Tue | Aug 21, 2018

Dorie Blackwood | In defence of the Bible

Published:Monday | July 23, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Dorie Blackwood
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"A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing."

(Postcard on Riggin's dressing room mirror in Birdman)

Over the past two years, I have begun to appreciate the value of adopting a multidisciplinary approach to analysing concepts. Others' perspectives enrich the depth of understanding and appreciation for what exists, broaden perceptions, and create an openness to adjusting deep-seated and engrained opinions and attitudes. This, to me, is growth. Economists, physicians, politicians, pastors, and psychologists et al, are each likely to interpret the scripture based on their own training and dispositions. That is perfectly understandable.

I agree with Dr Michael Abraham's observation in his July 2 article. The Bible is comprised of 66 books, written by imperfect men over thousands of years, in different languages, across a variety of cultural situations, for a range of audiences, dealing with the human experiences of priests, kings, soldiers, and paupers. The Bible contains many literary genres; these include history, census, narrative, philosophy, prayers, praise, poetry, parables, prophecy, and most critically, precepts for a godly life. What I find absolutely fascinating about the Bible (as a literary work) is the consistency and coherence of the themes, and the prophetic utterances in the Old Testament (about Jesus the Messiah) that are manifested in the New Testament. Is that coincidence? Believers attribute that to God.

There is more to knowledge than reason; there is far more to man than his physical existence. Man's spiritual dimension is vastly more expansive than his mind can conceive. In the spiritual sphere lies inspiration, gifts, and talents, which find expression in an array of artistic endeavours, novel ideas, and depths of meanings that continue to awe the human soul for centuries; the output from people we tend to label as 'genius'. Think about Michelangelo's painting of the Sistine chapel. At their absolute best, inspired works emanating from talents and gifts represent proof that man is a spiritual being.

 

ADVERSE EFFECT

 

The Western world is realising that secularisation is having an adverse effect on society, and that morality is not learned in a vacuum. As a result, public space is again gradually being created to accommodate man's reconnection with the Almighty. I was pleased to observe a prayer room advertised at Gatwick Airport in England, for travellers to visit, and where religious personnel are present to provide counsel and guidance. America has been expanding its chaplaincy programme. Spiritual leadership is now a legitimate discipline taught alongside preferred leadership styles in non-religious business graduate schools.

People across the expanse of the Earth are being transformed (for good) by the power of God's Word contained in the Bible.

Generally, discussions about God and the Bible are fraught with emotion and passion that often act as barriers to logical discourse. Let's not forget that belief and faith are legitimate human constructs found among every man, in every nation. Despite this, modern thought holds that what cannot be explained logically is invalid. We know that is not true. There are just too many evidences of inexplicable wonder, outside the realm of man's limited reason.

Post-modernists create their own logic, and brand them as relative truth. There seems to be no demarcation between fact and opinion. "But a thing is a thing." There is absolute truth. Calling the 'thing' something else does not make it that thing. Mentally discarding it does not make it disappear. For Christians, the Bible (God's Word contained in it) is truth.

Calling the Bible dangerous does not make it so. Like the analogy of the knife which has the potential for good (saving lives included), in the hand of evil men the knife can be, and has been, used for evil. Should we then deprive the chef and the surgeon of the knife? Should we criticise them for continuing to use the knife for good? Hamlet said to Horatio, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." (Shakespeare's Hamlet Act1 Scene 5)

- Dorie Blackwood is a chartered life underwriter, fellow Life Management Institute, and a learning and development practitioner. She may be contacted at email address: dblacck101@gmail.com.