186

Excursus A
LIBERALS AND THE BIBLE

Most mainline Protestant Churches today subscribe to some forms of liberal-
modernist theology. Liberal or modernist theologians are those who would accept that
the Bible is not inerrant, that many, if not most, of the stories related about Jesus in
the gospels are not historical and, in fact, many of them would probably reject the
Trinitarian doctrine of God and some would even dispense with belief in the existence
of God altogether. Yet, strange as it may seem to the average person, these
theologians still consider themselves Christians.
These theologians would happily admit to most of the findings in this book so
far, but would certainly dismiss them as “insignificant” objections to their faith. Our
aim in this excursus is to examine how liberals view the Bible and Jesus. But before
we begin our investigations, an historical summary of the liberal-modernist movement
would be of great benefit in appreciating this phenomenon.

HISTORY OF LIBERAL THEOLOGY

From a theological point of view, the 19th century inherited a great number of
problems from the preceding centuries. Thus the skepticism of philosophers such as
David Hume (1711-1776) and to a certain extent, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
presented many difficulties for Christian theologians. In his book, An Enquiry
Concerning Human Understanding (1748), Hume demonstrated the philosophical
implausibility of miracles. And in his posthumously published Dialogues Concerning
Natural Religion (1779), Hume showed that the traditional arguments for God’s
existence, especially the argument from design, cannot lead to the conclusions
believers want them too. Immanuel Kant, in his monumental masterpiece, Critique of
Pure Reason (1781), showed that none of the traditional arguments for God’s
existence have any validity.
Even more troubling to theology than philosophy was natural philosophy, or, as
it eventually became known, science. Science was making embarrassing
encroachments into what had traditionally been regarded as the theologians’ turf. The
Copernican revolution showed that the sun, not the earth, was the center upon which
everything in the then known universe revolves. It took away the earth’s, and thus
man’s, place from the center of the universe. It became harder to believe how man
could be the crowning glory of creation when he is placed in an insignificant corner of
the universe.
1

The plight of the theologians continued to pile up in the 19th century. The
publishing of Charles Darwin’s (1809-1882) treatise on evolution, The Origin of
Species (1859) meant that science had gone one step further against the theologian.
The theory of evolution presented by Darwin showed that man is an evolved animal,
no more and no less. If evolution is true, and the evidence marshaled by Darwin in

1
Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology: p31-33


187
his book was compelling, then Genesis is false; far from being created in God’s
image, mankind bore all the marks of an animal ancestry.
Within Christendom, the development of biblical criticism, especially in its
“higher” form, began to show that the Bible was not a unique document. Using
critical historical methods common in the study of other historical documents, the
higher critics showed that the first five books of the Bible were not written by the
Hebrew prophet, Moses, as was traditionally believed. These books show traces of at
least four separate documents. They also showed that some prophetic books such as
Daniel were actually written after the events it purports to prophesy about. Even the
New Testament was not spared. It began to be seen that the gospels were not written
close to the events they describe but were written decades and perhaps even up to a
century later. The fundamental result of higher criticism was that it revealed that the
belief in Bible infallibility was no longer tenable.
2

Thus by the second half of the 19th century, it was clear to most theologians that
it could no longer be “business as usual” for their profession; the monolithic fabric of
Christian theology was torn, never again to be mended. Christian theology bifurcated
into fundamentalist/conservatism on one side and liberal-modernism on the other.
3

The fundamentalists took the overtly irrational route and rejected all scientific
findings that contradicted the literal reading of the Bible. Higher criticism was
condemned as a tool of the devil.
4
The liberals on the other hand rationally accepted
the findings of science and biblical criticism. They tried many different methods to
keep their faith meaningful and alive by employing various interpretative methods on
the Bible and the traditional concepts of orthodox theology.
The first steps of liberal
5
theology were made by the German theologian
Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834). In trying to win back the educated classes to
Christianity, he taught that the debate over proofs of God’s existence, biblical
inerrancy and miracles are, at best, peripheral issues. The most important issue,
according to Schleiermacher, was the feeling present in a believer in experiencing
God. Another German theologian, Albrecht Ritschl (1822-1889), preached that faith,

