Believe the Bible literally…until Science proves you shouldn’t

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.

Unimaginable! 

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.

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5 thoughts on “Believe the Bible literally…until Science proves you shouldn’t

  1. You're right Gary, 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” but God does.

    I chose to publish your screed because I need my Christian readers to see where our persecution is coming from. It’s coming from atheists who simply make stuff up or repeat tired old clichés. Here’s Gary who publically claims “Give me good evidence for your belief system and I will examine it with an open mind.” Yet he fails to open his mind. He does open his mouth and sticks his foot squarely in.

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  2. 7. There is a layer of water above the firmament. Clouds? You didn’t know that clouds are water vapor? The bible does.

    8. The universe was created in six, literal, twenty-four hour days. The word for day in Hebrew was Yowm which can mean day, or lifetime, or division of time, or time period. That’s why there’s several (not one) school of thought on creation. Then there’s the thought that once there was nothing and suddenly BANG! There was Everything! For no reason! (No wait, that’s science’s explanation, pardon me)

    9. All animals and planets were created during those six twenty-four hour days. This will blow your mind: Plants weren’t created then. It says so in the bible.

    10. The universe is 6,000 – 10,000 years old. How old is it? Tell me. Science has changed its mind at least 6 times in my lifetime, young earth believers haven’t changed their mind once. The real question is – what does the age of the universe have to do with your salvation? The answer is “nothing”

    11. The entire world was covered by water, even Mt. Everest, during the Great Flood. Mt. Everest was not mentioned in the bible. And by the way, every ancient culture on earth has a flood story, surely you’re heard of Gilgamesh? Many African cultures have an oral tradition of a flood myth including the Kwaya, Mbuti, Maasai, Mandin, and Yoruba peoples. In India Puluga, the creator god in the religion of the indigenous inhabitants of the Andaman Islands, sends a devastating flood to punish people who have forgotten his commands. Only four people survive this flood: two men and two women. The list of ancient people who have flood myths is incredible, Korea tells the story of Mokoryung, Malaysian tells us of Temian, Australian aborigines tell of the flood if Tiddalik, in Polynesia there’s multiple stories. Ancient tribes up and down the North and South American continents including the Hopi and Inca all have stories of the flood. All are similar, God warned them to clean up their act, they didn’t, bang! Flood! If you really had an open mind you’d be thinking – hey there’s something here.

    12. Noah was able to accommodate 10 million species of animals in his boat. It never said how many animals were on the boat, but one thing I can guarantee you – they weren’t all in pairs.

    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. Kangaroos are not mentioned in the bible. What verse did you see Kangaroos?

    14. Seizures are caused by demon possession. SOME Seizures are caused by demon possession. You got the open mind, prove that they’re not.

    I have to admit, I find it mildly humorous that there’s a Christian who actually engages in your argument about the assention. There’s nothing metaphorical about it, and trying to time the trip like you’re doing is just plain silly. You’re arguing like you know exactly where heaven is. In Isaiah 57:15 we know exactly where God resides: in eternity. God is not constrained to this tiny constrained little 3 dimensional ball of rock that you are basing all of your sad little arguments on. Open your mind to something that’s more complex than you

    Dear Evangelical Atheists: Please open your eyes. Instead of arguing out of ignorance, learn a little about what you’re complaining about. The bible is an ancient book of beautiful poetry, timeless advise, scientific fact, written over a period of roughly 2,000 years by 40 different authors from three continents, who wrote in three different languages and never once does it contradict itself. What it does do is hold up a mirror to the sinful, hate filled nature of man, and offers redemption.

    Stop basing your life on the whims of unsettled science which changes which ever way the political winds blow and open your mind to the reality that there’s something greater out there than you. Please.

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  3. Thank you for your comment, Doug.

    Would you mind explaining how Jesus got to heaven traveling at a speed at which his disciples could see him “going'? It takes two million light years just to get to the nearest galaxy.

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  4. Thank you for sharing your views, Doug.

    The point about the kangaroos is this: If every species of animal that exists today is descended from the animals on the ark, how is it that kangaroos exist? If kangaroos were on the ark, we should find skeletons of them in between Mr. Ararat in Turkey and their current home range in Australia. The problem is, we don't. It is as if kangaroos have only existed (or evolved) on the continent of Australia.

    In regards to the story of Gilgamesh, you do realize that this story was written at least one hundred years before the story in Genesis was written. It is a Babylonian story, and it only involves a flood of the Euphrates River Valley. Whoever wrote Genesis simply plagiarized the Babylonian story and tweaked it a little for his Hebrew readership.

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