Interpreting the bible

Call me simple (most apologists call me simple, or worse), but I think there are three ways to look at the bible (or any other "holy" book). Either it's literally true, or it has got to be interpreted or there's an incomprehensible ontological argument I frankly don't understand.

The, "it's literally true", argument is quite simplistic. It's quite wrong and it deserves all the ridicule in the world. But! It's a brave stance based on the actual historical way people looked at the bible. Once upon a time people believed that the cosmology of the bible (etc) was correct. Only after the advent of the scientific method has this view been reluctantly abandoned by most religious folks.

The, "it has got to be interpreted", argument has several problems, in my opinion. For instance, nobody knows which interpretation is the correct one which explains the multiple denominations. Another problem is the cherry picking of parts of the bible that are considered to be literally true. Some say that Mary was literally a virgin and others say she was not. The biggest problem, I think, is the fact that it's a tacit admission that the bible got it wrong.

Lastly, there's the ontological argument which, if I understand correctly, boils down to: "Blah, blah blah, loads of complicated words ... therefore god", but maybe it's really "Blah, blah blah, loads of complicated words ... let's call 'reality', 'god' because reality exists ... therefore god".

The last person who used the ontological argument in a convo, basically said that "god is abstract" (gods is something that happens in the brain) and abstractions can cause things to happen in the real world. So, math is an abstraction. You can use math to calculate stuff, therefore math affects the real world.

This is an interesting argument, but it doesn't hold water. Math is an abstraction of reality. Gods are an abstraction of irreality. It is not the same.

Gods can perform miracles. Whatever thoughts you have, whatever deeds you do based on those thoughts, you cannot perform miracles. This is the difference between math and gods.

As always, comments are welcome.

Photo: il pensatore tormentato (prex79)


  1. Ontological argument gets bad press even in Geisler's Cosmological conclusions from Jastrow much better. Point noted about various interpretations of Genesis. There is always textual criticism to get to the best possible view, I mean if Jesus says something about Genesis, then that would be the prevailing view.

    1. Scratch my head. Jesus? Dead guys don't say anything about Genesis.

  2. I think the main idea is to just to read the Bible for itself and not be overly concerned about the interpretations of others. There are big claims for Biblical texts, such as that they will last forever like in Isaiah or the Messiah's quote that the heavens and Earth will pass before one stroke of the Law, in Matthew's gospel account.

    1. When you read the bible and you compare the biblical story with our current understanding of physics, it seems clear that the bible is plainly wrong on the creation account.

      It's as simple as that and no amount of apologetics will change that.


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