How to Make a Liberal Bible Scholar

Today’s “Quote of the Day” comes from Greg Carey:

The best way for conservative churches to produce “liberal” biblical scholars is to keep encouraging young people to read the Bible…Reading the Bible is a terrific cure for fundamentalism. That’s exactly how many of us so-called liberal Bible scholars got our start.

Those quotes are from near the beginning and end of the article, “Where Do ‘Liberal’ Bible Scholars Come From?” at the Huffington Post (HT John Byron).

Carey’s perspective is worth comparing and contrasting with that found in two recent posts at Unreasonable Faith, one about Ken Ham, the other about four ancient assumptions about Biblical interpretation. What I would add or comment in response to those posts is that for Ham and other fundamentalists, there is a higher authority than the Bible, and it isn’t God, but rather their doctrine about Scripture being inerrant. If one has that bulwark in place, it often turns out that nothing, not even an avalanche of evidence provided by the Bible itself, can persuade someone to change their mind. (See my recent post, about needing to choose between inerrancy and the Bible, for more thoughts on this topic).

As Carey notes, reading the Bible carefully often results in our noticing what isn’t there – such as the idea that one will need to get the mark of the beast in order to obtain school lunches (if you haven’t heard about this, click through or Google it to read about new palm vein scanners that would allow lunch lines in Louisiana schools to move faster – if those in line can get around the fundamentalist protesters). The whole notion of the mark of the beast as microchip or UPC code is as absent from the Book of Revelation as clues to its reference being to the ancient Roman empire are present.

But discovering that takes reading carefully, not in a purely superficial, impressionistic sort of way. And that careful reading does indeed contribute to people becoming liberal Biblical scholars – not only in Greg Carey’s case, but also my own.

 

  • Chris Sissons

    Apologies for posting this comment here – it refers to your posts about mythicism – I’d make it after one of them but I can’t find one.

    I thought you might be interested in a book I’ve just discovered “Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins” which can be found at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Did-Muhammad-Exist-Inquiry-Obscure/dp/161017061X which is UK Amazon. The book is by Robert Spencer.

    It looks to me as if it is from a similar stable to the Jesus mythicists. But I thought you might be interested.

    • Dr. David Tee

      It is supposed to be a good book.
      How did liberal bible scholars begin? By listening to unbelievers not God.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        You assert that, but it can only mean one of two things. Either (as is evident from your other beliefs) you inhabit your own mythology where no research or evidence is required, if the thought pops into your head, it must be true, and even God’s own truth. Or you simply lump all people who disagree with you into the category of “unbelievers” in which case of course it is true that liberal scholars and liberal Christians in general got the way we are by listening to unbelievers. But those unbelievers include the Gospel authors, the apostle Paul, and many other people whose writings you disagree with, and to which you ought to pay more attention.

        • Dr. David Tee

          Disagree with me or with God? I haven’t disagreed with the biblical authors yet and I see you are sans real evidence but simply make an accusation.
          I am still waiting for the scripture verses that state it is okay to listen to scientists (especially secular ones) over God’s word. When will you provide those?

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            So when Paul talks of the heart as the place where cognition takes place, rather than the brain, you have not allowed scientists to convince you that Paul’s words cannot be taken literally, as they would have been in his time?

            • Dr. David Tee

              Chapter and verse please. You demand evidence, so do I. But I am inclined to think you are assuming things about the word ‘heart’ and are being literal when you want to be again.

              • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                I am being literal where Paul uses language that people in his time would have understood him literally. Alas, he sided with Aristotle on this one…

              • rmwilliamsjr

                re:
                Chapter and verse please.

                why would you ask for the work of sinful men? chapter and verse numbering is an historical artifact added to printed Bibles in the early 1500′s? they are part of the scientific field of history not located in the text of the Scriptures but external to it. you use history and science, as the work of sinful men, when it is useful for you to do so. you are confusing the mundane-a numbering system with the sacred-the text. shame on you. God didn’t number the verses, some printers in europe did, 500 years ago.

          • Beau Quilter

            Why do you believe the collection of books written over centuries by different authors, and collected into the arrangement you call the bible hundreds of years after Jesus death – is God’s Word. (Scripture and Verse please)?

          • Mary

            Asking for bible verses that support modern science is like asking if God approves of nuclear weapons. Since modern science (and nuclear weapons) didn’t exist at that time, there is no reason why they would be mentioned in the bible at all.

  • http://nwrickert.wordpress.com/ Neil Rickert

    I was never interested in becoming a biblical scholar. I was always more interested in science. However, as a teenager, I was a believing member of a conservative church, and I did read my bible. If I had decided to become a biblical scholar, I surely would have become one of the liberal kind.

