Biblical literalism

I pointed a few days ago to a piece by Molly Worthen that links conservative Christianity to the national disgraces of “post-truth” and Donald Trump’s presidency. Now comes a former New York Times religion editor to say the yahoos number far fewer than the piece suggests.

Nice try. America’s largest denomination is the Southern Baptists, and they are emphatic about inerrancy, recognizing that once you go the way of allegory and metaphor in interpreting the Bible you undermine a lot of orthodoxy. Just 2-mlles from my home is a near mega-church where it is taught that the earth is less than 10,000-years old; that good, decent, godly people are always prepared to betray their family and friends on command, like Abraham; that the goal of the godly life is self-annihilation — the total elimination of self-interest and self-direction because the self is evil. All of this should repel anybody of ordinary intelligence and decency, and yet all that may be said is that there isn’t a word of this degrading nonsense that isn’t totally commonplace amongst Southern Baptists.

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