I understand everything in the first paragraph except where are dragons or unicorns found in the Hebrew Bible passages?
I admit that for the serious theologian, the Hebrew Bible is as near as you are probably going to get to some honesty. I mainly use the KJV 1611 as that impresses fundamentalists most – its English is quite pleasing too.
It is the references that are simply annoying. Anyone who translated “reem” as unicorn must have accepted that there were unicorns
I confess the Trinity is a mystery for me. I haven't found an explanation that makes sense yet.
The “marginal note” theory is often accepted and seems as good as any. However, the Church has gone too far down the road to even think of correcting it. (More wilful stubbornness and bullying.)
I would argue Revelation is not a lunatic writing; rather it is chock full of references to the Hebrew Bible which would be comforting and readily understandable to the readers of the time.
Here we have yet another problem: One would think that Yahweh, who at the Tower of Babel, devised all the languages of the earth, might also have dictated to His prophets in a language that was not so flowery and spoke through the ages and not to those of the day.
On the other hand, if Revelations were valid and understandable to those of the day, it implies that all that it foretold, it is reasonable to think that all should have come to pass within the time-span of comprehensibility and allusion.
And, for me anyway, Revelation is a book of hope; not a book of fear. But, that is me.
Obviously, as one of the 2.8 billion marked for slaughter, you will not expect me to concur. ; )
In re-reading this it seems your concern is with the "Literalists" who are convinced the correct way to interpret the Bible is literally unless the wording has a simile. I don't care for them either.
There is a line to be drawn somewhere in the individual interpretations of the Bible. Many believers go further and actively ignore some passages. It is a common thread amongst atheists that those who take belief from the Bible (and what other source is there?) take what pleases them. It may be something they have embraced already or something that they find pleasing or convenient to embrace, but nevertheless, to a man, their perception of what is literal, what is to be interpreted and how, what is allegorical, differs, creating as many images of Yahweh and Jesus as there are people.
If we add to this
1. The Creator’s knowledge being restricted to that which was known at the time, rather than insights into the actual workings of the world that, were He the Creator, He must have known,
2. The saying, “The law [of England] is what annoys the middle-classes.” (I’m sure that was true in OT Israel as everywhere else.)
3. The OT(T) behaviour of a bellicose primitive tribe
4. The incredible, anally retentive control-freaks that (with few exceptions) the OT lauds.
5. The fact that all NT advice on behaviour boils down to “I’m speaking to you all here: (a) Don’t annoy people, (b) don’t be uptight, and (c) be reasonable.”
We can see that the Bible, far from needing to be inspired by an omni-everything God, is merely the feelings and orders of men of the day; men who were in positions of power and influence and would seek to be obeyed at any cost to reality.
In fact, all major godly characters in the Bible were fundamentalists with an absolute, solipsistic self-belief that derived from their own concept of Yahweh, in the same way that each believer today has their own concept.
So, here’s the difficulty in
I don't care for them [literalists] either.
Many will go through life happily being a “fluffy-bunny” or “cafeteria” Christian but they and the myriad of individual fundamentalists are of the same stock, and, although we know the cause, we cannot tell until it is too late how any one of them will turn out.
Mankind, being a social animal, requires leaders. However, history has shown that mankind is not always good at choosing leaders. I am constantly surprised by the followers of L Ron Hubbard, David Ike, Benny Hinn, Ray Comfort, etc. Time after time, these snake-oil salesmen and mad men have been proven wrong, proven to be slipperier than a greased eel, yet, such is the faith that they inspire, that apologists leap, unasked, to their defence.
Your name is well chosen. You come across as (a) Don’t annoy people, (b) don’t be uptight, and (c) be reasonable
. You are also well-read. You are entirely suitable to be a theist/deist. Not everyone out there is suitable to have any belief as many have a solipsistic tendency to demand that we obey their own personal understanding and philosophy
I recommend the book, “Small Gods”, by Terry Pratchett (cheap and used on Amazon.com) Brilliantly written, a joy to read, and very funny, it tells the story of a monk who comes into possession of an almost forgotten god and, as the story unfolds, the god gathers more and more adherents, and grows in arbitrary power and savagery.
Finally, if you have read this far, thank you and, what then is your take on Revelations?