Storehouse Theory: Teach the Controversy!


Scott McKnight writes at Patheos about a new book by two scientists at Calvin College here in Grand Rapids, Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design by Deborah and Loren Haarsma. McKnight quotes several Bible verses that clearly claim that God has “storehouses” of rain and snow and hail and decides when and where bad weather will occur:

The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. Deut 28:12

The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. Psalm 135:6-7

When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. Jer 10:13; 51:16

Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? Job 38:22-23

And he quotes the Haarsma book:

What causes the rain? Most of us were taught that water evaporates from the ground level, rises to where the air is cooler, and condenses into water droplets that form clouds. We learned how cold fronts and warm fronts and low pressure systems bring rain. … Every year scientists develop increasingly accurate computer models of weather.

Now imagine that debates arise about what should be taught in schools about weather. Imagine that prominent scientists write popular books about meteorology that state, “From our scientific understanding of the causes of wind and rain, it is clear that no divine being controls the weather.” Imagine that a professional organization of science teachers writes a set of guidelines that state, “Students must learn that all weather phenomena follow from natural causes; weather is unguided and no divine action is involved.” Meanwhile, other people insist that these scientific explanations must be wrong because the Bible clearly teaches that God governs the weather. These people write books and give public speeches saying “Atheists invented their godless theories about evaporation and condensation. But we can prove that their so-called scientific theories are false and that the Bible is true.” They go to churches and teach, “If you believe what these scientists are saying about the causes of wind and rain, then you’ve abandoned belief in the Bible.” They petition school boards and courts to require that science classrooms also teach their “storehouses” theory of weather as an alternate explanation to evaporation and condensation.

And McKnight wonders, “Why don’t we have battles about the conflict between science and faith in the explanation of weather?” As a Christian and a PhD chemist himself, he attempts to argue that there is no conflict here:

Most Christians, including me, have no trouble acknowledging that both science and the Bible are telling the truth when it comes to weather. God is sovereign over the weather – but we see no fundamental conflict between the scientific and biblical explanations. In fact, I rather expect most of us automatically classify the storehouse references as figurative language and/or poetic license. But it is not at all clear that the ancient authors did. Nonetheless we see no fundamental conflict between meteorology and faith.

That second to last sentence is very important. No one could seriously argue that the men who wrote those chapters of the Bible didn’t think that there were literal storehouses; they did not intend for people to read those words as being figurative or poetic. And yet he argues that it’s okay for Christians today to interpret it to mean something figurative when it was originally written to be literal. But I think this should, in fact, make McKnight see a fundamental conflict.

So why doesn’t he? Because he is engaging in “god of the gaps” reasoning. Throughout human history, men ascribed supernatural causes to entirely natural events, initially because they just didn’t know any better. They had no explanation for terrible storms or earthquakes so they attributed them to an angry god; they likewise ascribed good crops or good weather to a god who was pleased with them. But now we know better. We know what causes earthquakes and we know what causes thunderstorms and hurricanes and all manner of natural catastrophes. We can predict them with increasing accuracy precisely because we understand their causes. McKnight knows this, of course, and he says as much.

So why still believe that “God is sovereign over the weather”? It adds nothing to our understanding. It is no more rational or defensible than believing that an invisible leprechaun controls the rain. Neither of those superfluous and non-existent beings posited to be in some ultimate control of the weather helps us in any way to understand how the world operates. It is simply meaningless.

Comments

  1. d cwilson says

    I can’t think of any easier job in the world than teaching “science” at a fundjelical school. The answer to every question is “Goddidit!”

    The Babble also says that bats are birds and rabbits chew their cud. Teach the controversy!

  2. raven says

    And McKnight wonders, “Why don’t we have battles about the conflict between science and faith in the explanation of weather?”

    Actually, we do have battles about what causes rain. McKnight isn’t up on the latest theology at all.

    Boko Harum, the latest Moslem terrorists, reject the cloud theory of rain. Because the Koran says god provides the rain.

    They also reject the Round Earth theory because the Koran says the world is flat.

    All xians are cafeteria xians, and McKnight is just picking and choosing what to believe. Even Ken Ham rejects the Flat Earth and Geocentrism.

