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How to Read the Bible – Rerun

January 28th, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 9 Comments

My favourite Christian blogger is still Real Live Preacher. His input (general posts on his blog, as well as the odd email) helped me significantly on my journey last year. If you’d like to see some of the posts of his I really like, see RLP on Indoctrination and Some RLP Highlights. I’m not sure how I first came across his site, but it was near the time when he made, or was busy making, a series of video clips on How to Read the Bible. He made these clips because a good friend had asked him: these video clips were created for people who have never read the Bible before, and want some of RLP’s suggestions on how to go about doing so.

I ran a post titled Ancient Religious Texts in March last year, containing these clips. If you want a piece of anti-theism mixed in to your reading of the Bible, you can find enough of that elsewhere: there are a number of atheistic blogs running Bible studies. Personally, I’m gatvol of intolerance for intolerance’s sake. I only want to tolerate intolerance of things that (in my opinion) make the world a worse place.

As I now easily have ten times as many readers as I had back then, here is a “rerun” of the clips, in case anyone is interested in watching them. There are nine clips, most are just over six minutes, though the last two are between 11 and 15 minutes. Here is his intro clip, titled “So You Want to Read the Bible”:

And here is a full list of links to the posts on Gordon’s site:

Let me know if you’ve got something interesting to discuss after watching these. I’d love discussions with literalists, but yet again, I bet the atheists are more likely to respond, which will again end up discouraging comments from the literalists reading this blog. *sigh*. It’s surprisingly hard to get a nice discussion going in this place. Don’t let that discourage you though, I’d love to hear some feedback from atheists as well, if you’re interested in spending the time and leaving thoughtful replies. Thanks.

Categories: Worldviews
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9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hugo // Jan 28, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Sorry, seems RLP’s site is down at the moment. Hopefully it will be back soon…

  • 2 Ben // Jan 28, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    tl; dw (too long, didn’t watch.)


    Hugo, show me some successful interaction you’ve had with a biblical literalist – where they’ve become less literal. (I haven’t had one, myself.) I’ve just about had to stop posting at, for example, because withholding severe criticism of a friendly pro-ignorance anti-civil rights Christian is beyond me.

    I pretty much lost my ability to not be snarky here:

    I’ve heard tons of liberal Christians talk about how they can influence literalists better because atheists are so polarizing. I’ve yet to see an example.

  • 3 Hugo // Jan 28, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    I’ve had some success “in real life”, in particular with someone quite close to me. That’s relatively easy though, it was a process that took place over a year, through use of books etc. I could think up some other examples of more minor influences, but I’m still rather new at this. I was first sorting out myself and my roadmap, and finishing my thesis. However, this is indeed the direction I want to take this blog. I want to communicate with literalists, and hopefully get to a place where we understand one another better.

    Oh, another piece of progress I could mention: a few years back, I had an email exchange with a friend, and “planted some seeds”. Again, a process that takes time… He is still in Shofar, but it seems he no longer believes in hell… Hehe, that’s *huge*, for a Shofarian. Not that I can really take any credit for that either, the point is rather that it is a long journey. A journey that takes time. And that’s where the trouble occurs: places like Shofar have “cell groups” in order to keep people from straying from the path. Aint peer pressure a wonderful thing.

    The very act of writing this comment already frightens people away, if they’re reading it. Unfortunately. So yes, any Shofarians reading this, feel free to run away in fear or to distrust me, on the grounds that I’m someone that thinks and asks questions. I will not force anything down your throat, I will not tell you you are wrong, but I will ask you questions. And if you ask me questions, I will try my best to answer them as best I can. I believe God wants you to use your brain, else why did you get one? Else why did Jesus speak in parables, rather than just laying down the new law, simply and straight forward? What conclusions you end up reaching, is really none of my business, if you want it to be none of my business. If, however, you need some support for whatever reason, I’ll try my best to be there for you, or find other people that can be there for you.

    Of course, I can’t say the same for some of the other people commenting on my blog. The limits of WordPress… May mengelmoes reach a state of usefulness before Easter…

  • 4 Hugo // Jan 28, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Ben, if that’s an example of you being “bad”, I love having you on board. Bring it on.

    With regards to literalists, there are many that you really cannot reach. Not directly. I think we need to avoid getting to bogged down in battling a specific person, and continue looking for those that have “eyes to see and ears to hear”. (I gotta pull more Biblical references here. Do you know how useful these teachings are, when you come to the conclusion that everything’s a little reversed? That the message is the opposite to what some people think?)

    I don’t know what hope you have, but the future here looks interesting. My impression is that Stellenbosch is picking up the pace with regards to re-establishing the kind of all-inclusive movement that was found in early Christianity. Of course translated to the contemporary context. At least from the leadership side of things, there is great cooperation happening between many of the bigger churches. Old-fashioned: not particularly, in the context of this country. Judgemental: no. Hypocritical: no. Involved in politics: “in a good way”… hehe… anti-homosexual: tough one. Not in the leadership, but congregations have a lot of inertia. A lot of the “Christian baggage” that people have, comes from parents, grand-parents, family members and friends, rather than directly from church leadership.

    Many people don’t like this. And they run to e.g. Shofar, where “what you see is what you get”.

    Anyway, this is why I have some hope for this town’s religious future. The necessary structures are already in place. In USA, I think you’re going to need the support of what some people label as the “emerging church movement”.

    And I have said too much…

  • 5 Hugo // Jan 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Reaching someone most effectively really requires true friendship. And there’s the problem: often having “true friendship” is not possible. Some people are not interested, or don’t have the time, etc. New Testament says about those that don’t want to listen, “shake the dust off your feet and move on”. 😉

  • 6 Al Lovejoy // Jan 28, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    “Whoever receives one little child like this in my name receives me” – Matt 18:5

    “Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when he had taken him in His arms, He said to them: Whoever receives one of these little children in My Name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not me but Him who sent me” – Mar 9:37

    “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water…” Matt 10:42a

    “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea” – Matt 18:6

    “Pure and undefiled religion before God is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” – Jas 1:27

  • 7 Hugo // Jan 28, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Thanks Al!

  • 8 Hugo // Jan 29, 2008 at 12:23 am

    Links in this post updated: the RLP site has moved, and all old RLP links will be broken. I’ll fix the posts this one links to.

  • 9 Demons & Shofar // Nov 15, 2008 at 10:49 am

    […] clip titled Reading the Bible #6 (Demons & the 1st Century Worldview) as part of his series on How to Read the Bible wherein he provided advice to those interested in doing so. His take on demons, for those that are […]

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