My thanks to the many people who are commenting on yesterday’s post listing common mistakes atheists make about Catholics. I hope it helps lead people to more productive arguments. The item that seems to be drawing the most comment is mistake number two – thinking that Catholics are biblical literalists. Now that we established they’re not, most of the atheist commenters on the site, including me, are at a loss as to how exactly Catholics do make sense of the Bible.
JoAnna posted two helpful resources in the comments thread (plus a bonus link to a piece on papal authority), but I’d love to be able to post some details here and spark a conversation. I’d like to invite Catholics (or other non-literalist Christans) to write a guest blog or two on exegesis for the site.
JoAnna has already linked to a pretty clear overview, and I don’t want to put anyone on the spot to defend an entire exegetical method in one blog post (though you’re welcome to try). One approach would be picking a verse you were confused by and walking us through how you investigated and resolved your question. Another idea would be to contrast two verses that are read in two different senses and walk us through how people realized which style matched.
Email me at leah (DOT) libresco (AT) gmail (DOT) com if you’d like to write a post or comment below with contact info and/or questions. Forward this post to Christian blogger friends who you think would be good at explaining this. It’s fine to rerun something you wrote at your own blog here. And if you’re writing a guest post, be sure to tell me what denomination you are, so I don’t accidentally create more confusion in an attempt to clarify.
Finally, thanks again for the patience both sides are showing in the comment threads. There’s a lot of confusion about what people believe on both sides, and it’s great to clarify in a non-debate format where people are reading for understanding, not just for ammunition. It’s a privilege having you all.