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The Bible

Page history last edited by Andrew Alder 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Topic warning... this is a page of Theology and a page of books they do not want you to read

 

see also the Bible which I may merge with this page when I find time

 

I have from time to time had the enormous privilege and pleasure to teach year 5 and 6 scripture or Special Religious Education (SRE).

 

One of the songs that comes with the material is called B-I-B-L-E and contains the line every single word of it is true...

 

The people who wrote this material obviously don't know the kids in my classes. They're post-modern. They evaluate. If I were to use this song, with its trite and obviously false statement, it would blow my credibility completely. I don't mean that these kids have studied modern linguistics or mathematical logic enough to know that even talking about a single word being true is nonsensical. Some of them have, and one once did to my face (see below). All of them have studied genres and other linguistic concepts that my generation did not study until post-graduate level. But most of them haven't assimilated this to the point of applying it so devastatingly to that SRE lesson.  

 

I just mean, they aren't that stupid. They think globally, and that assertion will just make them think, um, maybe not. And that will be that.

 

So, wait a minute. What am I doing teaching SRE if I don't think the Bible is true? Oh, but I do. I just think there are better ways of introducing people to its truth.

 

The Bible and marriage have at least two things in common:

 

  • People spend a lot of time defending them.
  • They don't need any defending.

 

Defending them is worse than a waste of time. It's counter-productive. Let's just encourage people to read the Bible. My experience has been, nothing else is necessary. It's a remarkably good read.

 

Personally, I find it most helpful to think of the Bible as a speech act of God. I can't see how it can be anything less. As such, I am under its authority.

 

My favourite book on biblical exegesis is Darrel Huff's How to lie with statistics. If you sit down with a Bible and an opinion and the goal of justifying the opinion, eventually you will convince yourself you have succeeded. This proves nothing. The Bible, like statistical data, must be approached in good faith. If you don't want to see what it's saying, you probably won't.

 

On the other hand, I don't think you need faith to be blessed by reading the Bible. Just an open mind. As I said, it's a remarkably good read.

 

And this ties in with my belief that the miraculous exists. That God is a God who has acted and continues to act. I can't see how anything less than this is worthy to be called God.

 

Oh, and as promised, I'll add what happened with that wonderful young man who said "Mr Alder, words can't be true or false of themselves. We learned just last week that truth value is an attribute of sentences and propositions." (Yes, your brightest year 5 students understand all of that.) Well, the claim does make sense in the more general use of the word "word". Suppose you send "word" of a piece of news? That's what is meant here. "Word" as in information.

 

And there is a delicious ambiguity. "Word" can also mean promise, as in "I give you my word" or "My word is my bond".

 

And I apologised that the song words were so confusing, and meant it. And I thought, I should also apologise that the words were dishonest propaganda, promoting a particularly narrow theology. But I prayerfully held my tongue on that finer point. See when not to lie.

 

See also the worst verse in the Bible... gotta laugh or cry...

 

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