    The reason is simple. I wanted the bible to be correct as a guide to my religion. But, as I read it, it became increasingly clear that it could not be an historical account. Genesis 1 was scientific nonsense, as was the sun standing still (Joshua). The Christian God that I had come to believe could not have really hardened pharaoh’s heart. The book of Job had to be fiction, a kind of morality play. Noah’s Ark could only be a fable, for the size of Noah’s family was far to small to manage such a large menagerie. And it was hard to see how the Adam and Eve story could be anything other than a “Just So” story.

    What is more difficult to understand, is how somebody could be a non-liberal biblical scholar.

    • Dr. David Tee

      Your problem is, God didn’t use the modern scientific method to create. He used His power, spoke and it was. You say Genesis one is scientific nonsense but no one is claiming that God had to obey modern scientific rules to do His work.
      God doesn’t obey science but science has to obey God to be true.In reading the rest of your post, it is clear you ignore those passages of scripture which state that we do not always know God’s reasoning.
      He doesn’t answer to us, we answer to Him. Something liberals and other humans have forgotten.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        If God made the world, then what the study of it uncovers will be in accordance with what was made and how. By denying this, you are in fact denying the essence of the doctrine of creation, even while maintaining it in outward appearance.

        • Dr. David Tee

          No I am not because the Bible has already told us how. We do not need science for that. Again, I refer you to Hebrews 11: 1 & 2. We also know what was made but you omit the evil, sin and corruption factors and label science immune to such influences.
          That is a grave mistake. SInce we know that false teaching exists, we know that those in the field of science will not be telling much of the truth–for whatever reason they have.
          You hate blind faith when it comes to the Bible, but you certainly apply it when it comes to science and darwin.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            While it is refreshing that after all this you finally acknowledge your blindness, if you think that modern science is based on blind faith then you clearly only know what propagandists and charlatans have fed you. And that is incredibly sad. I hope that ine day, as happened to me, you will realize that you allowed yourself to be taken in by liars, and will work to undo the harm you are currently doing. That is what happened to me, and why I am so passionate about this issue. The question is, do you actually care about the truth enough to read actual books about the scientific topics you are pelting stones at because you have believed lies about them?

            • owlafaye

              Christianity cannot exist without the LIE…

            • Dr. David Tee

              You twist words to fit your agenda. Your blind faith is in the scientific process and science itself. If you didn’t have that you wouldn’t question God’s word and dismiss the act of faith that God requires and made part of the equation.
              You have to use faith that heaven exists, science can’t help you there but if you doubt Genesis 1 how can you accept John 3:16? You can’t say God lied in Genesis but told the truth in John that just shows you are cherry picking what you will believe.
              Salvation is the whole package and as jesus said in John 5:47 to the end “If you do not believe Moses how will you believe me?”
              Accepting Genesis is fondational to accepting John 3:16

              • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                But we are not talking about accepting Genesis, except in the sense that I keep asking you why you di not accept Genesis as what it is, a text featuring poetic parallelism and details from a pre-scientific view of the cosmos which clearly does not offer information that should be appealed to in order to reject the evidence from observation of God’s handiwork in creation.

                I think the heart of the problem is that you keep assuming that God wrote these texts, even though the texts themselves not only tell us otherwise in many cases, but also show us otherwise.

                • Dr. David Tee

                  because that would be a lie and make God out to be a liar and destroys salvation and any hope people have.
                  the heart of th eproblem is your rejection of the truth and pursuit of secular ideas over God’s word.

                  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                    No, that is pure bunk. God has put his treasure in earthen vessels, in fragile clay pots. Your persistent assertion that all hope and salvation a lost without an inerrant Bible is itself unbiblical nonsense.

          • Ken Gilmore

            >>…because the Bible has already told us how.

            Gen 1:6-8 tells us that the firmament is solid, a fact-statement that is demonstrably false. So, given your adherence to literalism, do you believe the literal word of Gen 1:6-8?

