RT: Dr. Hugh Houghton of the University of Birmingham said the Bible should not be taken literally, after studying a copy of a fourth-century commentary by African-born Italian bishop Fortunatianus of Aquileia, which reads the religious text as a series of allegories rather than literal history.
“There’s been an assumption that it’s a literal record of truth – a lot of the early scholars got very worried about inconsistencies between Matthew and Luke, for example,” Houghton said, according to the Telegraph.
“But for people teaching the Bible in the fourth century, it’s not the literal meaning which is important, it’s how it’s read allegorically. In contemporary Biblical scholarship a lot of the gospels are written with symbolism in mind.”
“They are not setting out to be literal accounts but they are set out to be symbolic.” more …
Opinion: One hundred twelve million Americans (46%) say they have a biblical worldview. But according to this study (here), one of the first of its kind, a mere 24 million American adults actually have a biblical worldview. In other words, only 10% of Americans think and act according to the most basic biblical principles.
This is a gap of a staggering 88 million people who believe they think biblically, but whose beliefs and actions do not match up with biblical truth.
George Barna, who directed the study, says: our research collected information about attitudes and behaviors related to practical matters like lying, cheating, stealing, pornography, the nature of God, and the consequences of unresolved sin.
It’s what some might describe as “Christianity 101”. That’s what makes the discrepancy between the percentage of people who consider themselves to be Christians—more than seven out of every ten—and those who have a biblical worldview—just one out of every ten—so alarming.
“A quarter of people who describe themselves as Christians in Great Britain do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus” and “31% said they did not believe in life after death.” (Source)
Earlier Barna studies show similar results: The numbers show that 7% had such a worldview in 1995, compared to 10% in 2000, 11% in 2005, and 9% now. Even among born again adults, the statistics have remained flat: 18% in 1995, 22% in 2000, 21% in 2005, and 19% today. (Source)
So what is going on? Early church fathers created the mess and incredibly lazy congregants swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Why bother with all that reading if the OT is just a collection of stories? (BTW, we now are careful to say Biblical account/record/history, not stories, when talking about Scripture).
Our post from July 20, 2017 “Grand Canyon May Prove Noah’s Flood Happened 6,000 Yrs Ago” (here) uncovers the origin of allegorical interpretation of God’s word:
How did Scripture become allegory?
Early church theologian, Origen, commonly noted as the ‘father of the allegory’, began a quest of allegorizing Scripture. Origin was preceded by Gaius and followed by Chrysostom and Augustine who together explained away four-fifths of prophetic Scripture as symbolic or allegorical.
The effect has been that the Old Testament is considered by most Christians to be a collection of stories that were meant for showing us how to live. That it would be childish to believe that Jonah actually spent three nights in the belly of a huge fish, or that 2+ million Jews actually made their way on foot from Egypt to the promised land, or that Jesus actually died and was resurrected on the third day.
If you doubt the first 10 words of the Bible, then all 66 books are in doubt as well: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Look at what a powerful weapon the word allegory is in the hands of the enemy.