Shuck and Jive

Saturday, May 19, 2007


In response to my last post, Sandra asked about discussion regarding Armageddon. Before I go there, I should say how enlightening was the presentation from Dr. Patricia Williams regarding science and religion. She took us through the history of cosmology, geology, and biology. If you didn't make the conference (or if you did) and would like a cd of the event, e-mail me and I will have cds available for $15. She will speak tomorrow at the adult forum at 9:45 regarding Christianity's contribution to science and preach at eleven. The sermon title is "Where is God?" All of her lectures and her sermon will be on the cd for the $15 price. It is well worth it.

She spoke today about "Science as a Form of Biblical Criticism." We have often thought as science as opposed to religion, but this has really been a recent development. Scientific exploration was really the way thinkers in the Western Tradition regarded giving "glory to God." They referred to two books: the Book of Revelation (the Bible) and the Book of Nature (the natural world). The quest was to discover more about both.

Throughout her lectures, I continued to find myself amazed at how quickly and how recently modern science has developed. We have learned so much about the Book of Nature in the last few hundred years, especially this last century. The biggest areas of controversy during the Enlightenment were over the Book of Revelation (the Bible). It used to be interpreted in many different ways, metaphorically, allegorically, etc., but it is really in response to science that fundamentalist or literalist interpretation has taken the forefront. Thanks in part to the Reformers (Luther and Calvin) who insisted on a literal interpretation.

Dr. Williams made a reference to St. Augustine (4th and early 5th century) who said in essence that when the Bible contradicts the Book of Nature, go with the Book of Nature. Today, of course, those who do not understand either book claim that the Book of Nature should be subservient to their interpretation of the Bible. Here is a fine quote from Augustine:

"It is a disgraceful and dangerous thing to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on topics non-Christians know from reason and experience.

"If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him trying to support his foolish opinion from the Bible, how are they going to believe the Bible on the important matters of faith when they think the Bible is full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?

"Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on us all when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of the Bible.

For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion."

[From John Taylors, Ancient Christian Writers, The Words of the Fathers in Translation, no. 41 New York: Newman Press, 1982, vol. 1, pp. 42-43] From

This leads me to Dr. Dobson and others regarding the Bible. The Bible is an ancient text. It is not the Word of God in any sense that can contradict what we know from the Book of Nature. It is not a book of prophecy that we supposedly can figure out future or current events. This is the distortion that has been put forth by many Christians including Dobson. It is a dangerous distortion. It could lead to our destruction. How? Simply put: If the Bible is prophecy that predicts future events such as inevitable war between good and evil, then to work for peaceful compromise is to go against the Word of God. There is no reason to work for peace between enemies of the U.S. Instead, we are on a fated collision course whose end is destruction (and then redemption for us, the good guys--those of course "redeemed by Christ").

The more we can learn about science and the scriptures (rather than relying on Dobson to interpret for us) will enable us to see what is reality from what is fantasy. More on the nonsense of Armageddon next time.


  1. My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions! The Secret Rapture soon, by my hand!
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  2. Hi, Secret Rapture.

    They make this wonderful medication called Thorazine. I highly recommend that you ask your doctor about it tomorrow.

    Thanx for the nice link.


  3. Great stuff, John.

    The Augustine quote is very enlightening.
    The truth is just as he suggested. If an intelligent, self-respecting Christian reads a passage in the Bible that contradicts all reason, one must assume, with applied logic, that there was a mistranslation or misinterpretation. The latter is very often the case.

    When one reads that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, regurgitated back out onto shore so he could continue on his merry way to condemn Nineveh, one must realize (if one can) that the story is a lesson. An ancient bible study story designed to teach (probably youths) about God's methods.

    When the Dobson/Taliban types twist such stories and then preach them as literal instance, they lead astray the willing and in doing so, cause them to become confused and repulsed.
    They make fools of us all and cause the faith, and Jesus Himself to become the focus of secular derision.
    They drive away those they should be trying to save.

    Of course, this is just Jonah. There are many parables in scripture that when twisted by a liar or a fool, cause immediate danger to them and others.
    One verse that mentions having power over evil in the context of serpents, and some deranged snake handler gets bitten and dies.

    To quote a great legal mind "...if it don't fit, acquit".


  4. Thanks TN420,

    You have a first name? If you want to remain tn420 that is cool, just awkward that is all. Thanks for your comments.

    The secret rapture guy posts all over the place. I guess he is on a mission.

    I really love that Augustine quote.