October 18, 2007

If The New Testament Is Literal, How Do Christians Spin The Following?

I realize that many Christians believe in an allegorical bible, but quite a few, and you know who you are, believe the bible is the literal word of God.

It is this basis that 45% of Americans believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old and that evolution is a crock, because the bible says that God created the earth and universe in 6 days, and that man was created in the image of God (I still get a chuckle out of their God having an ass and having to go poop at least once a day).

So here are a couple of examples I just don't get:

Matthew 6:5-6: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men....when thou prayest, enter into thy closet and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret...."

From a quick search on the internet I found this for the definition of "closet": Closet
as used in the New Testament, signifies properly a storehouse (Luke 12: 24), and hence a place of privacy and retirement (Matt. 6:6; Luke 12:3).

Why do real Christians pray on TV, or on street corners, or even churches in front of others? Why do many Christians want prayer in schools and government buildings?

How about this?:

"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." (I Corinthians 14:34-35)

Don't they have women preachers now? I remember seeing one on King of The Hill (Reverend Karen Stroup was voiced by Mary Tyler Moore on one episode). But I'm pretty sure that women are allowed to talk in churches.

Hey wait a second, if the bible actually uses the word churches, why did Matt and Luke use the word "closets" instead. If God really inspired those words, he didn't want anyone praying in churches.


Here is another very good contradiction. Watch this video on the Fate Of Judas:

The fake blood is a great touch, but I really like the message made by The Blind Watchmaker in the video.

For a lot more contradictions in the Bibles check out the Skeptic's Annotated Bible

God just couldn't make it easy for everyone to understand him, could he?

If I keep this up, I could reclassify myself as a biblical scholar:)


  1. The Bible as "the literal word of God". Dear me, Pat Condell would have something juicy to say about that.
    I think that anyone who has actually read the Bible and believes it is the literal word of God has either become insane from too much Bible study or was insane in the first place.

  2. BEAJ:

    For your "lurkers": here's an excellent article about the age of the Earth, from a Christian perspective.

    Also good for any laymen or science buffs that are a bit rusty on radiometric dating (not a new form of speed dating...)

  3. Can I put a link to an actual sermon how it is preached in a Bible-believing Church?

  4. Orde:

    I'd love to see that.

    Expect serious counter-fire though...

  5. gert,
    I've got my spiritual armor on. But it's Beaj's blog, and I'm thinking maybe his practicing Jewish readers might get pissed with a link to a Christian sermon (even though the pastor is also a Jew), though really I don't know, so I better get his permission first.

  6. Orde, you don't need my permission, but you have it anyway.

  7. "God just couldn't make it easy for everyone to understand him, could he?" Good point.
    There are thousands of things that even the non-literalists take literaly. That one must pray, do good works, have faith, forgive ... Other things, however, somehow people know better than God what he really meant but lacked the linguistic skills to say unequivocally. These they call allegories. Instead of saying these things are right and those things are not, people say these things are right and those things are also right otherwise they wouldn't have been written in the Bible. Which reminds me of this dialog from Alice in the Wonderland:
    ... said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
    "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
    "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
    Same logic.

  8. Though there is a range in the hermeneutical spectrum from the wildly allegorical/metaphysical to the woodenly literal, there are 2 main interpretation approaches, the more allegorical (reformed/covenant theology, Catholicism, etc) and the literal ("literal, grammatical-historical" method), of which I'm the latter, so to hear from our own lips instead of just imagining how and why we take things certain ways, here are actual sermons on the topics mentioned in this post, how my then-pastor "spun" them:
    1. Sermon 1601 intro to Genesis 1, gets into taking the creation account literally.
    2. Sermon 4135, on Mt 6:5-6 and location of prayer,
    3. For the women keeping quiet, I Cor 14:34-35 issue, the Corinthians sermons still haven't been transferred from tape/CD to computer, but he's covers same topic (even mentions the Cor passage) in 4-sermon "Women in Worship" series for listen here

    And very brief web page explanation of the "literal" system of interpretation here

  9. Orde:

    I can't say I've listened to the audios. I did however follow the link at the bottom of your comment and a few links from there.

    You are by your own admission a literalist and so Genesis has, according to you, to be interpreted literally ("words mean what words mean"). But literal Genesis is in complete contradiction with all empirical evidence science has unearthed. A good part of that body of evidence is summed up quite nicely by Wiens (and of course many, many others). Other scientific paradigms, notably cosmology on the origin, evolution and age of the Universe and Solar System are in complete agreement with geological dating methods. It's hard to argue with a theory that predicts elemental abundances in the Universe with such precision, then claim Genesis must still somehow be relevant.

    Many biblical literalists go much further in their attempt at trying to refute what simply stares them in the face: the Dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden croc. This is were things really start getting disingenuous.

    Instances were the Church has tried to suppress empirical evidence during the process of scientific discovery have been rather abundant in the past few hundred years. Galileo and heliocentrism is perhaps the best known example but not the only one by a long shot.

    I submit it to you that for anyone who has a decent scientific understanding or education, Biblical literalism is simply not an option.

    Rejecting literal Genesis as nothing but an obsolete fable does not mean believing there is proof of God's non-existence. Personally I'm agnostic on the question of God's existence because it's not a question that can be conclusively answered through empiricism or rationalism.

  10. BEAJ you've touched upon my personal christian whipping boy and my favorite part of the good book. I hammer the bible beaters on this one (Mat 6 5-6) every chance I get.