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Should the Bible be taken literaly?... what about the Book of Momon?


Mudcat

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Thought you might enjoy this article on Biblical Literalism by the people at BioLogos.

If you are unfamiliar with them, their founder is Francis Collins. A noteworthy scientist that has had much to do with the human genome project. He is also a Christian.

a snippet from the article

The Problem of Literalism

As compelling as this logic might seem, it runs up against some significant problems. Those problems are generated by the Bible itself. That doesn

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There are some Christians, like myself, that wrestle with the lack of evidence for a 6 day creation, a global deluge, the Sun standing still, the Exodus and so forth, because there is compelling evidence that seems to argue against these ideas... or at the least there doesn't seem much, or any compelling evidence for these event other than Biblical accounts.

I think one will find when it all turns out in the end that it is pretty much literal - only that human interpretation errs it in the wrong way.

You do know that the 6 day creation in God's time is talked about in several places in the Bible/BoA though... no?

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You do know that the 6 day creation in God's time is talked about in several places in the Bible/BoA though... no?

6 day creation is periphery to the topic, but if could explain the contrast between roughly 14 billion year old universe, a 4 billion year old planet and significantly less long lived human species with all that, I would be interested in hearing your response.

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6 day creation is periphery to the topic, but if could explain the contrast between roughly 14 billion year old universe, a 4 billion year old planet and significantly less long live human species with all that, I would be interested in hearing your response.

Okey, dokey, I'll find the verses...

2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Psalms 90:4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

Abraham 5:13 But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the time that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. Now I, Abraham, saw that it was after the Lord

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Okey, dokey, I'll find the verses...

2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Psalms 90:4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

Abraham 5:13 But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the time that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. Now I, Abraham, saw that it was after the Lord

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*shrugs* I have no clue to how many thousands of years the Lord took.

Yes.. well thanks for your insightful posts.

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Yes.. well thanks for your insightful posts.

Np... I suppose I could find out how many years he took... it's just... it doesn't matter to me all that much if ya' know what I mean... there are more important questions to answer, more important mysteries to pray about, more important purposes to seek... so I have to go after those first. :P

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Literalism and historicity are two different issues.

A historical book of Mormon may or may not be literal.

Historical events can be described in figurative and mythic language.

Parts of the BOM are to be understood literally and part figuratively, whether the book is historical or ahistorical.

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Part of the problem (in adding to Bill Hamnlin's comments) is what we perceive truth to be. Does something having historicity imply more or less truth than something that is figurative or metaphorical? If we read the Bible or the Book of Mormon literally, do we think that we will get more truth out of it? Part of the question that is usually ignored in these kinds of forums (but not so much in the scholarly literature) is the question of what the authors believed they were writing. Were they writing literal texts? Were they using figurative language or metaphors? This is especially necessary when we look at a work like Esther, which seems quite clearly to be a work of fiction. But what were its authors intending in this historical novella? Is our concern when reading scripture merely about history? Are we only looking for something that is literal because that is the only way that we can understand truth? Did the ancients share our concerns?

Ben M.

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Thought you might enjoy this article on Biblical Literalism by the people at BioLogos.

If you are unfamiliar with them, their founder is Francis Collins. A noteworthy scientist that has had much to do with the human genome project. He is also a Christian.

a snippet from the article

Personally, I don't consider myself a complete Biblical Literalist. Though perhaps, I take it more literally than some.

In relevance, I have seen a number of threads on the forum over the last 3 years in regards to Biblical literalism. Perhaps the topic is the Flood, Exodus, a six day creation .. and so forth. There seem to be a remarkably diverse number of views on these topics amongst participating LDS. I think I have enough wiggle room to say that there are quite a few LDS who aren't Biblical Literalists in many respects.

Given that fact the we didn't see some difficult portions in the text tossed in the JST, creates a bit of a situation IMO for a non literal reading... but I could be mistaken and welcome a rebuttal.

My question would be that if it is plausible to take sections of the Bible as not actually being literal, then does this same logic apply to the Book of Mormon?

There are some Christians, like myself, that wrestle with the lack of evidence for a 6 day creation, a global deluge, the Sun standing still, the Exodus and so forth, because there is compelling evidence that seems to argue against these ideas... or at the least there doesn't seem much, or any compelling evidence for these event other than Biblical accounts.

From what I can gather, there are some LDS who have the self same struggles in regards to Biblical claims.

But... Does this same sort of thinking apply to the Book of Mormon? or is there a reason it shouldn't apply?

Respectfully,

Mudcat

I am not the person to ask on this

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My question would be that if it is plausible to take sections of the Bible as not actually being literal, then does this same logic apply to the Book of Mormon?

