The Bible and Flying Saucers book. Read 3 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. biblical answers. You will be given strong biblical answers in this booklet. Millions wonder, “Do flying saucers exist, and is man alone in the universe? Is there. ronaldweinland.info]. Barker, Gray. They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. New York: University Books, Bryan, C.D.B. Close.
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Walter Sullivan's book We Are Not Alone is not a book about flying saucers, but rather, an account . Bible and flying saucers than it is to describe God's funeral. Biblical UFO Revelations: Did Extraterrestrial Powers Cause Ancient Miracles? flying saucers barry downing bible stories ancient aliens bible and flying subject ufo god ideas encounters extraterrestrials forever. But Barry Downing believes that flying saucers and angels. concerning Unidentified Flying Objects or flying saucers as they are . Finally, we'll see what the Bible says on this subject, and there are.
The author was her family minister in the small town where she was a child in upstate NY. It is very well researched in terms of the content of the Bible. However, anything placed over and above that surely has to be speculation. As with all texts which use the Bible as a factual source, it's relying on faith that the Bible is accurate. It really can't be accurate to the extent An American friend of mine recommended this book to me when I was researching for a comedy show on the subject of UFOs. It really can't be accurate to the extent that Downing relies on its accuracy.
He Gray Barker. Barker launched his publishing house in earnest in with the release of From Outer Space To You—the memoir of contactee Howard Menger.
Saucerian Publications became a platform for those whose stories were too unusual, implausible, or crudely written for mainstream Gray Barker. Flying Saucers. New York: University Published in small editions—generally or Books, Barker also operated as a book dealer, distributing a wide range of works on the paranormal and offering rare and out-of-print materials to his clientele.
He had identified a niche market, and operated within for nearly three decades. The open-minded spirit of the saucer field likely attracted Barker, whose homosexuality placed him in a difficult position in the West Virginia of the s and s. He wrote long, autobiographical letters to Moseley, under the guise of being installments in a work of fiction. In these letters, Barker writes about his business Howard Menger.
From Outer Space To affairs, his personal relationships, and about gay You. Clarksburg, W. The last is discussed quite Moseley], undated [ca. In a letter to New Age author Dana Howard, he described the bankruptcy procedure as a means by which he would be able to stay in business. He sold The Saucerian Bulletin to James Moseley, who incorporated it into his Saucer News, and began to focus on book publishing exclusively.
He had discovered that his niche market cared Gray Barker, ed. Bender Mystery Confirmed. The earliest Saucerian publications were relatively respectable-looking affairs, in cloth bindings with painted dust jackets. These books display a certain striving for mainstream acceptance. The resulting compilation, entitled Bender Mystery Confirmed, was vastly different in format to the hardcover books Saucerian had issued to date. By the early s he was photocopying and comb-binding most of his books.
Heretofore these authors would not have been published, for their works were of such specialized UFO nature that no professional hard cover publisher would risk either the financial venture or popular ridicule and pressure 4 Documentary evidence of this was not seen, but it is attested to by David Houchin, curator of the Gray Barker Collection at the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library communication with author, August 21, Letter to Dana Howard, September 13, Sherwood, who was 17 years old when Barker published his account of Michigan saucer sightings under the title Flying Saucers Are Watching You.
Barker occasionally agreed to publish a manuscript sight unseen, if he knew it contained material related to saucers and space men. No publication illustrates this so well as the Saucerian edition of Morris K. Jessup committed suicide in , and conspiratorial rumors about his death soon began circulating in ufological circles. The annotations concerned in part an experiment in the Philadelphia Naval Yard in , during which a naval vessel was allegedly rendered invisible and teleported.
Jessup 6 Gray Barker. Clarksburg, West Virginia: Saucerian Publications, ca. Summer , p. Letter to John C.
Sherwood, February 25, Courtesy of the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library. By the s, the Philadelphia Experiment was developing into a major subcategory of paranormal research. After years of searching, Barker obtained a copy of the Varo edition in , and he printed a facsimile edition the following year. Many ufologists consider the Philadelphia Experiment a hoax,10 but a plethora of 8 Gray Barker.
Detroit: Omnigraphics, , pp. Carlos Allende identified himself as the author of the commentary, and considered himself the co-author of the Varo edition. See Robert A.
