A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar

The B-I-B-L-E

January 28, 2021 Randy Knie, Kyle Whitaker Season 1 Episode 15
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
The B-I-B-L-E
Chapters
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
The B-I-B-L-E
Jan 28, 2021 Season 1 Episode 15
Randy Knie, Kyle Whitaker

What is the Bible? How should we read it? What does it mean for a text to be authoritative? Do I have to believe the Bible is inerrant in order to be a Christian? In this episode, we discuss the beautiful messiness that is the Bible and talk about our relationships with this incredible and ancient text.

The whiskey featured in this episode is Wathen's Single Barrel.

If you're local to Milwaukee, check out our friends at Story Hill BKC.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/apastorandaphilosopher)

Show Notes Transcript

What is the Bible? How should we read it? What does it mean for a text to be authoritative? Do I have to believe the Bible is inerrant in order to be a Christian? In this episode, we discuss the beautiful messiness that is the Bible and talk about our relationships with this incredible and ancient text.

The whiskey featured in this episode is Wathen's Single Barrel.

If you're local to Milwaukee, check out our friends at Story Hill BKC.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/apastorandaphilosopher)

[Music]

00:13

welcome to

00:14

a pastor and a philosopher walk into a

00:16

bar the podcast where we mix a sometimes

00:18

weird but always delicious cocktail of

00:21

theology

00:21

philosophy and spirituality

00:26

[Music]

00:28

so in this episode we are discussing the

00:30

bible uh we knew we would have to get to

00:32

this topic eventually

00:34

i have to he says he knows now it's as

00:36

good a time as any

00:38

we're affectionately calling this the

00:39

b-i-v-l-e uh just so that song will be

00:42

stuck in your head

00:43

after you hear this in the same way that

00:44

it's been stuck in mine all day you're

00:46

welcome

00:46

you're welcome for that well i don't

00:48

know about you but i

00:50

could use a drink agreed

00:53

so for today's tasting we have a bourbon

00:56

that was gifted to us by our friends

00:58

here in milwaukee

00:59

at story hill bkc which i got to be

01:02

honest was my main hope for doing a

01:03

podcast

01:05

if nothing else comes out of this i'm

01:07

totally satisfied with where we have

01:09

landed already

01:10

we made it uh so this this offering from

01:12

story hill

01:13

is called wathens straight bourbon and

01:16

this

01:17

is the single barrel version which comes

01:20

in at 94 proof

01:21

i googled and the mash bill apparently

01:23

is 77

01:24

corn which is pretty good that's

01:26

highlighted in corn yeah 10

01:28

rye 13 barley

01:32

why'd you choose to say 10 before 13

01:36

i'm reading it off the internet got it

01:40

so no age statement on this um

01:43

probably somewhere between four and

01:44

eight years but that's

01:46

speculation it's not as hot as i would

01:48

expect it to be for us

01:49

um barrel proof not in the mouth it goes

01:52

down a little warm but yeah i was gonna

01:54

say it's

01:54

very clean i mean it's not as complex as

01:57

a lot of bourbons but that's not in a

02:00

bad way it's it's

02:01

i kind of like it reminds me of like an

02:03

eagle rare kind of clean flavor where

02:05

it's not super complex but it's really

02:07

easy drinking do you know what i mean

02:09

yeah it's really smooth it's not as

02:11

sweet as i would expect it to be for

02:13

that much corn

02:15

which actually might be a good thing

02:16

depending on your palate need some

02:18

simple syrup or something

02:22

randy is currently choking on his

02:23

bourbon for those who can't see that

02:26

strong vanilla yeah not a ton of oak in

02:29

there

02:30

yeah not not a ton i get some dark

02:32

berries in there some dark fruit

02:35

i'm a fan i've never i'll be honest i've

02:37

never even heard of wildens before

02:39

story hill bkc brought it to us i love

02:41

trying new things and this is fun

02:43

awesome so woden's kentucky bourbon

02:45

single barrel from story hill bkc if

02:47

you're in milwaukee

02:48

go to storehealth bkc if you're not in

02:50

milwaukee support your local restaurants

02:52

and bars

02:53

[Music]

02:55

um so we're going to discuss the whole

02:58

range of things

02:59

what is the bible how do we use it how

03:01

should we not

03:02

use it maybe what are some good ways to

03:05

approach it some not so good ways

03:07

what are the problems with the ways that

03:08

a lot of christians have used it and

03:10

continue to use it

03:11

so this might end up getting split into

03:13

a couple episodes we have kind of a lot

03:15

to say

03:16

randy you wanna you want to launch us

03:18

off well

03:20

so let's talk about first what is the

03:22

bible

03:23

so that we can get on an even playing

03:24

field here i'm i'm hoping that we have a

03:26

few atheists listening or

03:28

former you know christians

03:31

that are interested in this so let's

03:33

let's get into what is the bible and

03:34

what isn't the bible

03:35

yeah well from a just sort of very basic

03:38

unbiased average secular person could

03:41

even say this what the bible is it's

03:44

it's a sacred text which which means

03:47

it's a it's a collection of documents

03:50

really old documents that a lot of

03:53

people

03:54

in the world view as having some kind of

03:56

religious significance

03:57

that's all it means to be a sacred text

03:59

and there's there's a whole class of

04:01

sacred texts and so

04:03

in that very basic sense the bible is

04:05

one book among many other similar books

04:07

like the quran

04:09

or the bhagavad gita or the book of

04:12

mormon i suppose or

04:14

you know fill in the blank so it's a

04:16

it's a text

04:17

that lots and lots of people have found

04:20

to be

04:20

spiritually significant in their

04:22

religious practices

04:24

and it's a text that both jews and

04:26

christians would claim

04:28

is a unique place where god has been

04:31

revealed to humans

04:32

now the thing that i that i find

04:35

interesting about

04:36

christianity's sacred text the the bible

04:39

and correct me if i'm wrong kyle or or

04:42

elliot but it

04:43

i don't know of any other sacred text

04:45

that has included

04:46

another faith's sacred text into its

04:49

sacred texts did you follow the the line

04:52

there

04:53

yeah we don't think of this often

04:55

because the old testament to us

04:56

is the old testament it's christian's

05:00

sacred text but really it's

05:03

the jewish people's sacred text that we

05:06

as coming from the jewish heritage

05:08

have taken into our own and that is

05:10

utterly as far as i know utterly unique

05:12

and really fascinating to me

05:14

that we have two religions sacred texts

05:17

that we

05:18

claim as our own uh so i don't know if i

05:20

don't know enough about

05:21

uh world religion to know if if

05:23

christianity's

05:24

sacred text is unique in that aspect i

05:26

mean i know

05:28

buddhism and hinduism have a lot of

05:29

overlap in a lot of ways

05:31

buddhism is a reaction against a certain

05:34

a certain version of hinduism and so

05:36

it's

05:36

it's sacred texts probably do

05:38

incorporate a lot of the hinduistic

05:40

brahman sacred texts but probably not in

05:43

the same way that

05:44

jewish judaism and christianity are

05:47

related so

05:48

we have all of their sacred scriptures

05:51

inside of our sacred scriptures and

05:54

we interpret almost all of it very

05:56

differently than they do

05:58

[Music]

