Everyone under the bus!

May 8, 2011 • 9:41 am

The squabbles between Gnu Atheists and Accommodationist Atheists are paralleled by a more serious battle in the community of evangelical Christians.  And, not surprisingly, it involves how to interpret the Bible.  Albert Mohler, a Southern Baptist bigwig and president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is peeved at Karl Giberson, recently departed vice president of the BioLogos Foundation, whose goal is to reconcile science and evangelical Christianity. Giberson’s sin was to write a piece for the CNN Belief website called “Jesus would believe in evolution and so should you.”  The title says it all, but Uncle Karl added this:

Evolution does not contradict the Bible unless you force an unreasonable interpretation on that ancient book.

To suppose, as the so-called young earth creationists do, that God dictated modern scientific ideas to ancient and uncomprehending scribes is to distort the biblical message beyond recognition. Modern science was not in the worldview of the biblical authors and it is not in the Bible.

But of course to call literalism “an unreasonable interpretation” is not going to sit well with a lot of people.  Do remember that 40% of Americans see creation as having been recent and instantaneous, and 60-70% believe in the literal existence of heaven, hell and Satan.  Mohler is one of these, and fires back on his own website with a piece whose title is pretty accurate, “Throwing the Bible under the bus.

So, according to Professor Giberson, Genesis contains “wonderful insights,” but no authoritative revelation of how God made the universe. Evidently, he believes that the Bible is not making a claim to historical truth when it tells of the creation and function of Adam and Eve. “We now know that the human race began millions of years ago in Africa — not thousands of years ago in the Middle East, as the story in Genesis suggests,” Giberson insists.

In making his case, Giberson uses the old argument that God has given humanity two books of revelation — the Bible and the created order. This is one of Giberson’s most frequently offered arguments. It is a theologically disastrous argument in his hands, for he allows modern naturalistic science to silence the Bible, God’s written revelation. In another article published last year, Giberson said, “I am happy to concede that science does indeed trump religious truth about the natural world.”

Finally, Mohler makes this statement, one diametrically opposed to the assertions of “sophisticated” theologian David Bentley Hart that we discussed yesterday:

Giberson and Collins reveal their true understanding of biblical inspiration when they locate it, not in the authorship of the text at all, but in the modern act of reading the text.

This “true understanding” is, of course, completely bogus to Mohler.

I just love it when Christians fight about which parts of the Bible to take literally and which are metaphorical—as, I suppose, Christians enjoy it when atheists squabble. The difference is that atheists fight about tactics, not whether there is any evidence for the verities of scripture.  The claims of one group of Christians that the others are practicing “bad faith” will make no friends—and shows why the mission of BioLogos is ultimately futile.

And my fondest hope is that people on the fence, seeing Christians fighting about how literal the Bible really is, will realize that the whole exercise is doomed, for the Bible comes not from God but from man.  That’s a good first step on the road to unbelief.

92 thoughts on “Everyone under the bus!

  1. “Evolution does not contradict the Bible unless you force an unreasonable interpretation on that ancient book.”

    That is a false claim.
    There is not one branch of Christianity that did not take a literal interpretation of the bible originally.

    The fact that advances in science have forced educated religious people to frantically revise their “understanding” of these texts does not change this fact.
    Today’s backwards-engineering of the text changes nothing about the fact that the bible was written with the intention of being taken as literal fact, and has been believed as literal fact for centuries.

    Jesus, had he been born in the right suburbs of New York in 1965 might well have been a believer in evolution. He might equally have been a hair-dresser.

    1. “There is not one branch of Christianity that did not take a literal interpretation of the bible originally.”

      This, too, is a false claim. As is this claim of it being a false claim. Every treatise is based on current knowledge and belief making it true for the writer at the time. Biblical literalism came about as a feeble defense mechanism by those who subscribe to a personal god. Christian history is filled with dissent as to the meaning of the Bible.

      1. I’m afraid your comment doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense.

        The fact that some people have argued about the meaning of passages from the bible says absolutely nothing about the fact that historically major Christian streams be they Catholic, Lutheran or Anglican have all originally regarded the bible as literal truth.