Online: Carlos Allende and his Philadelphia Experiment, [undated]. Accessed Oct. Books published by Saucerian, by year. Later printings, periodicals, ephemera, audiocassettes, and print-on-demand publications not included. Over 25 years, Barker issued 85 monographs under the Saucerian and New Age imprints. Of the monographs published by Barker, many were either compilations of previously published material or outright reprints of books first issued by other publishers.
Books published by Saucerian, by publication type and date of publication. Saucerian books by subject and year Fig. Books published by Saucerian, by primary subject and date of publication. Fewer than half reported having had psychic experiences or UFO sightings of their own, but an overwhelming majority expressed a primary interest in contactee stories.
According to Moseley, his initial enthusiasm for saucers may have been the result of belief in physical discs in the sky. But he certainly thought of himself, not as a scientist or researcher or prophet, but as an entertainer. I am very thankful that my work will now have a wider reading in Britain. It is the home of my ancestors,my second home, and the birthplace of my older son.
I hope this work will stimulate all who read it towonder in a new way what life and the Scriptures are about. April B. Scientists make tremendous effortsto build telescopes so that they can see great distances into space, or electron microscopes so that theycan observe minute structures.
Scientists construct all kinds of instruments such as voltmeters andoscilloscopes so that they can observe the invisible.
Scientists want to look at the evidence. I think that there are probably many reasons why we wouldrather not look at the evidence which suggests that there may be a relation between the Biblical religionand flying saucers. But I believe that the time has come when it will be worth our while to begin to makecareful observations concerning the Biblical view of the universe and our presently emerging view of theuniverse.
Walter Sullivan's book We Are Not Alone is not a book about flying saucers, but rather, an account ofhow the history of science has led us up to our present search for life in space. Even apart from the ideaof flying saucers, modern science now seems quite convinced that man is not alone in the universe.
In allprobability there is life on many planets throughout the universe; civilizations may have begun spacetravel long before men began to venture above the surface of the earth. What does this have to do with the Biblical religion?
Modern theology, such as the 'death of God'theology, is based on the assumption that many of the Biblical reports are mythological - make-believe. Included in Biblical mythology was the belief that the Biblical people were frequently visited by superiorbeings from another world.
Theologians who demythologize these beings - often called angels, ormessengers - do so in the name of modern science. It is not clear to me how we can demythologize theBiblical material in the name of science when in fact modern science seems quite convinced that in allprobability there are in the universe many advanced civilizations involved in space travel.
We cannot begin our Biblical studies with the assumption that the Biblical people were not visited bysuperior beings from another world; at least we cannot do so in the name of modern science.
Furthermore, we do have the problem of flying saucers with us, and if they exist, we cannot be sure howlong an advanced civilization may have been observing our life on earth. We might have to think interms of an entirely different time scale for such a civilization: a thousand years might be like a day. Consequently, we really should look at the Biblical material and try to discover what the beings fromanother world were reported to have done. The heart of the Old Testament religion is the Exodus, which reported that something resembling aspace vehicle a 'pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night' - led the Hebrew people out of Egypt upto the 'Red Sea' hovered over the sea while it parted, and then led them into the wilderness, where an'angel' proceeded to give them religious instructions.
The fact that some sort of Unidentified FlyingObject - UFO - was reported to have been present at the Red Sea at the time of the parting should causeus to desire a closer look. The parting of the sea was, of course, in itself unique - so much so, in fact, that we should think seriouslyabout the outside force reported to have been present at the time of the parting.
I personally find thesuggestion that the parting of the Red Sea was deliberately caused by intelligent beings in some sort ofspace vehicle to be the most persuasive explanation available at the present time. There are other parts of this book which I believe are less credible, including some of my speculationsconcerning the relation between Einstein's theory of relativity and the existence of heaven.
I am not anauthority on Einstein or on heaven, and I hope I can be forgiven where I have misrepresented both. Butmodern theology has argued that we must take the results of the physical sciences seriously, and withthis I agree, provided we remember the basically tentative nature of most scientific statements. Yetwhile modern theologians have said that we must pay heed to the physical sciences, these sametheologians have mainly been absorbed in the psychological and social sciences.
