Can you take the Bible literally?
Some of you who are asking this are worried that a literal reading of the Bible will lead to dangerous primitive practices in society.  Driven by this concern, your question is worthy of applause. Faith should be something that is blessing our lives, not cursing them.
 
Others of you are driven more by a sense of distaste for the values which are honored in the Bible, and your self-centered value system may not be as worthy of applause as you assume.  Wouldn’t it be arrogant if your provincial values were being exalted above all other persons and cultures, and isn’t arrogance considered to be ugly? Surely you will agree that we must not universalize our time any more than we should universalize our culture.
 
Consider an example—in the Bible in the book of Mark, chapter 14 there are two elements to note.  Verse 62 contains Jesus’ promise about returning to the world in power to judge evil. Later in the chapter, one of Jesus’ key followers publicly denies his faith in Christ.  Later in the life of Christ there is a scene told where Christ has forgiven that man and restores him to leadership (John 21:15).  
 
Which of these scenes deserves more honor?  Anglo-Saxons living over one thousand years ago when their culture was more of a warrior culture might have ridiculed the idea of forgiving and restoring a failed leader, however it is likely that they would have rejoiced in the promise of Christ’s return in power and majesty and judgment.  No doubt today we prefer the story of forgiveness and restoration.  Which scene is more worthy of attention and respect?
 
Finally, consider this:  what kind of God would write a book based on what you personally approve?  There seem to be many today who are satisfied to worship a God who challenges their assumptions and traditions.  You might discover that God has made a book that has in it everything you need for living a life that is moving in a better direction.


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