      • Ken Gilmore

        David:

        >>You say Genesis one is scientific nonsense

        When you interpret Genesis 1 literally consistently, it teaches that the Earth is covered by a solid firmament (raqia’) which separates waters above from waters below, across which birds fly, and in which the stars are set. As one respected OT scholar notes:

        “The solid nature of the raqia is well established. It is not
        the result of an anti-Christian conspiracy to find errors in the Bible,
        but the “solid” result of scholars doing their job. This does not mean
        that there can be no discussion or debate. But, to introduce a novel
        interpretation of raqia would require new evidence or at least a
        reconsideration of the evidence we have that would be compelling to
        those who do not have a vested religious interest in maintaining one
        view or another.” [1]

        if you were consistent in your literalism, not only would you believe in a young earth created in six days, but one which has a solid firmament. As there is no solid firmament, a literal reading of Genesis 1 is on shaky exegetical ground, particularly given that you have offered no reliable hermeneutic which allows you to determine what parts of the first creation narrative can be read literally.

        I take Genesis 1 seriously when I don’t read it literally, divorced from its ANE context and interpreted with no respect for its genre. It is fundamentalists such as you are the ones who by ignoring genre and context turn the creation narratives into nonsense.

        1. Enns P “The Firmament of Genesis 1 is Solid but That’s Not the Point” Science and the Sacred Jan 14 2010

        • Dr. David Tee

          My question to you is–do you think you have the correct understanding of those passages? SInce you do not believe God how would you know the correct meaning of what God siad? You do not have the help of the Holy Spirit.
          Again, I think you are only applying those definitions of words that you want to justify your rejection of God’s word. The NASB uses the word ‘expanse’ so you have a variety of definitions to choose from.
          As I read Genesis one again, I am reminded of the limits of science. It has not been able to determine the boundaries of the universe, nor gauge the size, how can you think it can discover what took place in the beginning?
          Obviously you don’t. What you take seriously is your eisegetical work not God’s word.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            OK, I understand now. You use the Holy Spirit to excuse your inconsistency in taking some things literally but not others.

            That the NASB and NIV, translated by and for people inclined towards literalism, render the word as “expanse” shows how quickly your approach to the Bible becomes circular. People who insist that the Bible should be inerrant and literally true are forced to insist that there is nothing in the Bible that cannot be so interpreted. And so despite the linguistic evidence, the dome will be turned into a vague “expanse.” And then others come along after them, read the translation, and say “There is nothing here that cannot be taken literally.”

            Can you see the problem?

            • Dr. David Tee

              Yet you do the same without the aid of the Holy Spirit. How do you know you got it correct?
              If science cannot find the boundaries of the universe HOW can it find the ‘expanse’ and understand it?
              The only problem is the failure of those to follow the Bible when it says–get understanding. Paul also said, ‘we see through the glass darkly’
              In other words you want perfect knowledge of everything when that is not going to happen. You can’t trust God about hose things you do not understand and you can’t follow His rules.
              Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit helping believers, He also said that the unbelieving world cannot get that help. The Bible also says that the unbelieving world are the blind leading the blind, they cannot see.
              How do you expect to grasp the idea of the firmament or expanse when you do not believe God’s word or follow His rules? How do you expect secular scientists to grasp biblical teaching when they reject it and pursue alternative ideas?
              How can you expect to learn about the Bible from such men? They do not have the truth and like all believers I do not claim to have all the answers. I can only explain what I have learned and I haven’t learned everything yet.
              Sometimes a non-answer doesn’t mean failure it simply means God hasn’t taught us all the details to be able to answer and that leaves believers with ‘I do not know.’
              BUT that ‘I do not know’ doesn’t invalidate what we do know.

              • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                Since I am a born-again Christian, in what sense are you claiming that I investigate these matters without the aid of the Holy Spirit?

                I am glad to see that you accept that our own imperfect human knowledge does not undermine the fact that some things are fairly clear. Unfortunately, because of some of the things that you consider clear, you are forced to reject other things which are clearer still. But the principle remains a good one.

                I wonder how consistently you are willing to follow your own guidelines, and your own rejection of “unbelievers” – by which you apparently mean people who disagree with you. Have you checked to make sure that the Bible translation(s) you use did not have people involved in producing them who would not share your views? Would you set it aside and search for a different one if that turned out to be the case?

                • Dr. David Tee

                  Really, you claim to be born again yet reject God’s word. How do you do that? In your disobedience, how do you communicate with God? Read 1st John.
                  I notice you avoid answering my questions yet again. How can we have a discussion when yo ignore pertinent parts of the other person’s response?
                  It has nothing to do with disagreeing with me but with disagreeing with God. If you cannot agree with Genesis then you are not rejecting my words but rejecting what God has said. I didn’t write the Bible but it is very consistant in its statements that God created by His word in 6 24 hour days.
                  Why are you afraid to accept that truth?

