A motion calling for the disestablishment of the Church of England is being promoted in the British parliament by a handful of backbench MPs. These sorts of things rarely make it to the debate stage, it has few backers and is largely insignificant. Nothing particularly noteworthy there, you might think.
It’s number on the House of Commons order paper though? 666
Hmm, it seems a bit arbitrary to say “because it’s full of symbolism, it’s symbolic” - surely symbols are reader inferred/defined. A less sophisticated reader (say, this guy: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22573021/ ) might not see any symbolism, and so take the entire text as literally and inerrant, while another might take other books as allegorical, because they see - say - the serpent and the fruits as symbols - and interpret that as allegory.
Also since nobody was around to see any of it happen, and there can’t possibly have been an oral tradition before the creation of man, whoever wrote Genesis down must have had a vision too?
And then Daniel deals with Apocalyptic themes and visions - but since the content of the vision is very important to Jesus’s claim to being the Messiah, I imagine they’re not read as purely symbolic? I’m really curious where (and how) the line is drawn.
I’m not trying to argue that Revelation should be accepted as literal, it’s more that I’m interested in which bits (of the Bible) aren’t considered literal and inerrant, and why (all the prophecies? If the first line of Genesis went “In a vision I have seen:” would it be read differently?).
As I said, the serpent and the fruits could easily be read as symbolic, so I’m unswayed by the manner of writing being an objective, rather than subjective, property that determines the precision of the text.
I’ll give you that symbols are writer defined, but I still think symbolism (or at least the perception of symbols) is a two way street - the author can add symbols, but if the reader isn’t aware of the references, they won’t be recognized, equally there’s the possibility of reading too much into the text, and inferring things the author never intended (Hamlet was attracted to his mother, etc).
Yes, it’s a bit clumsy - what I was trying to convey was “factual as read literally” vs “misleading if read literally (purely symbolic in nature)”. I think you’ve covered the answer with the style (or are there additional flags?)
I find it really interesting that that modification to Genesis would change the reading since as I mentioned earlier (to my mind) much of the content can’t have been witnessed, so by implication is visionary in origin.
About the 666 / 616 thing…i read somewhere that the original was 616, but there was a scribing / translation error down the line and it became 666. Apparently, the earlier documents found refer to the number as 616. I would quote from some of my books, but they’re out on loan to a friend :(.
And anyway, about Genesis: it is meant to be read literally. You must remember, Genesis was derived from the Torah, the Jewish Holy Book, passed down through generations from (here i forget: was it Abraham or Moses?) to the jewish people. It may indeed have been a vision, but it was taken as fact as the vision came straight from God to the recorder. By His nature, God cannot lie; and hence Genesis is meant to be taken absolutely literally without symbolism.
And the point about writing styles is also very pertinent. If you look at some books (Isaiah, the Prophets): if they saw it in a vision, they would say so. Or make it explicitly clear in their terms of reference that it was meant to be symbolic and not literal. I.e., they wouldn’t use terms descriptive of a Man to describe another man symbolically, they would use animals such as Lambs, Lions and the like.
Anyway, wasnt this supposed to be a topic on the deestablishment of the Church of England? About that…well why not? It was started on a stupid pretext anyway…King Henry VIII wanted to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragorn but Pope Clement VII refused, so he decided to…start his own church! and hence the Anglican Church was born. Its a really…well…lame excuse for starting a new church. Doctrinal differences i can understand, but just to get a divorce?
But it now does have doctrinal differences. Furthermore, there is a serious point to be made - granted I’m not sure about now compared to then - for not wishing to pay the Pope from British parishes or being politically beholden to the Pope given how corrupt and dynastic the papacy was.
I can assure you that this thread wasn’t meant to be about anything of any consequence at all; the coincidence just tickled me.
Still, regarding allegorical readings of the Bible, one problem springs to mind: much of it consists of parables which, by their nature, can be interpreted differently. I think I’ve seen you say that - to paraphrase - your reading of the Bible is the correct one, Vickie, and other interpretations are faulty. Problem is that equally well-versed people who interpret Christian teachings in different fashions seem to hold similar views, which could be said to suggest that the Bible is open to interpretation and allegory is intended even if it isn’t explicit. The alternative is a lot of people getting it wrong but if they’re all claiming they’re correct on the basis of the same source material, there’s no real way I can see for one claim to be more valid than another.
On the deestablishment of the Church of England, an established church in a democracy is frankly a nonsense even if it receives no direct governmental support, and we would be well rid of it.
Actually, an established church in a democracy makes perfect sense if that’s what the majority of voters decide they want. An established church in a secular constitutional republic, on the other hand, would be nonsense.
Ah, I see what he was getting at now. Thought it was an odd point to raise coming from a man of such libertarian credentials.
Of course, what threw me was that I wasn’t referring to the US but Britain, which is a representative parliamentary democracy even if it’s somewhat tempered by its joint status as a constitutional monarchy. That the US is technically a constitutional republic - which is basically a liberal democracy anyway - doesn’t seem particularly relevant or change the essential role of the democratic state.