05:59

which is that that probably is unique

06:01

yeah and i mean it's worth

06:03

noting that we are christianity is one

06:05

of three abrahamic religions right and

06:07

so the quran also has

06:09

we share prophets we share leaders we

06:12

share

06:13

spiritual leaders with islam as well

06:16

in in with the quran but i just find it

06:18

fascinating that we

06:20

in christianity have the jewish sacred

06:23

text within our sacred texts it's

06:25

fascinating to me

06:26

and you know i've i've tried to move

06:29

away from referring

06:30

to that portion of the bible as the old

06:33

testament

06:34

because that's a a very

06:36

christian-centric way to look at it you

06:37

know it existed a long time before

06:39

christianity existed

06:40

it's the hebrew scriptures yeah i prefer

06:42

the hebrew scriptures hebrew bible

06:44

yep and the thing that when we think of

06:46

the bible we often think

06:48

of the bible as a book which it isn't

06:51

the bible is not a book the bible is

06:53

this ancient library of books

06:55

and our bible by our i mean protestants

06:59

our bible has 66 books it's a library of

07:01

66 books written over the course of

07:04

let's say 1500 years there's

07:06

disagreement whether it's 1200 years

07:07

1500 years but

07:08

around 1 500 years and then it was

07:10

passed down orally even before that for

07:12

centuries

07:14

i have no idea how long it's a library

07:16

of books that were written in different

07:18

times different centuries different

07:20

cultures different situations

07:23

all sorts of different contexts and we

07:26

bring them together in this one library

07:29

we call the holy scriptures

07:31

all of this still i'm still fascinated

07:33

just saying you know

07:34

like this this has got me this is super

07:37

fascinating super interesting even if i

07:39

wasn't a

07:39

christian this would be fascinating to

07:41

me that this is how the sacred text came

07:43

together

07:44

because i think that's a pretty unique

07:46

story as well

07:48

and so so far it doesn't seem like

07:50

you've said anything

07:52

controversial or i mean this is all

07:55

basic facts right that

07:56

anybody could wikipedia and find out but

07:59

just calling it a library

08:01

already probably would be enough if if

08:04

the implications were understood

08:06

would be enough to make a lot of

08:08

fundamentalists

08:10

pretty uncomfortable i think so because

08:12

because you don't read a library

08:14

you you walk into a library and you see

08:16

all the books there and you pull one off

08:18

the shelf and you read it

08:19

you don't you're not going to read every

08:20

book there the same way and you're not

08:23

going to approach each book there with

08:24

all the same expectations

08:26

you're going to recognize that in a

08:27

library there are all the books that are

08:29

organized by sections

08:31

yep and they have genres they have types

08:33

and the types are

08:35

importantly different from each other

08:37

i'm not going to pull down

08:38

the his the history factual history

08:41

section

08:42

and read that book the same way as i

08:44

would a book i pulled out of the poetry

08:46

section

08:46

i would i would take have very different

08:48

expectations of those books

08:50

and yet it's very common among

08:52

fundamentalist christianity

08:54

to approach the bible as though all the

08:57

books had the same kind of significance

08:59

and were of the same type and intended

09:01

all the same things but that's just not

09:02

the case i mean you have

09:04

a whole range of different types of

09:05

literature contained within the bible

09:09

and let's be i would say let's go

09:12

you know not just single out the fundies

09:13

but i would say just

09:15

in general christians who take a more

09:18

simplistic

09:19

approach to the scriptures would just

09:22

read the bible for the

09:23

the same way whether you're reading

09:25

genesis or whether you're reading you

09:26

know for a lot of them

09:27

that's that's perfectly understandable

09:29

because

09:30

nobody's ever told them they shouldn't i

09:32

mean the bible is presented to us

09:34

usually in sunday school contexts in

09:36

american christianity as

09:38

a book a book that we can read from

09:41

beginning to end and we can even have

09:42

like a year-long plan where we read this

09:44

part and then we skip over to this part

09:46

and then you know we read a couple

09:47

chapters here in a couple chapters there

09:48

totally ripped out of their context and

09:51

and we read it through like we would

09:52

any any text that didn't have all of the

09:55

differences that this one has

09:56

right and that's something you mentioned

09:58

sunday school that's that's something

09:59

that i've been thinking about these last

10:01

couple days today in particular as i

10:02

thought about

10:03

what we're going to talk about which is

10:05

i feel like

10:06

most a vast majority of christ followers

10:09

of

10:10

christians let me say have a

10:13

sunday school this is so condescending

10:16

so forgive me

10:17

community but most of us have the way we

10:21

see the scriptures the way we think

10:22

about the scriptures the way we engage

10:23

the scriptures the way we

10:25

read the scriptures most of that is

10:28

formed in sunday school

10:29

and it doesn't go too far beyond that to

10:31

be honest with you

10:33

a lot of our understandings are shaped

10:35

by

10:36

very simplistic understandings of the

10:38

scriptures and

10:39

we get stuck there and then we think

10:41

that that's the gospel truth because so

10:43

many of us just think that this is the

10:44

way you handle and approach and read and

10:46

apply the scriptures

10:48

yeah about i have a whole set of

10:50

thoughts about sunday school

10:52

i'm gonna get started on that all right

10:54

we'll keep understanding there's

10:55

something fundamentally wrong

10:57

with uh supposed educational

11:02

program where the teachers are chosen at

11:04

random

11:05

[Laughter]