      • rmwilliamsjr

        re:
        God didn’t use the modern scientific method to create. He used His power, spoke and it was

        spoke is a complex metaphor, it is an accommodation to our senses, it is not an accurate description of the events. God did not make sound waves in a vacuum. the description of God speaking is a way of communicating to us who are physical beings relying on vocal cords and vibrations in the air to communicate. the same with the constant light & dark metaphors, they are an accommodation to the fact that we are visual creatures who sense a narrow range of electromagnetic spectrum.

        • Dr. David Tee

          #1. No it is not. it is simply an excuse you use to dismiss the biblical passages. Yes it is an accurate description of events because that is how it happened.
          #2. You assume the universe existed and contains God. If you noticed the universe did not exist at the time of creation thus the supposed vacuum you suggest was there did not exist.
          #3. Your applying human restraint to God is ludicrious. Since we are made in the image of God we can speak, and so can God. How He does it is immaterial to the fact that He did do it and everything was created.
          YOu are unbelievers and reject God’s words so why woul dyou think you have the inside track on what God can or can’t do?

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            Actually, by your ludicrous literalism, you are undermining creation out if nothing, since there must have been atmosphere in existence prior to creation in order to carry the sound of God’s voice, since you insist that he literally spoke.

            • Dr. David Tee

              You again apply natural ideas to a supernatural being. The Bible said God spoke and it was that is how it went down. The problem lies with your inability to accept that fact not with scripture or the human authors God instructed on what to write.

          • rmwilliamsjr

            re:
            it is simply an excuse you use to dismiss the biblical passages.

            my desire is to do justice to what the text says. it is far too easy for me to read my background or my interpretive community’s into the text. sound requires a point source of the vibrations and a medium.

            why would “God spoke” being a metaphor so threaten your interpretation of Gen 1?

            re:
            You assume the universe existed and contains God.

            no, i’m not a panentheist. i’m trying to read the text carefully and wisely.

            re:
            YOu are unbelievers and reject God’s words

            no i am not. i value the Scriptures and wish to understand them, not to misuse them to prove what i already believe.

            you sure are fast to call people who differ with you unbelievers. seems a bit uncharitable, but i guess it is easier to reject any criticism that way, & it saves a lot of time studying and trying to understand other minds. but it must get a bit lonely being The Only Truly Right One® however.

            • Dr. David tee

              It doesn’t threaten the passage, it is just a lie and claims that God lied.
              You obviously do not understand the usage or the meaning of the word ‘contain’. try to clarify next time before making some off-hand remark.
              What is to understand? God spoke and it was. Why is that so difficult for you? Since there is no permission to follow science or unbelievers over God’s word, why are you trying to bring them into the mix?
              God said, faith pleases him so why would God want you to go to those who reject faith to understand His words? Again I refer you to Hebrews 11.
              Notice that faith is rewarded not following evidence. Another example Jesus and the Roman centurian. What did Jesus say? ‘…greater faith have I not seen…’
              Notice, The words of the Roman centurian and that he did not produce evidence but simply used faith in Jesus’ words.
              Do you see the pattern here? The unbelieving world demands evidence, The just go with faith.

              • rmwilliamsjr

                re:
                Notice that faith is rewarded not following evidence. …
                Do you see the pattern here? The unbelieving world demands evidence, The just go with faith.

                yes, you oppose faith to science, reason, evidence making faith an instrument to believe absurdities and contradictions. and seem to take great joy in believing the most absurd as if this shows the strength of your faith. this is the faith of l.carroll’s white queen who brags that she can believe “six impossible things before breakfast”. not the faith of people whom i respect, who learn from the world and see God in their studies.

                i see no evidence in Scripture that we are called to such nonsense, God is the Creator of this world, he gave us a nicely reasoning brain and expects us to use it wisely. faith is the evidence of things unseen, not the proof of things seen and denied.

                • Dr. David Tee

                  What contradictions or absurdities? Are you taking those labels from your own thoughts? Have you seen creation? But you reject God’s word on how He did it and accepted a secular one to replace it.
                  Those who accept alternatives to the Bible always bring up the point of using God given brains yet they always apply that to justify their pursuit of secular ideas even though God’s word says not to follow the secular world.
                  So you are saying that people can use their minds to disobey God and it will be okay.
                  Did you ever think that God gave us brains to use to avoid the secular false teachings and go for the truth, helping others and implementing Jesus’ teachings and not disobeying God?

      • http://nwrickert.wordpress.com/ Neil Rickert

        Your problem is, God didn’t use the modern scientific method to create. He used His power, spoke and it was.

        I never thought that was a problem with Genesis. However Genesis 1 also describes the world that was created, and it is a false picture. The world is described as it might have been seen by pre-scientific peoples, but we know that to be seriously wrong.

