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  #61  
Old Feb 10, '12, 7:53 am
Gorgias Gorgias is online now
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

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Originally Posted by Cormacnl View Post
I thought Catholicism was an 'all-or-nothing' faith - you have to accept everything and you can't pick and choose what to believe in.
I'm not suggesting that you "pick and choose" -- rather, Catholics should approach the doctrine and dogma of the Church faithfully.

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But is one obliged to believe and accept allegorical texts or only the factual stuff?
One should believe in the entire Bible -- this doesn't imply, though, that all of the Bible is historical; Catholic faith doesn't require a fundamentalist / literalistic approach to Scripture. In other words, it's all factual, but that doesn't mean that it's all meant to be taken only in the most strict literalistic way...
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  #62  
Old Feb 10, '12, 8:07 am
fhansen fhansen is offline
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

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Originally Posted by Cormacnl View Post
I thought Catholicism was an 'all-or-nothing' faith - you have to accept everything and you can't pick and choose what to believe in.

But is one obliged to believe and accept allegorical texts or only the factual stuff?
The Church obliges us to accept her teachings, and, as far as most Scripture verses are concerned, she's interpreted very few and declared very few to be literal vs allegorical. However, her doctrines, themselves, often make these declarations. IOW, Scripture is often understood in light of her knowledge of the faith. Every passage that refers to the Resurrection can be interpreted literally because the Church proclaims a literal, physical resurrection as opposed to a metaphorical one. Belief in a literal understanding of Jonah is not an article of faith. I happen to believe that story was genuine but I don;t need to believe so in order to be Catholic.
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  #63  
Old Feb 11, '12, 5:04 am
Gorgias Gorgias is online now
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

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Originally Posted by mdisse View Post
Thats the one thing I struggle with, why couldnt God make it a historical textbook? Just wondering.
Why couldn't He? Well, of course, if God had wanted to, He could have, of course.

But, if you're asking why God didn't, then that calls for speculation. One idea that popped into my head is that, at one time, folks generally did think it was completely historically and scientifically accurate. Now, of course, most don't. Why is this a good thing? Well, these days, many look at science as its own sort of a religion. With the idea that the Bible isn't a science text, it gives witness to the fact that there's something out there that stands higher and more sublime than science -- God's revelation of Salvation History...!
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  #64  
Old Feb 11, '12, 6:20 am
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

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Originally Posted by Gorgias View Post
Why couldn't He? Well, of course, if God had wanted to, He could have, of course.

But, if you're asking why God didn't, then that calls for speculation. One idea that popped into my head is that, at one time, folks generally did think it was completely historically and scientifically accurate. Now, of course, most don't. Why is this a good thing? Well, these days, many look at science as its own sort of a religion. With the idea that the Bible isn't a science text, it gives witness to the fact that there's something out there that stands higher and more sublime than science -- God's revelation of Salvation History...!

I wouldn't say many look at science as its own religion.
More that...when people see something in front of them--something they can touch or see or hear or more able to "prove"--they are more likely, obviously, to take that thing as "fact".
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  #65  
Old Feb 11, '12, 7:10 am
fhansen fhansen is offline
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

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Originally Posted by onlyvoice View Post
Yes, I think you can count with your fingers the things she’s declared as literal truth. My humble opinion is that she is waiting for science to prove these things to be true before she makes an official declaration. But as far as those things that science has no way of disproving later on (like the Resurrection), she readily declares such to be literal rather than metaphorical.
No, that's not true. For example, the Church declares as scientific fact that all humans are descended from a single set of parents, even though science hasn't yet made that determination. She does this because of her knowledge that all humans have in common a fallen nature due to the original sin of these first parents. As far as resurrections are concerned, science would tend to hold that they're not possible to begin with. The Church has always held otherwise.
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  #66  
Old Feb 11, '12, 2:04 pm
stevekehl stevekehl is offline
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

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Originally Posted by Gorgias View Post
Steve,

I'm not seeing the judgement that they're "just hard to believe". Rather, does a reasoned judgment that certain OT accounts are likely allegorical necessarily imply that doctrine is incorrect? You're asserting a false dichotomy here...
When people decide to not believe in OT accounts it does damage doctrine. If Job is to teach us to remain faithful to God in good times and bad, what good does a fictional story do? Fictional stories entertain, real accounts inspire. Have you ever heard of a movie billed as an inspiring fictional story? How can a false story teach us to persevere? Perhaps Jesus was murdered in a dark alley or lonely road, but His disciples came up with an inspiring story of sacrifice to teach us the importance of loving and helping each other. I've often found people consider passages from the Bible as allegory when they don't like what they read. It's easier to say "God would never do that", or "God would never demand that level of obedience." This allows people to deny what the Bible says and feel intellectually superior to us dummies who believe the entire Bible is true. Why would anyone waste time trying to convince us otherwise?
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  #67  
Old Feb 11, '12, 3:39 pm
Zenkai Zenkai is offline
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

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Originally Posted by bethanysamuel View Post
So are they real or not?
Yes, they were real. Your priest seems to be very mistaken.
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  #68  
Old Feb 11, '12, 7:15 pm
Gorgias Gorgias is online now
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

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Originally Posted by stevekehl View Post
Fictional stories entertain, real accounts inspire.
When Nathan wanted David to repent from his sin with Bathsheba, he told him a fictional story about a rich man and a poor man with one sheep. Did he do it to entertain David, or to inspire him?

