Poetic versus Literal Interpretation of Religion

There is such a thing as ‘moderate faith’, and most people who you meet (in the UK at least) have it. The religious person that accepts evolution and the age of the universe is a moderately religious person; they will be heard to claim that the Book is poetic. If that is true, imagine what I can interpret from the Bible. If “God” represents no more than our understanding on a scientific and a moral level, then “God” is real but does not exist outside our own heads. God evolves as our scientific and moral understanding evolves. Moses was told by “God” (read: Moses’ own  moral understanding) to write 10 Commandments for his followers to obey.

This is my interpretation, and in it “God” is no more than a poetic name for our own humanity. And this is a vague spirituality, not an organised religion. This is humanism, and lacks any supernatural creator, author, policeman or intervention. If you think the Bible is poetic, how can you say that I am wrong?

If you believe that the Bible is the literal truth, I respect your integrity in being completely consistent. But there are still problems because the Bible makes claims about the universe that science can investigate. Creationism is one of them. And on all the evidence we have there are only two options: evolution or a deceitful God. Everything certainly appears evolves: the phylogenetic tree, imperfections like our dentistry and appendix, fossil records, observed speciation etc. So it either happened that way or God deceived us. (The irony is that it is still rational for you to believe something that another person has deceived you into; the evidence is still there).

Noah’s flood is another of these claims. If it were true we would expect to see a layer of oceanic sediment all around the Earth, littered with the fossils of terrestrial animals. We don’t. On top of that, it seems that Egyptian culture was able to ignore this global flood and progress right on through.


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