Many gods, no life after death, murder your enemies: welcome to the Old Testament

Brandon Vogt, once again, discusses a new book on the paginæ obscuræ of sacred scripture. He publishes an interview with Matthew Ramage of Benedictine College in Kansas.

First, I think we have to admit that the Bible really does say what it seems to be saying. It says God did some violent things. And these things seem to conflict with the nature of God such as we understand it through reason. In other words, I am acknowledging that Dawkins and people like him—though by no means competent philosophers or theologians—may be onto something.…

Second, I think we need to be up front about our presuppositions or first principles. We are going into our interpretations already convicted that the Bible is God’s word. … In interpreting a given text, our job is not to prove to our atheist interlocutors that God exists, that Jesus is God, or that the Bible is God’s word. These are all discussions that should be had, but you and your partner in dialogue have to be very clear about your respective principles. Don’t expect to convince Richard Dawkins that you have vindicated the presence of dark passages in the Bible… In defending a particular dark passage, the Christian’s job is to do just that: defend the passage against objections—not definitively prove its truth—as Aquinas says. As I see it, our job is to provide answers to objections from unbelievers so that they might see what a reasonable way to deal with dark biblical passages might look like if faith in Christ and his revealed word is granted.