Were Jesus' parables all true accounts? No? Then they were for entertainment value only?

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When people decide to not believe in OT accounts it does damage doctrine.
How? The teaching remains constant; the method of conveying that teaching varies.

Quote:
If Job is to teach us to remain faithful to God in good times and bad, what good does a fictional story do?
So, if the story of Job -- which takes the literary form of a pedagogical tale -- isn't historically accurate, how does the tale become less inspiring? It's still something that an author of Scripture -- who was inspired by God to write -- used to convey the truth of God's Salvation History!

Quote:
How can a false story teach us to persevere?
So you've never seen a movie or read a book that inspired you, that wasn't 100% historically accurate?

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Perhaps Jesus was murdered in a dark alley or lonely road, but His disciples came up with an inspiring story of sacrifice to teach us the importance of loving and helping each other.
Straw man argument. I never suggested that the Gospels were fictional accounts.

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I've often found people consider passages from the Bible as allegory when they don't like what they read. It's easier to say "God would never do that", or "God would never demand that level of obedience."
Again, please don't attempt to put words in my mouth, or attempt to smear me with some account you've fabricated out of thin air.

... because, of course, then you'd be trying to tell the truth by using a fictional account, and that just can't happen, now, can it?

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us dummies who believe the entire Bible is true.
Now you're just being silly -- you see that, don't you? I believe that "the entire Bible is true", too! "True" doesn't imply "every word is literal historical fact". From The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, as found at the EWTN site:

Quote:
1. The Literal Sense

It is not only legitimate, it is also absolutely necessary to seek to define the precise meaning of texts as produced by their authors—what is called the "literal" meaning. St. Thomas Aquinas had already affirmed the fundamental importance of this sense (S. Th. I, q. 1,a. 10, ad 1).

The literal sense is not to be confused with the "literalist" sense to which fundamentalists are attached. It is not sufficient to translate a text word for word in order to obtain its literal sense. One must understand the text according to the literary conventions of the time. When a text is metaphorical, its literal sense is not that which flows immediately from a word-to-word translation (e.g. "Let your loins be girt": Lk. 12:35), but that which corresponds to the metaphorical use of these terms ("Be ready for action"). When it is a question of a story, the literal sense does not necessarily imply belief that the facts recounted actually took place, for a story need not belong to the genre of history but be instead a work of imaginative fiction.
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  #69  
Old Feb 11, '12, 8:40 pm
TryingToLearn TryingToLearn is offline
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

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Originally Posted by stevekehl View Post
When people decide to not believe in OT accounts it does damage doctrine. If Job is to teach us to remain faithful to God in good times and bad, what good does a fictional story do? Fictional stories entertain, real accounts inspire.
Not only did Christ teach using fictional stories that are tremendously inspiring (parables) it's worth considering one of the purposes of the Son's incarnate existence: to concrete reveal to us how God approaches us, loves us, teaches us, heals us, etc...

Jesus taught through how He lived. Jesus taught through sermons teaching rules and principles for living. Jesus taught by telling fictional stories that communicated Divine truth. Looking at how Christ taught reveals the Father and how He tried to teach. It seems that God the Son incarnate used fictional stories to teach, revealing something about God the Father.
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  #70  
Old Feb 12, '12, 4:22 pm
razredge razredge is offline
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

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Originally Posted by stevekehl View Post
If Job and Jonah are just hard to believe, what do you think of people rising from the dead?
It's not just the supernatural content of the stories that is the issue but how they are written, they're not written as historical accounts like the Gospels are but as legends/parables and lack anything like the versimilitude and detail of the Gospel accounts.

Plus, the resurrection is well attested by the impact it had on history, without the resurrection we wouldn't have the Church. There is no historical evidence to correspond with the Job and Jonah accounts.
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  #71  
Old Feb 14, '12, 8:23 pm
rbutton rbutton is offline
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

Might I suggest a careful reading of Dei Verbum specially chapter IV on the Old Testament.
As time marches on events in the past take on a mysterious quality where by some who are of a more recent birth will say authoritatively that events such as the holocaust never really occurred. There are fewer and fewer people that can present firsthand the events that transpired during the holocaust. I use that as a more recent example for as a boy of 6 I clearly remember an old couple renting an apartment from us with numbers tattooed on their arms. They told me what happened to them in Poland. If events such as this and even the landing of a man on the moon can be events where we have authorities say never happened, then when we read the Old Testament writings, it is with faith at work. Faith that this is the message God wanted preserved for us. The Old Testament is the story of how God created a people set apart to which God could then entrust His promises to. To this day the Jewish people are still a peoples marked as a special people, no matter where they live. They were the people the salvation message was to come through.
Is it better to understand the message by saying that each person that is mentioned in the Old Testament is a living person? Even Reformed Rabbi will focus on the message not the historical details of the person.
BUT truth always prevails and given time more archeological evidence seems to document the truths of the Bible writings. I prefer to think of these people as living real people but my faith is not based on did they live or is this the salvation story God wanted us to know to understand His message for us.
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  #72  
Old Feb 14, '12, 9:17 pm
RevG RevG is offline
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