I would say, YES!

Actually, I think that is the major difference between the different Christian sects. What they take as literal and what they take as figurative.

Just for example,

"I and my Father are one".

Is the "one" figurative or literal?

Or,

"he that hath seen me hath seen the Father".

Figurative or literal?

"tree of life" (1 Nephi)

Figurative or literal?

So, I say "Yes!".

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I just finished one of Bart Ehrman's books, "Jesus, Interrupted", and though I hadn't taken the Bible literally before, I'm far less inclined to do so now. Now, that was a read. Short book, but very eye-opening. "As translated correctly..." indeed!

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When I was investigating, I was not baptized for a year because I was looking at everything in the church.

One day, after trying to look at the DNA vs Lamanite argument, I stopped to wonder why I kept looking and trying to prove the BoM true.

It was true because I wanted it to be.

The church isn't true because of historical fact, (and either is the Bible), but on the values within it.

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No but the big events, that have to do with history...I do; you don't, I get it. So lets just pretend we have done all our bickering. This is not my thread.

I agree - it's just people choose to take different passages figuratively for different reasons.

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Part of the problem (in adding to Bill Hamnlin's comments) is what we perceive truth to be. Does something having historicity imply more or less truth than something that is figurative or metaphorical? If we read the Bible or the Book of Mormon literally, do we think that we will get more truth out of it? Part of the question that is usually ignored in these kinds of forums (but not so much in the scholarly literature) is the question of what the authors believed they were writing. Were they writing literal texts? Were they using figurative language or metaphors? This is especially necessary when we look at a work like Esther, which seems quite clearly to be a work of fiction. But what were its authors intending in this historical novella? Is our concern when reading scripture merely about history? Are we only looking for something that is literal because that is the only way that we can understand truth? Did the ancients share our concerns?

Ben M.

I agree, I think the intent of the author's is certainly one that it worth exploring, but even so it certainly leaves challenges to the reader.

I mean, to assert the author meant something other than a literal account of specific historic facts one has to be making some presuppositions of their own that may or may not be adequately supported either. Given the notion that these works were divinely inspired, seems to complicate things a bit. Using your Esther as fiction example, do we simply conclude Esther is a fictional attributed to/adopted by a Hebrew people as being spiritually valid in their faith, or do we assume that God did inspire some person to write Esther and even though fictional bears a metaphoric truth that fulfills God intentions.

I'm not disagreeing with position at all Ben, rather pointing to some possible problems, "figuratively speaking". :P

Having the freedom to take things in a figurative sense, no doubt helps to avoid a slippery slope but I think it may equitably place one on another slippery slope headed to relativism.. but if such is the case, it seems to be the slope I favor in Biblical interpretation.

I think Semlogo, may be correct in that something that is contradictory to what we know, was likely not literal. However, this seems to be interpreting from hindsight with respect to a predisposition relative to what we seem to hold as presently factual. Ergo, if the facts change then so does our interpretation.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

.............

@anyone. Has the CoJCoLDS, ever addressed Literalism towards the Bible or BoM on what should be taken literally or otherwise?

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I think Semlogo, may be correct in that something that is contradictory to what we know, was likely not literal. However, this seems to be interpreting from hindsight with respect to a predisposition relative to what we seem to hold as presently factual. Ergo, if the facts change then so does our interpretation.

I get that. In the face of facts, however, I don't see any acceptable alternative. Some people are comfortable in constructing an elaborate fantasy world complete with alternative histories and alternative psuedo-science in order to maintain strict Biblical literalism - I am not. We live in the real world - it's not a dream and reality doesn't change by wishing.

Take the flood. Scientifically and historically we know that there wasn't a global flood. Did the Genesis writer(s) take the flood story literally, or was it allegory? I'm no Bible scholar, I don't know. But not taking it literally leaves a lot of possible alternative explanations:

1. The flood was local, not global. God saved Noah and his family and his livestock from a local flood, and the story was exaggerated over time. The moral lessons still apply

2. There was no flood at all; it was a story from other cultures that was simply cribbed from earlier mythology

a. because of this, the Bible is false

b. despite this, the Bible is mostly true, though flawed

3. The flood story was intended as a parable all along, in order to teach the value of obedience to God

etc

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When Adam was created was he made as an infant? No he was made mature, he was one second old but fully mature. Same with the universe, it was created mature with all things in place.

6 day creation is periphery to the topic, but if could explain the contrast between roughly 14 billion year old universe, a 4 billion year old planet and significantly less long lived human species with all that, I would be interested in hearing your response.

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