We all know the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, passed down for 100s of generations because in this fictional story (or “myth”) there is valuable wisdom. Marcus Borg defines this as the difference between “fact” and “truth”and applies this same principle to Scripture. In his opinion the Garden of Eden story contains “truth” not “fact,” and he feels that confusion between the two is the cause of much of the disagreement between Christian groups and the rejection of religion by many.
We had a very lively discussion about this at WEAVE. The truth/fact distinction is okay for the story of Eden but what about the Resurrection? Did Jesus walk on water? What does Son of God mean? Fact or Truth or both?
How do you tell the difference? By guidance from the Holy Spirit? By human intuition? How do you know your conclusion is not the product of flawed human nature? Is Borg teaching us a valuable lesson in disernment and faith or as one critic claims “teaching Borgism not Christianity”?
This brings up some crucial issues for being a faithful follower of Christ in the 21st Century.
Where does authority lie? How do we know what is right? Would it be better if, like in some other denominations there was an official and binding position?
We have spent several weeks talking about how we as Reformed Christians read the Bible–with the rule of love, with Jesus-colored lenses, in historical and literary context, taking into account the whole of Scripture, guided by the Holy Spirit and by the community through the ages, etc. These guidelines are designed to help us as we struggle with the sacred text together, exploring these very questions.
How do you read the Bible? How do you know if you are following God’s will rather than being motivated by self interest?