11:07

or or they rotate based on uh you know

11:10

who's in the class which is every sunday

11:12

school class i've ever been in

11:13

no expectation whatsoever there's no

11:15

expectation whatsoever for any kind of

11:17

qualification or training or expertise

11:19

for sunday school teachers in any church

11:21

i've ever been to or heard of

11:23

yep um so so automatically we know

11:26

something has gone wrong

11:28

it's true and but to let church leaders

11:30

off the hook

11:31

being a church leader sometimes you just

11:33

got to take what you get

11:34

because not a whole lot of people want

11:36

to be sunday school teachers let's just

11:38

be honest so

11:39

sure fair enough so so we have a

11:42

library ancient library of books

11:46

let's say with including the oral

11:48

tradition

11:49

a couple of millennia old with all sorts

11:52

of genres

11:53

all sorts of writers all sorts of

11:54

authors more authors than we

11:56

think and by we i mean common you know

11:59

christians

12:00

people in the church and let's let's

12:03

think about what the bible is for

12:05

us as christians for most

12:08

christians what how people see the bible

12:10

what the bible is

12:11

for us right and i would say mostly for

12:14

many christians many protestants well

12:17

only protestants catholics wouldn't have

12:19

this view of the scriptures but

12:20

for most of us good protestants the

12:23

scriptures are

12:24

pretty much can i say everything for our

12:26

faith

12:27

it's the thing that the whole thing is

12:30

based off of

12:31

it's the only place where we get our

12:33

theology it's the only place where we

12:35

get our formative picture of who god is

12:38

it's it's this thing that we hold up and

12:41

esteem as our final authority solo

12:43

script tour we've been given for martin

12:44

luther god bless him what does that mean

12:46

randy

12:47

scripture alone right it means that and

12:50

this is at a really good place

12:52

martin luther rejected this um idea that

12:56

clergy could tell us what to do out of

12:59

something that's not based on scripture

13:00

and taking the scripture out of the

13:02

church's hands is a bad idea and so

13:04

martin luther probably overswung a

13:06

little bit right where

13:07

solos scripture is a great idea but

13:11

i would say we protestants put a little

13:13

too much weight and sometimes a lot too

13:15

much weight

13:16

on this on the authority of scriptures

13:18

and i'm just talking as

13:19

somebody who because i believe in the

13:21

holy spirit and the the right now word

13:23

of the holy spirit so

13:25

but you get this picture i'm painting

13:26

right that for many christians for most

13:28

christians the bible is

13:29

the whole dang thing and i would say

13:32

sometimes it's

13:33

like the third member of the trinity we

13:34

forget about the holy spirit and it's

13:36

father son and holy scriptures sounds

13:39

like you think that's bad

13:42

i do i do yeah i've um

13:45

i mean really a lot of my background

13:48

spiritual background is

13:49

in this camp and

13:52

it breaks down over time to be honest

13:53

with you uh doesn't

13:55

doesn't last and also it's it lends

13:58

itself to this thing that scholars would

14:00

call

14:00

bibliolatry bibliolatry being that we

14:03

make

14:04

an idol out of the bible and we hold it

14:05

above even god himself

14:08

and we bow down and worship the bible

14:10

and we have all sorts of

14:12

strains of christianity where we call

14:14

ourselves berean

14:15

or we call ourselves you know the the

14:17

true church who follows

14:19

we we have this the way we interpret the

14:21

scriptures

14:22

is the way to interpret the scriptures

14:24

there's all sorts of brands within

14:25

christianity that

14:27

that talk like this and it makes me

14:29

super uncomfortable i'm sure you're not

14:30

super comfortable with it either kyle

14:33

i'm not how could you tell yeah

14:36

i mean that that's that's every

14:38

christian tradition as far as i can tell

14:40

i mean

14:41

there is no there's no denomination

14:43

without this is the correct

14:45

interpretation of the bible

14:47

sure sure at least within catholicism it

14:50

seems to be

14:51

there's more room for argument about

14:53

some things

14:54

well yeah because they would say their

14:57

main authority isn't the church it's the

14:58

pope

14:59

and it's the the priesthood basically

15:02

but it's i guess you're free as a

15:04

catholic you're free

15:05

to argue with the pope uh in most

15:09

contexts

15:10

you know if the pope says something

15:13

about the bible

15:14

like it's important and you have to

15:15

listen to it but the the range of

15:18

contexts in which it is your duty to

15:20

just accept it and obey yes it's fairly

15:22

small

15:23

it's kind of a kind of a that a lot of

15:26

people have about catholicism

15:27

well for crying out loud i mean there's

15:29

there's all sorts of catholics who want

15:30

to assassinate

15:31

francis right now as we speak and i'm

15:33

vlogging about this

15:36

well well somebody like me that's almost

15:39

secular it's

15:40

like super excited about uh this current

15:42

oh i hope francis lives for a really

15:44

long time

15:45

it's funny to me it's ironic that that a

15:48

lot of protestants view

15:49

the catholic church as more rigid

15:51

because of the pope and because of the

15:53

really

15:54

clear hierarchy but their ability to

15:57

process and interpret scripture together

15:59

as a community is a lot freer

16:01

than what i've observed in a lot of

16:02

protestant traditions sure as far as

16:04

scripture

16:04

i would definitely say the clericalism

16:06

and the the authority

16:08

of tradition and papal authority

16:11

is much much higher in in the catholic

16:14

church i mean we protestants have been

16:15

taught to so the

16:17

religious structure obviously sets it

16:19

apart from

16:20

protestant dominations but i mean

16:24

some a microcosm of that exists in a lot

16:26

of protestant denominations too i mean i

16:28

i came from a particular brand of

16:31

pentecostalism

16:33

where the leader of the local church

16:35

might as well have been the pope

16:36

yep yep because i mean you and

16:38

everything he said was ex cathedral

16:41

it was it wasn't like uh you're free to

16:44

question any of it i mean

16:45

the the hierarchy was every bit as rigid

16:48

and even less free

16:50

in that tradition that's fair yep which

16:52

i'm not sure if we'll keep any of this

16:53

because we could talk about the catholic

16:54

yes for another time yeah

16:58

yep so decide what you want people to

17:00

get mad at you for exactly

17:02

yeah so for many many christians

17:06

the the bible is the end-all be-all it's

17:08

everything it's the authority it's the

17:10

final word it's the final authority

17:12

and then for many others the bible is

17:15

actually the main reason why they left

17:16

the christian faith

17:17

right yeah i mean i've met quite a few

17:20

of these people

17:21

i've come close to being one of these

17:22

people part part of it i think a big

17:25

part of it

17:26

is that it's not so much the text itself

17:28

that drives people

17:30

out of the church sometimes it does and

17:32

we can talk about some of the reasons

17:34

for that as we go on

17:35

uh but it's the the certainty about the

17:38

text

17:38

yes that a lot of these traditions

17:42

exhibit that the text has to mean this

17:45

that we're totally sure that it means

17:46

this and that if you see it a different

17:49

way

17:50

you're somehow deluded or deceived or

17:52

maybe even sinful

17:53

something like that and often in those

17:55

kinds of contexts what the text has to

17:57

mean

17:58

is something really judgmental and

17:59

really exclusivist

18:01

and so you know the text might have to

18:03

mean

18:04

for example that somebody who exists in

18:08

a certain

18:09

socioeconomic position

18:12

is automatically more prone to sin

18:15

or somehow second class or somehow

18:18

marginal

18:20

and if you happen to exist in that space

18:22

whatever it is

18:23

and you don't read the bible in that way

18:25

then there's just not room

18:27

for there's no room in that tradition

18:29

that kind of tradition for you to

18:30

express what the bible is to you

18:33

and and to to be someone who is

18:35

passionate about god

18:37

who is even really in love with

18:40

the way god is presented in the new

18:42

testament through jesus

18:44

but then to be given a really

18:47

rigid paradigm for what the bible has to

18:49

be it's very difficult in a tradition

18:51

like that

18:52

to love the bible it's very difficult to

18:55

love

18:56

god because you're told that what god

18:57

has presented in this text and here are

18:59

the ways that you must read this text

19:01

and those ways are exclusionary to

19:02

people like you and so

19:04

for lots and lots of people people from

19:06

my generation and later ones in

19:08

particular

19:09

if if that's what god is like then we're

19:11

just

19:12

not interested and we end up leaving all

19:15

together

19:15

i feel like what by and large what the

19:18

church gives

19:20

you know the leaders in the church give

19:22

everybody is this idea

19:24

that it's all or nothing right you have

19:26

to believe

19:27

everything it's all literal it's all

19:29

infallible it's all

19:30

inherent it's all correct and

19:34

everything has to stand everything has

19:37

to work together

19:38

everything has to build on it each

19:41

one bit built on the other and if you

19:43

don't believe this one thing about it or

19:45

if you have a problem or an issue with

19:46

this other thing about it

19:48

then you're out of the church then

19:50

you're out of the club then now you're

19:52

in dangerous territory right and so i

19:54

think that's what a lot of people have a

19:55

hard time with

19:56

i know plenty of people who love jesus

19:59

who love the gospels

20:00

who like lots of the new testament who

20:02

like a decent amount in the old

20:04

testament but there's stuff that they

20:05

just can't get around

20:06

for one reason or another and they're

20:08

told it's kind of all or nothing

20:10

love it or leave it and i think that's

20:11

the reason why a lot of people have left

20:13

the church is because they've been given

