Monday, 13 January 2014

Pick and chew

Do we need one of these for bad Bible bits?
"The conservative Christian approach to Scripture has consistently led to conclusions and stances of which later conservative Christians are ashamed. When will there be an acknowledgment that it is the approach (the root) and not only the conclusions (the fruit) that are the problem?"

Thus asks James McGrath in a post well worth reading. He goes on to talk briefly about the problem with "picking and choosing" what we like out of the Biblical smorgasbord. And let's be honest, everyone does it, including the most wooden-headed biblical literalist. His alternative?

"Let's toss out picking and choosing, and substitute “picking and chewing.” We should take things in the Bible, and chew them over, but should feel under no obligation to swallow them rather than spit them out. And again, we should be ready to explain why we have done so."

The cartoon that accompanies his post illustrates the point beautifully.


  1. Back when I was into bowling, I studied under a retired pro. In fact, I spent many hours learning from him, and then even more in practicing the lessons on the lanes. I have a friend, actually a customer, who carries an average in several leagues of well over 200. One time, I was relating to him that the previous night I just couldn't dial into the lane conditions. There was virtually zero ball control that evening. I told him some of the techniques I applied, and basically what he shared was that I was approaching the game from a far too technical stance, and probably over-correcting. He said that when faced with a similar situation, he just bowled as he always does, and the conditions took care of themselves.

    We can't "unknow" what we know. The historical details, proper interpretation of figures of speech, linguistics challenges, verifiable authorship, and many other aspects have radically expanded most of our horizons with regard to this, the world's most popular and revered book. Sometimes, I wonder if that isn't too technical, and whether we'd be better off simply reading the book, seeing what nuggets could be found and utilized.


  2. I really think that if people take the bible stories as early iron age Jewish mythology and false history they may be better off in the long run. Short run too, probably.