    Being a cafeteria xian isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If we actually followed the bible, the USA would long ago have disappeared after the xians finished stoning each other to death. It’s estimated that under biblical law, 297 million Americans would end up dead and the landscape would be torn up getting enough rocks to kill several hundred million people.

  3. raven says

    And McKnight wonders, “Why don’t we have battles about the conflict between science and faith in the explanation of weather?”

    Boko Harum’s battles are quite literal. If you call massacring dozens of civilians a “battle”.

    This is the Nigerian group that keeps attacking xians and xian churches. Whether that is a battle or not, it is certainly lethal.

  4. baal says

    Storehouses, how do they work? You can’t explain that.

    The rain goes in, the rain goes out and there is never a miscommunication.

  5. pough says

    Now I’m picturing God as the stupid kid who’s picked up the controller and thinks he’s playing the game demo.

  6. says

    It’s estimated that under biblical law, 297 million Americans would end up dead and the landscape would be torn up getting enough rocks to kill several hundred million people.

    Oh that’s just silly. Real Christians™ don’t need a separate pile of rocks for each incident of stoning. They can reuse the rocks.

  7. Irreverend Bastard says

    If we actually followed the bible, the USA would long ago have disappeared after the xians finished stoning each other to death.

    There’s probably a downside to this, but I’m willing to give it a try. I vote to start with Texas.

    the landscape would be torn up getting enough rocks

    Silly you, rocks can be recycled and reused!

  8. Bill from Seattle says

    “So why still believe that “God is sovereign over the weather”?”

    Because if he isn’t then you can’t use bad weather as an excuse to condemn people you don’t like. Then by also accepting the scientific explanations of weather you can pick and choose which incidents are “natural” and which are god’s punishments as best suits your needs. When a tornado wipes out a god-fearing trailer park, it’s just the weather and god can be thanked for the miraculous survivors. When a hurricane wipes out New Orleans, it’s god’s wrath on the hedonists. It’s having your cake and eating it too. /cynicism

    I don’t think it’s “god of the gaps thinking” but rather the “devil of the gaps”. I think that by accepting the scientific explanation while still retaining god as “sovereign” allows the believing mind to alleviate some of the cognitive dissonance of believing in a “loving” god that still seems to kill children with tornados. If something bad happens that doesn’t match their image of god then the natural explanation gives them an out while still allowing the good things to re-enforce their beliefs. Just like how the devil was used for the same purpose. Something bad happens, it wasn’t god’s fault but the devil’s. But as science began doing a better job of explaining the bad things it began replacing the devil. So they end up accepting the scientific explanations, but rather than seeing them as just the facts of life of living in this universe they are replacing the devil with science in their minds. I’d expect this to lead to feelings of resentment, mistrust and even hatred for science and possibly even a perception of scientists as being on the side of “bad”. Could this, in part, explain their revulsion to the teaching of science? Because they at least subconsciously equate it with teaching the details of the devil?

  9. josephmccauley says

    What about angels bowling that causes the sounds we call thunder? Can we squeeze this into the controversy?

  10. a miasma of incandescent plasma says

    nicholasmatzke says:

    Hi Ed — so, you think the Bible writers in ancient times meant a “literal storehouse”? Like there’s a big physical pantry in the sky? Really?

    They thought the sky was a “firmament” that god sat over and looked “down” on the earth. They believed the Earth “sits on pillars and does not move”. They thought when you ascended into heaven you would literally go up into the sky, it would have to part so you could go past the firmament, into heaven which is just on the other side (the ending of some of the Jesus stories has him literally floating upwards). With all of these premises clearly and unambigiously laid out in the both the old and new testaments, the idea that the big guy kept a storehouse of weather supplies is totally consistent with their other beliefs.

    Just so you can check yourself – Pillars – (Psa 93:1 NRSV)(1 Sam 2:8 NRSV)(Isa 24:18 NRSV)
    Domed earth – (Gen 1:6-7 NRSV)(Gen 1:14-17 NRSV)(Job 22:14 NRSV)

    You seem to imply by your message that you think they clearly meant it as an allegory/metaphor. So please, tell me something if you can, how do you know what is a metaphor and what is to be taken literally? Please? Because if you have a reliable, objective, consistent method to determine this you’d you be the first in history.

