The Catholic Church has recently published a document intended to help their clergy instruct parishioners, which warns against macro-interpretations of the Bible as literal truth. Go here to read the article (It’s pretty short).
This is absolutely magnificent.
In a time when religious fundamentalism threatens our government like never before, the Catholic Church has, intentionally or not, responsibly encouraged a much more intellectual view of the Bible. Hopefully, people will begin reading the book and intellectualizing the book, instead of allowing some cooperate stooge to do it for them.
The worst part about some of the people of the Christian fundamental movement is their ignorance of the document they hold so dear. Ask a roomful of fundamentalists their take on the Priestly narrative of creation as opposed to the Yahwistic one. Count the raised eyebrows. Ask the same roomful of people why the Gospel of St. Thomas was not canonized along with the four gospels included in the New Testament, despite most likely having been written much nearer to the time of Christ. See how many people excuse themselves to go the bathroom. Ask them the social significance contained within Jesus’ famous quote “Turn the other cheek,” or encourage them to explain the difference between Hell, Gehenna, and Sheol. I’m reasonably sure you won’t get very many thoughtful answers.
A large number of these well-meaning but woefully misinformed folks don’t even fully understand the text which they hold to be literally infallible, and yet they want to construct social laws based on it. Doesn’t anyone see the hypocrisy and the danger in that?