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In Theory: Are parts of Scripture outdated and in need of change?

May 10, 2013

It's not often that a Christian minister agrees with the New Atheist movement, but the Rev. Michael Dowd believes it's possible when it comes to what he calls the "idolatry of the written word."

A self-described "New Theist" — one who "value[s] scientific, historic and cross-cultural evidence over ancient texts, religious dogma or ecclesiastical authority" — Dowd believes that Scripture is outdated and fossilized and needs to grow and change with modern times, calling some injunctions "morally repugnant." As an example, Dowd points to how some parts of the Bible, such as stoning people for being disrespectful or executing them for working on the Sabbath, have been abandoned as "moral reasoning" — which he calls "secular reasoning" — has emerged down the ages. It's this pick-and-choose attitude to the Bible, he believes, that leaves some Christians, especially evangelicals, open to criticism from people such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

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Dowd points out that the New Atheists have wasted no time in latching on to the "absurdity and hypocrisy" of some Biblical texts, and says, "Those of us who wish to continue calling ourselves Christian must no longer enslave mind and heart to inert fossils of ancient texts and creeds."

Q: What do you think of Dowd's claims?   

Dowd is a heretic! Contrary to the Bible's claim to be a "living and active" document (Hebrews 4:12), Dowd ridicules it as inert, outdated and fossilized. He refers to biblical miracles as only "alleged" and his view of God is that there really isn't one. His "god" is not a person, but a personification of man's ideals.

We make God, essentially, and Dowd's "New Salvation" is no longer Jesus Christ, but simply a life well lived, whatever that means. This is not a Christian man, but a pagan with denominational credentials from the most liberal of Christian groups. How he's even allowed to keep them is beyond me, but it's come to a place where so-called ministers may denigrate the historic faith and still be given a platform to blaspheme — replete with applause and publication.

Dowd doesn't seem to recognize the difference between the Old Covenant and the New, or the Old and New Testaments. He thinks Christians cherry-pick our biblical morality when it is Dowd who fails to make proper biblical distinctions. Christians are not bound to ancient Israelite civil or ceremonial laws, but God's moral laws are eternal, like 2+2 or any other non-negotiable.

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