        You seem to be taking the view that God is a liar, that the world that He created is a lie, and that truth can only be found in the writings of the human authors of the Bible. I have never understood how people of faith could hold such a view.

        • Dr. David Tee

          Your first paragraph just doesn’t see the big picture. You are removing the divine from the pages of the Bible and making it a human work. That is very wrong as by the time of Moses, people had been on the earth for a few thousand years and would need God’s help in describing His creative act.
          It is quite clear you do not study archaeology for there is no such thing as ‘pre-scientific’ people. That is your arrogance coming through.
          The biblical writers weren’t wrong as they were writing down God’s words not their own.
          Your whole post compells me to re-ask the following questions:
          #1. Why would God lie or have His writers lie for thousands of years and never correct His work if He did not create as recorded in the Bible?
          #2. Why would God say one thing to the very people HE wants to follow Him, but acted in a totally different manner? Given that the Bible tells us that God does not lie, you have him sinning and removing His divine stature. Who would want to follow a God who lied and sinned?
          #3. Why would God let a man/men who rejected Him find ‘the truth’ and publish it? In other words, why woul dHe let a sinful man steal His glory?
          You all do not think and want science to be a part of the equation BUT God NEVER made science part of the equation. I am still waiting for those scripture verses that give God’s permission to use science over His word and faith.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            You need to back up. Creation is simply there. The texts of the Bible are simply there. One is clearly beyond the scope of what humans could produce. The other is just one among many collections of human literature. If you want to prioritize the latter over the former, you need to justify doing so. Just assuming that the Bible’s account are not merely true but scientific, and not merely old but the oldest, is just not going to be acceptable. By failing to address this, you are in essence saying that your view is one that can only be reached by being born into it or a leap of blind faith. And yet that is not how the Bible depicts the way people come to faith. Why do you insist on being unbiblical? Offer justification for your views, the way the apostles were able to!

            • Dr. David Tee

              The only person not addressing issues is you. I am still waiting for responses from the many I have placed up here. Seems you avoid answering the difficult issues and try to turn things around by bringing up apples when we are discussing oranges.
              For example, I never said the Bible was scientific but you like to infer that I did.You and all evolutionists think that creationists and God has to go by your rules. Guess what–we don’t. We go by God’s and God has said ‘FAITH NOT science is the key.’
              You are in no position to make any demands. You only have a choice to make that is it.

              • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                Ah, so when questions are posed to you that you are unable or unwilling to answer, this is how you respond.

                Let me make one last plea. Read the treatment of Genesis 1-3 in a commentary by a godly person of your choice who is also a Biblical scholar and not simply a self-proclaimed authority on all matters about which they have an opinion. You can them look at another, and another. There is no need for you to listen to anyone other than Christians for you to get closer to the truth. But if you prefer people who tell lies in the name of Christ over those who are knowledgeable, sincere, and honest, and you yourself do not have the necessary knowledge and training to assess their claims, then you will have no way of avoiding being deceived by the sorts of charlatans that have been taking in the gullible among Christians for perhaps as long as Christianity has been around.

                • Dr. David Tee

                  The only person I have seen on this board unwilling or unable to answer questions or produce permission for their activities is you. I am still waiting for many answers and those verses where God gives permission to use science over His words.
                  I am not one of your students where you get to assign homework. You are not sincere, knowledgeable or honest as you fail to reject the false teaching from unbelievers and fail to obey God.
                  Obedience is greater than sacrifice.
                  Oh an dbefore yo drum up another apple argument to discuss oranges keep in mind that God created all natural resources and gave humans intellect BUT the supposed evolutionary process is not a product of His.
                  It has never existed. Read Gen. 1:30-2:2 paying special atention to the words–’And the universe and earth were complete in all their vast array.’
                  No process was involved and then reflect upon Jesus’ words ‘My sheep hear my voice’ Jesus spoke of creation not evolution., if you are a christian then you would speak of creation and remove all sinful evolutionary ideas from your life.

                  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                    You have yet to demonstrate that what you are talking about is not in fact whether ancient Israelite and Christian authors give permission to accept science.

                    Obviously the texts do not talk directly about modern science, which is a good reason to think that they are human writings of their time, and not timeless words of God. They do not address all of the concerns we may have in our scientific age. That is the whole point.

