Selective Reading Round-Up

A few interesting conversations around the web about Biblical literalism and selective reading.

First off, our friend and neighbor James McGrath wants us to know that Geocentrism is Better than Young-Earth Creationism. James points out that the existence of geocentrism is a major problem for creationists for the following reasons:

1) You cannot appeal to the idea of being part of the minority that is daring to go against the flow if all you deny is evolution or the age of the Earth. The geocentrists are an even smaller minority, one that dares to take literally Biblical language that young-earth creationists and ID proponents do not.

2) You cannot call yourself a literalist if you are not a geocentrist. Even some geocentrists may deny that there is a literal dome over the Earth, or that God literally fought with a sea monster when creating. But they take literally language that young-earth creationists inconsistently treat as figurative.

3) You cannot condemn others for being compromizers without being a hypocrite if you reject geocentrism but hold to a young earth. The latter view has enough supporters that you can find strength in numbers. Geocentrism, however, requires that you really stand apart from the crowd.

Given that geocentrism is superior to young-earth creationism in so many ways, why does it have so few supporters compared to the young earth stance? Why not really dare to be radically faithful to the literal meaning of the Bible, or dare to embrace the knowledge that comes from studying the natural world? Why be one of those sinful young-earth creationist pseudo-literalist compromising hypocrites, when a more faithful option is there for you to embrace?

Meanwhile, a Hebrew Bible professor writing under the name Scribalishess wants to point out that Flat Earthers are even more faithful to the text. She provides a step-by-step translation of Genesis 1 with some handdrawn illustration, and concludes:

Now, unless you believe that the earth is actually flat, set on pillars, and that a solid sky dome holds the waters above from careening down upon us, then you don’t really believe Genesis 1 literally. Yes, there are flat-earth creationists who do believe these things and, at least, they are consistent.

But if we’re going to be realistic and consistent, we have to acknowledge that the writer’s worldview is not our worldview. Most of us do not believe that the earth is flat and the sky is a dome. Most of us know that the earth is round and rotates around the sun. If that’s the case, then we have to acknowledge that Genesis 1 is not a scientific description of the earth. It is a theological one. We don’t have to become flat-earth creationists to accept the theology the writer is communicating—that God created the earth and everything in it.

Meanwhile, our friend but not neighbor (yet) Scott Bailey gives us this:

Can you imagine if the tens of millions of dollars spent by the ignoramuses at Answers for Genesis, rather than trying to defend a myth and promote pseudoscience, instead went to researching ways to feed the poor: how much better the world would be? What, instead of the Creation Museum, if all of those resources had been used to help the homeless and starving in their area (and I mean ALL of the resources with no creationism attached)? Maybe–just maybe–Ken Ham would have a small leg to stand on when he started to talk of “what’s wrong with society.”


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