Sunday, August 22, 2010

Exploring Our Matrix: Best Analogy Ever? The Bible is like a Software Li...

James McGrath over at Exploring Our Matrix says that the following may be the Best Analogy Ever? 

I'm sorry but all I can see here is arrogance.

And I think we might be forgiven for thinking that the real problem some Biblical scholars have is not that people don't read the Bible but that they don't read it the way Biblical scholars would have them read it. That, despite a lot of effort, secular biblical scholars have very little influence on our culture. And what little they have seems to be declining.

And I think these biblical scholars might wonder if perhaps they have not played a role somewhat analogous to that of litigation lawyers in making the Bible unreadable. That the readings of the Bible they propose are so fraught with qualifications and legalisms that most people conclude it just isn't worth their trouble to bother.


  1. I agree with you about this. By secular biblical scholars I assume you mean those with doctorates and for the most part non-ordained, who teach in the elite colleges and divinity schools and write biblical scholarship. I've felt this for a long time, half-way through graduate school I--and some of my friends--began to ask "what does this have to do with the 'people in the pews?'" The answer, of course, is absolutely nothing or nothing good. But I think the same can be said of Aquinas and Augustine and the other early Church fathers, they were the first to bring in the qualifications and the legalisms you speak of that the average person couldn't possibly understand. The Church knew this and so it became necessary for the Church to interpret these writings for the masses--"for their own good"--and along the way insure a greater hold over them.

  2. I have to disagree with you about that quote Jules, I think its accurate. Its been my experience that most self-proclaimed Christians--especially the most vocal--don't actually read the Bible. They listen to others' interpretations of it and--depending on how invested they are in the person or Church they're listening to--either sign off on it or not. And who can blame them? There are so many ambiguities in Scripture, how can the average person make any sense of it? Especially after they've juggled that week to make the mortgage payment, the car payment, the utilities, help kids with their homework, deal with a boss who's breaking their balls and demanding more of their time, an elderly parent who might have to go into a nursing home, AND find enough quiet time to nurture the physical and emotional aspects of their marriage.

  3. Which led me to the conclusion in graduate school that all of the intellectual masturbation that the biblical scholars do is for each other and the sake of the tenure-track appointments, publish or perish. If Jesus didn't come for everyone He came for no one, and God would not require people to have an advanced graduate degree from an elite school in order to hear and understand Jesus' words.