                    But clearly to the extent that a precursor of the natural sciences in the realm of philosophy, we do indeed see the Biblical authors accepting their input. In talking about multiple heavens, Paul is reflecting the Ptolemaic cosmology accepted in his time, but not known to earlier authors. And in talking of the heart as the location of thought, he was reflecting the view for which Aristotle famously made the case. Paul also says that that which is created gives testimony to the truth about God. And so all of this is relevant, and yet you seem to be unwilling to talk about this, as though this were a game you are trying to win through rhetorical tricks, rather than a serious discussion if a serious topic.

                    • Dr. David tee

                      Do you not think that if God had wanted you to use the scientific field that he would have omited the passages about faith and incuded some with that directive?
                      The Bible does address all of our concerns in this scientific age, you just do not read the words you want to see. Do not follow unbelievers as they are deceived and deceiving applies to modern science as it does truck driving.You just won’t accept that fact.
                      Another is the teaching about false teachers and their lying words. it goes on and on and until you apply those passages to science you will always be deceived and kept from the truth.
                      Paul is not reflecting the Ptolemaic ideology, that would make the Bible a human work not divine. If he were, then we could simply toss the Bible away and do as we please. Jesus would not have needed to die on the cross for it would not matter.
                      The big picture you fail to see is that if one part is human and God lied or copied from humans in other parts then salvation is out the window.
                      But you refuse to see this because you want the good things of christianity but not those that will make you a target for ridicule, persecution and possibly martyrdom.
                      God did not leave any middle ground, there is no combining of the secular ideas with divine. There is no fellowship between righteous and the unrighteous. The two just do not mix.
                      That applies to creation as it does to Ptoleaic ideology.
                      p.s. I see that you try to skirt the issue of no biblical permission by reducing the Bible to human authorship. That undermines your claim of being born again.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      So you do drive your truck in the opposite direction to secular drivers? I suspect that we will not have much more time to continue our conversation.

                      But I am not reducing the Bible to anything, I am simply pointing out what the Bible is, what it says about itself. Your divination of the Bible is at odds with the Bible’s own teaching against idolatry.

                      I am sorry to hear that you felt able to discard your parents’ teaching since they were fallible human beings, and as such, everything they say must be worthless. I bet that if you were to take a closer look, you would find that much of what they said, while not infallible, was true and useful.

          • owlafaye

            Your confusion is complete. You may sit down.

  • Jordan

    Though I’m not a biblical scholar, reading the bible carefully is what moved me to become a…liberal biblical…enthusiast, haha. A hebrew and christian scriptures class or two didn’t hurt either. But! that was because they got me to read more carefully.

    • Ken GIlmore

      I’m not a biblical scholar either, but likewise, I’ve abandoned untenable positions such as verbal plenary inspiration and special creationism when I read the Bible more carefully. My denominational background has made daily Bible reading a tradition, so I’ve read the entire text several times, including the parts that some atheists regard as recruiting material for unbelief.

      It wasn’t those parts that resulted in my transition, but the conflict between a literal reading of the Bible which was flatly contradicted by the evidence of the natural world. FIdeism never appealed to me, so I assumed that if a particular reading of the Bible was rebutted by evidence from the natural world, it was my reading of the Bible which was in error. If I can employ the ‘two books of revelation’ analogy, the book of Nature can serve as a corrective to flawed readings of the other book of revelation.

      • Dr. David Tee

        So you admit to listening to unbelievers and taking their words over God’s? The ‘evidence of the natural world’ has originated from evil and sinful men and has to be read into the supposed evidence they claim supports their work of fiction.
        Now we haven’t touched on this but it is time to mention it. Genetics supposedly supports the evolutionary thought with the similarities between genomes. What evolutinists (christian and secular) have failed to see is that the similarities do not point to a common ancestor but to the fact that all living beings need to live in a similar enviornment and need similar bodily functions to survive.
        There is no evidence for evolution anywhere.

        • owlafaye

          Sand in your ears?

        • Ken Gilmore

          >>So you admit to listening to unbelievers and taking their words over God’s?

          I listen to those who have studied the natural world and have earned the right to be taken seriously as informed experts. I try to avoid taking seriously dilettantes who don’t understand the subject they criticise.

          >>The ‘evidence of the natural world’ has originated from evil and sinful men

          Being ‘evil and sinful’ does not preclude competence in academic fields.

          >> and has to be read into the supposed evidence they claim supports their work of fiction.

          “supposed evidence”? “work of fiction”? Strong words, Dave. Have you actually worked in the life and earth sciences? Examined the evidence first-hand? Written up the results of your research? In other words, demonstrated that you actually know what your talking about? A quick scan of the literature shows that you’ve contributed nothing to the primary literature on evolutionary biology, so I know you’re being economical with the truth when you talk about ‘supposed evidence’ and ‘work of fiction.’ What does Exodus say about bearing false witness, Dave?