20:14

this ultimatum

20:16

that they just can't buy anymore and i

20:18

know there's

20:19

there's probably a good amount of more

20:22

conservative christians who are

20:24

already you got your hackles up already

20:27

you're already on

20:28

on the edge of your seat getting ready

20:29

to write us off as heretics you can do

20:31

that

20:32

the first thing i want you to do i'm

20:33

going to ask you is to listen to this

20:35

episode and probably the next episode

20:36

because it's probably going to be

20:37

two-parter

20:38

just listen to the whole thing before

20:39

you write us off before you hear one

20:40

little thing that makes you think that

20:42

throw throw that h word at us so that's

20:44

for us in particular

20:46

and then if we get to the end of these

20:47

two episodes and you think we're

20:48

heretics god bless you we love you

20:50

you know let's go our separate ways or

20:53

you can keep listening and send us awful

20:54

emails and

20:55

that's great too but here's what i'm

20:58

i've got an ulterior motive

20:59

in some ways with this episode i would

21:02

love

21:03

to paint a picture of a more inclusive

21:06

way to hold the scriptures

21:08

that isn't going to make a whole

21:10

generation

21:11

of the church leave the church i believe

21:14

that the way

21:15

the way the church by and large the

21:16

protestant church

21:18

is passing down our understanding of the

21:20

scriptures is actually

21:22

turning most young people off they don't

21:25

have room for it they can't get their

21:26

minds around it they have

21:28

they don't buy the the sales pitch that

21:31

prior generations have and they're

21:32

leaving like the the stats are just

21:34

obvious this is i'm not talking any

21:36

biases here i'm just talking

21:39

stats i'm talking data young people are

21:41

leaving the church in droves and i'm

21:43

fairly convinced that one of the main

21:44

reasons is because the way we tell them

21:47

to approach the scriptures and to handle

21:48

the scriptures and to believe about the

21:49

scriptures

21:50

and so here's my ulterior motive could

21:53

we

21:54

actually in the church present a

21:56

different way for engaging with

21:59

and in in applying and living out

22:02

the scriptures in a way that actually

22:04

allows for some space for people

22:06

to be themselves to ask the hard

22:08

questions

22:09

and to approach the bible from an

22:11

authentic vulnerable

22:13

honest place rather than have it forced

22:15

on our throats in a way that we just

22:17

are going to gag up and walk away

22:21

yeah and if it had been presented to me

22:25

in that way when i was a kid

22:28

i think my relationship with it now

22:30

would be quite different

22:31

how so i don't have what a lot of

22:35

christians like to call a high view of

22:37

scripture

22:39

anymore there are as many problems i

22:42

have with it as

22:42

as things i love about it and i don't

22:45

read it regularly i haven't read it

22:47

regularly for years

22:49

and i i don't feel in any way guilty

22:51

about that

22:52

i still remember all the things i knew

22:54

about it and all the things i learned in

22:55

sunday school and i can carry an

22:57

intelligent conversation

22:58

about just about any part of it because

23:00

i've read it many times but

23:03

yeah i can't say i really respect it as

23:05

a

23:06

as a sacred text that much anymore

23:09

and i think it's probably because of

23:11

what you just described it was

23:14

presented to me in a really rigid way uh

23:16

in a really exclusionary way

23:18

the interpretation i was given of it

23:21

didn't withstand scrutiny even

23:22

even the barest most sort of

23:25

introductory level amount of scrutiny

23:28

i mean it's not hard to figure out that

23:30

there are contradictions in the bible

23:32

like even a just sort of unbiased

23:34

reading of the gospels

23:35

you just notice things like well here it

23:37

says there were two angels

23:39

and here there were three or whatever it

23:41

is and and then you ask about that and

23:43

it's either shut down

23:44

or they explain it away but not in a

23:46

really convincing way

23:48

and deep critical discussion about that

23:50

is not usually welcomed

23:52

and at least in the evangelical context

23:54

that i grew up in

23:55

you're never allowed to get to the place

23:57

where you admit

23:58

that this text is not perfect and not

24:01

only is it not perfect it has some like

24:03

serious flaws

24:04

that if it were any other text we would

24:07

notice those flaws immediately

24:10

like we're going to talk later about

24:12

violence in the bible

24:13

like a christian can read the quran

24:15

notice all the violence

24:17

and be horrified but somehow they read

24:19

the old testament

24:20

and they don't notice or they feel like

24:23

they can

24:23

easily explain it away when it's just as

24:26

bad

24:27

i mean from a totally unbiased

24:29

perspective there's no difference

24:31

and so if there had been more like

24:34

willingness to engage those questions as

24:35

i was learning what the bible was

24:38

i'd probably have a lot higher respect

24:39

for it now yeah yeah that

24:41

i mean i appreciate your honesty and it

24:43

also makes me sad to hear

24:45

you say the words you know you don't

24:47

have much respect for it as a sacred

24:49

text so

24:50

um but i appreciate the honesty so we've

24:53

talked about what the bible is

24:54

and the bible is different things to

24:55

different people let's talk about what

24:57

the bible is not because this is a

24:59

really important

25:00

thing to think about i think what what

25:02

the bible is not because we

25:04

we make it into all sorts of things that

25:06

things that it is not which you've been

25:07

speaking to a lot kyle but

25:09

um i think something good to hear here's

25:12

a way that i think

25:13

many christians see the bible

25:16

and when you say how did how did the

25:18

bible the inspiration of the bible

25:20

happen how did god give us his word

25:22

i'm going to just start talking in some

25:23

churchy language i think most people

25:25

when you close your eyes and you imagine

25:27

it

25:27

you imagine it being this like

25:30

beautifully

25:31

lowered book that's gift wrapped in the

25:34

most dazzling

25:35

white gift wrap you could ever imagine

25:37

with a golden

25:38

golden ribbon on it that's from heaven

25:40

itself you know and

25:42

it just slowly lands on the altar

25:45

before abraham and there's angels

25:48

singing

25:49

and there's a voice from god saying this

25:51

is my eternal word

25:53

read it and follow everything this is it

25:57

right i mean like i'm putting a little

25:59

cheese behind it a little drama

26:01

behind it but i think that's basically

26:02

what we think is that the bible is this

26:04

clean tidy perfect

26:06

word given from god to mankind so that

26:08

we can know everything that we need to

26:09

know about god everything that's in the

26:11

bible is

26:11

everything about god that that's to be

26:14

known right

26:15

and that's just not the case not even

26:18

close

26:18

i mean the bible is this messy

26:22

book that is has human hand prints

26:26

all over it every single page from front

26:27

to back it's

26:29

it's this book that is complex and

26:32

it's it's kind of a mess in some ways in

26:35

some places you're wondering what's

26:36

going on and in some

26:37

places you're wondering what god is

26:39

doing and what god isn't doing and why

26:40

he's doing something and why he's not

26:42

doing

26:42

another thing in some places you're you

26:45

actually have to actually say

26:47

if you have an honest reflection on the

26:49

bible if you have an honest approach to

26:51

the bible what the hell is going on here

26:53

this seems i've said this before and

26:55

i've gotten heat for it

26:57

but it seems in some ways more like a

26:58

game of thrones episode than it does

27:00

a holy scripture or holy text right

27:03

it's a messy thing this bible that we

27:05

have

27:07

yeah i mean it's funny if if if the old

27:09

testament in particular were

27:10

serialized in a television show it would

27:13

definitely be mature audiences

27:15

it would be like hbo level absolutely

27:18

yep

27:19

i remember my daughter was with some

27:22

family

27:23

who was reading some scripture reading

27:25

in genesis the account of cain and abel

27:28

and you know i haven't hadn't introduced

27:30

my daughter to the story of cain and

27:32

abel yet

27:33

for this reason of what happened but the

27:35

story of cain and abel is written

27:37

and my daughter's into it she's probably

27:40

nine at this point eight or nine and the

27:43

part comes where cain

27:44

kills abel and my daughter is horrified

27:48

she's she has brothers she loves her

27:51

brothers

27:52

and she she hears the story read and

27:54

she's she has this

27:55

vitriolic response to it of like he

27:57

killed him

27:58

and she's disturbed by it i love

28:02

watching kids response to things because

28:04

we get so anesthetized

28:06

and so used to the the the crazy

28:08

scandalous nature of some of these

28:09

stories

28:10

and then you watch a kid hear it for the

28:11

first time and you see oh yeah

28:14

that's a wild violent story i remember

28:16

the first time

28:17

well i don't remember like specifically

28:19

where i was or anything like that but i

28:20

remember it being like

28:21

a kind of shocking realization when i

28:24

thought

28:25

without the sort of blinders that i was

28:27

given about

28:29

the flood story and noah and what

28:32

actually happened

28:34

and because you know in in sunday school

28:36

or vbs or whatever

28:38

that's a that's a really common theme in

28:40

like

28:41

vacation bible school curricula and it's

28:44

always presented with rainbows and

28:45

happiness and the animals on the ark

28:47

so fun delightful and they just skip

28:50

right over the part where god

28:51

kills everybody he didn't have to

28:55

he chose to uh and then he picked

28:58

seemingly arbitrarily one family it's

29:01

like

29:01

you know build the boater you're gone

29:03

too so

29:05

recently a few years back my one of my

29:08

favorite film directors

29:09

darren aronofsky directed the the film

29:12

noah and i was super excited about it

29:14

