Questions to ask liberal "Christians" -
06-06-2008, 04:34 PM
Fluffy-bunny Christians-lite reject the notion that the Bible is to be read literally as God's inerrant Word. I've prepared some questions to challenge them on their view of Scripture. Please feel free to add others.
We often hear that the Genesis creation accounts were never meant to be read literally. What historical evidence do you have for that assertion? What do you make of the fact that that assertion was made only millennia after Genesis was written?
We also often hear that the Genesis creation accounts were intended as metaphor or allegory. Specifically, how are they to be read as a metaphor or allegory, and for what? Also, the Old and New Testaments both contain genealogies stretching back to Adam. At what point does an allegory “beget” a flesh-and-blood human being?
What is your test for determining which parts of the Bible are metaphorical or allegorical and which are meant literally? If Genesis is allegorical, why aren’t the Gospels allegorical as well? In other words, if you’re right about Genesis, why aren’t the magic-mushroom cultists right about the Gospels?
Where in the Bible does it say that the Old Testament laws can be divided into “moral” and “ceremonial” laws and that we are excused from keeping the latter, but not the former? What is the test for determining which is which? For example, we’ve heard that the laws relating to the treatment of rape victims are ceremonial rather than moral, but how could that be? If rape is not a moral as opposed to ceremonial issue, what is?
Where in the Bible does it say that children below an “age of accountability” are automatically saved? Where in the Bible do we even read what that “age of accountability” is? The Bible sets forth clear rules on how to be saved; where is the exception for children set forth with equal clarity, or at all?
Even with regard to the New Testament, we hear that some laws are to be kept today, while others were meant for the church “back then.” How do you know which is which?
We sometimes hear that “Christian ethics,” “Christian love,” and the “spirit of the Bible” trump the clear commands of the Bible. What source could “Christian ethics,” “Christian love,” and the “spirit of the Bible” have, if not the words of the Bible? Similarly, if the Bible contradicts a modern understanding of morality, why is it the Bible, rather than that modern understanding of morality, which is in error?
With regard to the role of women in church, we hear that women were instructed to keep silent in church because women in a specific church had a tendency to gossip or to ask what the sermon meant, thereby disrupting the service. What is the historical evidence for that assertion? Also, what do you make of the Bible teaching that women are to remain silent because of Adam and Eve?
How do you interpret the teachings in the Old and New Testaments on slavery to be anti-slavery? We often hear that the Bible was twisted to support slavery; how is not the case that the supporters of slavery read the Bible literally and that it is you who are twisting it?
More generally, whenever the Bible says something that you don’t like, how are you justified in appealing to “Bible scholars” who say that the Bible means something radically different from (and in some cases the exact opposite of) what the words on paper say? Which is the Word of God: those people’s interpretation of the Bible, or the Bible? If you are justified in reading the Bible in that way, why are homosexuals not equally justified in doing so?
Why should any part of Scripture not have meaning until it is “interpreted correctly”? Why should we read a text that presents itself as a straightforward instruction manual for life as though it had layers of hidden meaning that only the adept could understand? Can the Almighty not express Himself clearly? Also, since the Bible is given to us for our salvation, why would a loving God make Bible understanding, and thus salvation, contingent on being clever enough, persistent enough, or both to ferret out the hidden meaning?
Similarly, how could the Bible have meaning only in the original languages? No one says that we need to read textbooks in the original Russian in order to understand plasma physics; how is the Bible any different? Can the Almighty not find a way to express Himself in a way that speakers of all languages can understand, and why would a loving God make Bible understanding, and thus salvation, contingent on understanding a meaning that can be gleaned only from the original languages?
Regarding the inspiration of Scripture, we hear that only the “essence” was inspired. What is your functional distinction between the “essence” and the parts that you like? If it isn’t all to be read and followed as the Word of God, why treat any of it that way?
Alternatively, we hear that the “original manuscripts” alone were God’s inerrant Word. What good does that do us today? Doesn’t that make God a liar when He promised to preserve His words?
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Questions to ask liberal "Christians"
✞ Things that the Bible doesn't say