Here are 10 signs that you take the Bible too literally:
1. You laugh when you read about dinosaur fossils, because you know they are really God's little inside joke to confuse atheists.
"And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind." ... And it was so... . God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them... . God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day."
Not bad for a day's work. Now why isn't that in the new common-core curriculum?
2. When confronted with a snake, your first impulse is to try to reason with it.
"Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God say, "You shall not eat from any tree in the garden"?'" (Genesis 3:1, NRSV)
The universal lesson from all stories like this one, including the Harry Potter series, is that if a snake starts to speak to you, run--do not reason with it.
3. You buy ark-simulation software so you can know exactly where Noah could have kept all those animals.
"Go into the ark... . Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth." (Genesis 7:1-3, ESV)
Simulation software for factoring in how to take care of the animals' "business" sold separately.
4. When your teenager acts out and gives you lip, you break out in a cold sweat, fearing that you may have to have him stoned.
"If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father and mother, who does not heed them when they discipline him, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his town at the gate of that place... . Then all the men of the town shall stone him to death." (Deuteronomy 21:18-22, NRSV)
Sort of makes spanking look tame, doesn't it?
5. You have the bumper sticker "The only good Canaanite is a dead Canaanite."
"So Joshua defeated the whole land, the hill country and the Negeb and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings; he left no one remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded." (Joshua 10:40-41, NRSV)
And no, a "Canaanite" isn't your grouchy neighbor or nasty boss, so don't get any ideas.
6. When you see a clam bake next door, you hide in your basement fearing God's wrath might spill over into your yard.
"But anything in the seas or the streams that does not have fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and among all the other living creatures that are in the waters--they are detestable to you and detestable they shall remain." (Leviticus 11:10-11, NRSV)
On the bright side, you won't have to return your neighbor's weed whacker when he disappears.
7. You check "prostitute" and "adulterer" on Match.com as qualities for a mate.
"Jehovah said unto Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredom and children of whoredom." (Hosea 1:3, ASV)
Is this what people mean by "a biblical view of marriage"?
8. You take out an "eye and limb" insurance policy, because, well, you never know.
"If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell of fire." (Matthew 18:8-9, NRSV)
Don't laugh. People have actually done this.
9. You seriously consider castration of your opponent as a legitimate option for settling theological disagreements.
"I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!" (Galatians 5:12, NRSV)
Whoever said church meetings need to be boring?
10. You download the End Times Calculator app that surveys names of every global leader and celebrity to see how their name might add up to 666 and gives odds on who is most likely to be the Antichrist.
"This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666." (Revelation 13:18, NIV)
Just because everyone so far has been wrong a hundred percent of the time does not mean we should stop trying to figure this out, right?
Do you take the Bible too literally?
If so, you might want to update your views and tune in next week to another post by Peter Enns author of The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It.
Also, for pressing questions about the Bible, join Peter Enns in a Reddit AMA next week Wednesday, September 17th at 3pm EST in the Christianity subreddit.
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