1. Know More Than I Should

    Biblical literalists tend to cherry-pick their literalism. For example, of the almost dozen biblical sins worthy of death, literalists tend to center their wrath on Number 1 – homosexual sex. In fact, they seem to have a preoccupation with homosexual sex!!!

    Meanwhile, I wonder if walking down the aisle in a white dress – supposedly a symbol of purity – constitutes lying about a young bride’s virginity? Wonder how Christians stoning urban rape victims would go over these days? Then, there’s adultery and remarriage as defined by Jesus!

    1) Male homosexuality (women get a pass?) (Leviticus 18:22)

    2) Heterosexual adultery (man and woman) (Leviticus 20:10-12)

    3) Marrying both a mother and her daughter (Leviticus 20:14)

    4) Bestiality (Leviticus 20:15 [men] and Leviticus 20:16 [women])

    5) Incest with sister (Leviticus 20:17)

    6) Copulation with father’s wife (not mother of the accused) (Leviticus 20:20)

    7) Copulation with daughter-in-law (Leviticus 20:30)

    8) Prostitution practiced by daughter of priest (Leviticus 21:9)

    9) Young women lying about virginity (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)

    10) Rape of a virgin engaged to be married to another (Deuteronomy 22:25)

    11) Rape victim in a city (Deuteronomy 22:23-27)

  2. Gary

    Statement, “Chapter 7, “The Gnostic Syndrome, When Literalism Becomes a Heresy” is perhaps one of the most important chapters written in this book”.
    How about a sentence describing what this is about?
    The reviews don’t describe it.


    1. Gary, he lays it out simply enough – biblical literalisms rests in the fear that they need perfect knowledge. Everything comes down to knowing the right things.

  3. Gary

    Makes me wonder if there is any mention of Ebionites. 7th Day Adventists and Ebionites might make for a good potluck.


  4. This book is comprised of two halves — in the first half (which is slightly longer than the second half in length), the author emits a grade A rant on fundamentalism and biblical literalism. As someone who grew up a 7th day adventist, and then tackled all the science-y stuff in order to rebut it, he now turns his ire toward that and similar fundamentalist factions — and he does an excellent job, one of the better missives on how fundamentalists arguing for biblical literalism do so in the vein of modernity, in the post-Enlightenment realm where science and reason bear strength over authoritarian edicts. But fundamentalists peering into scripture, twist this like a pretzel, and subordinate that very reason they enlist to a narrow dogmatic prism.

    In the latter half, the author explores the question of the fall and the nature of animal predation. That animals seem to be “made” for barbarous treatment of each other — was this God’s intention or a result of the Fall and human sin? Oddly, the author points out, it is only in post-Darwinian age that we (in the collective aggregate sense) come to object to inhumane treatment of animals — that in the previous age(s), we hardly bat an eye to animal abuse. In writings of the ancients, animals are seen almost as unfeeling automatons, devoid of anything remotely resembling human consciousness and/or completely lacking ability to feel pain. It’s only after Darwin we view animals as kindred organisms.

    I really enjoyed reading this and it was hard to put down.

    1. Know More Than I Should

      There is some evidence that Darwin may not be wholly responsible for the shift in attitude. Oddly enough, the seeds of attitudinal change may have been sown in art rather than through science.

      Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species was published in 1859. However, between 1843 and 1860, John Ruskin churned out his five volumes on Modern Painters. In those works, Ruskin first used the term “pathetic fallacy” as a label for assigning human behavior and feelings to natural phenomenon.

      Now, while attributing human qualities to plants is not synonymous with viewing “animals as kindred organisms,” it nevertheless suggests a recognition that humans might not be all that exclusive may have predated Darwinian philosophy.


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