both because i knew that he was into

29:16

like

29:16

jewish midrash and kabbalah and would do

29:19

it in a really interesting historical

29:20

way

29:21

but also because he's not a christian

29:24

and that is a terrifying story

29:26

and i would really like to see a

29:27

visualization of it that that keeps the

29:29

terror intact

29:30

and it really does so it was a really

29:32

successful film if you haven't seen it

29:34

and the bible's full of stuff like that

29:36

that we just don't notice anymore

29:38

because we were given a particular way

29:39

to read it

29:40

yep my only beef with it is that they

29:42

cast russell crowe as noah that was a

29:44

bit

29:46

i won't argue with you there but i love

29:49

you what i loved about that movie what i

29:51

really loved was

29:53

even knowing the story as well as you do

29:55

it was suspenseful

29:57

like i i didn't know what was going to

29:58

happen at the end yeah he's a great

30:00

filmmaker and that

30:01

i thought that was a good trick so when

30:03

we talk about what the bible isn't

30:04

let's also get this kind of out there

30:07

and this is just all our opinion

30:09

but the bible isn't a book that will

30:11

give you an answer to every single

30:12

question

30:13

or problem i feel like this is what many

30:16

christians

30:17

how many christians see the scriptures

30:19

as well is that it's this guidebook it's

30:21

a textbook

30:22

and everything that we have to know

30:24

about science everything that we know

30:25

have to know about ethics everything

30:26

that we have to know about morals

30:27

everything that we have to know about

30:28

life itself

30:29

how to handle ourselves during anything

30:32

it's got all the answers right in that

30:34

that's how what it was designed to be

30:36

actually that's what god meant it to be

30:38

as a book book of answers

30:40

for every human problem or question and

30:43

that's just not the case either

30:44

if the bible is way better than that

30:46

let's just be honest the bible is way

30:48

better than a book of answers and

30:49

solutions in

30:50

a textbook it's way better and way more

30:52

interesting thank god it's not that but

30:54

it's just not that

30:57

yeah i mean it's more like a novel than

30:59

it is like a textbook

31:00

oh it's not a novel but it's closer to

31:02

that yes

31:04

i mean the idea the way that we even

31:06

think about a textbook

31:08

as this like source manual for objective

31:10

facts about the world

31:12

those ideas didn't even exist like

31:14

people didn't think in that way

31:15

at the time of the writing of the bible

31:19

though those are all post-enlightenment

31:21

ideas the idea that

31:23

the world is this objective thing out

31:25

there that's represented in our minds

31:27

and that we can approach to find out how

31:29

it actually is

31:31

not the way that we look at it but how

31:32

it actually is with a method

31:35

which is which is what gives us the idea

31:37

of a textbook

31:38

that didn't even exist prior to about

31:40

the 17th century

31:42

yep yeah we introduced all sorts of

31:44

problems with our relationship with the

31:45

bible in last two to three hundred years

31:47

i would say

31:47

and let me just say as i say the bible

31:49

is messy the bible's not clean

31:52

tidy neat descended from heaven

31:55

with doves surrounding it i actually

31:57

think that's way better

31:59

i actually love that the bible is messy

32:01

i have some issues with some things in

32:02

there and that makes it a little more

32:04

a lot more complicated but the fact that

32:06

the bible is messy just speaks to the

32:07

way that god works

32:09

in reality as best i know it

32:12

in all ways and shapes and forms being a

32:15

human being is a messy

32:16

experience reality as we know it

32:20

is just one big mess it's beautiful

32:23

it's complex but it's messy it's not

32:27

clean

32:28

in our faith journey if you're honest

32:30

for most of us

32:31

it's a messy and complex thing our faith

32:34

journeys are

32:35

are nuanced and they change and they

32:38

morph

32:39

in what i believed five years ago i have

32:42

a nuance to it now or maybe i don't

32:43

believe that at all anymore

32:45

that's just reality for some of us we

32:47

have to keep it nice and

32:48

boxed in and tightly wrapped and you

32:51

know take all the edges off

32:52

and i would say mo for most of us that's

32:54

you'll come to the end of that

32:56

you gotta you gotta at least work really

32:57

hard to keep that nice tightly wrapped

32:59

theology

33:00

to make that work and you gotta believe

33:02

all sorts of different things about the

33:04

world but

33:04

for me the fact that the bible is messy

33:07

just speaks to the way

33:08

god works with humanity in general it's

33:11

kind of messy it's dirty it's gritty

33:13

but it's beautiful yeah and we're not

33:16

saying

33:17

anything super liberal here either so

33:20

unless it'd be you know understood as

33:22

this

33:24

sort of pie in the sky liberalism or

33:25

something like that i mean

33:28

we're not saying that the bible isn't a

33:30

good source of information

33:32

about a lot of things about god and that

33:34

you know it actually does have some

33:36

important insights on how to relate to

33:37

god

33:38

and maybe even what the world is like

33:39

fundamentally but it's not

33:41

it's not a source text to learn any the

33:44

answer to any question you might have

33:46

and this is not a liberal view in fact

33:49

if i can

33:50

quote here a well-known theologian who

33:52

is certainly no liberal

33:54

so n.t wright recently published an

33:56

op-ed

33:57

in time magazine which i loved it was

33:59

called christianity offers no answers

34:02

about the coronavirus

34:03

and a quote from that he says it is no

34:05

part of the christian vocation

34:07

to be able to explain what's happening

34:10

and why

34:10

in fact it is part of the christian

34:12

vocation

34:14

not to be able to explain and to lament

34:17

instead now we could dig in that could

34:20

be a whole episode on its own what he

34:21

means

34:21

by lament but i mean this is a paragon

34:24

of

34:24

conservative biblical scholarship now

34:27

many conservatives would say

34:28

mentee wright is absolutely liberal but

34:30

that's whatever okay

34:31

fine but to the rest of the world he's a

34:33

conservative

34:35

saying look that's just not what this

34:37

text is for

34:38

to treat it that way actually does

34:40

damage to the kind of document that it

34:42

is

34:42

yep yep absolutely so let's just brush

34:45

on

34:46

the eye words right do you know what i'm

34:48

talking about

34:49

the what in aaron c versus infallibility

34:51

right come on kyle

34:52

jeez you have you've gone way too far

34:55

into academia dude

34:58

that that's a distinction without a

34:59

difference as far as i'm concerned so

35:01

the fact that there's a debate about

35:03

that is kind of silly to me but but go

35:04

ahead

35:05

it's amazing actually yeah that's that's

35:07

a raging debate

35:08

but here's here's where we're going to

35:10

disappoint all those uh people who are

35:12

just like chomping at the bit wondering

35:13

where we land on inerrancy versus

35:15

infallibility

35:16

here's where i am i don't care

35:21

i just don't i feel like that's one of

35:23

those

35:25

old and mostly useless debates

35:28

that a lot of people in the church or a

35:30

lot of people who are done with the

35:32

church

35:32

are really just bored with it's just one

35:34

of those

35:35

things to argue about among christians

35:37

to separate ourselves to differentiate

35:39

ourselves to

35:41

judge one another to try to be right and

35:43

it's one of those arguments that i feel

35:45

like

35:45

you go so far down the rabbit hole you

35:47

don't even believe what you're saying

35:48

anymore but you're trying to actually

35:49

still prove your point right and i just

35:51

think that what is the

35:52

what is the argument what's the

35:54

difference inerrancy would be best

35:56

described as the bible is without

35:58

error in its original texts and it's an

35:59

original manuscripts

36:01

infallibility would be that the bible is

36:03

infallible

36:04

in communicating the purposes of god and

36:06

what god wanted what god wanted the

36:08

bible to communicate it does so

36:10

infallibly

36:11

right so let me see if i understand so

36:13

if you're an inerrantist on that

36:14

definition that you just gave

36:16

you could also admit that the bible was

36:18

not transmitted such

36:20

that its original message was perfectly

36:23

communicated

36:24

i think so probably i mean i'm far

36:26

enough out of that camp

36:27

that i don't remember exactly but i

36:29

think so that's the big caveat

36:30

is in its original manuscripts it's

36:32

inerrant it's without

36:33

error so yeah so from my

36:37

perspective totally outside these

36:38

debates that's almost not different

36:41

at all it's like a hair splitting kind

36:44

of thing but here's another good eye

36:46

word right

36:47

inerrancy infallibility but here's the

36:48

the real

36:50

the real nut to crack inspired or

36:53

inspiration

36:54

right first timothy says that all of god

36:57

all of the scriptures

36:58

is god breathed is inspired and useful

37:01

for correcting and rebuking and teaching

37:04

and all that stuff

37:05

what it what do you think that word

37:09

inspired by god the scriptures were

37:11

inspired by god what does that mean to

37:13

you

37:14

that's a great question i mean the the

37:16

honest answer is i don't know

37:17

it's the best and probably only answer

37:21

yeah i mean i i know that inspiration as

37:24

a concept is just taken from something

37:26

paul said

37:27

it's god breathed no idea what that

37:29

means

37:30

paul didn't elaborate on what that means

37:34

and also as we're going to see later i

37:36

don't feel bound to view the text in the

37:38

way that paul viewed the text

37:39

so my approach to the bible does not

37:41

commit me to

37:42

accepting as authoritative any opinions

37:45

of its authors so paul could have been

37:48

wrong

37:49

about it being god-breathed for for all

37:51

i know

37:52

so when i think about inspiration what

37:54

i'm thinking about is

37:55

is there anything that makes this text

37:57

special

37:57

[Music]

