Some scholarship of late, of which Porter’s article is the most thorough example, has noted that Romans 1:18-32 does not represent Paul’s view, but the prevailing view of Gentiles among many Jews at the time, which this apostle to the Gentiles feels compelled to refute.
What if when we try to interpret the virgin birth or the resurrection as historically true (rather than symbolically True) we’re just completely misunderstanding the original intent of these stories? What if people in antiquity were way more sophisticated than we are, and they would think we were impossibly thick to be interpreting their beautiful stories this way?
He asked his former professor, now colleague, why he was sent to graduate school with so many gaps in his learning. The answer: “Our job was to protect you from this information so as not to shipwreck your faith.”
I would replace “your faith” with “our system” and then I think we are closer to the truth.
…how is it that we are to determine moral decisions? If there is no objective moral authority we can point to in order to determine an ethical system, what are we left with?
And (a part of) the response:
It seems, based on the experiences of the first Christians in the book of Acts and the communities of faith begun by Paul, that we work out the truth of Christianity best in small, ecclesial communities. The Bible does not prescribe how a community of faith deals ethically with a loving, adult, monogamous lesbian couple, nor does it tell us whether clones can serve as elders in a congregation. We’ve got to work these things out in community.
(I think this is a great post but the title makes the geek in me giddy.)
Do we create a Bible that is totally understandable because it is actually totally understandable, or because we need it to be totally understandable? Is our real fear that in our limited thinking, anything other than a robust, tamper-proof, logical Bible will simply fall apart and mean nothing? Is the forcing together of contradiction a sign, not of clever hermeneutics, but simply of fear?
The lesson we can take from quantum mechanics is encouraging. While it contains contradictions, paradoxes and lack of resolution, it is not a collapsed house of cards, devoid of meaning. It is studied, it is progressing, and is even being harnessed.
Image source and article: http://www.redletterchristians.org/schrodingers-bible/
[Grammar Note: Yes, that title ends with “is.”]
I’ve read some of the most scandalous passages in the bible to men in prison or with the poor and, for whatever reason, they don’t blink an eye. With liberal, educated audiences such passages would completely hijack the conversation. And no judgment about that, these passages hijack the conversation for me. But I’ve noticed that they don’t hijack the conversation at the margins.
Whenever I hear complaints about the bible being horrible I’m generally talking to a person of advantage and privilege. Generally White. Generally educated. Generally rich (by the world’s standards).
And it’s likely that my privilege is blinding me in certain ways in how I’m listening out of the margins. I may be really missing the boat on this.
Image source and article: http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2013/09/not-getting-how-horrible-bible-is.html
Studying the Bible and Israel’s past is a regular reminder to me that my object of trust is God, not the Bible. That’s not knocking the Bible. It’s acknowledging that the Bible–even where it talks about God–is not a heavenly tablet dropped from heaven, but a relentlessly contextual collection of ancient literature that takes wisdom and patience to handle well.
Image source and article: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2013/09/god-is-bigger-than-the-bible/