Liberal Christians are always telling me that God didn’t really mean this or that Jesus didn’t really mean that. Those parts of the Bible are metaphors and only atheists and the small minority of about 48% of Christians take that part literally. Real Christians of course understand the Truth and that is that the entire Bible is to be taken metaphorically except for the existence of God, some of Jesus’s magic tricks, his resurrection, and anything else liberal Christians want to believe really happened.
Maybe we should take this whole “metaphorical” thing one step further and just admit that maybe, possible, probably, almost certainly, God is a metaphor too. Maybe the whole thing is fictional and each of the unknown number of anonymous authors had their own agendas and metaphors they were trying to convey and there wasn’t a single narrative at all.
Maybe Jesus was a metaphor too. When this is brought up, everyone always appeals to authority and claims that all the historians agree that there was a man named Jesus. But when asked to produce evidence of this character, nothing of consequence has been presented. In fact, there were similar stories about a man named Simon who was resurrected by the angel Gabriel after three days of being dead. Those stories pre-day Jesus and were circulated in that area. But who cares, it’s just a metaphor.
That’s really the thing I want to discuss today. Can someone properly call themselves a Christian even if they consider God to be a metaphor? Can someone really be an atheist Christian? That is to say that they value the Bible and the message they believe the Bible talks about without a literal god-belief.
So what is this message that the Bible talks about? Well, that depends on your interpretation and that isn’t up to me. But let’s say that you are an atheist and believe that the Bible is 100% metaphor. That is to say that it is complete and utter fiction but that for some odd reason, you are able to pretend that all the horrible stuff in the Bible isn’t there and that the good parts are what counts. You value the Bible purely as a metaphor for the Human condition. Are you still a Christian?
I bring this up, because I think that many Christians today are pretty close to this position except that they do accept God and Jesus as literal as I pointed out in the beginning of this post. But like my hypothetical atheist Christian, they view much of the Bible as metaphoric. So where is the line? At what level can you reject the Bible and still claim to be a Christian?
At some point it really just becomes a matter of degrees. Everyone takes some part of the Bible metaphorically, so why can’t someone claim to be a Christian and take the whole of the Bible metaphorically –God and all.
I ask the same question of Jews, but funny enough there are actually a lot of Jews who completely reject Judaism and still consider themselves to be Jews. There are lots of humanistic Jews who don’t believe in God. So many in fact, that there is an entire organization for them. So that doesn’t seem to be a problem within Judaism.
Christianity is however a different animal. Can we have humanist Christians who reject the belief in a deity and yet retain their Christian identity? If we can, then why do liberal Christians still cling to their literal deity even while they preach a metaphorical gospel? Should we as atheists make this path more accessible to liberal Christians? Should we create a fifth column within Christianity by forming a Society of Humanistic Christians?
Thoughts, comments, below please.
- The Proper Thinking Christianity Deserves (skepticink.com)
- Religion Is an Embarrassment To Humanity (skepticink.com)
- Holiday Atheist Commercialism (skepticink.com)
- ‘Lots of Evidence For God’ – I’ll Bite (skepticink.com)
- Rise of the ‘New Mathematicians’ (skepticink.com)