although the two concepts do seem to be tightly intermeshed, I realize that it's possible to view Jesus' parables (for example) as figurative truths, rather than literal ones. Illustrations, not photographs.

I'm sure I could research it online, but does anyone happen to know what particular translation MBI considers inerrant? I feel sure it's the KJV, but I don't know for certain.

I wonder how they deal with the blatant contradictions, such as the widely variant genealogies that Koy mentions?
MBI does not take a position on a single correct translation; indeed, several "missionary" translations have been produced by the Institute itself over the years. The general feeling is, I think, that a faithful translation cannot contain error, even if it states things in a different fashion.
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Old 04 Feb 2018, 06:28 PM   #683465 / #12
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Hermit (to whom many thanks) directed me to an archive where the older posts of Talk Rational are archived. So I nosed around and found the threads where I crossed foils with Gamera over postmodernism.

Apologize to me!
Richard Dawkins God Delusion and why he argued against religion instead of postmodernism
Postmodernism redux

That was back before TR was taken over by trolls, and those threads are IMO quite worthwhile reads.
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Old 05 Feb 2018, 07:46 PM   #683473 / #13
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Incoherent.
Are you claiming to be unable to understand what a figurative metaphor is?
No, I was pointing out that your application of figurative language to factual claims was incoherent.

Quote:
Quote:
Inapplicable. General relativity was his theory and he used the analogy of a train station to help explain how the theory worked.
That is the general idea, yeah. That is what metaphors are and what they are for. I'm not clear what you are confused about.
Unless you are agreeing that the entire passion narrative and life of Jesus was just a work of fiction (yes, fiction, not merely figurative), it should be very clear what I am confused about.

Quote:
Quote:
Were Adam and Eve theoretical humans?
No, they are figurative ones.
Aka, fictional.

Quote:
They are literally named The Man and The Living One. They are in a story with a talking snake. It is not hard to grasp that they might be figurative or allegorical in nature.
Then how exactly can they have literal or actual offspring?

Quote:
Quote:
Did they theoretically disobey a god’s instructions and therefore figuratively instantiated death?
Who is "they", here? They represent humanity in the story, so it is more like a "we" than a "they". And Augustine can actually only really be understood in this light. If it was just those two literal people, the idea that their descendants would be held responsible would be bizarre and unjust; Augustine however was clear that their sin is figurative of our sin, the Original Sin that we are all soaked in equally and without exception.
Figurative sin? Or literal sin? And was a figurative Son of God/Man figuratively sacrificed for our figurative atonement, thus granting us figurative eternal life after figurative death?

Quote:
I note that I do not personally agree with Augustine here, but nevertheless his writings are proof that Christians have not always been literalists.
Bully for you.

Quote:
It has to be. If it is not on some level figurative
And what level exactly would that be?

Quote:
how how the story even make sense?
It doesn't make sense on any level.

Quote:
A literal person eating a literal apple would not, normally, have any impact on their offspring. Eve and all of her 15 billion daughters and sons could, if that were the case, have escaped doom by eating a pear instead. If the literal apple is the problem. Which it isn't. Nor would a literal death on a cross, absent any other factors, have any impact on a 3,000 year old nutritional error.
What other factors?

Quote:
There are obviously figurative and symbolic elements involved, even if you also insist that the figures in question were literal people. Their material reality has little bearing on the meaning of the story.
The meaning of the story is that we are granted eternal salvation after death, but only if we believe that Jesus is Lord/the Way. Oh, sorry, that is the meaning to pretty much every Christian but you.

Quote:
Quote:
No, it’s a problem in that either someone was actually descendent from a real person or they were not. If Adam wasn’t real and/or wasn’t the first human, then there is no special claim related to Jesus’ descendancy.
What "special claim" are we talking about here?
That Adam was a real human being--the first human being--and that Jesus is descendant from him (as are we all), and that therefore the sacrificial atonement of Adam's offspring for Adam's sin is a completed circle. The sins of the father being visited upon the children of the father into the fourth fifth whateverith generation, etc.