    So please, enlighten us.

  11. Chiroptera says

    a miasma of incandescent plasma, #14: You seem to imply by your message that you think they clearly meant it as an allegory/metaphor.

    Well, it is possible that “storehouses” is a metaphor…for the oceans of water that they actually believed to exist in the sky. Oh, that doesn’t make it any less silly, does it?

    As you point out, the common belief was that the sky is a solid dome with openings that God would open up to allow the rain to come through. They really did believe that there was a lot of water stored in the sky. Since God would make use of all that water when he wanted it to rain, “storehouse” doesn’t seem really much of a stretch.

  12. kagekiri says

    The realization about falsifiability is one that just doesn’t occur to Christians in a lot of cases.

    If the theory of God explains everything, then it can’t predict anything. If the worst possible things happening to good people still lead you to the conclusion “God is good”, well, nothing could falsify your belief, because you’ve pre-rationalized and redefined his goodness into an absolute assumption, and goodness pretty much loses all meaning when it’s been that twisted. Like, say Job, who knew he hadn’t done wrong yet got shat all over and had his children killed to make God look good for Satan, and this is supposed to show how awesome God is….

    Or, for example, my female Christian family members defending the God-commanded rape in the Bible with “It was an easier law back then for those wicked Israelites”, “we have a new convenant now”, and “you don’t have the context, read it it Hebrew”, with some “Well, Jesus wasn’t there yet (as if that wasn’t God’s choice…GAH)”. *facepalm*

    To be fair, my defense of commanded rape when I was Christian was “Well, God said we’re all worthy of hell, so rape and murder and enslavement doesn’t compare to what we REALLY deserve,” so at least their excuses were less terrible morally (if less theologically consistent/accurate) than my old ones.

    It was realizing that I was shoving God into all sorts of gaps and rationalizing problems with his existence away that started my deconversion.

    “Hey, maybe God ISN’T perfectly good, like the world’s and Bible’s moral evidence suggests….maybe the Bible isn’t perfect then, because science contradicts it and it fails to elucidate mechanics of the universe and existence along with all that crappy morality….then maybe the other claimed traits of God are incorrect as well, like his existence…Oh.”

    It took longer to move through those steps than you might’ve expected (quite a few months between “God isn’t good” to “God doesn’t exist”), but yeah, realizing that God just doesn’t line up with reality without all sorts of logical acrobatics, misdirection, and claims of “mysterious ways” was the first step to seeing past the faith-shielded veil of Christianity into the hollow void within.

    Someone who effectively disappears when you stop imagining them or making excuses for them? An imaginary friend, i.e., a god.

  13. says

    With all of these premises clearly and unambigiously laid out in the both the old and new testaments, the idea that the big guy kept a storehouse of weather supplies is totally consistent with their other beliefs.

    Your depiction of Old Testament cosmology is pretty accurate I think, and in accord with what I’ve read from historians. But I’ve never seen those same historians say that somewhere up the in firmament there was supposed to be a physical house with a big bucket of water in it, or whatever it is you guys think the ancient Hebrews thought. Do you really think all those historians missed this point and Ed discovered it just now?

    It seems much more likely that “storehouse” was just a bit of poetic metaphor (this is all assuming the English word is a good literal translation, which it often isn’t, and which I haven’t checked). I.e. “storehouse” means something like “water is stored in the heavens and then rains down”, which is accurate as far as it goes. I think it is safe to assume that the ancient Hebrews weren’t completely insane, and knew basic observable facts like the fact that rain comes out of clouds.

    You seem to imply by your message that you think they clearly meant it as an allegory/metaphor. So please, tell me something if you can, how do you know what is a metaphor and what is to be taken literally? Please? Because if you have a reliable, objective, consistent method to determine this you’d you be the first in history.

    C’mon, it’s not *so* hard, at least if you are acting scholarly rather than adhering to the fundamentalist doctrine of literalism. This is what scholarship is for. First off, do you seriously deny that some things in the Bible were intended by the original writers as poetry, and other things were intended as history/fact? If you do, then you can’t reasonably just declare any random thing to be intended as literal fact. Second, we can use our knowledge of what people would be able to see for themselves (e.g. rain comes from clouds). Third, we can use our knowledge of other sources, e.g. Babylonian texts, to get a sense of what ancient cosmologies were like. Fourth, we can look at context. E.g. psalms and the like are more likely poetry.

