Theistic Heliocentrism

In a Facebook group I really love, one member has been doing a fantastic job of exposing the selective literalism of someone who rejects “theistic evolution” and any other form of accommodation to modern science, in the name of the literal truth of the Bible's creation stories.

The person in question accused the self-proclaimed literalist of accommodating to theistic heliocentrism.

He then went on to counter every claim that such language in the Bible is merely poetic, or reflects the perception from a human standpoint, quite admirably. The famous Joshua passage has Joshua address the sun, not the Earth. The Earth is said to be unmovable, firmly placed on pillars. And so on, through Biblical passage after Biblical passage. Using the same methods the other person had been using to insist on six literal days.

When I want to expose selective literalism, my favorite examples to turn to are the dome in Genesis 1, Paul's references to the heart as the center of human mental activity, and the lack of controversy over secular meteorology. Sometimes I will throw in Jesus' demand in Luke that anyone who wants to be his disciple give up all his or her possessions – just to make clear that the selectivity is not limited to descriptions of natural phenomena.

What Biblical material that those falsely called “literalists” ignore or treat metaphor do you find it most useful to draw attention to, to get them to notice their selective literalism?





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  • Dan Ortiz

    Briliant James…

  • arcseconds

    I must admit the biggest problem I had with Christianity as a child was the hypocrisy, not the difficulty reconciling the Bible with science. Jesus’s demands for turning the other cheek, forgiving people’s sins, and giving up one’s property are really clear, but not only did I never see anyone doing very well at any of these, but I never saw anyone even try!

    And it’s not as if people say “well, OK, I kind of suck, but look at these exemplary people over there! They’re doing it well!”, either. Instead of praising people who do manage to somewhat live up to these demands, we at turns ignore them, turn our noses up at them, or persecute them; whereas people who do the opposite are often lauded.

    The only people who have any kind of right to lecture others about biblical demands are people who are living in monastries or communes.

  • newenglandsun

    I find it most useful to get literalists in one area to draw attention to Is. 40:22 and Is. 11:12 and ask them as to whether the Earth is really a circle with four corners or not. Unfortunately, some don’t take Is. 40:22 and/or know what a circle really is and think that Is. 40:22 teaches the Earth is spherical object.