2
Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology: p40-42
3
While this section concerns mainly Protestant liberal theology, it should be mentioned
that there was a similar movement in the Roman Catholic Church towards the end of the
19th and early 20th century, which was also called “Modernism”. Its advocates openly
accepted the findings of biblical criticism and generally rejected the traditional Catholic
scholastic theology. This group was eventually suppressed by an Encyclical in 1907 by
Pope Pius X. [Bullock, Dictionary of Modern Thought: p540, Livingstone, Oxford
Dictionary of the Christian Church: p341] Although Roman Catholic scholarship is
nowadays quite “liberal”, its scholars tend to treat central Roman Catholic dogma (e.g.
Mary’s Perpetual Virginity, Jesus Resurrection) with kid gloves and tend not to study
these critically.
4
In fact, this whole book up to now has been mainly a critique of the funda-
mentalist/conservative position.
5
I have used the term “liberal” loosely to refer to theologians of the liberal-modernist
tendencies: this would include those the systematic theologians normally group under
liberalism, modernism, neo-liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, Christian existentialism, empirical
theology, radical theology and crisis theology to name a few. Their similarity lies in their
acceptance of biblical criticism and their rejection of fundamentalist doctrines.


188
not reason, must be the bedrock of true religion. Religion, to him, concerns value
judgment whereas reason, which includes science and higher criticism, concerns
matters of fact. Thus, even if biblical criticism shows that stories about Jesus’ virgin
birth, his miracles and his pre-existence are false, it does not change the value of the
person Jesus. The important thing about Jesus, according to Ritschl, was that he led
mankind to the “God of values”; in other words, Jesus made his followers conscious
of the highest values of life. Ritschl’s views were popularized by another German
theologian Adolf von Harnack (1851-1930). Harnack criticized most of traditional
Christian dogmas and blamed the apostle Paul for corrupting the simple teaching of
Jesus by changing the religion of Jesus to a religion about Jesus. Harnack denied the
miracles in the gospels and taught that Jesus never claimed to be divine. Harnack
taught that Christianity can be reduced to a few simple elements: the belief in God the
Father and the gospel of which Jesus was the “personal realization.” Towards the end
of his life, Harnack even campaigned for the ejection of the Old Testament from the
Christian canon.
6

The conservative-fundamentalists hit back in a way that has become a hallmark
of their style: in the US, they resorted to political action to remove liberal preachers
from the pulpits of Protestant churches and liberal professors from their academic
postings in theological seminaries. They had some initial successes but eventually in
the third decade of the 20th century, due primarily to the sheer number of non-
fundamentalist theologians, they were forced to retreat into the small denominations
and their related seminaries.
7

Despite this victory against the fundamentalist, it was quite clear, even to
theologians steeped in the liberal tradition, that liberalism cannot continue in its
course. That would eventually lead to a complete repudiation of the whole bible and
the whole tenets of Christianity: the surefire path to atheism. What was needed was a
shift of focus, so to speak; to put the fruits of critical thinking in soft focus and to
concentrate on “squishy” issues such as the problems of human existence. This they
found in the writings of the 19th century Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard (1813-
1855). His philosophy, which eventually became known as existentialism, ostensibly
dealt with the problems of human existence. He taught that human existence cannot
be rationalized. Therefore God, being inextricably linked with our existence, cannot
be rationalized by an objective system of rational truths. Thus being a Christian
means embarking on a leap of faith in the dark, to commit one’s whole life to Christ.
8

Thus when the Swiss theologian Karl Barth (1886-1968) reacted to the more
“extreme” doctrines preached by the liberals and affirmed much of traditional
theology such as the doctrine of the trinity and the belief of Jesus Christ as the
incarnate Word of God, he did not repudiate higher criticism. He merely shifted the
focus away from this into existentialist issues. In line with many liberal theologians
he did not believe that reason has much use in the field of theological thought.
9


6
Cunliffe-Jones, Christian Theology Since 1600: p144-145
Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology: p44-49
7
Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology: p52-54
8
Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology: p113-118
9
Bullock, Dictionary of Modern Thinkers: p43-44
Cunliffe-Jones, Christian Theology Since 1600: p146-147


