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Rev Keith Crouch of Ludlow reflects on literal views
8:00am Saturday 12th May 2012 in Letters
TO have an alternative point of view can be healthy but I was quite taken aback by the language of one of your correspondents in his criticism of Mr King’s Christain Voice column (Advertiser, April 12).
I found Mr King’s reflections on the pitfalls of literalism well made.
It reminded me of Karen Armstrong’s thesis in The Case for God where she suggests that a literalistic approach to scripture and religious understanding began in the age of The Enlightenment when Newton and other introduced a trationalistic basis for belief.
Sadly, once metaphor and myth is lost as a means of hearing God’s story, the question then becomes “Is it true?” rather than “What do I understand?”.
And Richard Dawkins et al can not unreasonably argue on the basis of fact rather than on the meaning of faith.
I have always believed that Christianity was a rational faith but think that’s quite different from making a literalistic reading of scripture or speaking with certainty about the nature of God. Religious certainty as we learn through history can be a dangerous thing.
I was taught that the chief purpose for studying theology was to delve ever more deeply into the mystery of God, rather trying to establish a list of definitive answers about who or what He is.
I’ve certainly found that those mature in faith speak more about living with ambiguity than in certainty, and as the years pass of knowing less while hopefully understanding more.
Mr Tighe’s letter (Advertiser, April 26) is perhaps an informative lesson to the contrary when literalism and religious certainty appear to go hand in hand.
REV KEITH CROUCH, Mill Street, Ludlow.