Quote:
All human beings are "sons and daughters of Adam", so aside from clarifying that Jesus is really human (which, in my opinion, is the real and only point of the genealogy)
Which would necessitate that Adam was likewise a real human being and thus JESUS confirms this. You can't literally be a descendant of a figurative being.
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Old 05 Feb 2018, 08:07 PM   #683474 / #14
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Incoherent.
Are you claiming to be unable to understand what a figurative metaphor is?
No, I was pointing out that your application of figurative language to factual claims was incoherent.

Quote:
That is the general idea, yeah. That is what metaphors are and what they are for. I'm not clear what you are confused about.
Unless you are agreeing that the entire passion narrative and life of Jesus was just a work of fiction (yes, fiction, not merely figurative), it should be very clear what I am confused about.



Aka, fictional.



Then how exactly can they have literal or actual offspring?



Figurative sin? Or literal sin? And was a figurative Son of God/Man figuratively sacrificed for our figurative atonement, thus granting us figurative eternal life after figurative death?



Bully for you.



And what level exactly would that be?



It doesn't make sense on any level.



What other factors?



The meaning of the story is that we are granted eternal salvation after death, but only if we believe that Jesus is Lord/the Way. Oh, sorry, that is the meaning to pretty much every Christian but you.

Quote:
Quote:
No, it’s a problem in that either someone was actually descendent from a real person or they were not. If Adam wasn’t real and/or wasn’t the first human, then there is no special claim related to Jesus’ descendancy.
What "special claim" are we talking about here?
That Adam was a real human being--the first human being--and that Jesus is descendant from him (as are we all), and that therefore the sacrificial atonement of Adam's offspring for Adam's sin is a completed circle. The sins of the father being visited upon the children of the father into the fourth fifth whateverith generation, etc.

Quote:
All human beings are "sons and daughters of Adam", so aside from clarifying that Jesus is really human (which, in my opinion, is the real and only point of the genealogy)
Which would necessitate that Adam was likewise a real human being and thus JESUS confirms this. You can't literally be a descendant of a figurative being.
Go back and read that link again. There's something very important that you are missing, and until you understand the difference between "figurative" and "fictional", you will not be able to comprehend any discussion of figurative language, its purposes, or its applications.

Quote:
The meaning of the story is that we are granted eternal salvation after death, but only if we believe that Jesus is Lord/the Way. Oh, sorry, that is the meaning to pretty much every Christian but you.
This is untrue on several different levels, but the most important reason is that no "literal" read of any book is necessary for salvation to be real and meaningful. Stories about the past are great, but they are not the source of the grace of God.

Quote:
It doesn't make sense on any level.
It doesn't make sense to you on any level, because your interpretive framework doesn't make any sense.

Dying "for someone's sins" is figurative act whether it happens literally or not. Literally dying does nothing to literally change the condition of another person's life. How could it? Unless the act has a significance that goes beyond the merely literal. The act might be literally true, but it cannot only be literally true. Humans don't even work that way; we find and create symbolic meaning in even the simplest of literal acts, and seek to find ways to communicate that meaning.

Suppose it turns out that Jesus really was killed, but by hanging, and archaeologists have got the rope to prove it. Does it change your story of salvation?

If the story is important because of what literally happened, that's a pretty serious difference, and all our salvaitons will be jeopardized. If however, the story is important because of what the act symbolizes, his death would still be important regardless of how it took place specifically. And I think you will find that nearly all Christians would agree with the latter position, even if they were literalists; they might vehemently disagree with your data, but none of them would argue that God cannot redeem humanity through a noose rather than a nail. The nail is not the point of the story, it is the dressing.

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Old 05 Feb 2018, 08:30 PM   #683476 / #15
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So a literal god only grants figurative life after death salvation. Got it.

And if Jesus were killed by hanging--and archeologists have the rope to prove it--then Jesus would not have fulfilled prophecy and would therefore not be "the" Messiah, so you're once again incorrect; the nail is very much one of the points of the story (even though it is technically wrong and Jesus never fulfilled any prophecy, in spite of the claims that he did).
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Old 05 Feb 2018, 10:06 PM   #683477 / #16
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I recall Gamera once stating that to speak of God as existing implies that God is somehow subject to Being. Something which left me

As to literal vs. nonliteral, it sometimes seems to me that nonliteral interpretation is a way of waving away awkward parts of the Bible or whatever is one's sacred book. "If I like it, it's literal, while if I don't like it, it's allegorical."

