Shuck and Jive

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Danger of Fantasy-Based Religion

Question: What is the Bible?
Answer: The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

Question: How do you know?
Answer: It says so in 2 Timothy 3:16.

Question: How do you know that 2 Timothy 3:16 is telling the truth?
Answer: It is in the Bible and the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Those who disagree are unbelievers and children of Satan.


Question: What is the Qur'an?
Answer: The Qur'an is the inerrant Word of God.

Question: How do you know?
Answer: It says so in al-Ankabut 29.48

Question: How do you know that al-Ankabut 29.48 is telling the truth?
Answer: It is in the Qur'an and the Qur'an is the inerrant Word of God. Those who disagree are unbelievers and children of Satan.


Hi Ho. So it goes.

To question the above logic about either the Bible or the Qur'an does not mean one is questioning the supernatural or the existence of God. One may or may not question the supernatural or the existence of God, but that has nothing to do with denying the circular logic regarding the Bible's (or the Qur'an's) inerrancy. Just because God
could have written a book, caused a fish to swallow a man, dictated prophecies to Mohammed, or had golden tablets delivered to Joseph Smith, doesn't mean God did all of those things. One does not necesarily deny the existence of God or the supernatural just because one does not believe every crackpot who claims to speak for God either now or throughout history.

All kinds of scriptural texts and holy figures including the Hebrew Scriptures, the Book of Mormon, the Urantia Book, The Bhagavad Gita, the prophecies of Nostradamus, or the Oracle at Delphi, all claimed divine inspiration.

Belief in the inerrancy of one's scriptural text is not a sign of faith in God. It is a belief about oneself. Fantasy-Based religion begins with a belief about
itself. We are the ones to whom God has given the correct and only true book.

Depending upon how far these
believers in themselves will go determines how much reality they will try to interpret through the lens of their beliefs. Fantasy-based religion can deny a great deal of reality through beliefs about itself. Some go a long way to try to make their fantasies come true. Consider the creation museum in Kentucky. (More on that one next time).

Well, what is wrong with a little fantasy? Where is the harm? If it were harmless, I wouldn't care. But it is not. Fantasy-based religion has caused a great deal of harm. Here is an illustration of fantasy-based religion gone awry. In 1978, the PCUSA General Assembly passed a document on homosexuality. This document has had far-reaching effects, including denying ordination of qualified candidates because of their sexuality.

Here is the interpretive key to understanding this document. While the document referred to science, sociology and so forth, its drafters could not get beyond their own fantasy. They wrote:

Therefore, it appears that what is really important is not what homosexuality is but what we believe about it.

Think about that for a minute. This is what that sentence is saying: reality is not really important. What we believe about reality is important.
  • The reality is that the Universe by latest estimates is 14 billion years old. But that is not really important. We believe it is 6,000 years old and that Adam and Eve hung out with dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden.
  • The probable reality is that Earth will spin for 100s of millions of years whether or not humans are around to spin with it. But that is not important. We believe that Christ will return and violently destroy the unbelievers probably within the next decade or two.
  • The reality is that homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality. But that is not important. We believe that homosexuality is bad, wrong, sinful, and fallen and so to hell with gays.

That is the danger of fantasy-based religion. It denies reality. Fantasy becomes reality. It begins with beliefs about
itself. It believes that it alone is true, possesses the God-inspired texts and the keys to their interpretation.

It uses words like "biblical, biblically, and bible-based" in order to create a warm, righteous feeling. We are biblical; therefore we are moral, godly, pious and right. Fantasy-based religion is therefore isolationist. What we learn from the hard and soft sciences, higher criticism of the Bible, the humanities, other religious traditions and so forth are considered threats to the pure faith. Fantasy-based religion wishes to protect itself from so-called "secular" learning and retreat into its own self-made fantasy world in order to determine truth.

That is not faith in God. It is not trust in God. It is not spiritual maturity. It is a fantasy. It is a delusion of grandeur. When unchecked, it is dangerous.