    But fifth and most importantly, we can just freakin’ read carefully, like people with a liberal education are supposed to do. The passage Ed quoted said:

    “The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.”

    The passage doesn’t say there is a physical storehouse up in heaven, it says “the heavens” *are* “the storehouse”. But as you yourself described (as long as you include the sky and clouds in “the heavens”, which I think the Hebrews did), we know what the Hebrew conception of the heavens was, and it wasn’t a big physical pantry or whatever. So the word “storehouse” here is just a bit of poetic metaphor.

    Not a huge deal, but it is symptomatic of the common pattern of some atheists who try to “get” moderate, mostly helpful pro-evolution Christians by tarring them with the sins of fundamentalists, because those atheists share the same naive assumptions about Bible-reading as the fundamentalist. It may be fun but it isn’t accurate or scholarly.

    PS: An alternative is that when Ed used the word “literal”, he didn’t literally mean literal, he meant figuratively literal, i.e. not literal. Which is a common problem amongst English speakers engaged in a bit of hyperbole.

  14. Pinky says

    but we see no fundamental conflict between the scientific and biblical explanations. In fact, I rather expect most of us automatically classify the storehouse references as figurative language and/or poetic license. But it is not at all clear that the ancient authors did. Nonetheless we see no fundamental conflict between meteorology and faith.

    Ya gotta love rationalizations. To quote Jeff Goldblum’s character in the 1983 movie; The Big Chill:

    I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex.

  15. hunter says

    “In fact, I rather expect most of us automatically classify the storehouse references as figurative language and/or poetic license. But it is not at all clear that the ancient authors did.”

    Ed, you’re quite right to take exception to this statement. Poetry, with its reliance on imagery and metaphor, long predates prose — poetry is song, and poets sang their works long before they wrote them down. Even early historians used imagery extensively. Ancient authors quite clearly understood their works as figurative and poetic. It’s just that too many modern Christians don’t.

  16. No One says

    I could give a rats ass what the Israelites believed. In truth it was a backwater civilization that got lucky enough to have it’s neurosis sanctioned by it’s conquerors. Time to let go of the blankie, we have adult work to do.

  17. Michael Heath says

    curtcameron writes:

    Fuckin’ rain – how does it work?

    Yeah! You can’t explain that!!!
    [/BOR-mode off]

  18. iangould says

    “Hi Ed — so, you think the Bible writers in ancient times meant a “literal storehouse”? Like there’s a big physical pantry in the sky? Really?”

    Why would God ask someone if they had seen a METAPHORICAL storehoue?

  19. Ichthyic says

    But it is not at all clear that the ancient authors did. Nonetheless we see no fundamental conflict between meteorology and faith.

    translation:

    Nonetheless, we refuse to pull our heads from out of our asses.

    seriously, that is what this is saying.

    All evidence suggests there is no magic man involved, and that the people who wrote the bible simply weren’t clear on what was happening.

    yet we choose to agree with them that there is a magic man involved anyway.

    fucking.

    headdesk.

  20. Ichthyic says

    I could give a rats ass what the Israelites believed. In truth it was a backwater civilization that got lucky enough to have it’s neurosis sanctioned by it’s conquerors. Time to let go of the blankie, we have adult work to do.

    +1

  21. Ichthyic says

    Do you really think all those historians missed this point and Ed discovered it just now?

    do you really think that was Ed’s point?

    fuck me, but you DO love your strawmen, Nick.

  22. says

    Hey Ichthyic, nice to see you. I was afraid all of the recent discussion in the Gnusphere of the need for civility had driven you away. But no, a commenter who bravely spews profanity and abuse from behind a pseudonym still has a place.

  23. says

    But no, a commenter who bravely spews profanity and abuse from behind a pseudonym still has a place.

    The very concept of profanity is a religious one. Fuck you.

  24. dingojack says

    Nick – so let me see if I’ve got this:
    The passage doesn’t say there is a physical storehouse up in heaven, it says ‘the heavens’ *are* ‘the storehouse’“.