At least Galileo proposed some ground rules for interpretation: that the Bible tells us how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go. I find it curious that he hasn't been made into a hero of liberal religion.
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Old 05 Feb 2018, 10:30 PM   #683478 / #17
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I recall Gamera once stating that to speak of God as existing implies that God is somehow subject to Being. Something which left me
That makes sense to me.
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Old 06 Feb 2018, 01:10 AM   #683481 / #18
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I recall Gamera once stating that to speak of God as existing implies that God is somehow subject to Being. Something which left me
Ah! I can tell you have not read your Heidegger on Being and Time. This will clarify the matter:

"Das Dasein ist ein Seiendes, das nicht nur unter anderem Seienden vorkommt. Es ist vielmehr dadurch ontisch ausgezeichnet, daß es diesem Seienden in seinem Sein um dieses Sein selbst geht."

and

"Das Sein dieses Seienden ist je meines. Im Sein dieses Seienden verhält sich dieses selbst zu seinem Sein. Als Seiendes dieses Seins ist es seinem eigenen Sein überantwortet. Das Sein ist es, darum es diesem Seienden je selbst geht"
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Old 06 Feb 2018, 01:16 AM   #683482 / #19
Politesse
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So a literal god only grants figurative life after death salvation. Got it.
You haven't got a thing.

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And if Jesus were killed by hanging--and archeologists have the rope to prove it--then Jesus would not have fulfilled prophecy and would therefore not be "the" Messiah, so you're once again incorrect; the nail is very much one of the points of the story (even though it is technically wrong and Jesus never fulfilled any prophecy, in spite of the claims that he did).
Again, all of that assumes the idiotic hermeneutics of literalism. What "prophecy", and whose idea is it that God can only act relative to a literalist's interpretation of Scripture? You're parroting me a bunch of nonsense that was told to you by others, and don't even really understand that. (Even adamant literalists would not agree that there isn't any figurative language in the Bible, or that this means the figurative aspects are "fictional"; indeed, the prefigurement of Jesus in the careers of certain Hebrew prophets is critical to understanding the supercessionist view that makes the Hebrew Scriptures the Christian's Old Testament in the first place)
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Old 06 Feb 2018, 01:20 AM   #683483 / #20
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I recall Gamera once stating that to speak of God as existing implies that God is somehow subject to Being. Something which left me
Sounds sensible to me. Indeed, at least partially the reason I don't go around trying to prove that God "exists".

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As to literal vs. nonliteral, it sometimes seems to me that nonliteral interpretation is a way of waving away awkward parts of the Bible or whatever is one's sacred book. "If I like it, it's literal, while if I don't like it, it's allegorical."
That would not be a very sound hermeneutic. When you are reading a book (any book), do you decide when the author is engaging in metaphor based on whether you like the passage? Or are there other, more sound, hints?

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At least Galileo proposed some ground rules for interpretation: that the Bible tells us how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go. I find it curious that he hasn't been made into a hero of liberal religion.
He is, though...

Among other things, I can testify that he's on the mural at St Gregory of Nyssa's, in a prominent position.
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Old 07 Feb 2018, 07:47 PM   #683509 / #21
Koyaanisqatsi
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So a literal god only grants figurative life after death salvation. Got it.
You haven't got a thing.
Piercing counter argument.

Everyone knows what figurative language is, Poli. Your position, however, is incoherent when applied to claims of actual living/existing beings.

If Adam wasn’t a real being, then it makes no sense to start a genealogy with him. A genealogy is direct biological lineage, not “We all came from the idea of mankind and then Bob was born, then Tony, then Eustice...”

Your objections/apologetics merely serve to demonstrate the incoherence of the dogma.

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Quote:
And if Jesus were killed by hanging--and archeologists have the rope to prove it--then Jesus would not have fulfilled prophecy and would therefore not be "the" Messiah, so you're once again incorrect; the nail is very much one of the points of the story (even though it is technically wrong and Jesus never fulfilled any prophecy, in spite of the claims that he did).
Again, all of that assumes the idiotic hermeneutics of literalism.
If by that you mean people making claims of prophecy aren’t speaking figuratively and actually believe there can be such things as “prophets” and “prophecy” and magic and messiahs and divine beings, etc., etc., etc., I agree, it is most definitely idiotic.

