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Showing posts from December, 2011

When It Comes to Religion, Let's Keep One Resolution

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This year, let’s keep one resolution – when we talk about religious people, let’s never again refer to them as literalists. That’s because they aren’t, and no one is. No one takes all their scriptures, tradition, or even their natural laws literally. They all pick and choose from the variety of material available to them, taking some of it literally and some not. To continue to label them literalists is not only inaccurate; it gives them the edge in any argument. Even though everyone -- that’s everyone -- interprets and picks and chooses from the material available to them and decides what to take literally and what not to take literally, when we refer to right-wingers as literalists, we have conceded that we are interpreters but they are the ones who understand it. This doesn’t mean that historians can’t determine what an old text meant to its authors in its ancient historical context with some academic probability. It means that past writings, activities, doctrines, and institution…