189
Another important theologian in the liberal tradition was the German Rudolf
Bultmann (1884-1976). Bultmann was certainly one of the greatest New Testament
scholars of the 20th century. He was renowned for introducing two powerful tools
into biblical criticism: “Demythologization” and “Form Criticism”. According to him,
and his followers, the myths in the Bible were an obvious reflection of the worldview
of the early Christians. As they stand, the myths in the Bible can no longer be
honestly believed by modern man. Thus, these myths: such as the belief that
supernatural beings (Satan, angels, demons and God) regularly interfere in the natural
working of the world and that Jesus was a pre-existent being sent to a sacrificial death
to atone for man’s sins are all not objective history. They are myths which reflect the
early Christians’ understanding of the world. Demythologization was a program of
getting to the kerygma, or the proclamation, of the early Christians behind the myths.
In this sense he differs from the early 20th century liberals that simply jettisoned the
myths form their theology. Form criticism is the method that aids in the
demythologization process. Recognizing that the stories in the bible were originally
handed down orally and that oral tradition has certain structural forms, the form
critics were able, in many cases to find the historical setting in which the stories were
first told. Form criticism showed that much of the stories about Jesus in the gospels,
even the non-mythical ones, were not historical and were the results of the early
Christian community belief or expectation about him. Yet from this position
Bultmann, like Barth, affirmed his belief in Jesus via an existentialist viewpoint. He
claimed that all the Christian need to know was that Jesus once existed and that he
was crucified. It is irrelevant whether the stories about Jesus in the gospels were true
or false. What was important about these stories was that it showed what the idea of
Jesus meant to the early Christians who first circulated those stories. For Bultmann,
the gospels present, not an historical or scientific truth, but an existential one.
10

Bultmann’s contemporary, Paul Tillich (1886-1965), developed his own
existentialist brand of theology. The interesting aspect, for our purpose, is Tillich’s
assertion that God, as he is formulated by traditional Christian theology, does not
exist.
11

The development of liberal thinking eventually led to thinkers such as Dietrich
Bonhoeffer (1906-1945). He believed that traditional Christianity has outlived its
usefulness and called for a “religionless Christianity.” Bonhoeffer, who died in a
Nazi concentration camp, seemed to believe that there is no afterlife, no message of
personal salvation in the Bible. Bonhoeffer, and his intellectual heirs, repudiated the
traditional body of the Church, its liturgy and its metaphysics and called for a
complete secularization of Christianity.
12
This “radical theology” as it came to be
called, is the modern flag bearer of Christian liberalism.

Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology: p130-149
10
Bullock, Dictionary of Modern Thinkers: p111-112
Cunliffe-Jones, Christian Theology Since 1600: p150-151
Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology: p130-149
11
Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology: p170-190
12
Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology: p210-229
Zaehner, The Hutchinson Encyclopedia of Living Faiths: p126-127


190
With this we end our short excursion into the historical background of
modernist-liberal theology. It should be mentioned that the liberals did not reach their
position by abstruse theological reasoning: they were forced by external
circumstances - the findings of science, comparative religions, enlightenment
philosophies and historical criticism - to resort to such a method of reasoning for the
only other available alternatives are the collapse into complete irrationality of
fundamentalism and the theological resignation of atheism. Our main concern here is
to examine the validity of the fundamental epistemological assumptions of the liberal
theology. We will examine below the liberal views on the Bible and Jesus.

LIBERAL VIEWS ON THE BIBLE

The fundamentalists believe that everything in the Bible, except when the allegorical
intent is clear, is literally true. Therefore to these biblical literalists, there really was
an Adam and an Eve, there really was a worldwide Noachian flood and there really
was a resurrection event in the first century CE. While the fundamentalists are
ultimately wrong on all these claims, they are right on one important issue: the Bible
was written by the authors with an overt intention of conveying historical facts, not
myths.
The position of the liberals on the Bible can be divided into two broad, not
necessarily mutually exclusive, categories: the first is that the biblical myths convey
symbolic truths; the second is that the Bible is a very human and fallible document
but some portions are inspired by God and these show the way to the truth. We will
look at each of these positions in turn.
Bultmann’s position is of course a good representation of the first position.
Demythologization admits openly that many of the stories in the Bible are not true
literally. Form criticism attempts to find the symbolic truths behind these myths. Just
in case the reader thinks that this position is uncommon, I will give below a quote
from a report published in 1938 by the Commission on Christian Doctrine - a report
sanctioned by the Anglican Church:

Statements affirming particular facts may be found to have value as pictorial
expressions of spiritual truths, even though the supposed facts themselves do not
actually happen. In that case such statements must be called symbolically true...It is
not therefore of necessity illegitimate to accept and affirm particular clauses in the
Creeds while understanding them in this symbolic sense.
13