  1. Well, you like to throw a lot of rhetoric around, but that's okay. You certainly have that right.

    However, you're simply proving my point that I made on another entry you posted. All religion is faith-based (as is secularism and evolution). One is putting his/her faith in the articles and tenets of that religion or system of thought. In the end I can no more prove that my God exists or that His Word is true than you can prove that He doesn't exist or that His Word is false.

    We can both appeal to "facts". I can appeal to thousands of fulfilled prophecies, mathematical probabilities, and historical accuracies to buttress my faith, and you can appeal to hundreds of scientific assertions and theories about your belief, but both of us can find holes in the other's argument. In the end, it boils down to "what am I prepared to put my faith in?"

    For you it's the murky world of logic and science; for me it's the "fantasy" world of prophecy and biblical inerrancy.

    I don't ridicule you for you worldview. Why are you ridiculing me for mine?

  2. Why is it ridicule, though? It's a valid point, in mentioning that the focus seems to be the belief in reality, rather than what reality is. I didn't see the point of this blog as what's faith-based, but the dangers in the worldview he's commenting on.

    Take the belief in the rapture. Regardless of one's position on climate change, I think we can all agree that pollution itself is harmful and will have consequences for the next generation and generations after that. We can see the harmful effects of pollution. But those who are determined that Jesus will return within their lifetimes could go around polluting without reservation because why bother not polluting? Jesus is coming back. But that attitude is showing a lack of regard for the next generation, or the fact that it's highly propable that the next generation will inhereit the Earth.

  3. Wow, wonderful posting, John!

    I think another big danger of fantasy-based religion is that, perhaps because it fosters a defensiveness about maintaining one's fantasies in the face of a world that threatens on all sides, it tends to be aggressive in trying to foist its world view onto everyone else. It is often not just a private fantasy, in other words. Thus, for example, we have the continually aggressive efforts to force non-scientific creationist views onto public schools. This represents a serious threat to the integrity and quality of science education in the United States, which in turn has its own far reaching implications.

  4. My dear mystical friend. What presents the greatest threat to our educational system is that evolutionists are unwilling to submit to the rigors of effective scientific opposition and/or reasonable doubts. This theory MUST BE ACCEPTED AS FACT, or they feel threatened.

    Furthermore, educators are complicit in this censorship by denying children the opportunity to alternate explanations and examine scientific and mathematical holes in the evolutionary theory. This is nothing short of state-run indoctrination.

    Most Christians allow their children to be instructed in both creationism and evolution, and then try to help them think it through. Why are you and the educators so afraid to let every kid in America look at both sides of this issue?

  5. John,
    You go from analyzing believer’s un-logical statements or rather seemingly circular arguments, “The Bible is the word of God because it says it is,” to referring to “Fantasy-Based Religion,” as you call it as a personal entity.

    So first I would like to look at Fantasy based religion as a personal entity. Why am I insisting you have made Fantasy based religion a personal entity? Because you write, “Fantasy based religion begins with a belief about its self” You also write “Fantasy based religion can deny a great deal of reality through beliefs about itself.”

    Perhaps if you had written adherents of fantasy based religion begin with a belief about themselves, (about a book), (About the God of a book they believe in)? Or, those people who believe in fantasy based religion deny a great deal of reality because of what they believe about a book, (their religion), (the God who is written about in a book they believe in.)? It does make a bit more sense but it doesn’t bolster your argument quite so much.

    But how does religion believe in itself?

    So why not be direct in your statements? Try this: Christian believers believe in a fantasy religion when they believe the Bible. Christian believers deny a great deal of reality when they believe the Bible is true. But are you a genuine Christian minister if you say such things?

    Now I want to redo the questions you asked:

    Question: What is the Bible?
    Answer: The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

    Question: How do you know?
    Answer: Because the Apostle Paul (or one of his disciples or his secretary) who wrote Timothy 3:16 states that it is true.

    Question: Why does that make it true?
    Answer: Because Paul suffered many hardships for the sake of the Gospel finally dying for Jesus Christ. It is hard for a man to die for a lie especially a man with integrity like Paul. Also he was very familiar with the Hebrew Bible since he was a Pharisee before becoming a Christian; he was steeped in the word and its use in ministry so he could safely write that not only was it inspired, it was good for correction, etc. He also knew the other disciples who knew Jesus Christ. He could not have lied without their correction.

