Thou Shalt not Test the Lord


As GII points out, people shouldn't pray simply to test God. Rather, Mark 11:24 tells us to believe that we have already received it. The proper condition of a prayerful heart is to believe that God will grant us the prayer, and that he has promised to do so already (provided, of course, that we understand the contextual limitations of what to make intercessory prayers for).

So, no, each individual prayer isn't a test, despite what GII contends. If we were praying to test God's very existence, then he wouldn't respond affirmatively. The prayerful, however, would already believe in God and therefore have no reason to pray something like, "Please appear to me, Jesus, so I know you're there." Why prove to yourself what you already know to be true?

The golden statement, however, is this one:

Here's the most interesting thing about this rationalization. We are supposed to ignore all of verses in step 1 because "you can't take the Bible literally." But then we are supposed to take the verse that says, "Thou shalt not test the Lord" literally. This disconnection shows how strong the delusion of Christianity can be.

There is no disconnection here at all. GII literally wants an "all-or-nothing" style of hermeneutics. That means when a Christian claims that some of the Bible is literal, and some of it is figurative, they cry "Foul!" They follow up with the question, "How do you know which parts of the Bible are figurative and which ones are literal?"

It seems to me that every literary work I've ever encountered has parts meant to be taken literally and parts meant to be taken figuratively. It is quite easy to pick which parts are which. Similies, metaphors, poetic verses, symbolism, hyperbole, all are meant figuratively. Why do Bible critics seem to think that the task to differentiate similies, metaphors, poetry, symbolism, and hyperbole from the literal portions of this work only is impossible? If it is impossible with the Bible, then it is impossible with every literary work, and we need to start asking every author why he or she chose each word in a given sentence or paragraph.

That's ridiculous, of course. I'll bet that the GII author could read any given secular work, classical or modern, fiction or nonfiction, and easily discern every literal element from the figurative. And, I bet that the GII author would be right on every single count.

Once again, I ask: why is it impossible to tell the literal from the figurative in the Bible?