The report above, probably on purpose, never made it clear which clauses of the
Anglican creeds were to be understood in the symbolic sense.
The second position asserts that the Bible, while being fallible - with many parts
untrue and some unacceptable - is, in general, the inspired word of God. In their
book, The Bible Without Illusions (SCM Press, London, 1989), two English liberal
theologians, R.P.C. Hanson and A.T. Hanson adumbrated this idea. I quote below a
summary of their position as given by Carl Lofmark:


13
quoted in Knight, Honest to Man: p172


191
They recognized that the Bible contains errors and cannot be divinely inspired, that
its world view is “pre-scientific” and its accounts of history mainly myths, legend
or fiction, that its miracles never happened and that parts of it is unedifying if not
disgusting. They see that it is no good trying to read symbolic truths or higher
significance into much of Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy or even into the
second epistle of Peter. They agree that the Bible text is unreliable and the original
words (including the words of Jesus) have often been altered. Yet they still believe
that the Bible’s “general drift” or “impression” is a “true witness to the nature of
God.” The unedifying texts are “balanced” by others, which reveal the truth. Deep
significance is not found everywhere in the Bible, but only in its “high spots”
(p138). They disapprove when God commands the massacre of the Amelekites (I
Samuel 15) or Elijah slaughters the priests of Baal (I Kings 18), but the story of 2
Samuel 12, where Nathan condemns King David for his treatment of Uriah, reveals
“an insight into God’s nature” (p93). This approach is eclectic: they select from the
Bible those passages which they find edifying and construct from those passages
their own impression of the Bible’s “general drift,” while rejecting the bulk of what
the Bible contains. Only the better parts are a true witness to the nature and
purpose of God.
14


With regards to the “myths-symbolic truths” position, the first thing that comes to
mind is that Christians for two millennia had always believed that the Bible, where
there is no hint of allegory, is literally true.
15
Now if the modern liberals assert that
the many parts of the Bible cannot be taken literally, they are saying that for close to
2,000 years Christians have failed to understand God’s true message. It is up to these
brilliant 20th century liberals to discover it. Put in this way, the liberals’ position
sounds smug and pretentious - even ludicrous.
The second problem is that the question remains as to which passages are to be
taken literally and which are to be taken symbolically. If the clear intent of the
biblical authors is rejected as the method of selection (which leads to the
fundamentalist position), then it leaves the door wide open for selecting which
passage should be symbolic and which should not. Thirdly, how are those passages to
be interpreted symbolically? There is no guide or generally accepted method of
symbolic interpretation. How does one know which symbolic interpretation is
correct? All the prominent theologians, Barth, Bultmann, Tillich and Bonhoeffer,
disagree on many broad categories in their interpretation of the biblical message.
Fourthly, just because the stories are defined as symbolic by the liberals, it does not
mean that the issue of the criterion of truth has been successfully avoided. What
happens when two liberal theologians come up with two mutually exclusive symbolic
truths from the same biblical passage? How is one to chose from the symbolic truths
of the Bible and, say, the symbolic truths mentioned in the Hindu scriptures? And

14
Lofmark, What is the Bible?: p61-62
15
While there were a few early Christian theologians such as Clement of Alexandria (c150-
220) and Origen (c185-254) who tried to interpret the Bible figuratively; they methods
were that the Bible contains layers of truths with the literal meaning being the surface
layer. There was no explicit rejection of the literal messages. At any rate, the allegorical
interpretations by these theologians never gained widespread acceptance in the Church.
[Chadwick, The Early Church: p107-108 Smith, Atheism, Ayn Rand And Other Heresies:
p93]


192
finally, many so-called interpretations of the symbolic truths of the bible are actually
devoid of any cognitive meaning. Take for instance an Ascension Day sermon written
for an English newspaper by an Anglican bishop:

[The ascension of Jesus is] not a primitive essay in astrophysics, but the symbol of
creative intuition...into the abiding significance of Jesus and his place in the destiny
of man. It might be called a pictorial presentation of the earliest creed, Jesus is
Lord...Creed and scripture are saying in their own language that here is something
final and decisive, the truth and the meaning of man’s life and destiny-truth not in
theory but in a person-life in its ultimate quality, that is God’s life.
16


