Wednesday, November 20, 2013

California pastor protests Costco's classification of the Bible as fiction

As reported by Joel Furches of Jarrettsville Christianity Examiner, November 20, 2013:

On November 15th, 2013, Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach was shopping at his local Costco in Simi Valley, California, when he was surprised to see a Bible in the Fiction section. On inspecting the $14.95 price tag, he found that, sure enough, it was labeled as Fiction.

Upset, Kaltenbach attempted to complain to Costco, but was unable to find an employee, so instead tweeted a picture of the Bible and its label.
Kaltenbach argues that this is a matter of tolerance. He claims that labeling a Bible as Fiction is tantamount to calling out Christianity as untrue, a claim not to be made lightly, and certainly one that should be avoided by a public company such as Costco.

There are four attitudes likely to be adopted on this news item: those who consider it a bold and proper stance for Costco to finally label the Bible for what it really is; those who hold that the Bible is an accurate representation of history, or at the very least, a legitimate and ancient system of belief, and should therefore fall in the category of non-fiction; those who would be willing to give religious believers their freedom to believe, but don't think that the Bible rises to the level of "non-fiction"; and finally, those who think that the whole affair is much ado about nothing, and couldn't care less what Costco chooses to label their Bibles.

In an increasingly Postmodern culture, rigid categories such as "Fiction" and "Non-Fiction" may be seen as increasingly too narrow, especially to classify a book as controversial as the Bible. More than ever, a distinction is being made between the categories of History and Religion. More and more people - professing Christians even - would consider the Bible to be a kind of "Religious Truth" without being a historical one. Only those at the extremes would continue to maintain that the Bible is either true or it isn't; that no shades of grey are permitted to enter the discussion.

Adding to this confusion is the fact that there is a very real argument to be made that the authors of scripture claimed to be transmitting actual history...

...Not only does the Bible claim that it is literally true, it admits that if it is not true, it is a lie and a vain faith.

If the Bible cannot be taken literally, it cannot be taken at all. It does not, by its own admission, leave anyone the option of an airy, poetic, spiritualized reading that sets it aside as historical fact.

The first century Christians certainly didn’t have that option. Of the handful of writers that composed the New Testament, most of them were supposedly executed for their beliefs according to early church writers, including Peter, Paul, and James. Men do not willingly suffer such abuses for what they believe is not literally true.

By the same token, the concept of scripture as Fiction is a mockery of those in totalitarian countries who, today, are imprisoned or executed for their beliefs...

...The Bible is either true or it is a lie. It is either fact or it is fiction. There is no third option.
Amen, Mr. Furches and Pastor Kaltenbach.

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