        Biblical literalism was the default position. Everything subsequent is commentary.

        1. Most of the major doctrines of Christianity — held by nearly all the churches — are based on naive, literal readings of the Bible. The hand-waving came later.

          1. I would rather say they were based on sophisticated politically aware readings, to advance the goals of the power groups within the church: the history of dogma is in the 21 Church Councils and the Protestant reactions to them

        2. Unfortunately your view is as sound as the creationist view that evolution is just a theory.

      2. So you are postulating a brand of christianity in which the bible was not originally the literal word of god?

        1. Not Christianity, all religious texts were oral first and conformed to the knowledge of the day when written. For example, the idea of the virgin birth is not limited to religion. Otto Rank covered this briefly in The Myth of the Birth of the Hero. At the time of Jesus, the virgin birth was offered as a biological event sans human participation because the biological view of procreation in Jesus day was that of the male planting his seed in the woman. It would be another eighteen centuries before Barry observed a spermatazoa penetrating an egg. I wonder what Galileo, Newton, even Darwin thought about the human reproduction process before Barry’s discovery.

          As to the virgin birth of Jesus, for me it’s symbolic of one born pure in spirit, and who isn’t? If early Christians thought the virgin birth was a biological reality, a miracle not a myth, then it would be mentioned in the earliest writings of Mark and Paul which it is not.

          Just as scientific views change with new discoveries, religious views must change with new knowledge or become superstitions as do unbending allegiance to former scientific models like the elements being earth, fire, air and water.

          1. Just as scientific views change with new discoveries, religious views must change with new knowledge or become superstitions as do unbending allegiance to former scientific models like the elements being earth, fire, air and water.

            Yes! This! But religious views haven’t changed enough. The Gnu Atheist view is surely that new knowledge leaves no room for anything but superstition.

              1. one true way?

                define what you mean by “true” in that sentence, and you will find it likely incompatible with any religion you care to name and describe.

                so… get on with it.

                I think there are around 100 thousand or so for you to investigate.

          2. “But,” says the religionist, “you cannot explain everything; you cannot understand everything; and that which you cannot explain, that which you do not comprehend, is my God.”

            We are explaining more every day. We are understanding more every day; consequently your God is growing smaller every day.

            Robert Green Ingersoll, “The Gods” (1872)

            1. Whose god? I’m a non-theist; i.e., the concept of deity is inconsequential.

              BTW, on a scale of 1 to 100%, what is our level of knowledge?

              In Einstein’s tidy phrase “knowing the impenetrable exists” to describe his premise for being religious, what is the extent of the impenetrable?

              1. The Laws Underlying The Physics of Everyday Life Are Completely Understood:

                “A hundred years ago it would have been easy to ask a basic question to which physics couldn’t provide a satisfying answer. “What keeps this table from collapsing?” “Why are there different elements?” “What kind of signal travels from the brain to your muscles?” But now we understand all that stuff. (Again, not the detailed way in which everything plays out, but the underlying principles.) Fifty years ago we more or less had it figured out, depending on how picky you want to be about the nuclear forces. But there’s no question that the human goal of figuring out the basic rules by which the easily observable world works was one that was achieved once and for all in the twentieth century.

                You might question the “once and for all” part of that formulation, but it’s solid. Of course revolutions can always happen, but there’s every reason to believe that our current understanding is complete within the everyday realm.”

                You can take your gap theology and stuff it in its proper orifice. 😉

              2. Einstein was religious? That’s news to me. He outright denied being religious on many occasions and in many of his letters.

              3. Torbjörn: I pose not a gap theory, more a knowledge abyss theory;i.e., we’re standing on an island of knowledge, but know only the surface.

                The only thing I stuff is my mouth. You can ask my Doc.

              4. MadScientist: Einstein’s rejection of a personal god is well documented. My reference is from his book, Ideas and Opinions, p.11.

                “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious… I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God… neither can I (conceive of) surviving physical death… ”

                My partial quoting does not serve his original thought.