    Question: But that is only one place in the Bible why should it hold so much weight?
    Answer: A good observation. There are many books in the Bible written over thousands of years by many authors who never knew each other. So there are many witnesses testifying about God and his word.

    Okay, given this is only a blog, you can’t do anything but set up simplistic formulas, even mine are simplistic, but the point is to use such simplistic methods to insult people or to write about Church law is silly. Whole books have been written on the Bible as the word of God, not small formulas.

    One final thought, and this is about fantasy religion. C.S. Lewis, the great apologist for the Christian faith, has a wonderful scene about believing in something that might not be true in his book The Silver Chair. The wicked queen of the underworld has almost enchanted the two children, Jill and Scrubb, the prince and Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle. As she is causing them to fall asleep she tells them there is no such world as Narnia. But Puddleglum steps in the fire to wake himself up. Then he gives a most eloquent speech.

    “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up all those things—trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case , the made up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.

  6. Viola and John et al,

    What I've never been able to figure out is why anybody thinks that 2 Tim 3:16 says that "the bible in the inerrant Word of God".

    It says nothing of the sort!

    In order to even imagine such an interpretation you have to appeal to Greek Mythology - the Muses Homer called forth to help him tell the story of the Odyssey and the Illiad. Call me narrow minded, but I don't think it is appropriate to adopt Greek mythology as Christian doctrine.

    And in any case, being inspired by a Muse did not mean the poet was thought to be inerrant, just a really good story teller.

    When the Bible talks about the Breath of God indwelling something or someone, it is always in the sense of God giving it His life. Like Adam came to life when he was given the breath of (inspired by) God, or the valley of dry bones that were a metaphor for the people of God.

    Inerrancy is not the virtue one thinks of when one thinks of Adam or of the people of God. So why does it suddenly become a virtue of Scripture?

    Is that the only proof text there is for this doctrine?


  7. Thanks, Jodie, for pointing that out. There are a whole set of problems with using the passage from 1 Timothy, not just the problem of begging the question. In some of my recent comments to some of John's other postings I was focusing on the logical fallacy of circular reasoning that keeps being employed by proponents of ierrancy, without delving into these other problems, partly because it fascinates me how such a glaringly obvious fallacy could be so blatantly and repeatedly employed with a straight face, even after the proponents of this fallacy are repeatedly called on it! (This fallacy continues to be reiteratedr in the comments to this very blog posting.)

    You rightly point out that this passage from Timothy doesn't say anything about inerrancy. In fact, lots of liberal and moderate Christians who don't subscribe to inerrancy would agree that the Bible is "inspired" by God and "useful for instruction". It is completely possible to accept the notion of divine inspiration without assuming divine dictation.
    And then there is the question of what the author (who, by the way, was certainly not apostle Paul, and who probably wrote the epistle many decades after Paul's death) meant by "scripture". For one thing, there was no New Testament at the time this passage was written; for another, Christians don't even agree among themselves what constitutes "scripture" (consider that Catholics and Protestants can't even agree among themselves on what scripture is, the former including a set of deuterocanonical books into their canon that the latter reject, or that Luther would have excluded the epistle of James, and so on.)

    Unfortunately, none of these messy details coincide very well with the neat and tidy world view of inerrancy. Those who promote inerrancy are so much in denial about these matters that none of it really seems to matter to them. They cling to their dogmas at all costs, and they continue to promulgate a logical fallacy via the passage in 1 Timothy over and over again even when its fallacious nature is laid out.

  8. Anyone who honestly believes the bible is without error, regardless of their beliefs about God, simply hasn't taken the time to read the bible with the same kind of rigor owed to all historical documents, sacred or otherwise. Though there are plenty of examples, and websites devoted to the very topic (just google 'bible errors' or 'bible contradictions') one example that I came across in my own studies pertains to a subject that has to have a fact of the matter. Go take a good look at the genealogies of Joseph in Matthew and Luke (Matt 1:1-16, Luke 3:23-37). As far as I know, it is impossible for one man (Joseph) to have two fathers (Jacob in Matthew, Heli in Luke). I have heard people try to explain this away, but regardless of the explanation (none of which are found in the text itself) this example gives prima facie evidence that the bible was not written by the divine hand of God, but the fallible hand of man. Sacred or not, the Bible deserves the same level of examination any other text receives; perhaps even more, considering so many people base their world-view on that one book.

