Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible

Charlie - posted on 04/16/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )

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THE hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has published a teaching document instructing the faithful that some parts of the Bible are not actually true.

The Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are warning their five million worshippers, as well as any others drawn to the study of scripture, that they should not expect “total accuracy” from the Bible.

“We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision,” they say in The Gift of Scripture.

The document is timely, coming as it does amid the rise of the religious Right, in particular in the US.

Some Christians want a literal interpretation of the story of creation, as told in Genesis, taught alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution in schools, believing “intelligent design” to be an equally plausible theory of how the world began.

But the first 11 chapters of Genesis, in which two different and at times conflicting stories of creation are told, are among those that this country’s Catholic bishops insist cannot be “historical”. At most, they say, they may contain “historical traces”.

The document shows how far the Catholic Church has come since the 17th century, when Galileo was condemned as a heretic for flouting a near-universal belief in the divine inspiration of the Bible by advocating the Copernican view of the solar system. Only a century ago, Pope Pius X condemned Modernist Catholic scholars who adapted historical-critical methods of analysing ancient literature to the Bible.

In the document, the bishops acknowledge their debt to biblical scholars. They say the Bible must be approached in the knowledge that it is “God’s word expressed in human language” and that proper acknowledgement should be given both to the word of God and its human dimensions.

They say the Church must offer the gospel in ways “appropriate to changing times, intelligible and attractive to our contemporaries”.

The Bible is true in passages relating to human salvation, they say, but continue: “We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other, secular matters.”

They go on to condemn fundamentalism for its “intransigent intolerance” and to warn of “significant dangers” involved in a fundamentalist approach.

“Such an approach is dangerous, for example, when people of one nation or group see in the Bible a mandate for their own superiority, and even consider themselves permitted by the Bible to use violence against others.”

Of the notorious anti-Jewish curse in Matthew 27:25, “His blood be on us and on our children”, a passage used to justify centuries of anti-Semitism, the bishops say these and other words must never be used again as a pretext to treat Jewish people with contempt. Describing this passage as an example of dramatic exaggeration, the bishops say they have had “tragic consequences” in encouraging hatred and persecution. “The attitudes and language of first-century quarrels between Jews and Jewish Christians should never again be emulated in relations between Jews and Christians.”

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.”

In their foreword to the teaching document, the two most senior Catholics of the land, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, and Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh, explain its context.

They say people today are searching for what is worthwhile, what has real value, what can be trusted and what is really true.

The new teaching has been issued as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Dei Verbum, the Second Vatican Council document explaining the place of Scripture in revelation. In the past 40 years, Catholics have learnt more than ever before to cherish the Bible. “We have rediscovered the Bible as a precious treasure, both ancient and ever new.”

A Christian charity is sending a film about the Christmas story to every primary school in Britain after hearing of a young boy who asked his teacher why Mary and Joseph had named their baby after a swear word. The Breakout Trust raised £200,000 to make the 30-minute animated film, It’s a Boy. Steve Legg, head of the charity, said: “There are over 12 million children in the UK and only 756,000 of them go to church regularly.

That leaves a staggering number who are probably not receiving basic Christian teaching.”

BELIEVE IT OR NOT

UNTRUE

Genesis ii, 21-22

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man

Genesis iii, 16

God said to the woman [after she was beguiled by the serpent]: “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Matthew xxvii, 25

The words of the crowd: “His blood be on us and on our children.”

Revelation xix,20

And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone.”

TRUE

Exodus iii, 14

God reveals himself to Moses as: “I am who I am.”

Leviticus xxvi,12

“I will be your God, and you shall be my people.”

Exodus xx,1-17

The Ten Commandments

Matthew v,7

The Sermon on the Mount

Mark viii,29

Peter declares Jesus to be the Christ

Luke i

The Virgin Birth

John xx,28

Proof of bodily resurrection


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[deleted account]

The RCC hasn't promoted the Bible's literal truth for a long time. That they promote any of it to be true, well that's their sales manual isn't it?

Of course it's a pack of myth, poetry and hearsay but who's counting when its' a religion right?