                The point is, for me, that Einsteins view or human religion goes to the core of what a religion is, a sense of wonder toward the impenetrable, unfortunately equated with a transcendent deity, when as Lao-Tzu wrote, “wonder opens into wonder..”

                Stephen Jay Gould’s website has a compendium of Einstein’s God views at

              5. @ freedtochoose : I think Eistein used “religious” in the same sense as Ecklund uses “spirituality”. And I’m sure his quotations have obfuscated the “science v. religion” debate for decades.

              6. @antallan: No doubt. The question of what is caught in the religious cast net is impossible to characterize. What’s more difficult is delineating individual religious belief. That the most public Christian advocates are literalists is circumstantial evidence. The non-literalists abound, often dismissed as not being Christians.

                In Grayling’s latest, Ideas That Matter, he equates religion with theism allowing some osmotic passage into Buddhism and seems uncertain as to how to equate Hinduism, calling Taoism (Daoism), Confucianism, even Buddhism philosophies. Fine. He characterized his terms.

                My point is that references need to be made in context. Just as scientific thought has evolved from the earth/fire/wind/water model to today’s quantum physics, so too, religions have for those who see themselves as religious (engaged in a way of life complete with community and rituals) who fully subscribe to unfolding knowledge.

                Thanks for you thoughts.

              7. @ freedtochoose : To be accurate, Ideas That Matter isn’t Grayling’s latest…

                However, Grayling hardly goes out on a limb in equating religion with theism; it’s common among atheist philosophers (e.g., Dennett) to think of religion as having a supernatural element.

                And it’s not unusual to see, say, Buddhism described as a philosophy rather than as a religion: Alan Watts makes the point very clearly in his books on Zen Buddhism. (Some sects, esp. Tibetan Budhism do accrete supernaturalistic elements from older traditions, however.)

                If the religious do “fully subscribe to unfolding knowledge,” how then do they continue to be religious? How can a Christian continue to be a Christian in any real sense if human evolution disproves the story of the Garden of Eden and thus the notion of original sin; what, then, is the import of Jesus’s death if it did not redeem mankind?

                To be sure, there are still those that no longer believe the literal truth of the Christ myth, yet maintain the social and cultural trappings of Christianity. But that’s little more a “religion” than football fandom, with its social and cultural trappings, is. (Which, IIRC, is a parallel that Grayling draws.)

                What we tend to see more are the religious who “subscribe to unfolding knowledge,” but not “fully,” resisting some part of what scientific inquiry (broadly defined, as Jerry would say) in order to retain some inner core of their faith, something from scripture or theological dogma that they still wish to be true (yet still without a shred of evidence to validated it).

                To that degree, at least, they remain literalists.

              8. *scientific inquiry (broadly defined, as Jerry would say) reveals, in…

                [Jerry: This notablog of yours needs a Preview/Edit function!]

              9. @antallan; Correction. Grayling’s latest “book” according to the LOC.

                Since our responses are displayed narrow enough to extend to Tierra del Fuego, I’ll be succinct (not my nature).
                At issue are two things: spirituality/religion and the Garden of Eden story.
                For me, spirituality is a state(?) of mind born of wonder. Defining (characterizing) religion is challenging and we won’t agree because I accept that Buddhists, humanists and UUs who call theirs religion are correct.
                As for the Garden of Eden story, I see its truth metaphorically as the human differentiation. Even a literal reading of Genesis prompts the question, “If Adam and Eve were the first humans, where did Cain and Abel’s wives come from?” On the other hand, the idea that the human challenge is whether to think for oneself or submit to the thinking of another (creating a God) is essential.
                It’s not the words of the Bible or Dennett or Watts or you or me, but what we think about it that matters and I appreciate your thoughtful response.

          3. Hey, I still meet people who believe stories such as that of a woman giving birth to a catfish. The bible was written to hook the credulous. It is far more likely that a literal interpretation was intended than the alternative view that perhaps the ancients understood it was all gobbledygook but somehow the succeeding generations just didn’t get it.

          4. “If early Christians thought the virgin birth was a biological reality, a miracle not a myth, then it would be mentioned in the earliest writings of Mark and Paul which it is not.”

