Earlier this month I posted info on another blog of mine, Did God Really Say THAT!? A Blog about the Bible, and I recently completed a three-part series on that site about Abortion and the Bible. Suppose, I suggested, we assume that the Bible was “written” by God, so that every word in that book reflects a divine will. Then let’s try applying that assumption to a famous passage that is used on both sides of the abortion controversy, Exodus 21:22-23.
22: When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined, according as the woman’s husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23: If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life . . . (Revised Standard Version)
I then argue that treating these words as divine commandments leads to very peculiar conclusions. So by taking a stance of “Biblical literalism,” assuming that every word of the Bible reflects Higher Guidance, we end up rejecting Biblical literalism. This is what logicians call reductio ad absurdum – reducing to absurdity. If following some idea to its logical consequences leads to absurd conclusions, the idea is probably wrong.
I mention this series on Abortion and the Bible because people who disagree about God’s existence and God’s nature may also disagree about how to interpret the Bible. I hope this will be helpful to some folks in that predicament.
Roger Christan Schriner
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