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You're parroting me a bunch of nonsense
You are not the arbiter of all things Christianity, Poli. YOU are merely stating an equal bunch of nonsense that you clearly do not understand when applied. As always, your position is like mercury; it shifts any time anyone tries to pin it down and you resort to defensive ad hominen and annoying strawmen rather than coherent counter-argument.

To wit:

Quote:
(Even adamant literalists would not agree that there isn't any figurative language in the Bible
And:

Quote:
or that this means the figurative aspects are "fictional"
“Figurative aspects”? So, now that you’ve shifted the goalposts by including “aspects” into your qualification, what exactly are the “aspects” that are figurative (and how exactly does that not mean fictional) and what “aspects” are not figurative? Adam and Eve were actual human beings, but their experience in “paradise” with a “god” and a “talking snake”—including their sin and death as a punishment and banishment, etc.—that is all figurative (aka, fictional; as in never actually happened)?

So sin—aka, death—did not literally (actually/in reality) “enter” via one man (Adam)? If that’s the case then why does Jesus’ death mean anything at all? Don’t you dare call it a “sacrifice” unless you’re being literal, because he was killed by the Romans, so there is no sacrifice—literal or figurative—unless the story of Adam and Eve (and God) is actual/real/non-figurative/however you want to qualify it.

It isn’t possible to have a sacrificial atonement in any significant manner—meaning figuratively—without any of that setup to the sacrifice being real, not because I’m parroting anything; because that is the nature of figurative language. IOW, if there is no one that requires a sacrifice in order to further act as a result of the completion of that sacrifice, then it’s meaningless to make any such claim, even if the purpose of the claim is to simply impart the notion of self-sacrifice figuratively, i.e., the morally beneficial act of self-sacrifice.

Why? Because in the story we’re talking about Jesus does not self-sacrifice. He is killed by the Romans. That is not self-sacrifice. SOOOOOO, IFF the Adam/Eve/God/Paradise story is merely figurative, then Jesus is not the “son of God/Man” being offered as a sacrificial atonement for mankind’s/Adam’s “sin” and does not have the power to prevent his death and no god-being has the power to stop his death/require his sacrifice, etc., etc., etc.

Pull one string and it all collapses.

Go back to your Einstein example. He used figurative language—analogy—to help illustrate his theory of how the real universe actually works. Ok, so apply the same thing to the Adam/Eve/Jesus/Sacrifice “figurative” narrative. Exactly what part of any of it explains how the real universe actually works?

If none of it is real/actual/literal then whence comes the notion of sacrificial atonement by Jesus through which any of us are “saved” and what does that even mean, being “saved”; saved from what? A figurative story about the origin of knowledge?

Which leaves the story stripped down to “in order to be a good person, you should choose to sacrifice your needs for someone else’s.” Or, iow, the Golden Rule. And that’s it. That would be the sum total distilled message once you remove anything that cannot be applied coherently (figuratively or non).

Yes, a “sacrifice” is a symbolic gesture (and thus, “figurative’”), but again, Jesus makes no sacrifice. He is killed (against his will no less). So it’s not even coherent to say that his being killed could serve as a symbolic sacrifice, let alone a symbolic sacrifice to a non-existent being that anyone who follows any of this bullshit believes to be a real, existent being.

So what exactly are you talking about when you try to apply the notion of figurative language? What—exactly—is figurative and what—exactly—is not?

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Old 07 Feb 2018, 08:17 PM   #683510 / #22
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Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
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Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
So a literal god only grants figurative life after death salvation. Got it.
You haven't got a thing.
Piercing counter argument.

Everyone knows what figurative language is, Poli. Your position, however, is incoherent when applied to claims of actual living/existing beings.

If Adam wasn’t a real being, then it makes no sense to start a genealogy with him. A genealogy is direct biological lineage, not “We all came from the idea of mankind and then Bob was born, then Tony, then Eustice...”

Your objections/apologetics merely serve to demonstrate the incoherence of the dogma.

Quote:
Again, all of that assumes the idiotic hermeneutics of literalism.
If by that you mean people making claims of prophecy aren’t speaking figuratively and actually believe there can be such things as “prophets” and “prophecy” and magic and messiahs and divine beings, etc., etc., etc., I agree, it is most definitely idiotic.