  9. So, if "inspiration" does not mean that God guided the thoughts and words of the authors, but only that He inspired them to write what they thought they knew about Him in the same way that a sunset inspires a painting, what does that say about God? Was He up there going "Hellooooo, down there? You're getting it all wrong, there Paul. Why on earth can't you get this right? Gee, I wish I had more power and authority to get them straight on the truth. I'm so frustrated. I can make every intricate detail of creation to work in marvelous harmony, but I can't seem to get through to these people to write down the truth about Me. I'm so powerless in the face of these humans."


  10. Alan,
    Do you know what it is like to be divinely inspired to write something? I for one, do not. Assuming that it is possible, and divine inspiration isn't just the side-effect of some mental condition like epilepsy (St. Teresa, for example), I suppose the only way to determine its validity is to look at the things that have been written and are said to be inspired in such a way. If we can find cases where something is written in such a manner, but is false given other experience, then we can determine that either (a)the writing wasn't actually divinely inspired, or (b)divine inspiration doesn't necessarily yield perfect results. The bible has all sorts of things in it that are false given what we know about the world, so we can thus determine either (a) or (b). Which one you choose is entirely up to you, though my own experience would suggest the former.

  11. Thanks all, for the comments. No time to comment on each one. But I do appreciate the discussion (which I think is an important one).

  12. John, Perhaps some of your readers might be interested.

    2 Timothy 3 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    Your "Fantasy-Based Religion" appears to be a straw man argument. There is a difference between bibliolatry and inerrancy that you conveniently ignore.

    God's divinely inspired Word can be inerrant while we err frequently in interpreting it. The "revelation" in your Q and A is biblioloatry, which is a form of idolatry, not inerrancy.

    To jump from 2 Tim 3:16 to "Fantasy-Based Religion" is anti-intellectual. Fantasy-based Religion is obviously a straw man.

    [Of course, the living Word is Jesus Christ, John 1:1-4, but you say He's rotting in a grave somewhere, never mind]

    Interesting that a Presbyterian reverend would use a straw man argument to impugn the Scriptures.

    You better plan to buy a lot of lunches if you keep this up. :-)

  13. One is not making a straw-man argument if what is being argued is already a straw-man. You said yourself that "fantasy-based religion is obviously a straw-man." Fantasy-based religion is a straw man of actual religion, and it is also what is so often employed in disputes about what is and is not real. Inerrancy can easily be derived from the 2 Timothy quote, and it fits nicely with what Rev. Shuck calls fantasy-based religion. To assume any text is without error is fantasy, especially when there are obvious errors to be found [see my above post]. While it is always useful to watch for straw-men, it is equally useful to watch for question begging, towards which the 2 Timothy quote so obviously falls prey.

  14. ((The bible has all sorts of things in it that are false given what we know about the world, so we can thus determine either (a) or (b).))

    Examples please! --- with ironclad, incontestible proof.

  15. Dunstan,
    the straw man is that 2 Timothy 3:16-17 leads to "Fantasy-Based Religion". 2 Timothy is quite cautious if you ask me [I don't see where it "obviously" falls prey..."]. "All Scripture is God-breathed" means that behind these words is God's infinite wisdom (i.e. His spirit is evident in them).

    Sura 2 of the Qur'an begins "This book shall not be doubted". That is quite different as well as carelessly broad. What if it is misunderstood? Can that be doubted? Add to that the contentious history behind the Qur'an's compilation (one illiterate man's vision, multiple signs of editing, immediate use as a political tool [which breeds corruption], etc., etc.) and you have what Shuck would call a Fantasy Based Religion - and he is absolutely correct!

    However, it takes leaps upon leaps to make that conclusion on "bible-based" Christianity. This is a carelessly disingenuous tactic.