37:59

special in the sense of it gives

38:02

unique access to god or maybe not even

38:04

unique

38:05

it gives access to god in in ways

38:08

that not just any text would and i think

38:11

the answer to that is probably yeah

38:13

but i think probably also because it

38:15

tells us about jesus

38:16

and jesus is god so in that sense any

38:19

text about

38:20

jesus would give us the kind of access

38:23

to god that the bible does

38:25

and that by the way includes some texts

38:26

that are not in the bible

38:28

so for example the gospel of thomas i

38:31

take to be

38:32

more or less on the same level as far as

38:34

inspiration as

38:35

some of the stuff that made it into the

38:36

new testament it just gives us access to

38:38

that guy jesus

38:39

but it wasn't canonized and that's a

38:42

historical accident as far as i can tell

38:44

so inspiration to me comes down to does

38:47

this

38:48

text actually make space for a human

38:50

being

38:51

to encounter the presence in the spirit

38:53

of god

38:55

and it seems like often the answer for

38:57

the bible is yes but in many other cases

38:59

the answer is

39:00

no and the answer is not the same for

39:03

all of the texts in the bible

39:05

yeah i mean when i think of

39:08

something being inspired or god breathed

39:12

i go back to the to the upper room where

39:15

the disciples are

39:16

you know post-crucifixion and not post

39:19

resurrection even though they don't know

39:20

it and all of a sudden jesus just shows

39:21

up in the room

39:23

and they're all blown away and they're

39:25

all emotional and they're all

39:26

like don't know what to think probably

39:28

some of them are wondering if this is an

39:29

aberration or a ghost or

39:31

the real deal whatever all this stuff

39:33

and if you remember

39:35

it says that jesus breathed on them

39:39

and it didn't it's not that they all

39:41

turned perfect when jesus breathed on

39:43

them

39:44

but he breathed on them for this purpose

39:46

and

39:48

for me this scripture as being god

39:50

breathed to me sounds like god breathing

39:52

on this

39:53

on this process on this on these

39:56

writings and empowering in some way

39:58

and inspiring in some way and

40:01

really i think this inspiration of the

40:04

scriptures is an

40:05

ongoing thing because i believe that the

40:07

holy spirit

40:08

is an ongoing ever-present counselor

40:11

guide equipper

40:12

you name it and so i think part of the

40:14

inspiration of scriptures comes down to

40:16

our engagement with it

40:17

and the spirit's testimony back to us

40:19

does this make sense what i'm saying

40:21

and so inspiration of the scriptures

40:23

happened

40:24

probably maybe as it was writing i've

40:26

had moments where i felt

40:27

inspired you know really and i'm not

40:30

saying that i

40:31

couldn't write some scriptures not that

40:32

inspired but i've had moments where i

40:34

feel like the holy spirit is speaking to

40:35

me and through me

40:37

and then i have had all sorts of moments

40:38

where it's just pure randy and i

40:40

and i think that's how when we think

40:42

about the inspiration of the scriptures

40:43

too many of us think of

40:44

marionettes or puppets that god just

40:47

kind of the holy spirit

40:48

embodies and comes into in just every

40:51

single word

40:52

is the word of god from god from the

40:53

spirit and all of a sudden

40:55

they they put down their pen and whoa

40:57

that was weird you know

40:58

that's not at all how i think that

41:00

happened as a matter of fact just read

41:02

the new testament

41:03

paul didn't think he was writing the

41:04

scriptures he just thought he was

41:05

writing

41:06

to these churches in the early church in

41:08

asia minor in

41:09

you know in the middle east he thought

41:12

he was just writing to correct some

41:13

things and to do all these things

41:15

over the course of time we see that as

41:16

inspired over the course of time we see

41:18

this as

41:19

important and more important than other

41:21

books and i think that even that

41:23

canonization process

41:24

could have been and probably was

41:25

inspired by the holy spirit guided by

41:27

the holy spirit shaped

41:28

in and moved by the holy spirit do i

41:31

think that was a perfect process

41:33

not at all do i think that was inspired

41:35

by god and intentionally happened in

41:37

some way shape or form

41:38

for sure so i think inspiration of

41:41

scripture is a thing that's been it's

41:42

not a static

41:43

thing it's a dynamic thing it was

41:46

happening

41:46

and it still is happening god

41:49

illuminating the scriptures to us

41:50

through the holy spirit

41:51

yeah yeah that appeals more to me i mean

41:53

the most the most inspirational

41:56

use of scripture that i've experienced

41:57

has always occurred in the context of

41:59

the community getting together to talk

42:01

about

42:02

some aspect of them and to let it inform

42:05

their own experience with

42:06

with the holy spirit and i have had a

42:09

handful of

42:10

experiences with groups of people like

42:12

that

42:13

that i'd be fine calling inspired

42:15

because i felt like god was there

42:18

you know literally there in her midst

42:20

and that that was evidenced by all the

42:21

fruits of the spirit that you see listed

42:23

in

42:24

in the new testament if that's what

42:25

inspiration is then i have i have no

42:27

trouble believing that something similar

42:28

happened in the early church

42:30

at the time that these documents were

42:31

written and disseminated

42:33

i have a harder time thinking that

42:36

whatever inspiration means it's

42:38

something qualitatively different than

42:40

anything

42:40

any current christian could experience

42:43

interesting that

42:44

seems just unmotivated

42:47

to me okay and also not really what you

42:49

find in the text itself

42:50

sure i mean i think and i say i think

42:52

because you know i haven't thought about

42:54

this much but i think i disagree with

42:55

you there

42:56

i think the scriptures there's some

42:58

things that god

42:59

says i want to make sure that this has

43:01

my life on it

43:02

more than others something this document

43:04

that's been passed down this

43:05

library of books that's been passed down

43:07

for millennia makes sense to me that

43:09

there'd be a little bit extra special

43:10

sauce on that thing

43:11

but i don't know would you say it's a

43:13

different dispensation

43:15

oh no i did not say that thanks for

43:17

asking and clarifying that

43:20

we'll go into that in another episode or

43:22

not or not or we won't ever

43:24

yeah thank you good

43:27

so we talked about what is the bible

43:29

bible's different things for different

43:30

people

43:32

what isn't the bible we've talked about

43:34

the big

43:35

i words inerrancy infallibility

43:37

inspiration all that

43:39

let's talk about perhaps how to approach

43:42

your

43:43

what i would say hold the bible this is

43:45

the way that a more contemplative way of

43:47

how do we hold this how do we how do we

43:49

approach the bible how do we see it how

43:50

do we

43:51

hold all of the stuff all of the mess

43:54

all of the genres

43:55

all of the authors all of the problems

43:58

with it all the contradictions

44:00

all the violence all the beauty all the

44:02

goodness all the inspiration

44:04

how do we how do we hold it and approach

44:05

it what's a healthier way to do that

44:08

oh my goodness um maybe it's best that i

44:11

go first i'll say all the

44:12

the liberal um potentially heretical

44:16

things

44:16

faith shattering definitely heretical

44:18

not potentially heretical things

44:20

and then you can you can bring it you

44:22

can reel it back in got it

44:24

good good plan so

44:27

i i often when i'm teaching intro to

44:30

philosophy

44:32

to illustrate the difference between

44:34

philosophy and religion

44:35

because a lot of students come in

44:37

assuming that they're more or less the

44:38

same thing

44:39

depending on you know the faith

44:41

tradition that they have

44:43

and i still have family members who

44:44

think that i do some kind of ministry

44:47

or that i do some kind of theology or

44:50

religious thinking

44:51

oh bless your heart super super common

44:54

uh among a lot of church traditions in

44:56

the united states to see philosophy as

44:58

kind of an arm of

44:59

theology or something like that so the

45:01

way i

45:02

distinguish it from my students and i

45:04

rely here on the philosopher named

45:05

bertrand russell

45:06

who was an atheist for for what it's

45:08

worth there's

45:10

there's something that religion has that

45:12

philosophy

45:13

does not and that thing is authority

45:16

particularly intellectual authority

45:20

so in every revealed religious tradition

45:23

that i'm aware of

45:24

there is some kind of authority

45:26

structure

45:27

and what that means is there's some

45:31

point it might be a person it might be a

45:33

group of people

45:34

it might be a text or a particular

45:36

interpretation of a text

45:38