          >>Genetics supposedly supports the evolutionary thought with the similarity between genomes”

          There’s nothing ‘supposed’ about it, Dave. And given that I can’t find any contribution from you on the subject, you’re not in a position to comment authoritatively on it.

          >>> What evolutinists [sic] (christian and secular) have failed to see

          Dave, you’re not a scientist, so you don’t get to lecture the scientific community. Get an education, do the research and get your results published. Then, and only then are you in a position to talk.

          >> the similarities do not point to a common ancestor but to the fact that all living beings need to live in a similar enviornment [sic] and need similar bodily functions to survive.

          Nonsense. Humans and the great apes share similar genetic errors, which demonstrate common ancestry in a similar way to how identical passages in student essays, complete with identical spelling errors at the same places demonstrate plagiarism.

          One classic example is the GULO gene, which normally codes for the last enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway for ascorbic acid, but which in humans, monkeys and the great apes is broken in exactly the same way. The special creationist either has to postulate that either humans, apes and monkeys purely by chance acquired the same mutation in their copy of GULO, or God has created humans, apes and monkeys with a broken vitamin C biosynthetic pathway, but has seen fit to create other animals with a working copy of GULO. Even the ID apologist Michael Behe admitted that this is prima facie evidence for common ancestry:

          “Both humans and chimps have a broken copy of a gene that in other mammals helps make vitamin C…It’s hard to imagine how there could be stronger evidence for common ancestry of chimps and chimps.” [1]

          >>There is no evidence for evolution anywhere

          Closing your eyes and ears, stamping your feet and shouting at the top of your voice does stop one from hearing or seeing anything that can challenge their worldview. Conversely, it pretty well guarantees that anything you say on the subject will be utterly uninformed.

          1. Behe M “The Edge of Evolution. The Search for the Limits of Darwinism” (2007, Free Press) p 71-72

          • Dr. David Tee

            Again I didn’t finish reading your post as it is the same tripe all evolutionists say when they cannot support their position. You take secular people’s words over God’s, you are not in the right.
            You have nothing to stand upon and like the parable, building in the sand.

            • Ken Gilmore

              >>Again I didn’t finish reading your post as it is the same tripe all evolutionists say when they cannot support their position.

              In other words, “don’t confuse me with the facts. My mind is closed.” Well, that about wraps it up for your credibility, Dave. Anyone who dismisses an argument without even reading it has lost the right to take part in the conversation. Alas, your attitude is typical of fundamentalist Christians who privilege their ignorance above all else, and have the temerity to conflate it with the word of God.

              • Dr. David tee

                You had no facts there just the usual evolutionary meaningless insults and personal attacks. I do not close my eyes and stamp my feet, I have studied evolution and have seen that evolutionists do not have one scientific experiment to support its claims.
                In fact, evolutionary scientists cheat. They do not start from the beginning, with the original conditions, or ingredients (for lack of a better word) nor do they let random changes take place.
                They start with fully developed species, whose DNA has already been corrupted by Adam’s sin, and combine those with fully developed ‘ingredients’ also corrupted by Adam’s sin, put them in controled, unoriginal conditions and guided by an intelligent force who possess intelligence, foresight, thought, etc., and are under the influence of the same sin and corruption that entered this world at Adam’s sin.
                Not one participant in these supposed evolutionary experiments is as the theory claims. if evolutionists want to prove their theory true, they need to get a box, put the orighinal conditions and the supposed process of evolution in it and walk away.
                If they can’t do that then they cannot prove evolution true for all they are doing now is seeing how God’s creative work, under the influence of sin and coruption, reacts to different ingredients combined with their own set of imperfect DNA.
                Evolutionists have nothing and are deceived.

                • rmwilliamsjr

                  re:
                  They do not start from the beginning, with the original conditions, or ingredients

                  abiogenesis is not evolutionary theory. the TOE requires a replicator.

                  re:
                  If they can’t do that then they cannot prove evolution true

                  in general science does not prove things true, especially not in the same way that math or logic proves things deductively. usually science shows something is false and makes progress that way, it is problematic to use inductive reasoning to show things are necessarily true.

                  • Dr. David Tee

                    not talking about abiogenesis. you have just made science useless. if it cannot produce the right answer or the truth it is of no value. proving something false via scientific means doesn’t mean it actually is false. there are many things lin life that baffle the minds of scientists. Miracles is just one such item.
                    Science and scientists are just too fallible and limited to be able to deal with origins. That is a field that is best left up to the religious as we know the answers and have since the beginning.