From the above passage, only one thing is clear; the good bishop does not believe that
the ascension story as depicted in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles is to be
taken literally. But apart from this, it is very difficult to fathom what it is he is trying
to say and how what he is trying to say is derived from that story told in three verses
in Acts. The rest of the passage is, literally, meaningless. It should be mentioned
here that if one reads the book of Acts it can clearly be seen that in no way was the
story meant by the author to be taken in any other except in its literal sense. The
author was wrong, of course, for there was no heaven above the clouds for Jesus to
ascend to. But while we can forgive the author of Acts for his lack of knowledge of
astrophysics, it is hard to know what to do with the bishop.
17

As for the “take some and leave some” approach to the Bible, the central
question remains: if some parts of the Bible are false or unacceptable, what guarantee
do we have that the other parts are true or of any special value? And even if these
other parts are true, how does this make the Bible any different from the sacred
scriptures of other religions? If the scriptures of other religions are to be dismissed as
a collection of myths, legend, some history and some moral teachings; shouldn’t the
same be done for the Bible? Thus the moment one admits that some parts of the Bible
are untrue or unacceptable, the position of the Bible as the inspired word of God
becomes impossible to defend. For it becomes more probable that where the biblical
authors got it right, whether it be an historical fact or a profound moral insight, they
got it right because they were bound to hit the jackpot once and a while amidst so
many mistakes.
18
In many cases these liberal theologians simply do not think about
the passages that trouble them in the Bible. Take for instance this passage from the
book The Christian Agnostic (Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1965) by the American
liberal theologian Leslie Weatherhead :

...when Jesus is reported as consigning to everlasting torture those who displease
him or do not “believe” what he says, I know in my heart that there is something
wrong somewhere. Either he is misrepresented or misunderstood...So I put his
alleged saying in my mental drawer awaiting further light. By the judgment of the
court within my own breast...I reject such sayings.
19



16
quoted in Knight, Honest to Man: p173
17
Knight, Honest to Man: p173
18
Lofmark, What is the Bible?: p62-63
19
quoted in Smith, Atheism, The Case Against God: p79


193
The question here is simple: if he could use his own judgment to accept and reject
biblical passages, why rely on the Bible at all?

LIBERAL VIEWS ON JESUS

This leads us into the liberal theologians’ views of Jesus. It is obvious that since the
late 19th century these theologians, by whatever fashionable names they call
themselves, whether liberal, neo-liberals, neo-orthodox or modernists, have ceased to
believe that the main events of the gospels are historical: the virgin birth and the
associated nativity stories, the miracles and the resurrection accounts are all accepted
as mythological with no grounding in history. Take for instance this comment by the
Episcopal Bishop of Newark, John Shelby Spong in his book, Resurrection: Myth or
Reality (1994):

As I first studied the birth narratives, it was clear that no major scholar of any
persuasion took them literally...how long could the educated folk of the twentieth
century continue to be literal about such things as the conception that occurred for a
couple when both were well beyond menopause, the visit of the angel Gabriel, a
pregnancy without a male agent, an angelic choir that sang in the sky, a star that
roamed through the heavens, shepherds that have no trouble finding a baby in a city
crowded with people called for a special census, and a king named Herod who
would rely on three men he never met before to bring him an intelligence report
about a pretender to his throne who was said to have been born just six miles away?
If the divinity of Jesus was attached to the literal details of the birth tradition, then it
was a doomed concept.
20


What sort of meaning do theologians find in the nativity story then? Well here is one
interpretation of this symbolic truth:

The virgin birth stories are mythical attempts to express the meaning of Jesus for
faith. They say that Christ comes to us from the action of God.
21


One is tempted to do a double take over here. If the myths are unhistorical, what does
it mean then when it is asserted that “Christ comes...from the action of God”? Just
what “action of God” is the passage referring to, if not the virgin birth? It is obvious
that the above statement on the supposed message of the virgin birth tells us nothing.
But it is mainly on the resurrection that the liberals spun their yarn of
meaningless words. It is obvious that all the major liberal theologians do not take the
resurrection account literally: i.e. they all accept that it is historically false. Karl
Barth, for instance, denied that historical verification is of any importance to the
“verdict of God” which is the resurrection.
22
Paul Tillich’s theory of the resurrection
is called the “restitution”; so-called because the resurrection, as Tillich understands it
is “the restitution of Jesus to the dignity of the Christ (Jesus is one with God) in the
minds of his disciples.” This according to Tillich is an “ecstatic” experience of the