14 Comments

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Amanda - posted on 05/21/2011

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Well, I have to say that I DO believe in the Bible and believe that it is the inspired TRUE word of God!! To those of u that think the Bible isn't true...why has it been proven that Jesus did die and come back to life? and scientist that were digging deep into the earth started hearing screams underground (hell) ????? The name of God is Jesus....Father,Son,Holy Ghost,I Am, and many more are titles but the name is JESUS. Just b/c someone says or picks"" what is true from the Bible does not mean that it does not exist. I believe in Jesus, healing, prayer, worship, and that God is going to come for those of us that accept Him as our savior...NO sin will enter heaven....just hope ppl are ready when that time comes. (Acts 2:38) = the way to salvation.

ME - posted on 04/17/2011

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This doesn't actually surprise me at all, like Mary N., I have always been taught that the bible is not "literal". I went to Catholic School through Sophomore year in HS...It's nice that they published it for other people to see, I guess...

Amber - posted on 04/17/2011

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Haha! I know I couldn't pull off a verse either :)
I have read it (okay, most of it). But the funny thing is that I never read it until I started questioning my thoughts on religion. Then, I wanted to know what it said so that I could make an informed decision (a decision I still haven't completely come to).

Mary - posted on 04/17/2011

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Amber, I agree - in 12 years of Catholic schooling, the message I was always given regarding the bible was that it not the "literal" truth.

For example - I was taught evolution in science classes (by a nun), not creationism. It was never seen as a conflict with the bible, since the bible was more of a huge collection of parables. It was never suggested to me that the bible was meant to be taken as a literal, factual, or historically accurate text.

I sort of grew up believing that this was one of the huge differences between Catholics and protestants; Catholics tend to not be so caught up in knowing the bible inside and out, nor are we quick to quote verses to others as proof/justification of something. This is partially because we don't take it literally, and partly because most of us couldn't pull a bible verse from our ass if our life depended on it ;-)

Amber - posted on 04/17/2011

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I was raised Catholic(no longer practicing), and this was always the stance that my church always had. We were taught the parts that were deemed most relevant by the church, but were always told that it was up for interpretation. Our religious classes were actually comprised of more modern day "miracles" than particular reading and studying of the Bible.

I guess I'm more surprised that this was an announcement because that's the way I was always taught.

Desiree - posted on 04/17/2011

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Very interesting, I am not surprised that Revelations isn't true because the last time I checked Revelations has nothing to do with past but the"Future" which goes to mean those of you who believe in "Foreseeing" It can be changed and therefore becomes non valid.
As to the Comment " I am Who I am" non of the three major religions Namely Christianity. Judaism or Islam ever contracdict it because in all three "Bible" say that God Declared "I am Who I am" He never gave himself a name. "His blood be on us and our children" The Torah states this comment as "Into the third generation, punishment will be served" and that comes from right at the very begining with the disobedance of the 12 Brothers. but it depends on how you look at the bible. It is a history of two people the Jews and the Christians.

Jenni - posted on 04/17/2011

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What?!! The earth and all living creatures didn't appear suddenly in 7 days????

And we shouldn't kill witches or persecute jews?

And all us women folk weren't harvested from a man's rib cage?

Is homosexuality still a sin?

Do we still have to obey our husbands? Oh wait the 10 commandments are still 'true'. Damn.

Do us women folk still have to keep our lips zipped in church?

So wait... what the Catholic church is saying is... we shouldn't take the Bible literally. That a bunch of chauvanistic, bigoty, old men from a couple thousand years ago wrote it from stories they stole from other cultures?



Is it safe to say that *I'm* smarter than the Catholic church? Because I figured all this out about 10 years ago. :P

Charlie - posted on 04/17/2011

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It came from a major british newspaper ......let me find the link :)

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 04/16/2011

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Interesting.......... Thanks for updating posting and putting this into my brain :) -stews in it- mmmm.. thoughts processing.......

Sneaky - posted on 04/16/2011

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I'm not religious but I am tempted to say "Thank God!". Really, logic and common sense from a religious cult? Who knew that was possible?

Johnny - posted on 04/16/2011

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Oh, man. That is FUNNY! I'm sorry. All I could think when reading that was, "no shit Sherlock!" I wonder how long it will take them to finally admit it is all allegorical. Another 1000 years? LOL!

JuLeah - posted on 04/16/2011

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All of it is myth ... good stories handed down through the generations. We can learn great lessons from the stories, which is why they were included. Of the thous of stories told, only a few thous made the final cut ... there were many stories not included in the christian bible that other religions opted to include .... of course it can't be taken as 'truth'

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