August 19, 2021 Ron

Literarily

Literarily

Ron Writes


Skeptics. Mockers. Cynics. Unbelievers. There never appears to be a shortage of those who would try to ridicule God.


Recently I heard the son of a well-known pastor criticize the Bible. The son considers himself to be an atheist. Deconversion has become popular. Ex-preachers. Ex-Christians. Exes apparently have more credibility. It’s the appeal of saying I was one of them, I know what they believe, but I reasoned my way out of it. His message is that “Christians are stupid.” He mocks Christianity with what he calls “Silly Bible stories.”


A common attack is what I’d call “did you realize that the Bible says…..” This is the approach I heard from this young man. The rant that I heard was from Ecclesiastes. Did you realize that the Bible says that it’s better to have never been born? In Ecclesiastes 4 it says, “So I congratulated the dead who are already dead, more than the living who are still living.  But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed.” He mockingly emphasized, “It’s better to be dead.” “It’s better to never have existed.” “This is what the Bible says.” “And since it’s in the Bible you must take it LITERALLY” (emphasis is his).


It needs to be clear. Christians do not take the Bible literally, we take it “literarily.” Like all literature, context, genre, recipients, and other literary factors must be considered. For instance, Ecclesiastes is written from the perspective of life without God. Without God, life is a waste (“vanity”). Without God, it would have been better not to be born. In fact, the irony here is that Ecclesiastes is written from the perspective of our critic. He is unknowingly mocking himself. His worldview is being scorned. His childish rampage falls apart with just a little bit of thought.


It might be admitted that this guy’s tactics are emotionally effective, but they certainly are not intellectually effective. This man’s unbelief is caused by his own arrogant pride and not by the Bible. Mockers think they’re smarter than God.