For more than a decade popular TV personality Bill Maher, who makes regular appearances on Larry King Live, has made a cottage industry out of ridiculing religion. To him it’s just plain Religulous, as in ridiculous. He has previously said, “I believed all this stuff when I was young. I believed there was a virgin birth, I believed a man lived inside of a whale, and I believed that the Earth was 5,000 years old. But then something very important happened to me – I graduated the sixth grade.” He’s also dogmatically pontificated that the Bible is written in parables and “it’s the idiots today who take it literally.”
Maher’s problem is elementary he misconstrues the literal principle of biblical interpretation. That’s why he comes up with a 5,000 year old world. To interpret the Bible literally is of course to interpret it as literature. Simply put that means we’re to interpret the Word of God as we would other forms of communication in it’s most obvious and natural sense. Even a cursory reading reveals that Scripture is a treasury that is replete with a wide variety of literary styles. It has poetry, proverbs, psalms, historical narratives, didactic epistles, apocalyptic revelations and so forth. Therefore to dogmatically assert, as Maher does that the Bible was written in parables and that those who read it literally are idiots, is at best an idiosyncratic form of fundamentalism from the left. At worst it is a serious misunderstanding of the literal principle of Biblical interpretation.
The Bible of course does contain parables and that should be obvious to anyone who has graduated the sixth grade, but it is not entirely parabolic. If Maher had read the Bible with an open mind and had paid attention to genre, grammar, and context he would have recognized that his faith was placed in his own dogmatic assertions, rather in reasonable and defensible arguments.
Unlike Maher we should have those reasonable and defensible arguments so that we can give an answer to everyone who asks. We should be able to do this with gentleness, firmness, as well as with respect. We need to be able to firmly answer those who are making a mockery of the Christian faith, particularly fundamentalists on the left like Bill Maher. They are so fond of making dogmatic assertions and getting away with it on Larry King Live on a regular basis and in the process they are ship wrecking the faith of many as a result. It is because many just don’t have the answers to the questions because they assume there are no answers.
 Bill Maher Preaches Anti-Religion (http://www.foxnews.com.pssht.com/bill_maher_anti-religion.html). Accessed 9/16/08.