October 19, 2010

Let's Revolt

Up until about 500 years ago, the overlords of Christian Scripture promoted their dogmas so strongly that almost everyone went along.  Then the Renaissance birthed the Reformation, which paved the way for the Enlightenment, and power started to shift.  Upstarts used logic and reason to overturn entrenched dogmas.  Newly established upstarts, however, turn to dogma as soon as they're able.

Today's overlords of Christian Scripture are the ubiquitous "scholars" - University and Seminary professors who've earned clout within the Society of Biblical Literature.  But the half-art, half-science of "Biblical Scholarship" is a mixture of reason and dogma.  At the top of the current power structure is skepticism, primarily against the historical veracity of what scripture apparently claims.

But while some Christian members of SBL defend scripture against these attacks, the way they defend leaves all the power with skepticism.  Likewise, other Christian approaches sidestep historical challenges by appeals to scripture's "theological" nature, but this also leaves all the power with skeptics.  We've allowed *them* to define where *we* may stake our claims.  Really?  But it works for some, sadly.

Reason & dogma mix unequally, in these groups.  Wisely, the skeptics apply reason on top of their faith.  "We do not accept the miraculous.  Now, let us reason about what remains."  Foolishly, Christian authorities are still trying to reclaim the authority lost centuries ago, still attempting to "prove" to skeptics what did or didn't (could or couldn't have) happen(ed).  But the ones who've surrendered are just no help at all.

Christians, don't support dogmas about arguments that support our Christian scriptures.  Support dogmas that support our belief in scriptural claims.  On top of that dogma, apply reason.  On top of that faith, apply logic and historical argument.

IF the gospels were written as records of things which actually happened, THEN what may we conclude?

That approach is virtually untried.  It doesn't help anyone's kingdom building, at the moment.  It doesn't attack skeptics, and it doesn't shore up weak minded believers.  What it DOES do, is make sense.  What it DOES do, is project integrity.

That approach may not win much notice among SBL atendees... yet.

But the 21st century is young.

And I have not yet begun to write.

Stay tuned...

1 comment:

Eric said...

You've got (and will get) my support on this, Bill!

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