    Dr. Ham (Answers in Genesis) is taking silent parts of the Genesis account and breathing his own breath into them as well as forcing his dubious interpretation of Creation upon us. The problem is not God's breath but Dr. Ham's.

    The intellect behind the Bible is such that we can never fully comprehend it. This means that we cannot study it enough (and certainly not trash it). It's not unlike the monolith in 2001 was to the proto-humans, stimulating them to reach new levels of intellectual achievement.

    This begs the question of you and Pastor Shuck, is God not behind the Bible? How can you tell which is God-breathed and which is fantasy? I'm all ears.

  16. Jim,

    I do like lunch. I'll buy you lunch next time you're in ET!

  17. Jim,

    YOu're not likely to get a straight answer out of this guy. He's all rhetoric and doubt. Reminds me a lot of the Democrats. They find it easy to tear things down, but provide no real real meat to chew on.

  18. Hi John, That's a deal.
    Alan, I know.
    **no real meat to chew on**
    At least I might get some lunch to chew on [although I'm not a meat-eater]. :-)

    I think John's more recent post narrows the Fantasy-Based Religion down a bit:

    1) It is humorless. [It can't take a joke (ie. the reaction to the Danish cartoons)].
    2) It is apocalyptic.
    3) Its God is violent.

    That's definitely Islam. I'd have to interview a lot more Christians to find some of them who fit that bill.

  19. **Therefore, it appears that what is really important is not what homosexuality is but what we believe about it.**

    I find this quote chilling, because there are many other things that the mindset could be applied to. Plus, it once again comes down to nothing matters but holding to the right beliefs, and can open the door to attacking anyone who questions.

    **To jump from 2 Tim 3:16 to "Fantasy-Based Religion" is anti-intellectual.** Is it, though, if that is the very argument that Christians have used? I've been to forums where people say we know the Bible is inerrant because of that verse, or the prophecy verse from Peter. That jump is the very jump that they make.

    **The "revelation" in your Q and A is biblioloatry, which is a form of idolatry, not inerrancy.** I would say it comes more from an extreme form of inerrancy, then. Biblioaters (is that even a word?) would say the Bible is without error.

  20. Alan
    If we assume that the apostle Paul is right in saying that we see in part and that our finitude means that whatever is known will have to be fitted to the limits of that finitude then the claims of this blog is not only explicable but also biblical.

  21. John, Interesting thoughts there. And I agree to a large extent, though we have to temper our confidence in our observations as to what's real.

    Every thought we make or share in is subjective. It is from a certain millieu, mindset, culture, whatnot.

    Getting back to Jesus brings me along with others to see something unique and from God. Something the likes of Mahatma Ghandi and other nonChristians caught glimpses of too, which impacted their lives.

  22. After reading Jim's response to me, I'm not sure we are in disagreement. And if so, I'm not sure where exactly. It seems like you are willing to admit that we have to be dubious when interpreting any book to be a perfect account of how things are (or were). This is exactly what I am arguing for. After reading two semesters worth of intro to philosophy papers, I was stunned to realize how quickly people will discount the texts being assigned (by Zen Buddhists, Environmentalists, J.S. Mill, Plato, etc) because it didn't line up with what they heard in Sunday school or read in the Bible. What I could not get across to them was the importance of looking at a text, determining the basis for the content of the texts, and determining what was worth taking seriously and what was worth discarding. Though I will not engage in further debate with Mr. Harstone, I will mention a few of the things that makes me question any kind of inerrancy in the Bible. When I look at the overwhelming evidence for a very, VERY old earth/universe, I find it hard to take literally the estimations put forth by folks like Bishop Usher who have taken great care in reconstruction based on Biblical texts. When I look at the evidence for immense suffering being caused by slavery, I have trouble taking biblical verses condoning the act seriously. When I look at contemporary accounts put forth by linguists, I have trouble believing the differing languages could have originated in people attempting to create a tower to heaven. And when I look at the incredible diversity of the world's flora and fauna, I have trouble believing they were all saved by one man building an ark and waiting out a storm. These are the kinds of things that literalists must take seriously, and I think that it is just a bit much for me to swallow.