    So the heavens don’t contain storehouses (that is, rooms where things, such as the rain, are stored), the heavens are a storehouse (one big warehouse where everything kinda sloshes around in the stored rain). Well that makes all the difference then.

    But as you yourself described… we know what the Hebrew conception of the heavens was, and it wasn’t a big physical pantry or whatever”.

    So ‘the Heavens’ are a storehouse, except they aren’t, even if they are really, becasue it’s just poetry and not really, real. Really?

    Dingo

  25. a miasma of incandescent plasma says

    Oops, I forgot to come back and check for any replies, better late than never.

    @17

    But I’ve never seen those same historians say that somewhere up the in firmament there was supposed to be a physical house with a big bucket of water in it

    Historians didn’t say that because that would be stupid with our current knowledge, but the Bible itself sure does.

    Job 38:37 says Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven,

    But right, forgot, that’s a metaphor.
    And you, some d00d on the intrawebz figured it out how to tell, objectively, what is a metaphor.

    C’mon, it’s not *so* hard, at least if you are acting scholarly rather than adhering to the fundamentalist doctrine of literalism.

    So, in other words, the things that are ridiculous with our current knowledge are metaphors, even if they read like truth claims from the text. Creator of the universe – but not a very clear communicator.

    This is what scholarship is for. First off, do you seriously deny that some things in the Bible were intended by the original writers as poetry, and other things were intended as history/fact? If you do, then you can’t reasonably just declare any random thing to be intended as literal fact.

    Ok, but I’m not taking a “random” thing, I’m taking what is clearly a truth claim and trying to verify the truth of that claim. And just like it does for Noah, Jonah, Moses, Joshua,…, and Jesus, it fails to live up to its claim.

    Second, we can use our knowledge of what people would be able to see for themselves (e.g. rain comes from clouds).

    Yes, they could see the rain came out of the clouds. They also have direct influence from the creator of the universe remember, so those things they couldn’t see, like say – Where does the water that comes out of the clouds come from? – should have a measure of accuracy, even granting your premise that it’s a metaphor (the idea of a storehouse for a metaphor for how the water/rain cycle works is terrible and clearly shows they had no clue what caused moisture to get in the clouds in the first place). Again, these texts are influenced by the creator of the universe, they’re not just lost desert tribesman trying to make sense of the world around them, so why did they get it SO wrong? (Go ahead, try to tell me WHY god would do that, because you know God’s mind and all…)

    Third, we can use our knowledge of other sources, e.g. Babylonian texts, to get a sense of what ancient cosmologies were like.

    OK, so the Bible alone doesn’t tell us what god wants to communicate to us? The creator of the universe went to the trouble to influence the Bible, but we also have to do additional research to figure out what the Bible really means? And where in the Bible does it tell me that I should be researching even more ancient texts to get the true meaning of the Bible? Nowhere?! You mean, you made an unsupported assertion of what god wants of us? No way…

    Fourth, we can look at context. E.g. psalms and the like are more likely poetry.

    Context is subjective. I think the entire Gospel sounds like poetry, so Jesus never really existed and never really rose from the dead or was born of a virgin. You’re right, that was easy!

    But fifth and most importantly, we can just freakin’ read carefully, like people with a liberal education are supposed to do.

    Ok, so more subjective handwaving.
    Literal Malachi 2:17 – “Ye have wearied the Lord with your words” – God gets weary when you ask him to prove himself or confuse who god really likes. I read that very carefully, so you’ll back me up that it’s literal.
    Metaphor John 10:9 – Jesus says “I am the door, if anyone enters through me, he will be saved…”
    So Jesus is just a metaphor and therefore doesn’t exist. Right?

    Oh, you mean your guide to determining metaphor vs literal passages is not objective and consistent?

  26. dingojack says

    So – the basic argument is:
    I believe in Christian Theology ’cause it’s true, but if there are bits that the evidence shows are complete bollocks then the bible is not really ‘true’ it’s just ‘a metaphor’.
    OK, yes in fact none of it can be clearly shown to be anything close to the truth – but still it’s true ’cause I really want it to be so (even though I’m fully aware it’s clearly a lot of old bollocks).
    Dingo

  27. says

    The very concept of profanity is a religious one. Fuck you.

