It is amazing to me how conservative Christians have revised the interpretation of many concepts in the Bible just in my lifetime. Growing up evangelical in the 1970’s, I never dreamed that I would hear an evangelical or other conservative Christian pastor endorse the idea that the Creation may not have occurred in six literal twenty-four hour days, or that some aspects of evolution may be true, or that the Flood of Noah’s day was only a regional flood of the Euphrates River valley, not the entire world.
If any evangelical pastor had preached these “heresies” in the 70’s he would have been run out of his church and denomination. But now these “heresies” are considered acceptable views in mainstream conservative Christianity.
So what is up with the Bible? Why is it that orthodox/conservative Christians must repeatedly update their interpretation of God’s “holy, inspired, inerrant, unchanging” Word?? Did God allow the Bible to be written so poorly, so confusingly, that mankind has needed scientists, not theologians, to understand what God really meant to say?
Here are some examples of Hebrew/Christian beliefs based on the literal reading of the Bible that have been revised due to scientific and medical discoveries:
1. Flat earth.
2. The flat earth rests on pillars.
3. The earth has four corners.
4. There is a canopy above the earth called a firmament to which God hung the sun, moon, stars, and planets.
5. The sun revolves around the earth.
6. There are “fountains of the deep” under the earth.
7. There is a layer of water above the firmament.
8. The universe was created in six, literal, twenty-four hour days.
9. All animals and planets were created during those six twenty-four hour days.
10. The universe is 6,000 – 10,000 years old.
11. The entire world was covered by water, even Mt. Everest, during the Great Flood.
12. Noah was able to accommodate 10 million species of animals in his boat.
13. Kangaroos got off of Noah’s boat on top of Mt. Ararat (modern day Turkey) after the Flood waters receded, traveled (and swam) thousands of miles to Australia…without leaving one kangaroo skeleton on the continent of Asia.
14. Seizures are caused by demon possession.
Once science and medicine proves the literal reading of the Bible on these issues false, Christians then revise their interpretation of the passage or passages in question and decide (arbitrarily) that the passage in question is speaking “metaphorically” and that previous generations of believers were simply mistaken.
What? Says who?
I am currently in a discussion with a Christian regarding the Ascension story. When I point out to him that if Jesus ascended to heaven at a speed slow enough that his disciples could watch him ascend, Jesus hasn’t even made it to the next nearest galaxy, let alone the far reaches of outer space and ultimately heaven.
“You are reading this passage literally and being silly. It is obvious that the author of the passage was speaking metaphorically,” says the Christian.
When I ask the same Christian if he believes that the Resurrection account should be read metaphorically his reply is, “Of course not. This account should be understood literally. The Resurrection of Jesus was a real historical event.”
Dear conservative Christians: Please open your eyes. Instead of repeatedly revising and updating your interpretation of your God’s “unchanging” Word, why not just accept the obvious: The Bible is an ancient book full of scientific, medical, historical, and archeological inaccuracies, written by scientifically ignorant, superstitious, ancient peoples. People do not “ascend” into the sky and decomposing dead men do not walk out of their graves to enjoy a broiled fish lunch with their fishing buddies.
Stop basing your life on these fables and legends and accept the findings of modern science and medicine as the basis of your reality. Please.