Yes. Exactly. I discussed some of this for a short time today with my pastor after church. His views coincide with what I was taught in church and in college theology classes.<quoted text>What you say about John is reminiscent of what I've heard said of Homer, that what we think of as a personal name may have been used as sort of an honorific title. Subsequent parties interested in similar topics may have adopted the name for themselves or been 'awarded' it.
This is only one reason why one must not take the bible literally. One must understand the entire context of the writings being studied People who insist on taking the bible literally, are just too ignorant and close-minded to understand the Word Of God.
They seem to think that if you DON'T take the bible literally, then you are disavowing everything God said, which is untrue and ridiculous (Aristophanes). I think that nearly every pastor, priest, and rabbi I have met and talked to in the past 40 years does NOT take everything in the bible literally.
There was a show on tv today I was watching about the Book Of Revelation. It's interesting but it OBVIOUSLY is not to be taken literally, and even the pastors (one a Lutheran female) and other theological scholars agree that the book is filled with allusions to the Roman government at the time and other allusions. People who INSIST that every word of that book is literally true, just don't know what they are talking about even though they are certain that they do.
looking at the context and meaning of the books gives you a GREATER understanding of God, NOT less.
I've been an amateur astronomer for more tahn 40 years. Remember reading that the Roman catholic Church FORBADE Galileo from pointing his telescope at the sky ? Remember reading that he was put on trial by the church and placed under house arrest for the rest of his life ?
It was only in the 20th century, that astronomers, physicists, and other scientists came to understand that the universe its unfathomably larger then they could possibly imagine. At that time they thought that the Milky Way Galaxy, our galaxy, WAS the entire universe.
The other galaxies they saw were called "nebula" (and many still are) because that is Latin for "cloud". Astronomers did not realize that the "nebulae" they saw were vast structures of stars, in many cases exceeding the size of our own.
It wasn't until the brilliant astronomer Edwin Hubble proved that these nebulae were in fact other galaxies billions of light-years from earth. They are unfathomably large and far away.
Now that we understand this, doesn't this give a FAR GREATER appreciate of WHO God is and WHAT he has created ???
Literary criticism, derided by the fundies, is NOT an attack on God or religion, but a quest for a greater understanding of God, The Creator Of All Things.
If you understand ANYTHING about astronomy, astrophysics, or cosmology, even chemistry, biology or ANY of the hard sciences, HOW can one not stand in awe of his Creations ? THIS is the evidence that God is real.
I was born and raised A Christian since birth. And at an early age, I fell in love with astronomy. I'm interested in many other sciences, and art, music, animals, law, justice (which is not the same as law, obviously, LOL :(), beer, cats, Ferroequinology (the LIRR is 175 years old this year !:)) and numerous other cool things.