How is this a "secular" subject?

En Hakkore

Active member
Then, let's discuss the Bible in a secular way.

This is actually an interest of mine (even though I am in no way an atheist). I've always said we should teach the Bible in American schools, but teach it as a secular text of fiction.
I'm not sure "fiction", as we moderns understand the word as a particular type of literature, is an appropriate one for an ancient and diverse anthology such as the Bible. To be sure, a number of its historical claims are suspect, but I fear a label of "fiction" is anachronistic and would prompt dismissal of both its utility as a historical source (one among many from the ancient world) and its transformative potential, quite aside from whether or not one is convinced of its theological claims (and I am not, for the record). Rather than redefining what the compilation is, perhaps awareness of how we approach it is a more fruitful way to conceptualize 'secular' discussion of the Bible.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

HillsboroMom

Active member
I'm not sure "fiction", as we moderns understand the word as a particular type of literature, is an appropriate one for an ancient and diverse anthology such as the Bible. To be sure, a number of its historical claims are suspect, but I fear a label of "fiction" is anachronistic and would prompt dismissal of both its utility as a historical source (one among many from the ancient world) and its transformative potential, quite aside from whether or not one is convinced of its theological claims (and I am not, for the record). Rather than redefining what the compilation is, perhaps awareness of how we approach it is a more fruitful way to conceptualize 'secular' discussion of the Bible.

Kind regards,
Jonathan

I took a course not unlike the one I describe as an undergrad in college.

The very first thing the professor did was explain what "fiction" meant. That would be key.

In that particular class, there were exactly two Christians: me and one other girl. She took the Bible way more literally than I ever did. She ended up being a great student. Her mind wasn't changed, but she worked hard trying to prove the professor wrong, and he welcomed it.
 

En Hakkore

Active member
I took a course not unlike the one I describe as an undergrad in college.

The very first thing the professor did was explain what "fiction" meant. That would be key.

In that particular class, there were exactly two Christians: me and one other girl. She took the Bible way more literally than I ever did. She ended up being a great student. Her mind wasn't changed, but she worked hard trying to prove the professor wrong, and he welcomed it.
What definition of "fiction" are/were you and/or your undergrad prof using in relation to the biblical texts?

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

En Hakkore

Active member
The professor was a fan of Joseph Campbell, and spoke of the Bible being "myth."
Now 'myth' may be more appropriate, but even then it would need to be heavily qualified since there are important differences when the creation story of Genesis 1, for example, is compared to those circulating in the ancient Near East. The Ogdoad associated with the watery chaos of the Egyptian creation myth at Hermopolis are stripped of deity and relegated to the raw materials with which the Israelite god fashions the world (1:2). There is no theogony or battle between the creator god and primordial beings as in the Enuma Elish, the sea monsters are instead the first created beings (1:21). These demythologizing tendencies are important to recognize when analyzing how the ancient Israelite authors/redactors reworked the 'myths' they appropriated from the Egyptians and Babylonians... indeed, are they even 'myths' anymore or an attempt at writing history?

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

rossh

Active member
A very good question. However, it is certainly the case that many Christians approach this subject from the point of view of their faith, and that most religious faiths have a stated position on abortion. It is a way of talking about life and death, the soul and what makes a human being important. I should also say that the Abortion Act 1966 in the UK was written and sponsored by a devout Christian and its success is largely down to it being accepted by all the major faith groups. Abortion is not a controversial subject here, so can be discussed dispassionately. There is room for every individual to have their own moral stance, whether informed by religion or not.
The only concession would be, to my way of thinking, is that if/when a Doctor finds that a woman can not live or will die giving birth for some medical issue then an abortion would be necessary... Do you agree in this case ?
 

Temujin

Well-known member
The only concession would be, to my way of thinking, is that if/when a Doctor finds that a woman can not live or will die giving birth for some medical issue then an abortion would be necessary... Do you agree in this case ?
I agree in every case. I think that abortion should be freely available to all up to 12 weeks, and if two doctors agree that continuing the pregnancy is more harmful to the woman than aborting it, up to 22 weeks. Thereafter abortion should be available only in exceptional cases, such as those you outline above.
 
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