The Big Lie

In a blog comment, Brooke Lester made the comment that I’ve shared here: It’s never really about a “literal” interpretation, but about controlling interpretation. In every interview, every Facebook comment, every conversation, you have to take the word “literally” away from them. That their interpretation is “literal” is the Big Lie that makes all the little lies possible. This image [Read More...]

Please Take Genesis 1 Literally

I am really tired of those pseudo-literalists known as young-earth creationists. I really want people to take the entirety of Genesis 1 literally, and not just the parts they find acceptable. Saying that you believe in creation in six literal days, but without a literal dome over the earth, and without the greater and lesser [Read More...]

I Take The Bible Too Seriously To Take It All Literally

This quotation is often attributed to Karl Barth, but it is verifiably the words of Madeleine L’Engle. Blog reader Eric Funston kindly made the image with the appropriate attribution and shared it on his blog, That Which We Have Heard and Known.   [Read more...]

Read Genesis Literally

Indeed, I’ve made the case here more than once for Jesus having interpreted Genesis 2 in a decidedly non-literal fashion, as the story itself indicates it ought to be understood. [Read more...]

According to Google, Literally Literally Means Not Literally

I learned today via IO9 that Google has made it as official as Google can make things: “Literally” now means “literally” but also the opposite. Actually, perhaps I should ask whether literally now literally means “not literally,” or whether literally now still means “literally,” but means it figuratively as well as literally. When people misuse [Read More...]

Jesus and Paul were not Literalists when it comes to Genesis 2-3

It is interesting how some modern readers simply assume that ancient individuals and authors shared their supposed literalism, and their focus on facts and history and science, all of which are thoroughly modern concerns. If we look at what Jesus is depicted as saying about Genesis 2 in the Synoptic Gospels, he points to the [Read More...]

That’s Not Taking Revelation Literally

One media outlet described the man who quit his job over a form with the number 666 on it as taking Revelation literally. Fred Clark had this to say, with his characteristic combination of sarcastic wit and religious insight:   No. No, no, no, 666 times no. Believers like Slonopas do not “take the book [Read More...]

Sooner or Later, You Have to Choose between the Bible and Inerrancy

A discussion I’ve been part of on Facebook illustrates something that I have said before on numerous occasions: ultimately, for those approaching the Bible as a sacred text, one has to choose between showing respect for the Bible above all, or giving ultimate authority to a doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. This was illustrated in a [Read More...]

Literalism, Critical Thinking and Science around the Blogosphere

Let’s start this collection of links with Adam Kotsko’s post on literalism. Here’s a sample: I sometimes had to fight an uphill battle with secular liberal students who basically took fundamentalists at their word that they were following the Bible “literally” and who felt that such “literalism” was somehow the most authentic form of religion. [Read More...]


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