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madmikeyd: As someone who follows the more traditional interpretational method, of assuming that something in scripture must be allegory should it conflict with scientific observation, I am not, for example, encumbered by the idea that God created the world in six 24-hour days, or that evolution is incompatible with scripture.

It might be somewhat more sensible to say that if something in scripture conflicts with science then it is either (a) allegorical, or (b) just plain wrong. I would be happy with this position.

In any event, the dogmatic insistence of fundamentalists in the non-metaphorical nature of the Bible leads me to wonder why this literal truth is so important to them. After all, Jesus spoke often in parables to his followers, so why should not the Bible speak to us in allegory? But apparently this idea is not acceptable even in the slightest degree. I would be very interested in your opinions on why they think this way.

I frequently get the impression that it all has to do with fear, specifically the fear that if the Bible is not literally true, then we are in doubt about what is really true and what is mere fallible interpretation. By extension, then, neither the nature of God nor the moral system of good and evil imparted by the Bible is absolutely known. Therefore, (so this dysfunctional argument seems to go), all is chaos and randomness, and there is no meaning to life. Is that all there is to it?

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