Just out of curiosity, who is it that gets to decide what is true in the Bible and what is not? I thought it was God not some priest. God says that every word of Scripture is "God-breathed" and therefore is profitable for teaching. Anyone who has ever taken a single course in theology understands that the Bible should always be taken as literal unless that is not possible. In the Psalms the Bible says God covers us with His wings, this is metaphorical since God is Spirit. There is no evidence in Scripture to indicate that Job and Jonah are not historical figures. There is reason to believe that they are though, God included them in Scripture. When you begin to question any point of the Bible you call all of it into question. If you think that one word is false, then every other word can be false also.
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  #73  
Old Feb 14, '12, 9:23 pm
fhansen fhansen is offline
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

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Originally Posted by RevG View Post
Just out of curiosity, who is it that gets to decide what is true in the Bible and what is not? I thought it was God not some priest. God says that every word of Scripture is "God-breathed" and therefore is profitable for teaching. Anyone who has ever taken a single course in theology understands that the Bible should always be taken as literal unless that is not possible. In the Psalms the Bible says God covers us with His wings, this is metaphorical since God is Spirit. There is no evidence in Scripture to indicate that Job and Jonah are not historical figures. There is reason to believe that they are though, God included them in Scripture. When you begin to question any point of the Bible you call all of it into question. If you think that one word is false, then every other word can be false also.
Just out of curiosity, since you posed the question this way, who decides for you what is true in the bible and what is not? You already recognize that allegory is used in the bible. How do you know for sure what's allegorical and what isn't? And if the bible is so plain and easy to understand, do you think we may as well do away with the fields of hermeneutics, exegesis, the study of Biblical languages, higher or historical criticism, etc?,
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  #74  
Old Feb 15, '12, 12:04 am
Trevor Stamm Trevor Stamm is offline
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

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Originally Posted by RevG View Post
Just out of curiosity, who is it that gets to decide what is true in the Bible and what is not? I thought it was God not some priest. God says that every word of Scripture is "God-breathed" and therefore is profitable for teaching.
Paul said, inspired by the Holy Spirit, that all scripture is inspired by God but referring to the Septuagint and Hebrew scriptures, not the Gospels or his own letters or others. It was the Catholic Church who determined that what we have of the NT today is inspired by God.

Quote:
Anyone who has ever taken a single course in theology understands that the Bible should always be taken as literal unless that is not possible. In the Psalms the Bible says God covers us with His wings, this is metaphorical since God is Spirit. There is no evidence in Scripture to indicate that Job and Jonah are not historical figures. There is reason to believe that they are though, God included them in Scripture. When you begin to question any point of the Bible you call all of it into question. If you think that one word is false, then every other word can be false also.



If we interpret this as literal, we destroy half the Christian concept of God or establish major contradictions in scripture. Therefore, allegorical interpretation is necessary.
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  #75  
Old Feb 15, '12, 6:08 am
CatholicQuaker CatholicQuaker is offline
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Default Re: Priest says OT is all "just stories"

This is a very interesting question to me. I think the Church needs to do a lot more to help people understand the place of the Scriptures in the shaping and empowering of our faith. I do a blog every day on the Bible - http://catholicquaker.blogspot.com/ - and just today I was doing the reading for tomorrow's post on 1 Corinthians 10 where Paul compares Christian baptism with the OT narrative of Moses leading his people through the Red Sea and into the desert on their way to the Promised Land. Paul says that Christians enter into Christ through baptism as the Israelites were “baptized into Moses” in their water passage. And they "drank from the spiritual rock that went with them; and that rock was Christ himself” (10:3). Paul and early Christians saw the Old Testament "narrative" - whether it was legend or historical memory or even "myth" - as crucial to understanding deeply the story of Christ's coming, his death and resurrection and the birth of the Church. Some of the literature of the OT is "myth" or legend. Some of it is historical, though the accuracy of the history is a matter of constant debate. What is important is the "narrative" thread.

Some of the earliest Church Fathers interpreted the Old Testament "figuratively" - and it would seem that Paul also approached a good deal of it this way. One of the reasons I was drawn to Quakers is the way their founders used this same approach to interpret Scripture. It's amazing. Here's a brief comment I will add to tomorrow's post:

Corinthians presents in a very unequivocal way the idea that things in the Old Testament narrative are to be seen as “types” and “figures” of events and lessons from Christ’s life. No one in my experience focused more on this than George Fox, founder of the Quaker movement in England in the 17th century:

“. . .as man comes through by the Spirit and power of God to Christ who fullfils the types, figures, shadows, promises, and prophecies that were of him, and is led by the Holy Ghost into the truth and substance of the Scriptures, sitting down in him who is the author and end of them, then are they read and understood with profit and great delight.” George Fox, Journal, 32
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