You are right, it is a unique environment in that respect .The problem here is that IO is too full of intelligent practitioners of religion.
But there are a few literalists out there... and even more in the population as a whole.
Of course, so is your goal for this thread to engage the literalists in this forum ?
So it sounds like you have a little catching up to do there CZ .My problem is that I'm actually very naive when it comes to the Bible. I've never read it, never critiqued it before. It hasn't been until I arrived at IO that I had any reason to crack open a passage or two.
There have been hundreds of opponents of Bible throughout history. The trick is making the suitably sophisticated argument. I have mentioned Spinoza before, he is one of the critics that I am interested in studying further.So it just astounds me that this story has not been called out before... at least that I've seen. So I thought it time to do so.
Right, I think we are having a misunderstanding here. What I meant is that you are building the position as though it is a literalist position and then exposing the faults. I was saying that all of us here on the this thread are not literalists, so you are knocking down a strawman as far as I am concerned.By the way, I don't see this as straw man arguments. I'm not trying to describe and distort what you believe in.
I think I understand that you are addressing a literalist reader, even if they are not here (yet).
Often looking at ideas from a new perspective is very enlightening. I encourage you to continue your journey.I am going after the text itself and interpreting it as a first-time reader. I think this is a key point.
Absolutely, as a scientist I would say the inertia is enormous.There is so much institutional investment in Genesis that believers aren't able to see the contradictions anymore.
Even you and PoO say you see the uplifting aspects of the stories. Could you please fill me in on what uplifts you about A&E and the Flood, because frankly, I don't see it.
This might be the key to opening the discussion more widely. I will give you a few examples, but there are many more possible:
1) Foundational concepts - so many of the bible stories are found in our everyday lives. In the example you pick, A&E (Cain and Abel), think about sibling rivalry. Think about the fall of man/woman (which you have been discussing). Consider the role of the devil (serpent).
2) Ethics and morality - again foundational in these areas. Much of western philosophy has grown from biblical examples. A later work called "Ethics of our Fathers" comes for Biblical ethics.
3) Ideas of the Law - the Jewish perspective on bible, which we call Torah, is that it is the foundation of the Law. Much of this is detailed much later in what is called the Talmud. In my view this was preliminary to later development of Church Canon and then British Common Law.
I could give you many more examples. Interestingly, I am pretty sure some of the literalists could give you even more examples.
Another interesting point is that it may be more difficult for the literal believers to debate some of these notions as though they are philosophical arguments. These beliefs are deeply held by many but not always easily explained.