Commonplace (Sunday morning sermon)

Suffer through the blowhard audience member’s question–dude goes on for the first 78 seconds–to get to Reza Aslan’s impassioned, smart, and compassionate response about the inherent problems of Gospel literalism and biblical inerrancy. It’s worth it. I like the fact that he announces that “I believe in God, so obviously I’m open to some pretty crazy and absurd possibilities.” (Me too, brother.)

For background on Aslan’s discussion of the roots of fundamentalism**, and its existence as a specifically constructed thing (as opposed to being always a part of Christianity), here’s the Wikipedia article. All caveats apply, of course, but you can see that Aslan’s basics on this are firm. Again, the Bible is a constructed enterprise, with a shit-ton of contradictions, fudgy details, and flat-out lies. If you’re invested in believing that the whole thing is literally true, and that you’re bound to follow it to the letter, you will spend your life twisting yourself–and those you love–into moral and ethical pretzels, and in turn twisting the world around you into a warped design that cannot possibly cohere.

Jesus, it’s hard enough being a Christian–or a follower of any faith–without giving up the common sense and useful comprehension of metaphor that God gave us.

**SIDE NOTE: It’s utterly unsurprising that fundamentalism–a simplistic, either/or, teenager’s version of Christianity–has its roots in America, which is pretty adolescent itself.

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Atlanta, GA. He is the co-author (with Daniel Couch) of Bob Mould's Workbook (Bloomsbury, 2017). His work has been published in The Quarterly Conversation,, Bookslut (RIP), The Comics Journal, The Baseball Chronicle, and other periodicals. Twitter: @walter_biggins.
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