Apparently my previous post has upset a number of self-proclaimed atheists — in particular Mr. Jim Linville — who favors the notion of studying the Bible from a ‘non-religious’ worldview. My proposal is simply that this is an illusion of secular humanism and has no relation to reality. The reality is that even an atheistic reading of Scripture always reads with a religious perspective (albeit one that does not embrace the faith of the subject matter). Atheism is indeed a religious worldview and humanity cannot help but read anything from a religious perspective. Just because one does not read the Scripture from the perspective of faith in God does not mean that one is reading without faith in something religious. For the atheist — and many supposed ‘purely historical’ readings, etc. — faith is placed in self and the abilities of humanity and a whole worldview is involved wherein humanity (and pure ‘reason’) sits as creator (?) and judge of all things. (Sounds rather religious to me)
I was quite surprised at the response I have received ranging from one who doesn’t think I get Mr. Linville’s proposal to another that believes I have been misguided. Mr. Linville has even proposed that I should either have not been permitted membership in the Society of Biblical Literature and should now consider looking elsewhere for societal membership. Ad hominem attacks abound in his blog response to me, but are these merely to avoid the ultimate question? What is the genuine motivation behind such a proposal of study? What is the point? If the Scriptures are indeed true (as I must confess they are) concerning the necessity of faith in the Lord, then does a ‘secular’ reading of Scripture result in all the greater judgment at the Last Day when the reader fails to carry out (even opposes) a faith-filled responsive reading?
To study the Scriptures as only any other book is to study the Scriptures in disobedience and rebellion to the Lord of the Scriptures. It is not being true to all religions (or non-religions?). It is being true only to the self as exalted above the One who has inspired the Scriptures…and the end result is not a purely scholastic reading, but a purely idolatrous reading devoid of true knowledge (and of the One Who is THE Truth).
I praise the Lord that He has not left us to our own devices concerning the quest for truth, but has given us Himself (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) in the clear words of inspired and holy writ…and indeed He dwells in us through the Spirit that we might be conformed to the image of the Son to the praise and glory of the Father. I confess that I do not ‘study’ the Bible in order to be a better ‘Biblical scholar’ (though I pray that is so as well), but in order to be a more faithful disciple of the Lord. Where else can we go to find the “eternal words of life”?