What is the best way to help Fundamentalist Literalist Christians...

by BurnTheShips 36 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • BurnTheShips
    If I may ask a follow up, what exactly are you trying to prove to the fundementalist christian?

    That a literalist interpretation of some parts of the Bible, especially Genesis, are not an article of faith, and should not be. That evolution does not disprove God, and that a Christian can believe it is "true" (in a nondogmatic way) and still be a good Christian. This would reduce the barrier a great deal.

    Of course, there are those who hate religion for its own sake (even if it has a postive view of scientific inquiry), but you can't make everyone happy.


  • Eyes Open
    Eyes Open

    The following book should be very helpful:

    How to Read the Bible: History, Prophecy, Literature - Why Modern Readers Need to Know the Difference, and What It Means for Faith Today, Steven L. McKenzie

    It doesn't attempt to destroy faith in any way. It promotes understanding of the literature in the bible by highlighting genre.

  • Tuesday

    I think I understand what you're looking for here. I guess if I were trying to prove to fundementalist christians that Genesis wasn't a literal account of creation I would try to first prove to them that the bible does speak in allegorical terms. I suppose using Isaiah and Revelation and asking if they believe these wild beast are literal. Then move on to Genesis. So my approach would be a couple of questions:

    Do you believe everything in the bible is literal?

    Please explain some of the prophesies fortold in Isaiah and Revelation and how they will be literal.

    If the bible speaks in allegorical terms for future events, why would it not speak in allegorical terms for something in the past?

    Since I'm still in the "Tough Question" mode maybe that's why I'm thinking in terms of asking people to explain their own beliefs. You can try this, maybe it'll work, though if responses to my videos are any indication you'll just get "that's a dumb question" with no explination as to why.

  • Narkissos


    Great quote.

    If I may add, I feel that an introduction to "humanities" is greatly needed both sides of the debate, since much of the "anti-Christian" arguments I can read on this site takes it for granted that "literalism" is the only consistent "Christianity" there is. Iow, non-fundamentalist Christians are regarded as "half-Christians" or inconsistent Christians by atheists as well. As surprising as this is from a continental European perspective, this seems to be the commonly agreed ground for discussion in the English-speaking world, and especially in America...

  • journey-on

    You can read books on the subject till you are blue in the face. But you can also try something else.

    I had a personal experience a little more than a year ago. I was trying to balance science and spirituality and

    had been praying about it (in the way I pray). I was deep in the zone, as they say, thinking about scientific concepts

    and that spiritual connection to things I have felt many times, when I began reading Genesis "as a scientist".

    There is a book called "Grammatical Man" that I read years ago and it is a sort of book that shows how mind meets

    matter and lingquistics meets physics. I got to thinking that ancient language held up against the modern day scientifically

    astute language would for sure lose something in the translation. I began to read Genesis with that frame of mind.

    As I read, what was coming to me was an explanation of how the Creator began the process of Space, Matter, Time, and Motion.

    I wish I could find my notes with the exact scripture and how it applied to each of the above, but I've misplaced them at the moment.

    But rather than looking at the creation account literally, I was looking at it through different eyes and "seeing" the spiritual meaning

    of water, void without form, darkness, light, motion (as in the Holy Spirit moving upon the face of the water), time (beginning). All

    aspects of the basic elements of matter, Fire, Air, Water, and Earth are addressed in that very first chapter. There were other understandings

    I had, but I won't bore you with them right now.

    It was an interesting exercise. There comes a time when you have read so many books by so many people with so many of their own

    ideas, that you have to take that knowledge, assimilate and accommodate it, then trust yourself to sift through what is true and what is not

    and just put it out there and let the spirit guide you to a deeper knowledge. When you get it, you KNOW it, and that's THAT.

  • hamilcarr
    Leaving "hard sciences" aside for a while and getting into "human sciences": linguistics, history of religions, literatures and ideas...

    Or, even here, breaking the barriers between both branches. New scientific fields like numerical cognition and nonlinear mathematics are situated on the verge of hard and soft sciences and may be applied in a variety of scientific fields. Sadly, academia nowadays is too specialized to create uomi universali (this is an economic problem, not a cognitive one).

  • Narkissos


    This is certainly an economic and social problem, but I feel it is a cognitive one as well (albeit a temporary one perhaps). And it is tied in with economical liberalism and democracy.

    On what criteria can the current average-educated Internet reader choose between cautiously phrased scientific popularisation and privately sponsored pseudo-scientific theories which seem to offer an immediate benefit in terms of self- and world-understanding? Why would s/he vote and pay taxes for the costly educational programs which might eventually empower his/her great-granchildren to become apt subjects to a new paradigm of knowledge, when religions, sects and gurus offer equally satisfying models in his/her eyes at a cheaper price?

  • Deputy Dog
    Deputy Dog


    We have to first, agree on what science is.

    What do you think would be a reasonable definition DD?

    Like it's really that simple.

    Here is just part of the problem. History

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science

    By the early 1800s, natural philosophy had begun to separate from philosophy, though it often retained a very broad meaning. In many cases, science continued to stand for reliable knowledge about any topic, in the same way it is still used in the broad sense (see the introduction to this article) in modern terms such as library science, political science, and computer science. In the more narrow sense of science, as natural philosophy became linked to an expanding set of well-defined laws (beginning with Galileo's laws, Kepler's laws, and Newton's laws for motion), it became more popular to refer to natural philosophy as natural science. Over the course of the nineteenth century, moreover, there was an increased tendency to associate science with study of the natural world (that is, the non-human world). This move sometimes left the study of human thought and society (what would come to be called social science) in a linguistic limbo by the end of the century and into the next.

  • BurnTheShips
    Sadly, academia nowadays is too specialized to create uomi universali (this is an economic problem, not a cognitive one).

    No, it is a practical one. The field of knowledge is much, much larger than it once was. You could have a universal man in eras past, but there are limits to how much a man can grasp and know intimately in a single lifetime. This I think, creates a defacto fragmentation. It is a rare few that can synthesize knowledge across many branches and create a new paradigm.


  • serotonin_wraith

    As long as they believe Jesus came to redeem us from a fallen world, caused by man, evolution is only going to say to them the world was in its sorry state long before man evolved. Pain and suffering would have to be how God designed things from the start, before any sin. Life killing life to survive, pain in childbirth, and so on. They'd be right too.

    Education in youth will probably help most people, and always presenting refutations whenever we see creationist arguments. Most people don't accept evolution because they don't know what it is.

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