The first post I wrote against biblical literalism was justly critiqued for being extremely narrow in scope. In other cases, people seemed to misunderstand what I meant by the term ‘literal.’ Overall, I was surprised that so many Catholics found it scandalous to read the story of the Garden of Eden or the Great Flood as allegories.
It was consoling to find David Bentley Hart, a fine theologian, sharing an even more expansive version of my previous, albeit limited, critique of biblical literalism, where he even goes after the so-called “inerrancy of scripture.”
In this video he notes his disagreement with the famous Christian debater, William Lane Craig. Hart is one of the most fierce critics of the New Atheism, however, here he notes that if Craig were to debate someone like Richard Dawkins, his sympathies would favour Dawkins. He goes as far as to say that he finds Craig’s arguments morally offensive. I could not agree more.
Hart goes into more detail on “literalism” than I did, distinguishing the Patristic period from more recent modern “positivist” accounts that, he claims, treat the Bible “on the order of a scientific manual.” It is not the authority of Hart, but, instead, his succinct points made here (and below) that make this another, and much better, case against the literal reading of scripture.
In these videos, he goes into even more depth: