According to a 2011 Gallup survey, 3 in 10 Americans “interpret the Bible literally, saying it is the actual word of God,” while 49% say “the Bible is the inspired word of God but [shouldn’t] be taken literally.”
That’s commonly how the survey is quoted. But if you go to the survey results themselves, a specific and important statement begins the piece: A plurality view Bible as inspired word of God but say not everything in it should be taken literally.”
This is just an interesting read. The more I learn about literature and language, the more skeptical I am of a strictly “fundamentalist” approach to all scripture, and yet the more understanding I am of why fundies see things the way they do. Of course, the word “fundamentalist” conjures a range of labels, but most of them indicate to me a view of the Bible that attempts to honor it, but falls short of embracing its totality. Like a fundy, I totally believe 2 Tim. 3:16 to be true. But I’m going to understand it in a different way. And even fundies disagree over interpreting the passages, so “taking everything literally” doesn’t solve all problems of interpretation and doctrine. After all, Jesus didn’t literally produce wool from his body, swing on a hinge, or grow vines. So when he says he is the lamb, the door, or the vine, he is no doubt being symbolic. And although a fundy knows this is metaphor, this understanding is an important basis for how all else can be metaphor.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this readers—especially the converse. How can/how have “English majors” and other types misapprehended the scriptures?
Occasionally you’ll bump into someone who is convinced that the Holocaust was a result of Christianity.
Now, I could dismiss this and laugh it off (no pearls before the swine). But then you would never know if it was true, and if you were searching for reasons to abandon your Christian belief then my reaction would seem cowardly. So let us discuss the matter.
Was Adolf Hitler a Christian? And, if so, is Christianity to blame for the Holocaust? Continue reading →