Saturday, April 17, 2004
I think it finally occurred to me what it is about the attitudes that rubs me the wrong way. In short, they're Fundamentalists. I'm not. I consider myself generally to be an Evangelical and a Catholic. Now, they may not believe in the literal interpretation of Scripture, but they're often awfully close. This, of course, is in marked contrast to the Liberals, who basically view the Bible as being more like guidelines, and not an actual code. I often feel as though I'm being asked to join in with the Fundamentalists, who do have a strong presence in many campus ministries and many of the newer Protestant churches, and the Liberals, who are powerful among the less-catechized Christians and the mainline Protestant churches. Well, I reject the influence of both. If it came down to it, I suspect I'd sojourn with the Roman Catholics for a while, though they've got their own batch of problems, doctrinal and otherwise.
The Bible is extremely important, and is God-inspired and therefore inerrant, but it's not meant to always be taken literally. Often, it is; and just as many doctrinal errors can come from viewing something literal as figurative as the other way around. Scripture, as the Anglican put it, should be interpreted in the light of faith, reason, and tradition. The faith is that the Bible is true and sufficient, that it can be understood, and that those things which remain mysteries to us after full study are not things that are our business. Reason is the idea that the Bible makes sense, and that one interpretation is often far more likely than another, though, going back to faith, it should be accepted that it's okay to disagree on some points. Tradition is respect for what others have believed, and a recognition that if the vast majority of the church (or at least scholars) has believed a certain interpretation, then that interpretation should be given precedence over all others unless there is compelling evidence otherwise. Thus, it is important not to be either too rigid or too loose in one's interpretation of the faith. There are some things which are non-negotiable, but for a large array of minor doctrines, I think it's better to agree to disagree.