Alibris Secondhand Books Standard

Friday, April 06, 2007

talking past each other

In a recent blog, John the Methodist said that conservatives and liberals talk past each other when discussing the virgin birth, the resurrection and other doctrines.

It's true: Conservatives and liberals begin with different assumptions, and therefore cannot help but reach different conclusions. Is there a way around the impasse? I think so, but only if both sides are willing to reexamine the way we talk with each other about our faith.

The Bible is an ancient book, yet we read it through a modern (or postmodern) filter. One of the hallmarks of modernism is to pull things apart and analyze them in detail. This is a major reason our science far surpasses anything premodern people ever developed. We also trust in reason to a far greater extent than our ancient or medieval ancestors.

So even though we start with different assumptions, we still share a number of assumptions that would have been utterly foreign to the Bible writers.

A liberal might say that the resurrection is true, even if it is not factual. A conservative might counter that if it's not factual, it can't be true. To some extent I can see both sides. The truth of the resurrection goes far deeper than the bare fact of an empty tomb. At the same time, if the tomb was not found empty, why shouldn't the gospel writers just skip to the Upper Room? What other purpose can the tomb stories serve?

And yet, it seems to me the whole argument misses the point.

I have more to say about this, but I'm going to wait until Easter morning to post it.

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