Quote:
You're parroting me a bunch of nonsense
You are not the arbiter of all things Christianity, Poli. YOU are merely stating an equal bunch of nonsense that you clearly do not understand when applied. As always, your position is like mercury; it shifts any time anyone tries to pin it down and you resort to defensive ad hominen and annoying strawmen rather than coherent counter-argument.

To wit:

Quote:
(Even adamant literalists would not agree that there isn't any figurative language in the Bible
And:

Quote:
or that this means the figurative aspects are "fictional"
“Figurative aspects”? So, now that you’ve shifted the goalposts by including “aspects” into your qualification, what exactly are the “aspects” that are figurative (and how exactly does that not mean fictional) and what “aspects” are not figurative? Adam and Eve were actual human beings, but their experience in “paradise” with a “god” and a “talking snake”—including their sin and death as a punishment and banishment, etc.—that is all figurative (aka, fictional; as in never actually happened)?

So sin—aka, death—did not literally (actually/in reality) “enter” via one man (Adam)? If that’s the case then why does Jesus’ death mean anything at all? Don’t you dare call it a “sacrifice” unless you’re being literal, because he was killed by the Romans, so there is no sacrifice—literal or figurative—unless the story of Adam and Eve (and God) is actual/real/non-figurative/however you want to qualify it.

It isn’t possible to have a sacrificial atonement in any significant manner—meaning figuratively—without any of that setup to the sacrifice being real, not because I’m parroting anything; because that is the nature of figurative language. IOW, if there is no one that requires a sacrifice in order to further act as a result of the completion of that sacrifice, then it’s meaningless to make any such claim, even if the purpose of the claim is to simply impart the notion of self-sacrifice figuratively, i.e., the morally beneficial act of self-sacrifice.

Why? Because in the story we’re talking about Jesus does not self-sacrifice. He is killed by the Romans. That is not self-sacrifice. SOOOOOO, IFF the Adam/Eve/God/Paradise story is merely figurative, then Jesus is not the “son of God/Man” being offered as a sacrificial atonement for mankind’s/Adam’s “sin” and does not have the power to prevent his death and no god-being has the power to stop his death/require his sacrifice, etc., etc., etc.

Pull one string and it all collapses.

Go back to your Einstein example. He used figurative language—analogy—to help illustrate his theory of how the [i]real universe actually works]/i]. Ok, so apply the same thing to the Adam/Eve/Jesus/Sacrifice “figurative” narrative. Exactly what part of any of it explains how the real universe actually works?

If none of it is real/actual/literal then whence comes the notion of sacrificial atonement by Jesus through which any of us are “saved” and what does that even mean, being “saved”; saved from what? A figurative story about the origin of knowledge?

Which leaves the story stripped down to “in order to be a good person, you should choose to sacrifice your needs for someone else’s.” Or, iow, the Golden Rule. And that’s it. That would be the sum total distilled message once you remove anything that cannot be applied coherently (figuratively or non).

Yes, a “sacrifice” is a gesture (and thus, “figurative’”), but again, Jesus makes no sacrifice. He is killed (against his will no less). So what exactly are you talking about?
I really have no idea how to explain this, unless you understand what figurative language means in the first place. A metaphor is almost always meant to describe something real. The manner in which it does it is not literal. A figure in this sense is a type or archetype representing a larger or more complex reality. I have no doubt that 1st c. Judeans considered Adam to be a real true literally breathing and shitting person, but you do not have to agree with them in order to understand the story, which is about the relationship between humans and god. The central claim of Genesis 2 does not need anyone to be a literal person in order to have the same moral, purpose, and effect. If I say, "George Washington was the father of our nation", I am not telling a "fictional story" about a "fictional person", but I am using him as a figure of "the Founding fathers" rather than as the actual guy. I could use DNA to disprove the "claim" that he parented all other American citizens, but I would be missing the point of the metaphor and moreover not change anything in terms of why he is considered important.

Metaphors aren't "fictional", and trying to switch a goalpost by declaring something literal to be metphorical would be pointless, as the point of the document would not change unless the purpose of the document were solely to describe history in the first place.
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Old 08 Feb 2018, 03:00 AM   #683519 / #23
Koyaanisqatsi
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FFS, Poli. The central claim of the New Testament—i.e., the so called “passion narrative”—DOES require that Genesis be about real people and real events.

