After much pondering, Marc A. Schindler favored us with:
> John,
> The difference is that we have many GAs who have told us that portions of
> the Bible ARE symbolic. That leaves the Bible's historicity at least
> partially in question. Meanwhile, they have all told us that the BoM is
> literal. Signaturi don't want to believe that any scripture is
> historically based. We believe all of the BoM is, and much (if not most)
> of the Bible is. Marc and I are consistent with what the GAs have taught
> on these books. We haven't stated definitively that Joshua never was at
> Jericho, but only that there are discrepancies with current science.

Furthermore, I would add that it doesn't matter. Brigham Young referred to "baby
stories" in the Bible, assuming that there is a more transcendent way of
understanding them than as mere history.
My father was a medical doctor and an atheist. Still, he had read enough history to know how important religion was in the development of western civilization, and he approved of religion. While he was not a believer, he considered this a failing in himself. And for years he tried to "get religion."

On one occasion, he decided to join a church but he didn't know what church was right. Therefore he devised a test that he could administer to all the churches in the El Paso, Texas area. And he went about the town asking each clergyman how he explained the tale of Jonah. As a medical doctor he pointed out that 1) there would be insufficient oxygen, and 2) the gastric juices would have digested Jonah.

Well, each pastor he talked to tried to explain the story to him. Finally he found an Episcopal priest who told him the answer he was looking for. The story never really happened, you see. It was a story or fable included in scripture to demonstrate that it is impossible to hide from God.

My dad had found the "scientific" pastor he was looking for, so he became an Episcopalian. He attended church two or three times, and that was that. You see, he was an atheist, and he couldn't keep his enthusiasm up.

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that some of this kind of thinking is coming through in these discussions. I don't mean that anyone here is an atheist, just that some find it easier to believe that stories are allegories and fables than to believe they were "miracles," albeit all miracles are merely phenomenon that are not yet understood.

I cannot accept the Bible as scripture if it is merely a collection of folk tales, not even if those folk tales illustrate and teach true, inspired principles. I demand that the Bible be "true." This doesn't mean that it has to be without error, merely that parables and fables be labeled as such, as was the case in the parables of Jesus.

You see, I grew up a chip off the old block. And my father thought that all religion was a fable or extended allegory. If he was right, which I have never believed, then there is no foundation to my faith.

I am not one of the "born agains" that insists the Bible is complete, and perfectly accurate even to the punctuation. I believe that much of the Bible is allegorical. So then my challenge is to figure out which stories are mere figures of speech and which stories are actual events that took place anciently. And for the purpose of my own religious faith, I have chosen to believe as literal all but those stories that are obviously figurative. I choose to err on the side of belief rather than on the side of unbelief. I am a true believer.

And it is a good thing too. Because the story of the First Vision certainly sounds like an allegory or story told to illustrate a principle. But if one denies the literal nature of that story, he might as well turn in his temple recommend and ask for his name to be removed from the records. Because the whole legitimacy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests upon that claim being literal as President Hinckley so eloquently pointed out in his opening talk to the Sunday afternoon session of the General Conference. Unless the First Vision literally happened then Joseph Smith was a false prophet and the Church is a complete fraud.

And by the same token, there are stories told in the Bible that would prove all of Judeo-Christianity to be a great fraud except the stories be literal. If we throw out all that is not scientifically plausible, we thrown out the very heart of our faith.

"Atheistic humanism is the opiate of the self-described
intellectuals" --Uncle Bob
All my opinions are tentative pending further data. --JWR

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