but there's some point that everyone in

45:40

that community traces their beliefs back

45:42

to

45:43

and that's where the buck stops so if

45:46

you're catholic and the pope

45:48

declares let's say it's an official

45:50

ex-cathedra declaration

45:51

or a papal bull or something you know

45:54

this is the case

45:56

then if i'm a catholic my intellectual

45:59

responsibility my obligation

46:01

is to believe that thing if if i'm not a

46:04

catholic i'm any christian

46:06

it's not open to me to disagree with

46:08

jesus

46:09

if jesus says this is what god is like

46:11

then if i'm a christian jesus is my

46:14

authority so it's not open to me to

46:15

disagree with that this is true in every

46:17

religion they're just about every

46:19

everything that gets classed as a

46:20

religion there's some kind of authority

46:22

structure

46:22

that doesn't exist in philosophy we

46:25

don't have authorities

46:26

uh the the only author the only

46:28

authority is your own reason

46:30

though the whole tradition of western

46:31

philosophy since socrates

46:33

began as a kind of

46:36

rational critique of religious authority

46:39

so

46:40

i'm in kind of a weird position when a

46:42

book is presented to me as authoritative

46:45

and yet i'm committed intellectually and

46:49

i believe morally

46:50

to an approach to knowledge that is

46:53

anti-authority

46:55

from its in its dna anti-authority so

46:58

that means i don't take the bible or any

47:00

other text as authoritative

47:02

over my beliefs i don't take the

47:04

testimony of any individual

47:06

as authoritative over my beliefs in fact

47:08

i think it's irrational and ultimately

47:10

incoherent to do so

47:12

so this this puts me on a very different

47:14

footing than than most christians

47:16

approaching the bible but i don't think

47:17

it removes its value entirely

47:20

and so there's a way that i have found

47:22

of approaching the text that i find very

47:24

helpful and i actually draw it from an

47:25

evangelical an evangelical

47:27

uh paragon of evangelical theology john

47:30

wesley

47:31

shout out to wesley yeah now i don't

47:33

accept it in the way that he said it

47:35

because he's not an authority for me

47:36

either

47:38

but i'm stealing i'm stealing the idea

47:40

from him uh and it's

47:41

it's come to be called the wesleyan

47:43

quadrilateral

47:44

and it's this idea that wesley had which

47:47

is remarkably progressive i think

47:49

that the way you should do theology and

47:52

forgive me my wesleyan friends if i'm

47:54

butchering this but

47:56

the way you should do theology has kind

47:58

of four parts to it or you might view it

48:00

as

48:01

your faith is a stool with four legs and

48:04

one of those legs

48:05

is the bible so the the revealed text

48:08

of sacred scripture another of those

48:11

legs is tradition

48:13

what people in your tradition and it

48:15

might even be your local tradition but

48:17

it might be the tradition all the way

48:18

back to the beginning of the church

48:20

what what other christians have

48:21

understood about that text

48:23

and about god that's tradition but then

48:25

he said there's two other legs though

48:27

there's experience

48:29

so wesley is very famous for making your

48:32

experience of god central

48:34

to the you know what christianity ought

48:37

to be

48:38

so there's your experience and then

48:39

there's also reason

48:42

and these things need to be in agreement

48:44

now where i part from wesley is he would

48:47

he put most of the emphasis still on the

48:49

bible right that's the big wheel

48:50

he was it wasn't soulless scripture uh

48:52

so much as primo scripture

48:54

the bible is the most important thing

48:57

and then all those other things have to

48:58

agree with it

49:00

uh and when they do then you have a

49:01

robust theology but when they don't you

49:04

should defer to scripture

49:05

i would modify that because i'm a

49:07

philosopher and say

49:09

no in fact the reason and experienced

49:12

legs of the stool carry most of the

49:14

weight

49:15

there's very many reasons for that we

49:17

can get into some more of them maybe in

49:18

the next episode

49:19

but for me the bible is authoritative

49:23

only in the same sense

49:24

that the rest of my experience conformed

49:27

to my reason

49:29

is authoritative so i think about the

49:32

bible

49:32

as a kind of evidence it's

49:36

it's a set of evidence a set of really

49:38

good evidence i think

49:40

about what god is like but it's not the

49:42

only set of evidence

49:43

there's lots of other evidence and i

49:44

have to wait as a rational person with

49:46

my own set of experiences i have to

49:48

weigh it

49:49

against those other sets of evidence and

49:51

i'm still a christian partially because

49:53

i think it gives me good

49:55

and undefeated evidence

49:58

about what god is really like but

50:01

viewing it in that way does not mean

50:02

that i have to take all of it

50:04

to be totally accurate and it and it

50:07

it also means that anything i find in it

50:10

can be overcome by better evidence

50:12

just like i live the rest of my life so

50:15

it's kind of a scientific or forensic

50:17

approach to the bible i guess

50:19

but i find it to be very helpful and it

50:20

helps me deal with a lot of really

50:22

questions that are really controversial

50:24

for for a lot of other christians that i

50:26

don't think actually need to be

50:27

controversial because often we're we're

50:30

using the bible as though it gives

50:32

better evidence than it does

50:34

about a lot of issues so if we want to

50:37

get really nerdy about it i i think of

50:38

this as kind of

50:40

my own copernican turn here's what that

50:42

means so there's a

50:44

philosopher named immanuel kant who

50:47

is famous for always famous for a lot of

50:50

things but

50:50

the main thing he's famous for in the

50:52

history of philosophy

50:54

is taking the emphasis of philosophers

50:57

away from

50:58

metaphysics which means trying to figure

51:01

out the way the world really is

51:03

fundamentally on its own

51:05

and putting the emphasis instead on

51:09

what is the structure of the mind like

51:12

such that we have the experiences that

51:15

we do

51:16

and he said look a lot of the problems

51:18

that philosophers are dealing with and

51:20

not making any progress on

51:22

in metaphysics what is the world really

51:24

like those problems

51:26

are due to the fact that they think they

51:28

can get out of their own

51:31

minds that they think they can actually

51:34

access the way the world really is on

51:36

its own

51:38

and they're missing the fact that

51:40

they're limited

51:42

by the structure of their own

51:43

experiences

51:45

and so for kant all i could really know

51:48

anything about it all

51:50

is how things appear to me he called

51:52

this the phenomenal

51:53

world and it's the whole world it's

51:56

everything that we can access

51:58

you can't actually know anything about

51:59

the world as it exists outside of

52:02

the way that it appears to you and so

52:05

uh for some basic philosophical reasons

52:07

my experience and my reason

52:10

are primary even if i think i'm

52:13

accessing something

52:14

out there in the real world i'm still

52:16

accessing it through the

52:18

forms of the structures of my mind that

52:21

allow me to

52:22

access that kind of information and so

52:25

for that very abstract reason

52:27

i just can't get on board with the idea

52:29

that

52:30

the bible could be ultimately

52:32

authoritative because

52:34

i can understand it in one way somebody

52:36

else can understand it in a different

52:38

way that contradicts the way that i

52:39

understand it

52:41

and there's no way to access the

52:44

objective reality about it

52:46

because i can't step outside of my

52:48

interpretive

52:49

experience and they can't step outside

52:51

of theirs and so we're stuck

52:53

what do we do and and that's the end of

52:56

the story as far as far as i can tell

52:58

it's very

52:58

kind of disappointing end of the story

53:00

but like nobody can actually ascend to

53:02

the god's eye view of things and say

53:04

here's the correct interpretation

53:06

so and he called that the copernican

53:08

turn because he says it's kind of like

53:10

what happened with copernicus

53:12

because everybody up to copernicus had

53:14

been assuming that the earth was

53:16

stationary

53:17

and that everything moved around it and

53:19

then they were trying to figure out why

53:20

stuff moved the way it did with that

53:21

assumption

53:22

and they failed and then copernicus said

53:24

well what if we assume

53:26

that we move too that we're the thing

53:28

that's moving and that stuff out there

53:30

is stationary

53:31

it turns the focus back on us that's

53:33

what khan did and i think that's what we

53:34

have to do with the bible if we're going

53:35

to use it

53:36

responsibly so for all

53:40

you beloved conservatives out there who

53:43

are throwing kyle

53:45

out there to the heretical wolves i'll

