But this is different.
I’m not only defending what the Bible says; I’m defending the idea that the Bible actually says anything at all.
The skeptics aren’t denying that there are words on the page, of course. But they are denying that there is a proper interpretation of those words. They are [apparently] under the impression that the Bible isn’t actually saying anything objective at all, and that all (or most) interpretations are somehow equally valid.
As a side note, I am amused by this. These same skeptics are the ones who point to passages in the Old Testament in an attempt to say that God is behaving immorally. But their arguments rely upon the fact that there is an objectively correct interpretation of Scripture. The skeptic must be consistent; either the Bible does have an objective meaning, or it doesn’t. You can’t have it both ways.
If the Bible is saying something objectively testable, our goal (and the goal of proper hermeneutics) is to understand what the Bible is actually saying. The Bible claims to be making statements about [historical, spiritual, theological, etc] reality, and can therefore be tested.
On one hand, I guess I sort of understand the confusion. After all, our post-modern-esque culture tends to rip verses out of context and apply them where they don’t actually apply.
- Christians do it when they take Jeremiah 29:11 and apply that promise to themselves.
- Westboro Baptist people do it when they… well, they do it all the time. Every single sign held up by someone over at the WBC is an example of bad hermeneutics.
- Atheists do it when they pretend that Matthew 18:19 implies that two priests can go to hospitals and pray for healing
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For a really interesting conversation between Christian Tyler Vela and Thomas, the host of the Atheistically Speaking podcast, click here! (and here for the 2nd episode) (and here’s Tyler’s after-the-show commentary)