To the Editor:
It is a sad fact that some of our brothers and sisters who are called Christians seem intent on eliminating the “supernatural” from the vocabulary of Christianity. Sadly, Micah Kiel is one such person, in my opinion.
In his commentary on The Bible mini-series airing on the History Channel, the extent of his skepticism is quite remarkable.
In an effort to show how most Bible stories are not historically accurate he starts with: “Noah’s ark, for example, is a myth. It did not happen.”
Let’s read what our Lord says in Chapter 24 of Matthew’s Gospel starting with verse 37: “As were the days of Noah so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking … until the day when Noah entered the ark and … the flood came and swept them all away.”
Kiel then goes on to say some truly amazing things, such as, “Was Moses a real person or are the stories about him mythological/legendary as well?” I’m sure he would also question the reality of the persons Abraham, Isaac and Jacob since they predated Moses. Are any of the Old Testament figures real people?
And what about his understanding of the events in the New Testament? He wants to put doubt into our minds, stating: “Their depiction [the Gospel authors] of Jesus do not cohere perfectly. They contain differences and contradictions along historical and theological lines.”
I would like to ask Kiel, who do you say Jesus is?
Editor’s note: Posted on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website is an article titled “Understanding the Bible” (http://www.usccb.org/bible/understanding-the-bible/) that may be helpful to readers.
The article identifies 10 points for fruitful Scripture reading. Among them: “The Bible is a collection of 73 books written over the course of many centuries. The books include royal history, prophecy, poetry, challenging letters to struggling faith communities, and believers’ accounts of the preaching and passion of Jesus. Knowing the genre of the book you are reading will help you understand the literary tools the author is using and the meaning the author is trying to convey.”
Readers are advised to read the Bible in context. What happens before and after a particular text, and even texts from another book of the Bible, helps readers to understand the true meaning of the text. Through the Bible, God “teaches us the truths we need for the sake of our salvation,” the article states.
Theologian Felix Just S.J., Ph.D., adds further insight in an article titled “Official Roman Catholic Teachings on the Bible:”
“Because the Bible is written in human languages (indeed, ancient languages very different from our own!), the proper interpretation of the Scriptures requires not only that we are aware of the limitations of all human language (and the difficulties of translation from one language to another), but also that we pay attention to the various literary forms and modes of expression used by ancient authors” (http://catholic-resources.org/CBI/2010-09-11-DeiVerbum-CCC.pdf).