4. Created Reality and Reality That Creates Reality

Created Reality and Reality That Creates Reality – Fragment

To turn to the Bible—and particularly to Genesis—to expose and expand our narrow-minded and supposedly scientific view of reality can only be met with ridicule by scholars. After all, we modern people take great pride in our scientific thinking as the only true and accurate understanding of reality to which ancient people could not possibly rise because of their mythical or fanciful minds. Mike Ball relates that at one time the famous scholar Robert Alter—who pioneered literary approaches to the Bible—once quipped that those who wrote the Bible assumed that scholars who would read those texts were idiots. What he meant was that scholars have found in the Bible such absurdities that those who wrote it must have assumed that the readers were simply idiots and completely unable to spot even the grossest contradictions and inconsistencies. Consequently, only idiots can accept what those ancient writers said, and although ancient readers may have been such idiots, modern scholars cannot be expected to be so gullible.  That biblical writers assumed that their readers—including moderns scholars—would be idiots we do not know, but what Alter’s statement makes clear is what modern scholars think about those who wrote the Bible, that is, that they must have been idiots in order to write such stupidities that simply defy common sense. How else can be qualified but idiots those who wrote Genesis without noticing that telling how the world was created by one deity in the first chapter, completely forgot about it and in the next chapter tells a completely different story about the same creation but done by a different deity? And what else can be called but idiots those who read those stories for thousands of years without noticing the absurdity until modern scholars came up with what is called critical thinking?

Although I do not claim that modern scholars are idiots, I do not assume that those who wrote the Bible were idiots either. Modern scholars may be arrogant, but definitely not idiots. I do not believe that people can be aware of all their presuppositions but there is a presupposition that I am fully aware of and I already made it clear: I have a hard time to accept when a claim is made that for thousands of years people without exceptions have been idiots and not able to notice something that is a matter of common sense today until someone quite recently was smart enough to notice the stupidity. I already made clear this presupposition when I rejected the fundamental claim made by feminists that for thousands of years, no woman was smart enough to realize that men seized the power and used it for their own purposes including to abuse and marginalize women. That there have been a lot of stupid people who read the Bible—both in ancient as well as in modern times—I would fully agree but that humanity has been made of 100% idiots until Julius Wellhausen came along I find unthinkable.

That ancient writers had different assumptions about those who read their texts than modern people is quite understandable, but I am afraid that their assumptions were exactly opposite from our own. When we write something, we assume that anyone is able to read and if is able to read, then would understand it without any difficulty because meaning is conveyed by the words instantly without any effort on the part of the reader so that the reader is just a passive recipient because all the effort in making the meaning clear had been made by the writer. It should be obvious that for ancient writers such assumptions would have been hard to imagine. That everyone should be able to read probably ancient writers would have found unthinkable. Moreover, they did not think that reading is just a form of entertainment like listening to music as reading is for most modern people. Not only writing was not intended for everyone and reading was not expected from everyone, but because literacy was the privilege of the most educated minds, ancient writers assumed that only the most intelligent people would read it. Unlike modern writing which assumes no effort on the part of the reader for the understanding, ancient writers assumed that even the most intelligent people would make an effort to understand a text. A fundamental difference between ancient and modern texts is that in ancient texts (….)

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