From what I observe concerning the beliefs of modern science about space and about the universe, andthe Biblical beliefs about the universe, aside from the fact that the Biblical language is not technicallyorientated, it appears to me that the relationship between these two world views is still quite open. Thisbook is an attempt to place the world of the Bible and our "world of space travel, flying saucers, andrelativity theory side by side and observe any relationships between the two worlds.
Our conclusionsabout what we see may be tentative, but it is still scientific to look. I wish to thank those who have helped, directly or indirectly, with this book. The idea for the manuscriptgerminated during my last year of study at the University of Edinburgh, New College, in Scotland.
Duringthis period I was involved in an examination of Biblical and scientific concepts of space under thesupervision of Professor John McIntyre and Professor T. This manuscript was written after Ireturned to the United States, so that neither Professor McIntyre nor Professor Torrance has seen it,and yet without the background I received in Edinburgh this book would not have been written.
I amvery much indebted to both men for their time and advice in the past, although they can in no way beblamed for the ideas or errors in this book. I am indebted to Dr. James M. Boice for his long friendship and for his willingness to read themanuscript, as well as to the Reverend Charles G. Harris for his evaluation of the manuscript, and to theReverend George M. Rynick not only for his discussion of the manuscript, but also for bisencouragement in seeking publication.
I have sought advice concerning modern concepts of relativity from Dr. William Rodgers, have discussedthe mathematical problems of space topology with Mr. David Andersen, and have received assistancefrom Mr. David Schrader in the collection of material concerning flying saucers.
I am also indebted to myin-laws, the Reverend and Mrs. Schrader, for their support while I was writing the manuscript, andto my parents, Mr. Franklin Downing, who have long encouraged my studies, and who listenedpatiently while I read the manuscript to them.
Finally, of course, I am indebted most to the person towhom this book is dedicated - my wife, who supported me during three years of seminary study atPrinceton, encouraged me to take on further study in Edinburgh which often did not appear to bebearing fruit, and aside from all this has been a good wife and mother. I think, however, that it is no more ridiculous to talk about the relation between the Bible andflying saucers than it is to describe God's funeral.
The 'death of God' theologians say that angels are, so to speak, 'makebelieve'; they are 'mythological' - angels do not really exist.
But the Bible argues -in effect - that theangels caused the religion of the Bible, under God's direction. Consider the following. Suppose that infive hundred years humans on earth should advance technologically in the space age to the point wherewe were to travel to another world in a space ship and discover intelligent beings who were scientificallyprimitive.
Suppose that Christian missionaries were to travel in space to this planet to try to convert these primitive people to Christianity. How would these people talk about our missionaries? The Bibleseems to suggest that angels are very much like missionaries from another world. I do not even need to define whatflying saucers are. Even if they do not exist, everyone knows what they are! But I believe there is a goodpossibility that flying saucers do exist, and that they carry intelligent beings from another world.
Couldthese be the same 'missionaries' who started the Biblical religion? You certainly have the right at thispoint to answer, 'Of course not; it is impossible. Aftervarious plagues came upon the Egyptians, the Israelites escaped, and for the next forty years 'the Lordwent before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire togive them light, that they might travel by day and by night' Exodus This strange aerial objectlooked cloudlike during the day and glowed in the dark, a description often associated with modernflying saucers.
Eventually this strange 'cloud' seemed to defeat the Egyptians in battle; it gave guidance andinstructions to Moses, and this 'angel' from God even provided Moses with the Ten Commandments.
However unlikely it may seem, the Bible reports that during the central event of the Old Testament -theExodus - some kind of space object was always present, and the Biblical people believed that this objectwas sent from another world. We will investigate the activity of this 'pillar of cloud' in greater detail inChapter III.
The New Testament focuses on the person of a man named Jesus, who is recorded to have said You are from below, I am from above; you are of this word, Iam not of this world' John Jesus often claimed to have come from another world; he is reportedto have had contact with beings from another world, such as during his Resurrection from the dead.
Heaccepted the teaching of Moses, and claimed to be part of a whole plan which included the OldTestament religion. After Jesus had finished his ministry on earth, the Bible reports that he was taken offinto space in something which might be a space vehicle. The disciples were gathered with Jesus on theMount of Olives just outside Jerusalem, and when he finished speaking 'as they [the disciples] werelooking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight Acts But how could Jesus have been taken off into space in a cloud?
