What Warren Buffett and Tom Watson share: 5-30-17
A story of interfaith help in Joplin, Mo.: 6-1-17

A descent into biblical literalism: 5-31-17


The fact that the sacred scripture of major faiths is full of metaphor, myth, allegory and poetry seems to escape the notice of some people who prefer to understand things literally.

Such folks get attracted to the weirdness of the Creation Museum in Kentucky, where they are told that Earth is just a few thousand years old and that dinosaurs (scientists say they died out 65 million years ago) once roamed the planet along with human beings.

In other words, they take the beautiful creation stories in Genesis (there are two such stories there and they don't match up very well) literally. Or try to.

Well, this approach to faith and business seems to work well enough that, as this Washington Post story reports, the founder of the Creation Museum, Ken Ham, last summer opened up a tourist site featuring a monstrously large Noah's Ark: Ham, "the founder of Answers in Genesis, an online and publishing ministry with a strict creationist interpretation of the Bible, employed 700 workers to erect the $120 million Ark Encounter, which is five stories high and a football field and a half in length, and packs a powerful whoa punch."

Why do people need such literal stories? What is it about faith for them that moves from awe and wonder to an insistence on facts that are not facts but foolishness?

An ark with two of every animal? Well, as Genesis 7 reports, God said two of every unclean animal but seven pairs of every clean animal. The number of animals on board would have been insanely (and impossibly) high.

The Genesis story is not really a history of a real flood. Rather, it's a story about God's faithfulness and humanity's rebellion.

Still, this literal story-telling stuff seems to sell. The potential audience is both gullible and huge. Sigh.

(The image here today is from the Ark Encounter website.)

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The recently reported news that Melania Trump is Catholic raises the question in religion scholar Mark Silk's mind of whether her church believes her marriage to the president is valid. Which brings us into the whole issue when, why and how the Catholic church annuls marriages. "Under the circumstances," Silk writes, "you can understand why the Trump campaign — and, indeed, the Trump presidency — had an interest in suppressing Melania’s religious identity. And why Melania looks so uptight in her photos with the pope." This all might prove much more interesting than whether it's called Second Corinthians or, as Trump puts it, "Two Corinthians."


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