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Subject:  Re: Religionists miss the scale of things Date:  3/14/2005  2:00 AM
Author:  schickbrithouse Number:  143702 of 525226

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.

Literalism in Biblical interpretation is relatively recent (last 120 years or so). Damn! I wish I could remember the name of the author who wrote a history of Christian belief in the U.S. He also wrote a devastating critique of the Catholic church while being a practicing Catholic. He's a fairly prolific author. If I can remember his name or the titles of the books he's written, I'll pass on a link.

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?


As much as anything, it's a reaction to rapid social change. People fear what they can't yet understand. The situation is exacerbated when other people make a mockery of them rather than trying patiently to explain things.

The Scopes trial didn't help either. It humiliated people, the grandsons and granddaughters of whom probably form the backbone of the fundamentalist movement. The author I mentioned above spent quite a bit of time giving the background of the Scopes trial. Clarence Darrow comes off as not quite the hero people seem to think he was and H.L. Mencken, who apparently was the one who convinced Darrow to take the case comes off as an arrogant a$$hole who was mightily convinced of his own superiority.

Again, if I can remember the author (or the book title), I'll provide a link.


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