The way the Bible speaks about the lifeof Jesus certainly makes one suspect that his whole Me is a highly improbable story. How gullible can ascientifically minded twentieth-century person be? We would not expect an ordinary human being to dothe things Jesus did.
But the Bible maintains that Jesus was not an ordinary human being. He did notcome from our world; he came from another world, and eventually he returned to that world in a'cloud. Ordinary white, fluffy cumulus clouds do not carry people off into space. In thespace, age I believe that we are compelled to ask: Was this an ordinary cloud, or was this the way theBible described some sort of space vehicle?
There is no reason to expect Biblical people to call a flying saucer a flying saucer even if theysaw one. But if they should have contact with a flying saucer, what would they call it?
A 'cloud'? We donot really believe that flying saucers get up from our dinner tables and carry people about; I do not thinkthat the Biblical people believed that ordinary clouds carry people about in space.
What we have to do isto study the Biblical UFOs; we shall discover that just as UFO is a 'short' form for Unidentified FlyingObject, so a 'cloud' is the Bible's 'short' form for some sort of space vehicle which seems to look andoperate very much like modern flying saucers. But one has the right to ask, 'If there is such an obvious relation between the Bible and flying saucers,why has not this possibility received serious theological attention long before now? Why has no careful theological study been made?
One obvious reason is that the existence of flying saucers is highly suspect. If they do not exist, then theycannot have much of a relation to the Bible.
Furthermore, it is often falsely assumed that flying saucersare a post-World War II phenomenon, so that one would suppose that this 'new' phenomenon could nothave anything to do with an ancient religion.
Another reason is that even if the existence of flying saucers were proved beyond reasonable doubt, the present state of theology presents a serious barrierto an immediate study of a possible relation between the Bible and flying saucers. Modern theologyassumes that the various beings from another world discussed in the Bible are 'mythological,' makebelieve.
We shall examine this problem more carefully in a moment, but real beings from another worldin flying saucers if they are real could not have any relation to the 'make-believe' beings in the Bible.
In regard to the first problem, I cannot prove that flying saucers exist. I can say only that since thousandsof people have reported seeing strange objects in the sky, it seems probable that they are seeingsomething. They may be seeing satellites, stars or clouds, but they may be seeing much more.
But I donot have to be per cent certain that flying saucers exist in order to study the possible relationbetween the Bible and flying saucers. If I had to be per cent certain that the Red Sea parted before I studied the report in the Bible, Imight never study the report.
But in fact I can study and compare various modern UFO reports and theBiblical UFO reports without having decided ahead of time precisely how accurate or 'real' the reportsare. Thus, although the uncertain state of the existence of flying saucers has probably delayed a carefultheological comparison of modern flying-saucer reports with the Biblical reports of strange objects inthe sky, this delay was not an absolute necessity, but rather, a reflection of the generally skepticaltemper of our times.
Modern theologians have been like swimmers who have assumed that the waterwas too cold, and have not even bothered to test the temperature with their feet. But even if flying saucers exist, are they not a modem phenomenon?
How could they have anything todo with the Bible? Although the term flying saucer is fairly new, and although the UFO 'explosion'occurred after World War II, writers such as Donald Keyhoe and Frank Edwards have pointed out thatreports of strange objects in the sky have been with us for centuries.
UFO writers such as Key-hoe andEdwards suggest that flying saucers may have come to earth in great numbers during and after WorldWar II because of our development of nuclear power.
This is not the only suggestion they offer, and Ithink another factor bears considerable attention. Marshall McLuhan has spent considerable effort in illustrating the fact that electronic devices such asradio, television, and radar are an extension of man's sensory system- his eyes, ears, and a sense of touch.
As we began to move out into space in our planes, and as people began to look up tosee man-made objects in the sky, they also began to see other objects. One really has no idea what sortof fish are in the sea until he baits a hook and drops it into the water. It may be that flying saucers arerecent arrivals. Or it may be they have been there all along - for centuries - but that we were more orless unaware of their existence because we only recently developed our sky 'fishhooks' - our radar, ourplanes and rockets, all of which are largely products of World War II.
Have flying saucers recently moved into our space, or have we only now moved into their space? If thereis the problem of whether or not Flying saucers exist, and if they exist, how long they have inhabited ourspace, there is also the problem of how open modern theology is to discussing an already difficultsubject.