    Oh please, I was just talking about civility. But, remember this the next time you see Gnus wondering about why they have such vicious infighting, and such problems discussing things other than Yes Religion Sure Is Bad Isn’t It in a sensible manner.

  28. says

    So ‘the Heavens’ are a storehouse, except they aren’t, even if they are really, becasue it’s just poetry and not really, real. Really?

    Dingo

    This isn’t hard stuff that we’re doing here. What is so wildly implausible about the idea that the ancient Hebrews knew rain came from clouds in the sky, i.e. the Heavens, and thus referred to the Heavens metaphorically as a “storehouse.”

    Only the most bizarre form of literalism would insist that this must refer to a literal storehouse — the kind of literalism found only with the most crazed fundamentalists, or, apparently, some atheists.

    There are all kinds of legit criticisms to make of the Bible, it’s just that “the Bible endorses the Storehouse Theory” isn’t one of them. Why is it so hard to admit this?

  29. says

    Context is subjective. I think the entire Gospel sounds like poetry, so Jesus never really existed and never really rose from the dead or was born of a virgin. You’re right, that was easy!

    Aren’t atheists supposed to be into critical and careful thinking? You are spouting pure anti-intellectualism. You are letting your hatred of religion and the Bible overwhelm your critical thinking abilities. The question of “what an author intended when he wrote X” is an objective question, and often there are clear, objective answers, even if (like in most of life) there are some gray areas.

    Go ask Richard Carrier if he thinks it’s always a totally meaningless, subjective exercise to figure out if the author of a Bible passage meant to make a literal or a metaphorical/poetical statement.

    What you are actually bashing is the tendency of certain *modern* religionists to read whatever they want into Bible passages. That is definitely true and definitely something worth criticizing, but that doesn’t mean that the question of what was actually originally meant is meaningless subjectivity immune to objective answers from scholarship.

  30. says

    Oh please, I was just talking about civility.

    You can do that all you want, Nick, and I’ll still call you out for being a fucking tone troll.

  31. says

    What is so wildly implausible about the idea that the ancient Hebrews knew rain came from clouds in the sky, i.e. the Heavens, and thus referred to the Heavens metaphorically as a “storehouse.”

    When was the last time you talked to a poorly (at best) educated bible-thumper, Nick? They are exactly that ignorant. How could you assume that twenty-five centuries or so could change things that much for the worse with the fundamentalists? These are the same people who believe heaven will be a literal place of streets paved with gold where they will see their God™ (long flowing beard a necessity!) sitting on his throne.

  32. says

    You can do that all you want, Nick, and I’ll still call you out for being a fucking tone troll.

    Meh. You could contribute to a rational discussion, but instead you decide to fling your poo. Pretty poor performance in a forum devoted to skepticism and reason. No wonder many of the atheists are looking to start a new movement.

  33. says

    When was the last time you talked to a poorly (at best) educated bible-thumper, Nick? They are exactly that ignorant.

    I’d studied the fundamentalists for years, on the policy of “know your enemy.” And actually, the vast majority of them aren’t *that* ignorant, despite the various crazy things they believe.

    But what modern fundamentalists think is irrelevant to what scholarship reveals about what the intended meaning of the original author of some passage in the Bible was. Don’t sacrifice your brain on such scholarship questions just because fundamentalists are sometimes irrational about such questions.

  34. says

    Meh. You could contribute to a rational discussion, but instead you decide to fling your poo. Pretty poor performance in a forum devoted to skepticism and reason. No wonder many of the atheists are looking to start a new movement.

    Once a tone troll, always a tone troll. Your concern has been duly noted.

    I’d studied the fundamentalists for years, on the policy of “know your enemy.” And actually, the vast majority of them aren’t *that* ignorant, despite the various crazy things they believe.

    No, the vast majority are not that ignorant. However; there are large pockets of them throughout our country who are that ignorant, and a lot of them are on local and state school boards.

    But what modern fundamentalists think is irrelevant to what scholarship reveals about what the intended meaning of the original author of some passage in the Bible was.

    Modern biblical scholarship is irrelevant to the ignorant evangelicals who try to insert their concept of what their Bible says into our society’s laws.

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