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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

 Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible

In a startling admission that comes nearly two millennia too late, the Roman Catholic Church has instructed the faithful that some parts of the Bible are not actually true, and that they should not expect "total accuracy" in Scripture:
As examples of passages not to be taken literally, the bishops cite the early chapters of Genesis, comparing them with early creation legends from other cultures, especially from the ancient East. The bishops say it is clear that the primary purpose of these chapters was to provide religious teaching and that they could not be described as historical writing.

Similarly, they refute the apocalyptic prophecies of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible, in which the writer describes the work of the risen Jesus, the death of the Beast and the wedding feast of Christ the Lamb.

The bishops say: "Such symbolic language must be respected for what it is, and is not to be interpreted literally. We should not expect to discover in this book details about the end of the world, about how many will be saved and about when the end will come."

Perhaps two millennia more and the Church will have caught up with ideas of rational thought, discarding the virgin birth, the divinity of Jesus, and the resurrection.


Blogger Electro said...

Why do you think this is some break through? The last book of the boble which was renamed has never been taken as literal by the Church. It was not till after the refomation that protestants started taking it literal. It is in the style of writing much like the book of Daniel where there are prophies that are not written in a literal sence. And please there are two stories of creation how can they both be literal or even one be literal, They are ment only to explain that there was nothing and God began it all and set it in order and Man choose disorder to order and is living in that way till all will be made right again.

7:12 PM  
Blogger M@ said...

Um, what Electro said... kinda.

Fact is, the Catholic church (in general) never did take the biblical creation story -- or indeed, any of the old testament -- literally. They've relied on the bible informed by the tradition of the church, which means that they basically come to a consensus on such things. In the end it's the pope who makes the final call on such matters.

As Electro rightly points out, it was the protestant reformation that put the bible front-and-centre, and the Catholics have never gotten onto that bandwagon.

Anecdotally speaking -- I was educated in the Catholic system right up to (but not including) university, and I was never given the biblical creation story as something to be taken literally (quite the opposite, actually). I was taught unequivocally that evolution was the current scientific theory. Oh, and I took pretty much every science course the high school offered.

The Catholic church is (in its best form) open to questions and alternate explanations, and takes very little (outside of the obvious Christian doctrine) as definite truth. To their credit, that's what allowed me to question religion to the point where I rejected it altogether. A lesser religion would have discouraged my line of thought, I think -- I was openly encouraged by Catholic school teachers to consider my points of view and follow where my mind and heart went. I'm proud to say I did.

12:10 AM  
Blogger Alpha Male said...

m@-what a great experience. Thanks for sharing. I grew up protestant but with parents who encouraged thinking. You guys are on to something-that it was the protestants who took the literal interpretation of the bible to the ridiculous levels we're now experiencing in the U.S. Thanks for the insight.

10:48 AM  

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