            That is a non-sequitur. Unfortunately the fact remains that this Mark or Paul are not obliged to state that the virgin birth is a myth or not regardless of the situation. Where in the various Harry Potter books does the author insert paragraphs to remind the reader that none of it is real – or for that matter, where does the author insert reminders that it is all real?

    2. “He might equally have been a hairdresser.”

      Yes– but would he have charged more for women’s haircuts than for men’s? That’s the real question here.

  2. “Albert Mohler, a Southern Baptist bigwig and president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,”

    Mohler led a purge when he took over the Seminary and fired a bunch of heretics and probable heretics.

    He isn’t even a christofascist. He is a christoStalinist. When they aren’t using Orwell’s 1984 as an instruction manual, they are studying Soviet history for hints on what to do.

    AFAIK, the SBC doesn’t have its own Gulag. Yet. The Mormons certainly do, for their kids who aren’t following the party line.

  3. The Southern Baptists FWIW, aren’t doing so well lately.

    Membership is declining slowly as are revenues.

    They may not be dying, but they are definitely sick.

    1. “2011 Church Membership: Southern Baptists Decline; Jehovah …Feb 15, 2011 … Church membership for more than a third of the nation’s largest churches took a hit last year while non-Orthodox Christian churches are on … christianpost”

      Documentation. The SBC is notorious for cooking their membership numbers. Cthulhu knows how bad their decline really is.

      Their own numbers from two polls show retention rates of young people at 30%. Pretty low.

  4. To my mind, evolution contradicts the Bible because the Bible says death is the result of sin. This is, after all, the whole reason why Jesus had to (physically) die for us.

    But if evolution is true, death had to occur lots and lots of times before human beings even came on to the scene.

    If I had to choose to sit down and have a beer with one of them, it would be Giberson hands-down, but I think Mohler’s got the better handle on Christian faith.

  5. How long is God’s arm? If the Bible is literally true, theologians should be able to answer that, because he is often(e.g. Deut 7:8, which also introduces his mighty hand)stretching it out to smite his enemies.
    It would be nice if atheists’ fighting were by way of providing evidence as to why one tactic was better than another (e.g. number of people “converted”, or reduction in real fighting). Then we could really claim that our approach was more rational than the evidence-free claims that the bible is literally true.

    1. Not only that, but Moses (IIRC) saw Yahweh’s bum – was it hairy? Big? Muscular? Come on – there’s a lot of fanfic writers just itching to find out.

  6. The principle problem with evangelical Christianity is defining (characterizing) it. While most (all?) creationists may be evangelicals, many evangelicals, Jimmy Carter comes to mind, are neither creationists nor Christian exclusivists.

    The shocking movement within(?) Christianity is the movement toward atheism/non-theism. Just as scientific terminology changes with new discoveries, religious terms change with the views of believers, theist and non-theist alike.

    1. “The shocking movement”

      are you kidding me?

      with well over 30 thousands sects, it’s guaranteed you will see nearly every conceivable idea of what Jesus was and what that means worked into a religion calling itself “christianity” somewhere.

      atheist christians? not surprising.

      you see, when one is basin a philosophy on imagination to begin with, the sky is the literal (pun intended) limit.

  7. Giberson: “What would Jesus believe about origins?”

    Matthew already told us what Jesus would believe about origins:

    Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
    For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
    —Jesus, Matthew 5:17–18

    The Bible said it, I believe it, and that settles it.

    1. Whatever that gibberish from Matthew means. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with evolution or the Big Bang, neither of which are mentioned anywhere in tbe bible.

      According to the bible, the earth is flat and the sun orbits it. The moon is a glow in the dark disk. Pi is 3 and insects have 4 legs, bats are birds.

      You aren’t supposed to eat pigs, shellfish, or wear mixed fabrics. You are supposed to kill adulterers, sabbath breakers, heretics, atheists, nonvirgin brides, false prophets, and disobedient children.

      You can sell your kids as sex slaves for a few bucks, and have as many wives and sex slaves as you can round up.

      “The Bible said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” STVS, does all that work for you or were you just making a sarcastic joke?