53:47

just you can do that if you want but

53:48

i'll just encourage you

53:50

to i'll just ask you can we

53:54

hold different views of the scripture

53:56

fundamentally different

53:58

ways that make us a little bit insecure

53:59

even

54:01

and ways that offend us a little bit

54:04

and can we hold that space together can

54:07

we do

54:08

what the scriptures tell us which is

54:11

walk and live in the way of agape love

54:13

rather than walking in the way of being

54:15

right

54:17

so i'll just encourage you to to live

54:19

into

54:20

that way that jesus and the apostles

54:22

encouraged us to which

54:24

is to say i'm not going to throw you to

54:26

the heretical wolves i'm going to love

54:27

you

54:28

i'm going to listen and i'm going to ask

54:30

the holy spirit for some

54:31

guidance and direction along the way

54:34

already there randy you're putting more

54:36

weight on your experience and your

54:37

reason than you are

54:38

oh shut up kyle because uh

54:42

most of christian tradition it would

54:43

have been the right and recommended

54:44

thing to do to literally throw me to the

54:46

wolves

54:47

there you go there you go good good good

54:50

i like it so let's uh why don't you reel

54:53

it back in

54:56

tell us maybe a more moderate take on

54:59

what do you think a healthy way to

55:00

approach the bible is

55:01

sure for a long time i was i got

55:05

fairly uncomfortable with referring to

55:06

the scriptures as the word of god

55:09

that's the way a lot of christians refer

55:11

to the scriptures the word of god

55:13

and you could argue that the scriptures

55:15

at some point refer to itself as the

55:16

word of god or

55:18

the writers of the scriptures do now

55:20

what the writers of scriptures were

55:21

referring to is the old testament

55:23

because they didn't have the new

55:24

testament at that point but that's not

55:26

the point

55:27

my point is the reason that i got

55:28

uncomfortable with referring to the

55:30

scriptures of the word of god is because

55:32

the apostle john

55:33

the beloved disciple he when he would

55:36

talk about the word of god if you would

55:37

say what's the word of god

55:38

to john he would say well duh the word

55:41

of god is jesus

55:43

jesus is the divine logos jesus is the

55:46

divine word of god

55:49

case closed end of story that's it and

55:52

so

55:52

for me i think that holds so much weight

55:57

that jesus is the divine word of god

56:01

and jesus is the absolute authority and

56:04

foundation of our faith

56:05

not the scriptures if we can just get

56:07

that straight i think that'd be really

56:09

really helpful

56:10

jesus is the end-all be-all for our

56:13

faith not the scriptures and i know

56:14

that's kind of a horse cart situation

56:17

which you know we we know about jesus

56:18

because of the scriptures blah blah blah

56:20

i get it

56:21

but i think that we should listen to

56:24

jesus words again

56:25

he's talking to the modern day church

56:27

the

56:28

or the the ancient church the the jewish

56:30

people and he's saying you guys read the

56:31

scriptures

56:32

the scriptures testify to me i'm

56:34

standing right in front of you

56:36

and you don't you don't have enough

56:38

sense to recognize

56:39

that i'm in the word of god standing

56:41

right in front of you right so i think

56:42

we'd do well to

56:44

in the way we approach the bible is that

56:46

jesus is the foundation and the

56:47

authority of our faith

56:49

period case closed and now we look to

56:51

the scriptures to illuminate

56:53

who jesus is now we look to the

56:55

scriptures to illuminate

56:56

like you called the scriptures more of a

56:58

novel and i love that idea because to me

57:01

the scriptures is this grand

57:03

meta narrative told over the course of

57:05

66 books if you're a protestant more if

57:08

you're orthodox or catholic

57:10

but it's this narrative that says that

57:13

god

57:13

the god of the universe the creator god

57:16

who's existed for all time

57:19

he just wants to share himself the

57:21

father son holy spirit the divine life

57:23

wants to share itself

57:24

so badly that it's going to create a

57:26

people that they could have as their own

57:28

and even though sin and rebellion and

57:32

all the garbage of humanity started to

57:34

happen and spin out of control

57:36

this divine life father son spirit this

57:39

trinitarian god

57:40

wouldn't settle for not having his

57:42

people and he went all the way

57:44

to sacrificing his very self god

57:48

becomes a human and god dies and is

57:50

executed

57:51

and is resurrected back to life that

57:53

narrative that met a narrative

57:55

within the scriptures that we find that

57:57

to me

57:58

is the most beautiful thing that i could

58:00

imagine and so

58:02

i want to see the bible for the

58:03

meta-narrative that it is

58:05

not get lost in the weeds so much i can

58:07

have a lot of fun with a lot of

58:09

exegetical study i mean shoot we just

58:11

studied our way through ecclesiastes as

58:12

a church a couple of months ago

58:14

it was a good time as a matter of fact

58:15

if you have issues with what kyle's

58:17

bringing

58:17

go to read ecclesiastes and then email

58:19

us when you're done

58:22

another way i think that's really

58:24

helpful and healthy

58:26

to see the scriptures especially when we

58:28

get caught up in the things like the

58:30

violence of the scriptures and god

58:31

telling

58:32

his people to kill everybody man woman

58:35

and child

58:37

it's this thing that theologians and

58:39

scholars call a cruciform way of seeing

58:41

the scriptures

58:42

and cruciform way of seeing the

58:43

scriptures just means that i'm going to

58:45

interpret my

58:46

my hermeneutic my method of

58:48

interpretation of how i'm

58:50

going to take in the scriptures and

58:51

understand them is in

58:53

and through the filter of the cross that

58:56

the cross of christ

58:57

is the greatest representation in

58:59

revelation of who god is and what god is

59:02

like you can't get any more of a clear

59:03

picture

59:04

of god hanging on a cross for the sake

59:06

of humanity

59:07

that's who god is for once and for all

59:10

and now we see the rest of the

59:11

scriptures through the crucified god

59:13

hanging on a cross and we everything has

59:17

to has to

59:18

work out from that point that i think

59:21

is a really beautiful and potentially

59:22

more healthy way to see the scriptures

59:24

and

59:24

in a way to engage with the scriptures

59:27

in a more

59:28

fundamental and foundational way that we

59:30

can actually have some some

59:32

character and integrity that the fullest

59:34

revelation of who god is was revealed in

59:36

that moment

59:36

and we see everything else through that

59:39

method and we'll talk more about that in

59:40

the next episode and something else that

59:41

we'll talk more about in the next

59:42

episode that

59:43

has been helpful for me is this idea

59:46

it's not my idea i mean i all of us

59:48

steal everything from everyone anyways

59:51

but this idea that god let his people

59:53

tell his story

59:55

that to me is a obvious

59:59

and be fascinating

60:03

that the god of the universe the divine

60:05

life

60:06

that god let his people tell our god's

60:09

story and the story of

60:11

god in humanity gets told by the by

60:13

god's people who

60:15

all you got to do is open up the book

60:16

and you're you're in the library and

60:18

you're going to find

60:19

god's people get it wrong a lot right

60:22

and they interpret things

60:23

in all sorts of wonky ways and they have

60:26

all sorts of wrong unders

60:27

wrong ideas and understandings and they

60:29

go their separate ways from that god

60:31

all the time and yet god has seen

60:35

fit to let his people tell the story

60:37

tell

60:38

god's story that to me is fascinating

60:40

and it's also

60:42

super helpful when we tackle the things

60:44

that we're going to tackle in our next

60:45

episode

60:46

things like patriarchy in the bible

60:49

things like sexism and misogyny in the

60:50

bible things like violence in the bible

60:52

all sorts of things god actually let his

60:56

people tell a story and that just seems

60:58

like the way again god works on earth

61:01

is through humanity through his people

61:04

who are broken

61:05

and messed up sinful they get it we get

61:08

it wrong more than we get it right and

61:09

god

61:10

has seen fit to have his people

61:14

bring about his new creation right in

61:16

some way shape or form that we are the

61:18

ones who are supposed to actually bring

61:20

redemption

61:22

to all of the world and that to me

61:25

just speaks of a god who is if he's

61:28

going to do that with his church he's

61:29

probably going to do that with the

61:30

scriptures as well

61:31

that just makes all sorts of sense but

61:33

we'll get more into that in our next

61:35

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61:36

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61:38

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