  23. ((When I look at the overwhelming evidence for a very, VERY old earth/universe))

    Yes, but have you explored the biases and assumptions that are necessary to reach that conclusion? For instance, the "billions of years theory" is heavily dependant on layers of sediment and rock formations to arrive at its conclusion. However, science can interpret these formations in one of two ways: the layers developed slowly by a little water over long periods of time, or, the layers developed quickly by a lot of water over a little period of time. To arrive at the former conclusion, then, becomes a PHILOSOPHICAL DECISION not a scientific one, whereas to reach the latter conclusion one must make a THEOLOGICAL DECISION. Both can use science to support it, and science is unable to prove without reasonable doubt that one is correct and the other isn't. Both are a step of faith in one direction or the other. The ASSUMPTION that the former conclusion makes is that because recent history shows a gradual settling of rocks and sediment, then it has always been this way. The ASSUMPTION that the latter makes is that God is telling the truth about how He created the world, and about how He caused a massive flood which could quickly change the rocks and sediment formation. Even a simple science experiment can recreate the flood and its sedimentary results.

    So let's not be so naive as to suggest that science settles it all in the favor one interpretation over another. The sad thing, however, is that while creationists are generally willing to entertain and break down evolutionary theory, evolutionists are not willing to do the same with creation.

    ((When I look at the evidence for immense suffering being caused by slavery, I have trouble taking biblical verses condoning the act seriously.))

    And those verses are?

    ((And when I look at the incredible diversity of the world's flora and fauna, I have trouble believing they were all saved by one man building an ark and waiting out a storm.))

    I'm not sure where you get the notion that Noah saved all the different types of flora and fauna. He was instructed by God to save two of every living animal and to bring edible plants into the ark for them to consume. You've misread the account. Clearly, after the flood seeds from many different plants settled into the ground again and multiplied. That's hardly a scientific leap to believe in that.

  24. 1) I think you and I have different conceptions of faith, and perhaps even different conceptions of science, so I will not argue about this point extensively. The reason I take evolution and geology seriously is not because I have faith in it, but because it has given good predictive capabilities for all sorts of disciplines. If it quits yielding such results, it is to be reevaluated. That's the great thing about science, theories can be tinkered with as new evidence comes to light.
    2) Here's a few verses:
    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT) [slave trade, anyone?]
    When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB) [nice]
    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)
    Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT) [that should give them motivation]
    3) Fauna: the animals of a given region or period considered as a whole. Given that there are somewhere between 2 and 100 million species alive today (that's not even counting all the ones that have gone extinct in the last 4,000 years or so), I'm still having a little trouble working out the logistics. Let's go with the low number, 2 million species times 2 (one male and one female) equals 4 million animals...on one boat. Now that's a big boat. Furthermore, it would be difficult to get the climate conditions right (especially in those days) so the penguins and the elephants could live comfortably. Just trying to keep all the critters fed for 40 days and 40 nights would be a task. I don't even want to think about the clean-up.
    Oh, and no one ever cleared up Joseph's two dads. Two radically different genealogies for one man cannot both be right, one would have to be erroneous, therefore the bible is not without error (that's deductive logic, not rhetoric). Finally, if the bible is to be taken literally, what are we to do with books of the bible like Song of Solomon. I'm pretty sure that's chock full of metaphor (unless they really were talking about pomegranates, though I doubt it).

  25. Thanks John,

    I appreciate your point, which I think is (in the words of one of my favorite books) is that "Faith has falsified its trust when it presumes to deny realities and to confer upon its devotees assumed knowledge. Faith is a traitor when it fosters betrayal of intellectual integrity and belittles loyalty to supreme values and divine ideals. Faith never shuns the problem-solving duty of mortal living. Living faith does not foster bigotry, persecution, or intolerance." (1114.7)

    "What both developing science and religion need is more searching and fearless self-criticism, a greater awareness of incompleteness in evolutionary status. The teachers of both science and religion are often altogether too self-confident and dogmatic. Science and religion can only be self-critical of their facts. The moment departure is made from the stage of facts, reason abdicates or else rapidly degenerates into a consort of false logic." (1138.5)

    In other words, "no revelation short of the attainment of the Universal Father can ever be complete." (1008.2)