March 02, 2005

Not Literally

Why I don't take the Bible literally

The reasons I don't read the Bible literally leads from two factors, freedom of choice and human nature (much of which is captured by the story of Adam and Eve in the garden). We have been given freedom of choice that allows us to choose to believe, to follow God's calling, etc. In the same way, humanity choose which words of God (and Jesus) to include in the stories they told (as the Bible was first an oral tradition), later scribes and listeners choose what to include in the books they wrote, and later individuals choose what book to include in the Bible (as happened in early Christianity). If I had the direct words of God, I would believe them literally, but the bible isn't that. Instead it is the words of God interpreted by generations of humanity. Despite this, I'm an optimist and believe those interpreters did their best and retained most of the important parts. However, it does mean I think the Bible includes human myth and prejudice as well as truth.