Ridiculous atheists taking the bible literally to attack it. Silly atheists just don’t get it.

The calculation was done a few hundred years ago http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ussher_chronology in 1650.
It was good scholarship – good science for the day.

But by 150-200 years later, it was no longer taken seriously except by a few Protestant groups, but taken VERY seriously by the new atheist movement that was growing in force.

Nowadays, only splinter groups (usually groups with no denominational affiliation (although there may be an exception or two)) consider it true.

The majority of Christendom does not follow it. If I’m not mistaken, neither the Roman Catholic nor the Eastern Orthodox family of Churches _ever_ believed it.

Protestant families of churches often were Literalists, but the ancient churches, even in the earliest writings, saw the dates and times of creation as symbolic, representative of psychological states, or eras, much as mainstream Christendom does today.

I was lucky. I was raised Methodist, which didn’t have a literal view of the Bible and in my mid 20s, I spent a few years as Eastern Orthodox Christian, learning a lot about the Greek/Russian/Coptic Christian view of history… after ALMOST going into seminary to become a Roman Catholic priest (but I hadn’t converted yet – I found “Eastern Orthodox in the yellow pages, called up the priest, his wife answered, I was instantly impressed).

Anyway – while I’m not involved with any of that now [I don’t have a particular religion at present] – while I was obsessing for a few years, I read EVERYTHING by the Desert Monks of the 5th-12th centuries that I could find. These ppl spent their lives n the desert, or in caves – and just, well, thought about stuff a lot.

A lot of the best of theology came from those dirty hermits in the Eastern Church, and one of the best things is some pretty intense symbolic interpretations of … well… just about everything in the Bible.

I don’t know as much about the Roman Catholic way, but from what I understand, taking the Bible as “Gospel Truth” is a _really_ modern thing… starting in America at some point after the Reformation.

But for 1500 years before that, nope, wasn’t generally literal. Maybe to a few but the people back then didn’t have TV, internet, newspapers and such, so they were REALLY BIG into other types of symbolism to fill up their minds – to help them deal with the sometimes great, sometimes cruddy world we’re plopped into and giving it meaning.

“Dashing your children against the rocks” was symbolic of stopping bad thoughts before they grow too powerful in the mind. Psychology isn’t new; religions have been practicing it for thousands of years. People were never *stupid*; we have the same brain capacities we had 1000 years ago, 5000 years ago, 10,000 years ago and we had to fill it up with _something_ to keep it going.

Ah I forgot about the Orthodox Jews. Their history is even shorter. Around the 1820s-1840s there seemed to be a BURST of new thought from all different areas that came on the world scene; many Christian denominations, belief systems, people splitting off into different groups or breaking away entirely… spiritualism.. science magic shows with some of the new properties that we had discovered…

and… by 1860, you’ve got the Conflict Thesis, the 19th century idea that “science and religion are in eternal conflict” that some still believe today.

Forensic geneticists and evolutionary scientists are searching for Eve though – and others looking for Adam… a prototypical “first human pairing”, so they may, in fact, have existed: first humans… just perhaps not quite as illustriously protrayed as they are in Genesis, which is a not a bad explanation of “Why people are mean to each other and often just plain old suck”. Maybe not the best, but there’s some truth to the idea that you can know *so much* about good and evil that you no longer care anymore about your fellow man, or anything really.

In the end, I think it was an old “Don’t talk to strangers” story for children, much like the Troll under the bridge or Slenderman a few years back in Creepypasta land.

The Bible has only been taken literally in very modern times.

Up until the Protestant Reformation, Christian theology would have had absolutely no problem with the concept of a metaphorical Adam and Eve separated in Time. It was already well known that the 7 days was metaphorical. The Reformation was a step backwards in theology in a very big way.

I was raised Methodist. I was led to believe that Big Bang, evolution, the timeline, everything – anything that the sciences have said about such things, is likely true. The Garden of Eden was taught to me as a metaphorical or symbolic device.

Perhaps there are those who take it literally. I was never taught to and the idea of taking the Bible literally seems entirely ridiculous for ANYBODY to do, whether they are “for or against”. It’s not a book that’s meant to be taken literally. It’s meaningless without interpretation.

“Biblical version” to me is meaningless. People who take it literally, to me, have always been ridiculous. My first exposure to a Fundamentalist on TV as a teenager who took it literally was ridiculous to me – and I considered myself a Christian at the time, and the guy on TV, a snake-oil salesman.

My first exposure to a self-declared Atheist who took the bible literally (just enough to say, “and this is why it’s wrong”) was in the early 90s online in some religious debate chat room.

That was also my first exposure to a debating evangelical.

They were trading bible verses back and forth like legal statutes at someone’s Trial.

I was like, “wtf guys, Bible’s not a literal document, are you stupid?”

They both hated me for the rest of the talk. The evangelical had the “inscribed by God Himself” attitute, the Atheist had the “Well, it says it so it must be what they mean and it’s wrong”

Neither one could understand historical context one bit. Neither one understood an inch of Theology, Symbolism. Just two very literal people, being literal at each other.

Perhaps I had a weird background that didn’t take the Bible stories as literal. But I don’t think so.

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