Drawing Belief from the Bible

Kevin Miller, filmmaker behind Hellbound? and Expelled and blogger in the Progressive Christian wing of Patheos, is wondering why some people change their minds, and why some people don’t.

This question has become somewhat of an obsession for me ever since I worked on the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. As I plunged into the often vicious debate over evolution, I couldn’t help but wonder how so many intelligent, educated, well meaning people could look at exactly the same data and come away with such drastically different conclusions.

I looked at Ben Stein in shorts and wondered how some well meaning person could have considered that a good idea, but nevermind.

This is leading into a useful examination of belief construction, particularly since right out of the gate he’s talking about how scripture doesn’t necessarily create the beliefs that Protestant Christians hold.

So when two people argue about what a particular biblical passage means, the dispute isn’t necessarily the product of a moral, psychological or spiritual deficiency on the part of one or both parties (although it very well could be). It’s more likely a clash between competing Interpretive Principles.

He goes into how tradition, reason and experience play into interpretation. Of course, it should probably be pointed out that even the idea of scripture, the contents of the Bible and the idea that it should be interpreted in a “plain and simple” are all themselves traditions. But I think that Miller is specifically focused on Protestants, so that’s going to place the boundaries on the discussion.

Anyway, it looks like the beginning of a useful discussion.

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