                    • Mary

                      “That is a field that is best left up to the religious as we know the answers and have since the beginning.”
                      And you were there in the beginning? And when you talk about the religious having all the answers, then you are giving equal credence to non-Christian religions as well.

          • Mary

            I love your input here and thanks for the referrance. I want to learn more about genetics and evolution.
            By the way, “Dr.” Tee is no doctor:
            http://www.scotteriology.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/dr-david-tee

            • Ken Gilmore

              Thank you for your kind words. If you want to learn more about genetics and evolution, then I thoroughly recommend:

              * National Center for Science Education: http://ncse.com/
              * Understanding Evolution: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/
              * Phylointelligence: http://phylointelligence.com/
              * Howard Hughes Medical Institute: http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/

              There are many books aimed at the educated layperson which cover the evidence for evolution. My favourites include:

              * Donald Prothero: “Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters”
              * Jerry Coyne: “Why Evolution is True”
              * Richard Dawkins: “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution”
              * Kenneth Miller: “Finding Darwin’s God”
              * Daniel Fairbanks: “Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA”

              David’s reluctance to fill us in on the specifics of his educational background leads me to wonder whether his PhD comes from the same class of institution that gave Kent Hovind his doctorate. Whatever his background, it’s impossible to take his arguments seriously given his continued refusal to engage seriously with other people.

              • Mary

                Thanks for the info!

      • Jordan

        Sounds very similar to me. Similar to many really,

  • Dr. David Tee

    “The whole notion of the mark of the beast as microchip or UPC code is as absent from the Book of Revelation ”
    This statement is misleading as the notion of the format of the mark is not needed to be present in the book of Revelation. The mark of the beast is the mark of the beast what it looks like is immaterial and unimportant. What is important is that people do not take it.

  • http://nwrickert.wordpress.com/ Neil Rickert

    Let me add a thank you for an excellent topic and a good discussion. While disagreement remains, the different views are well presented in the discussion.

  • Beau Quilter

    You folks have the patience of Job in dealing with this troll. The blogger at SCOTTERIOLOGY did a little internet research on “Dr. Tee” in July:

    http://scotteriology.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/dr-david-tee/

  • RBH

    Gems from “Dr.” Tee in this thread:

    “‘The ‘evidence of the natural world’ has originated from evil and sinful men and has to be read into the supposed evidence they claim supports their work of fiction.”

    “Again I didn’t finish reading your post as it is the same tripe all evolutionists say when they cannot support their position.”

    “I do not close my eyes and stamp my feet, I have studied evolution and have seen that evolutionists do not have one scientific experiment to support its claims.
    In fact, evolutionary scientists cheat.”

    “You [McGrath] are not sincere, knowledgeable or honest as you fail to reject the false teaching from unbelievers and fail to obey God.”

    “SInce we know that false teaching exists, we know that those in the field of science will not be telling much of the truth–for whatever reason they have. ”

    As an atheist, I watch threads like this with amazement. As many times as I hear those sorts of slanders from Christians–and I’ve heard a lot of them–I am always surprised by their venom and willingness to slander people who believe differently.

    • Ken Gilmore

      The venom and slander doesn’t surprise me. In their eyes, we’re worse than unbelievers because we’re heretics who have apostasised from the One True Creationist Faith. Presenting a rational Christianity isn’t made any easier by Tee’s intellectually declasse and frankly sub-Christian rantings you’ve quoted, but remaining silent and letting people think that Christianity is synonymous with what Tee and other creationists advertise is not something I intend doing.

    • Dr. David Tee

      what venom? how can you tell my tone and emotion from a few printed words taken out of context?

      • Ken Gilmore

        Are you serious? Apart from demonstrating a gross ignorance of the subjects on which you comment, your continued dismissal of those whose opinions differ from yours exudes arrogance, intolerance and contempt. Your words have not been taken out of context. They show a continued pattern of behaviour which is anything but irenic. When believers and unbelievers note this pattern of behaviour in your posts, it’s a strong sign for you to stop, and take a good, long self-critical look at yourself.

  • newenglandsun

    How to make a liberal Bible scholar? Remove 2,000 years of Apostolic Succession away from them. Tell them the Bible can say just about anything. Tell them that progressive is a certain definition. Etc. Then you have a liberal Bible scholar.

    For a moderate Bible scholar. Leave the 2,000 years of Apostolic Succession in there. Allow them to heavily explore it and become influenced by it. Then you have a moderate Bible scholar.

    Moderates pwn both Biblical liberals and fundiegelicals.


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