If the characters “God” “Adam” and “Eve” are not real—and/or the events that unfolded in a place called “Eden” in the book were nothing more than a metaphor—then Jesus’ death (being killed by the Romans) is a meaningless event. Not “meaningless” in the sense that it’s just my opinion; meaningless in the universal sense that no meaning can be derived from it, because it then just becomes a story about some guy who was killed by the Romans. The end.

Here, I’ll demonstrate so that you cannot once again hurl fallacies like a monkey hurls its feces. The entire story you have to work with is this: “2018 years ago a guy was killed by the Romans. The end.”

As you can see, no additional meaning can be derived from that story.

The only way to do that is to add the layers. “The guy was the son of a god who created the universe and all of humanity, starting with the first man, who disobeyed him. The punishment for disobeying him was to instantiate human mortality. Centuries later, the god required that his human son be killed as a necessary sacrifice to him to atone for the first man’s sin of disobedience. Being the son of this god, the guy knew this was his fate, begged his father to change his fate, but it was not to be, so he resolved himself to being killed as the will of his father.”

None of that is figurative language (and all of it is incoherent and certainly not real), so, as you note, a metaphor is meant to describe something real. What is the “real” that any of this story (the complete story from Gen to its conclusion with Jesus in Mark) is meant to describe?

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Old 08 Feb 2018, 03:44 AM   #683520 / #24
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The only way to do that is to add the layers. “The guy was the son of a god who created the universe and all of humanity, starting with the first man, who disobeyed him. The punishment for disobeying him was to instantiate human mortality. Centuries later, the god required that his human son be killed as a necessary sacrifice to him to atone for the first man’s sin of disobedience. Being the son of this god, the guy knew this was his fate, begged his father to change his fate, but it was not to be, so he resolved himself to being killed as the will of his father.”
Half of that isn't even in the Bible, figuratively or otherwise...

And it doesn't make sense in any case. If Adam and Eve were just some dude and gal, not a symbol or figure of humanity in gneral, why were all humans punished for their mistake? And how would the death reverse even their actions, let alone everyone else's? Could I die to forgive your sins? What about your my cat, could she do it? How does all of this work, without any symbolic meaning or overtones? I really don't see how "one person carks it" results in "all humanity is forgiven" with only literal elements at play. What does one even have to do with each other? And if the punishment was mortality, why didn't the sacrifice result in immortality?

That one needs to add layers to make sense of the story is our only point of agreement. I don't see how all of those layers could be non-figurative in nature, and the story still make sense.

And I definitely don't understand why you think metaphors are meaningless. Although it does explain why you find the Bible so confusing.
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Old 08 Feb 2018, 03:10 PM   #683526 / #25
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As it seems to have completely slipped past you once again, you are simply agreeing with me—effectively—that it is all poorly written nonsense. That is not in question. WE know it’s all a work of fictional bullshit.

The question to you, however—based on your insistence that only some parts are figurative and others not and that figurative does not mean fictional—what is the “real” (non-fictional) that the “metaphor” is describing? The “real” is that there was a guy 2018 years ago who was killed by the Romans, the end? Is that the full extent of the real? If so, then what exactly is the metaphor that is describing that reality? What is the equivalent of Einstein’s train station analogy that is describing the actual physics of our universe?

We have the following primary, overarching story that is most definitely in the Bible: An Omni-capable being called “God” (for simplicity’s sake) creates the universe and humanity within it. The first man, named Adam, disobeys God (aka, “sins”), so God punishes Adam by making him mortal and kicks him out of paradise. Centuries later, God impregnates a human female, who then gives birth to Jesus, thereby making him the Son of God. The purpose for this—the “good news”—is so that Jesus can be killed as a sacrifice to pay for Adam’s sin (and through that, all of humanity’s sins), thus allowing God to forgive all humanity and grant them eternal life.

What is the metaphor in any of that and what is the reality that the metaphor is describing? Show your work. DO NOT regurgitate more pointless sidetrack bullshit about what figurative language is; we all know what it is. APPLY your pedantry to the story in the Bible and actually address the question(s).

Last edited by Koyaanisqatsi; 08 Feb 2018 at 03:22 PM.
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