Saturday, October 23, 2010

Reconciling the Bible and Science: A Primer on the Two Books of God

At the advice of an Abilene Christian prof, I purchased and read Reconciling the Bible and Science:  A Primer on the Two Books of God by Lynn Mitchell and Kirk Blackard.  The two authors come from the Church of Christ.  Lynn is a religious scholar at the University of Houston and Kirk is a retired lawyer.  My prejudice will show here in what I'm about to say.  I didn't expect something this good from authors from my heritage.  The book is not about science but about interpretation of the Bible and how it relates to science.  Their position may be described as falling within theistic evolution which is where I see myself.  They find consonance with the idea that there is intelligence behind the unfolding of our universe.  But have problems with the Intelligent Design movement for various theological as well as scientific reasons.  Much of the content of the book was familiar to me but their organization and narrative was nonetheless helpful to me.  The most striking thought came in a section on literalism.  Here's a quote:

Modern Americans are generally not very good at non-literal interpretation.  Think about how few people enjoy the study of Shakespeare generation, few people enjoy or get much of out Shakespeare now because we've lost so much of our sense of symbolic, metaphorical, and mythological imagination.  We are basically literalists who tend to feel that everything not intended to be read literally is not worth spending much time on because it doesn't really tell us much.

It's been a while, but I have tried to read Shakespeare.  Maybe it was while helping one of my sons study for school.  I'd like to understand it better but it would take some investment and would require personal assistance from some one. 

Anyway, my take is that our Anglo-American heritage is very literal minded and most of us received it from the same place as Hobbes, Bacon, Newton, Locke, Thomas Paine, Thomas Reid, Alex Campbell, Foy Wallace, Bertrand Russell, Stephen Hawking, Daniel Dennett, Chris Hitchens and Sam Harris got it. 

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