Christians Who Take the Bible Literally Cannot Agree On Much of Anything
This is a page that touches on a topic I’ve brought up on my blog a time or two.
The author of that ‘Unpublished’ page mentions Roman Catholicism.
As much as I consider the constant Protestant and Baptist disagreement over certain things in the Bible problematic, I don’t think the solution is becoming Roman Catholic and accepting that their Pope’s ex cathedra statements or their Magisterium is the answer.
Catholics, for one, get all sorts of things wrong – they believe that Mary was bodily assumed into Heaven; they believe that praying to or for the dead is acceptable; they believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary; they believe in Transubstantiation; they reject that salvation is by faith alone – all sorts of wrong things.
Then Roman Catholics tack on 3 or 4 books (called the Apocrypha) to the Jewish and Protestant canon to “prove” to the Protestants that yes, they have “biblical” support for some of their weird doctrines.
Although the Vatican tells Catholics that birth control is wrong and bad, and that pro-life is the way to go, I have seen many news reports that American Roman Catholic women get abortions and use birth control.
Several years ago, I even saw websites by American Roman Catholics who say they support the legalization of abortion. Catholics are not in unity – not even in doctrine, so I do wish they’d stop lobbing this accusation at Protestants, as though the RC is any better.
Their Pope and Magisterium can sit there all day long and claim that the official Roman Catholic stance on Topic X is “blah blah whatever,” but that doesn’t mean the rank and file Catholics are going to agree with it, or follow that doctrine or rule. Because sometimes they don’t.
I do by and large still believe the Bible should be taken literally – as opposed to the liberal Christians who treat the Bible with extreme skepticism or who act like it’s okay to treat the Bible as though it’s silly putty and warp it any way they want – but I do acknowledge some of the points raised in this page:
- People who claim to literally interpret the inspired and inerrant Word of God do not agree on what the bible says.
- Christian Smith calls this “pervasive interpretive pluralism.” And this pervasive interpretive pluralism isn’t just found among progressives and liberals. It is found among evangelicals and fundamentalists, among the very people who claim that they are reading the bible very, very literally.
- Pervasive interpretive pluralism exists among biblical literalists.
- Which brings us to the problem at the heart of Protestantism.
- The problem at the heart of Protestantism is that the bible is unable to produce consensus. This isn’t a theological claim. This is an empirical fact.
- Sola scriptura produces pluralism. The “bible alone” creates doctrinal diversity. Biblical literalism proliferates churches.
- …The alternative is to be delusional, pretending that opening the bible brings everyone to a consensus. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t happen.