The difficulty with theology, if it tries to keep up with science, is that there is always a'translation lag' between the development of certain ideas in science and the translation of these sameideas into theological discussion.
Thus a man goes to school during the early part of the twentiethcentury, studies science as it is then, begins writing theology by the s, gains theological stature bythe '40s, and finally has his ideas popularized by the '60s, by which time the science on which thistheology was based is half a century out of date.
At the beginning of the twentieth century scientists were extremely skeptical about the existence of lifeanywhere else in the universe. If you apply this thinking to the Biblical material, you might conclude thatthe beings from another world reported in the Bible had to be mythological - and of course they mightbe.
But now, in the s, most scientists are of the opinion that thousands of other planets in theuniverse are probably inhabited. That is not to say that all scientists believe in flying saucers, but the factis that we have moved into the space age; scientific thinking about the universe has changed.
But our most 'modern' theology - the 'death of God' theology - is based on theological assumptionswhich were in turn based on scientific thinking as it was during the first part of this century.
This is whatI mean by the 'translation lag,' and I think that it will be useful to examine briefly some of the currenttheological statements about the Biblical view of space to illustrate how this 'translation lag' has reallyblinded theology to any serious study of the relation between the Bible and flying saucers.
How does the suggestion that Jesus may have been taken off into space in a flying saucer fit into thecontext of current theological debate? In fact, this theory does not fit at all. One of the most discussed theological books of the present decade is Bishop John A. Robinson's Honest to God. The Bible has an outdated 'make-believe' way of looking at the world; but wein the twentieth century have grown up, and it is time we learned that there is no Santa Claus. On thevery first page of the first chapter of his book Robinson says:Even such an educated man of the world as St Luke can express the conviction of Christ's ascension - theconviction that he is not merely alive but reigns in the might and right of God - in the crudest terms ofbeing 'lifted up' into heaven, there to sit down at the right hand of the Most High.
He feels no need tooffer any apology for this language, even though he of all New Testament writers was commendingChristianity to what Schleiermacher called its 'cultured despisers. Moreover it is the two most mature theologians of the New Testament, St. John and the later Paul, whowrite most uninhibitedly of this 'going up' and 'coming down. Luke felt no need 'to offer anyapology' for the fact that he spoke of the Ascension of Christ in the 'crudest terms,' Bishop Robinsondoes feel the need to apologize for Luke's use of this language.
According to Robinson, if Luke did notknow better than to record the Ascension passage, all thinking men today know better than to try tointerpret it realistically, despite the fact that the passage reads like an event anyone could havewitnessed.
Why has Robinson mentioned the Ascension of Christ on the first page of his first chapter of Honest toGod? He might have begun by saying how difficult it is to believe in the Resurrection of Christ, butinstead he began with the Ascension.
I once heard a theological professor raise the following rhetoricalquestion in his class: 'No one today believes in the Ascension, does he? No one in the class objected tothe question or tried to argue in favor of the Ascension, and in all the 'honest to God' debates, I haveread no solid arguments against Bishop Robinson's opening words regarding the Ascension.
Robinsonhas in a sense led with an ace; his first card was one he thought could not be beaten. The question is:Can the concept of flying saucers in relation to the Ascension trump his ace? When Bishop Robinsonmentioned that Jesus was 'lifted up,' he failed to add that the Bible provided a vehicle - a 'cloud' - to dothe lifting.
It may seem highly unlikely that Jesus had anything to do with flying saucers, and yet in thespace age we must surely have come to realize that space travel is not out of the question. Even thougha 'cloud' does not seem to offer a very likely space vehicle, it should receive our serious attention whenwe are dealing with something as serious as the Ascension of Christ.
To believe in the bodily Resurrection of Christ, as the traditional Church has believed, and yet not tobelieve in the Ascension, presents difficulties. If we discard the Ascension, we have to ask: Whathappened to the resurrected body of Christ? If we do not accept the Bible's answer to this question - theAscension - then we have to make up our own answer.
The usual alternative is not to believe in eitherthe Resurrection or the Ascension. It has been precisely this type of problem which has led theologiansto the idea of the 'death of God.
