Do Christians Make The Bible An Idol -- By: Michael J. Kruger

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 26:3 (Summer 2013)
Article: Do Christians Make The Bible An Idol
Author: Michael J. Kruger

Do Christians Make The Bible An Idol

Michael J. Kruger

For some reason, the Christian commitment to the Bible as the word of God is a confusing concept for non-Christians. They see it as a strange, antiquated, quasi-idolatrous devotion that is out of sync with the modern world. After all, people today are no longer dogmatically devoted to absolute authorities. Are they?

In a recent article on the Huffington Post,1 evolutionary naturalist Michael Dowd makes the argument that Christianity’s biggest liability is, well, the Bible. The problem with the Bible (or at least how Christians use the Bible) is that (a) it is seen as absolute, dogmatic, and unchanging (science, on the other hand, is something that will “expand and evolve”); and (b) it is filled with teachings that “modern sensibilities rightly recognize as morally repugnant” and that have been used to justify “abuse and terror, torture and execution.”

These sorts of arguments are not new, but are used frequently by those in the “new atheist” movement such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. Although they have been answered many times before, we shall answer them again here.

First, the claim that the Bible should be rejected on the grounds that it is an unchanging and absolute authority is a strange one, given that Dowd never provides a reason for why this is a problem. Why should we prefer changing authorities over unchanging ones? Dowd himself might prefer authorities that change, but that is not an argument. Why should his personal preferences rule the day? He simply states that this is the way it should be without giving any reason at all. Perhaps the real (and absolute) authority here is Dowd himself.

In addition, his claim that evolutionary science is committed to changing and evolving (and therefore not subject to the charge of dogmatism) is bizarre at best. Evolutionary dogma rules the modern academy with an iron fist—you can question just about anything in science except evolution itself. It is an absolute, unquestionable fact. One should not chide Christians for commitment to a dogmatic authority when one has their own commitment to one.

Second, Dowd’s rejection of the Bible on moral grounds runs into enormous problems. If he wants to take the moral high ground and critique the Bible for being immoral, then he clearly must have access to some absolute moral standard in the universe that tells him the Bible is mistaken. But where does Dowd get these absolute moral norms? Of course, he never tells us. Moreover, if evolutionary naturalism were true, why would there even be such a thing as morality? On an evolutionary world there are no “right” or “wrong” actions, there are just act...

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