Reading Richard Rohr’s book this morning, I find him addressing the very thing I did in my last blog, “Thoughts About Jesus”, April 13. I would like to share with you what he writes:
Insisting on a literal belief in the virgin birth of Jesus is very good theological symbolism, but unless it translates into a spirituality of interior poverty, readiness to conceive, and human vulnerability, it is largely a “mere lesson memorized” as Isaiah puts it (29:13). It “saves” no one. Likewise, an intellectual belief that Jesus rose from the dead is a good start, but until you are struck by the realization that the crucified and the risen Jesus is a parable about the journey of all humans, and even the universe, it is a rather harmless – if not harmful – believe that will leave you and the world largely unchanged.
I don’t like to debate with others about the literalness of the scriptures. I don’t believe that whether a person believes that the words and stories written in the bible are historically true doesn’t matter. On the other hand, how they apply or don’t apply the message behind the words and stories does matter. For example, Jesus taught us to love our enemies. Imagine, if you will, if everyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus actually loved their neighbor. “Though shalt not kill”. Jesus even held back the sword of a disciple who tried to save him from arrest. Look where that led!
Imagine such a world! Unless the words and stories of the scriptures are seen as eternally true, their historical truth doesn’t have much value.