Losing My Religion – Part 5 June 3, 2009Posted by Matt in Losing My Religion.
Tags: Bible, Divine Inspiration, god, metanarrative, truth
Or, So Let It Be Written
As a young person, it was beaten into my head over and over again that the Bible was the literally true, inerrant, word of God, divinely dictated from on high and carefully written down by man according to His perfect standards. Thus, every single word found within its holy pages was 100% factual and exact and that all of the events described with absolute therein occurred precisely as written. Therefore, there was no room to argue or question, for these words proceeded straight from the mouth of God.
But then I actually read them.
The Genesis stories of a 6 day creation of the universe, a global flood wrought by a vengeful God, and an unfinished tower from which all of the world’s languages flowed became mythological tales, whose meanings were found not in whether the event actually occurred, but in the ideas behind them. The stories of God-ordained genocides became the tales of a conquering army who, like the cultures that surrounded them, gave praise to God when they were victorious and made supplications to Him when they were not. The divine endorsements of things like slavery and the mistreatment of women became products of an ancient culture. The letters of Paul became just that, letters, and not necessarily edicts from God above to churches forevermore.
So, the requirement of actuality took a back seat to the overarching story itself, a tale of love and redemption and the realization of the divine as told through the imperfect voice of humankind. This is the essence of the Christian metanarrative.
To be continued