      PS The bit about killing false prophets is about the only thing that sort of works for me. I wouldn’t do it, but it would reduce the number of fundie ministers and televangelists by about 98%. Mohler would be gone for sure.

  8. It would be nice if for once they would say “in my opinion, blah blah blah” instead of making pronouncements as if they know for a fact they are fact. Oh wait, nobody would give them any money or fake esteem. Never mind then…

  9. Those readers interested in the internal squabbles over the meaning of scripture could do worse than to read Spinoza’s “Tractatus Theologico-Politicus”. There’s a fairly good translation in a cheapish Dover edition, sold second hand for very little.

    For all the fancy title, the T T-P is actually fairly easy reading: Spinoza wasn’t a great Latin scholar, so wrote in quite simple Latin that expressed his thoughts clearly.

    It’s interesting that the anti-evolution crowd would be quite happy to throw out all serious thinking on all subjects, not just scientific ones. Spinoza’s analysis (remember, he was an educated Jew) is, I suspect, anathema to the literalists.

    1. An example of how xians used to settle their disuputes.

      Wikipedia: His (Spinoza’s) books were later put on the Catholic Index of banned books as well.

      Servetus, another theologian/scientist from that time wasn’t quite as lucky.

      Wikipedia: Condemned by Catholics and Protestants alike, he was arrested in Geneva and burnt at the stake as a heretic by order of the Protestant Geneva governing council (run by John Calvin, the distant founder of my natal sect and an ugly loon).

      1. It should also be noted that Spinoza was excommunicated from the synagogue in Amsterdam for heresy.

        1. You KNOW you’re ruffling feathers when you get condemned by two competing religions. Yay Spinoza.

  10. Mohler’s version of Christianity is a 20th century invention. At the time I grew up, Giberson’s reading of Genesis was quite common, and was considered as acceptable as a more literalist reading.

    It’s time to stock up on popcorn.

    1. You grew up in the 19th century?!!

      I don’t think Mohler’s version is a 20th century invention. It’s a regression to what the “fundamentalists” saw as historical Christianity, a break with the “mainstream” churches who by and large accepted scientific advances such as the TOE (somewhat diluted) and an ancient universe.

      1. But in Neil’s defense, it was Henry Morris and Dwuane Gish that really put creationism on the map as an alleged “scientific” explanation for earth’s history (as opposed to The Theory of Evolution). So, in the sense these two laid the foundation of modern creationism (before it morphed into more nonsense…ID).

        That said, I do recognize that evangelical fundamentalism in the American history began in the 19th century.

        Also, Jerry do you read John Loftus blog “Debunking Christianity”? He links you often and I just thought some people here might want to check that out. He often addresses many of these topics on his blog as well coming from the ex-Christian minister perspective.

    2. Mohler’s view is the older historical christian view – that the bible is the word of god as jotted down by divinely inspired humans and that it is all true. The belief that it must be all true is so strong that since the beginning people have been making up excuses as to why such-and-such is true (it must be allegorical, etc.) and of course shifting the goalposts (from claims of literal truth to claims of somehow really true if you imagine a whole lot of things).

  11. I was listening to a sermon from a local fundie megachurch–my sister is a member and I like to know what kind of crap she hears there.

    The pastor mentioned that recent article about how Hell is probably not a literal place and called the writer (Bell?) an “apostate”. The preacher says the bible can only be taken literally.**

    This church has grown enormously in my area over the past 20 years. I don’t know how people can take any of his stuff seriously.

    **He also mentioned evolution and Darwin in this sermon. He tried to say that DNA has proved Darwin wrong.??? I tried to contact him, but don’t know if he got the message. I’m just an apostate after all, why should he listen to me.

    1. That would be Pastor Rob Bell who was brought short by someone claiming Gandhi is in Hell

      So Bell is a rare beast among Pastors in that he thinks ~ kind of

      (plug Gandhi Bell Hell into googly woogly ~ I don’t want to put a link in my post because it takes yonks to clear the moderator sometimes)

      1. Most Christians who believe in an actual hell (i.e., most of them) believe all non-Christians, including Gandhi, are going to hell. The idea is that everyone is a sinner and deserving of hell, except those saved through Jesus. No Jesus, and it’s hell for you.