20
Spong, Resurrection: Myth or Reality: p14, 18
21
Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology: p205
22
Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology: p142-143


194
disciples.
23
It is obvious that Rudolf Bultmann, although he believed in the actual
historicity of the crucifixion, was convinced that the resurrection was not an historical
event. One of Bultmann’s theological disciples has this to say about the resurrection:

the resurrection is to be understood neither as outward or as inward, neither
mystical nor as a supernatural phenomenon, nor as historical.
24


Now, one may ask, if the resurrection is not any of the above, then it can only mean
that the resurrection cannot be understood in any sense.
25
Take another example, this
one from Bishop Spong in his book Resurrection: Myth or Reality. Claiming that he
has found the Midrash as a method of understanding the symbolic truths of Jesus’ life,
he proceeds to explain what the method does:

It was a way to think mythologically about dimensions of reality for which the
language of time and space were simply not appropriate. It is an attempt to gather
rational words and concepts around those moments where eternity broke into the
consciousness of men living in time.
26
[Italics added]

I have italicized portions of the above to bring the passage into focus. Now, what is
actually meant by “dimensions of reality” that cannot be appropriately described by
the language of time and space? Dimension is a term used in science and everyday
speech to refer to measurable things: thus time can be measured by a watch and space
can be measured by a ruler. Now the “language of time and space” obviously means
the realm of measurable things. Therefore, the good bishop is saying that his
theology talks about “dimensions of reality” that cannot be measured. Now,
dimension, by definition, implies the realm of the measurable. A “dimension of
reality” that cannot be measured is simply nonsense talk!
27

The last sentence is even more intriguing: what can it possibly mean to say that
“eternity broke into the consciousness of men living in time?” The use of words like
“eternity”, “consciousness” and “time” tends to delude one that something really
profound is being uttered. But let us break the passage down into its constituent parts.
In everyday speech, “eternity” means, whether literally or figuratively, “time without
end”. “Broke into the consciousness of” can only mean “forced an understanding of.”
“Men living in time” simply means “some men;” since all men, by definition, “live in
time.” Thus the passage simply means “The understanding of time without end was
forced onto some men.” So while we would not say that this is meaningless; it is, at
best, a trivial statement with no profundity. Examples of sentences like these are
plentiful in liberal literature.
It is obvious that the liberals trip all over themselves trying to avoid saying the
actual truth: that if the resurrection is not historical traditional Christianity, in any
form, is no longer valid. This is the skeptic’s position, of course. But the liberals
added that the resurrection is to be understood in a different sense, but just exactly

23
Hughes (ed), Creative Minds in Contemporary Theology: p461-462
24
MacKinnon et.al., Objections to Christian Beliefs: p77
25
MacKinnon et.al., Objections to Christian Beliefs: p78
26
Spong, Resurrection: Myth or Reality: p16
27
Clements, Science Vs. Religion: p146


195
what sense is not clear. Their writings contain so much garbled speech that it is
difficult to see even if they agree or disagree with one another! The central issue is
this: if the resurrection is unhistorical, simply proclaiming it as true in another sense
does not mean that the proclamation has successfully absolved the burden of proof
from the liberals. Most of the liberal interpretation involves accepting the
resurrection as some kind of internal revelation of the disciples. This experience, they
proclaim, is what really matters, not the actual historical fact of resurrection. But why
should it, we ask? Why should the hallucinations of a few ill educated first century
Galilean peasants be of any significance and be treated any differently from other
hallucinations all over the world and throughout history? Because it is about Jesus?
But take away the historical claims about his supposed supernatural powers, his
miracles and his resurrection, what do we have? A first century, xenophobic, ignorant
Galilean peasant who thought the world was going to end.
28
If it takes the theologians
so many volumes to reinterpret his teaching for the 20th century and still only come
up with, at best, a very vague collections of doctrines, why not just dispense with it
altogether? The liberal theologians will, no doubt, have an answer or answers ready
for these questions; but chances are only they will understand it.

* * * * *

In short modernist-liberal theology has no rational basis whatsoever. Their continued
attempts to couch their ideas in vague terms reveal what can only be described as an
intellectually dishonest streak and an unwillingness to face the common sensical truth
- that the natural and historical sciences have shown that Christianity, as it has been
understood for 2,000 years, is false.



28
See chapter 13 for a critical evaluation of the teachings and person of Jesus.

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