        Of course it goes against “interfaith alliances” and similar BS to actually openly state Chrstian doctrines, so many avoid it.

      2. The beginning of the ‘Time’ interview is weird because it almost sounds like something a gnu would say – “How do you know that?”
        (his response to being informed by a fellow evangelical that Gandhi is burning in Hell).
        His capacity for critical thinking soon reaches the limit but the fact that he asked for evidence for even a moment has the rest of the fundies up in arms in case the idea catches on.

  12. Was UK’s CNN piece pre- or post- BL exit? If pre, did it hit the tripwire to the catapult?

    1. With all the recent news, my brain first matched the initials BL to bin Laden. I was confused for a bit until the index in my head returned the proper result.

  13. It’s funny that we often say that “there are two sides to every argument”, but in this case it’s very clear that there are at least three!

  14. I assume most people here have read this:


    He may be a fundie, but
    Albert Mohler is actually a honest christians that acknowledge that Dawkins, in the God delusion ( and by extension Jerry, Sam Harris, Hitch…)understanding of the biblical god is the same as most common christians would understand it. ( as opposed to the sophisticated god of the theologian)

    1. Thanks for the link – that’s hilarious and scary all at once. Mohler brands Karen Armstrong ‘atheist’; I’m betting he also brands all catlicks as atheist.

      1. If you’ve ever read Karen Armstrong, it’s pretty clear she’s an atheist. She just denies it, while at the same time claiming that “God does not exist as a being at all”.

    1. I recall our host recently suggesting to Daniel that he troll no more, at least on this site.

      There is a rather self-pitying poor me farewell to WEIT on the troll’s site.

  15. Where did you get this picture from? It’s from Israel – a place of bible literacy of a whole other kind

  16. “To suppose, as the so-called young earth creationists do, that God dictated modern scientific ideas to ancient and uncomprehending scribes is to distort the biblical message beyond recognition”
    There are tiny living things that are invisible to the naked eye that cause disease. Wash your hands with soap and water. Use distilled alcohol to sanitize wounds.
    Would that have been utterly incomprehensible?

    All of existence has expanded from a infinitesimal speck. Gravity pulled physical substance together to form stars, of which the sun is one. Sometimes these stars die and create the materials that are then drawn together by gravity to make planets such as earth.
    Would that be utterly incomprehensible?

    Honestly to believe in a being so mighty, that is also purported to be all knowing, and yet is also incapable of communicating knowledge and therefore limited and unlimited is for lack of a better phrase; completely fucking retarded.

    1. Yeah, a few words about hygiene or sanitation would have come in very handy. But the LORD could not be bothered to reduce needless human misery.

      1. Reading the Old Testament it’s very clear that the priests of the time didn’t know anything useful about the world but they knew they wanted lots of free roast lamb and pigeon.

        1. Actually and ironically IIRC they espoused a variant of Lamarckism. (As in: use standing fences for your sheep and they will get standing stripe patterns.)

          Of course the YECs goes “microevolution, not macroevolution”…

    2. “Honestly to believe in a being so mighty, that is also purported to be all knowing,”

      Xianity and the other religions are the belief that a 13.7 billion year old immensely powerful entity that created billions of galaxies with billions of stars, is deeply, passionately interested in your sex life.

      That was part of my exodus from xianity. There isn’t one damn thing in the bible that wasn’t known by the Iron age sheepherders who wrote it.

    3. while I agree with the idea that it’s ridiculous to think a supposedly omniscient being couldn’t be bothered to communicate simple information that would have alleviated much suffering, I’m actually getting stuck on THIS part of the quote:

      “distort the biblical message”

      uh, WHAT message?

  17. One thing that annoys me about the “who’s interpreting the Bible right?” argument is that a few simple facts are never acknowledged:

    -The Hebrew Bible was written hundreds of years (roughly, 200-800 years) before Christ even came on the scene. The very earliest Christian interpretations are incredibly late.

    -The Bible is composed of many books, with differing purposes, written in different time, for different people. The later Jewish and Christian conceptions of a unified, interconnected “Bible” is a late interpretation.

    -We don’t know exactly when/why/for whom the Bible was written.

    The “creation story” in Genesis is a mix of two accounts, written hundreds of years apart (the later comes first), each written for its own reason. Were they intended/taken literally? Both? One of them? Neither?

    Of course, it almost doesn’t matter what the original authors intended, or how the original audience took it. How was it interpreted by the Christians who shaped the NT? That’s the really interesting question.

    By Christian times, the Hebrew Bible was already codified into one singular text, and its safe to say the early Christians couldn’t disentangle the history from the myth. So they probably took it all as truth, as most Christians still do.

    Another thing to remember is the proportionality of the Bible. The creation and Adam and Eve stories are pretty short and are rarely referenced in the Bible. Meanwhile, the Exodus mythology and heroes like David and Solomon are constantly mentioned: THEY are what was important to the authors.

    I just checked, and guess how many times Eve is mentioned in the Bible? I couldn’t believe this. FOUR TIMES. FOUR. Twice in the Eden story, once in Chronicles, and once in Timothy.

    The Christian obsession with Genesis is bizzare and obviously a product of them getting bored and quitting before they even got to Moses.

    1. It’s retroactive: you get as fas as Numbers, your brain dies of boredom, and when you recover the ability to breathe and walk you’ve forgotten everything except Genesis 1.

    2. Agreed. Except that I think you may have a hard time making a case that there is _anything_ historical in these texts.

      OK, Jerusalem and the Romans probably existed. 😀

    3. I love Luis Black’s take on xians and the Hebrew bible – he says in essence “I don’t see any rabbis on TV talking about Your book, so you evangelical preachers should lay off trying to interpret OUR book.”

  18. This is typical of ‘religious truths’ – everyone else is wrong because only *I* know what god’s really thinking!

  19. They would not be able to comprehend these things. They were very primitive people. When it would rain they would look up to the sky to see where it was coming from, and they would eventually drown because they would keep looking up at the sky in the rain. These were not bright people. They could barely comprehend their own poo-poo.

  20. I think this goes back to the “Rabbi Yoffie” question: to what extent has Gnu Atheism hurt itself by conflating all faiths, including the “benign ones”, as being harmful?

    How can Gnu Atheism not conflate all faiths when even the faithful cannot agree on the interpretation of scripture and theology? How can we distinguish between them?

    Gnu Atheists must be intellectually honest and oppose all faiths – and, more generally, skeptics, all kinds of woo – that have no consistent, testable, naturalistic basis yet (seek to) impose, on the faithful and the faithless alike, beliefs and behaviours that do harm, directly or indirectly (via an “opportunity cost” with respect to medical care, climate change, &c., &c.), to people as individuals and society as a whole.

  21. Actually, Dr. Miller, what makes us different is how much total bullshit we make up to salve our fragile, narcissistic, center-of-the-universe viewpoint… Because, really, what’s more self-important than thinking you’re the fucking be-all and end-all of the universe and the most powerful being in/near/hiding it?

  22. I, for one, am glad to see Uncle Carl and Cousin Al go at it.

    Keeps them both from yelling at me.

    Note to all accommodationists of any stripe (you too, Nick): Until and unless Al Mohler agrees with your views that reconcile science with religion, you can just STFU about how the Gnus are doon it rong.

    Up until that point, however, we’re allowed to call a spade a spade, and call out religious nonsense for what it is: primitive superstition that has long since passed it’s “use by” date.

  23. What else couId we expect from Mohler and I think Uncle Karl’s “ancient book” says it all for him. It was not a book until a goupe of “men” decided how to put the works of ancient men together and discard some that did not tickle their fancy. You are right; the whole thing is now being argued over about which parts should be interpreted in what way. What a farce over a book of stupidity.

  24. that God dictated modern scientific ideas to ancient and uncomprehending scribes is to distort the biblical message beyond recognition.

    He’s got a point there. People back then were so dumb they got fired for throwing out the W’s at the M&M factory. How could they ever grasp basic germ theory? I don’t think so…

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