Perhaps no other single factor has contributed more to current theological skepticism than the problemof trying to reconcile our scientific understanding of space and the universe with the Biblical view ofspace and the relation of the universe to God; it is clear that this problem is behind Robinson's thinking.
He says that 'we do not realize how crudely spatial much of the Biblical terminology is' 6 by the wordcrude Robinson means roughly literal ; if, since the Copernican revolution, some people have been ableto 'think of God as in some way "beyond" outer space,' at last the situation has caught up with us. He would undoubtedly say that my flying saucer theory issimply another 'gap' in our Know-ledge, and when it is solved, we will finally have to wake up and realizethat the 'supernatural' events in the Bible are all 'myths,' stories made up to suit the occasion.
Science will no longer let us believe in angels, or in miracles, or in the Ascension of Christ. There aremany scientists today, however, who are convinced that there may be many superior intelligent beingsin our universe, and a number of scientists have suggested that just as we are now attempting to travelin space, so other beings from other worlds may have started traveling in space long ago.
Those whobelieve in flying saucers believe that we are being watched by some superior race from another world. This world view of ours has emerged only over the past two decades, but at this point it is an interestingcoincidence to notice how consistently throughout the development of the Biblical material - whichcovers a period of over two thousand years - we find that at the key Biblical events a person or personsfrom another world are reported to have been participating, or even causing certain events.
We may have reached the point where we now must take this possibility seriously, however unlikely thismay seem to the 'honest to God' and 'death of God' schools of theology. Are angels simply part of ourinherited religious mythology, or were superior beings from another world really an important forcebehind the Biblical religion?
Was Jesus one of this group of superior beings, or is this just the impressionwe get from the childish way of thinking which was part of the mentality of the Biblical authors? Perhaps one reason Robinson and others of his theological school have not seriously raised this questionis that the theologians who prepared the background for Robinson's work did their thinking before thespace age, and here I have in mind Rudolf Bultmann, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Paul Tillich.
WhileRobinson seems to derive his philosophy from Tillich and his ethics from Bonhoeffer, his openingcomments on the Ascension of Christ and the Biblical view of space reflect the type of thought whichhas been most clearly developed by Bultmann. It is Bultmann who has given us the word demythologize, which means to recognize the supernaturalevents described in the Bible e.
Bultmann haschosen 'existential' philosophy as the mould in which the demythologized Bible is to be reshaped. ForBultmann, demythologizing is the modern theological miracle by which water is changed into wine. Achildish way of thinking is fermented through existentialism. What is demythologizing?
There are almost as many answers to this question as there are theologianswho write about it, but all demythologizers seem to agree on one basic premise: Many of the traditionsrecorded in the Bible appear, on the surface, to represent historical facts, or at least some fundamentalfacts with various interpretations added.
But many of these 'facts' are scientifically impossible; in asense, they are simply symbolic representations of the 'inner emotions' of man - an attempt toexternalize man's psychological experiences. A young boy came home from Sunday school, and his mother inquired as to what he had learned.
Theboy explained that the teacher had given a lesson on Moses and the parting of the Red Sea. The motherasked. The boy replied, 'Well, the Egyptian army chased theIsraelites to the Red Sea, and then Moses called up the Marines and they built a pontoon bridge acrossthe sea and the Israelites crossed on the bridge with the Egyptians coming right behind them.
When theIsraelites had safely crossed, Moses ordered the bridge to be dynamited, and the army of Egypt wasdrowned in the sea. Some moderntheologians have tried to come to grips with this type of Biblical problem by demythologizing it - bystressing aspects of the story that came from man's imagination rather than from history.
Demythologizing seems to be carried out by degrees, depending on one's scientifically or Biblicallyinformed skepticism. Thus while Bishop Robinson accepts many of the implications of Bultmann's work,as in regard to the Ascension of Christ, Robinson criticizes Bultmann for being part of a kind of 'scientificdogmatism' and for being too skeptical concerning the reports of the Resurrection of Christ. Demythologizers are by no means in agreement as to what ought and what ought not to be allowed asBiblical fact, and what must be called myth.
We have to admit immediately that there is much historical evidence to support the view that much ofthe Biblical material is mythological. Bultmann by paid particular attention to ancient mystery religionswhich are clearly mythological and has used this foundation to predict similar patterns in Christianity.
Certainly much of the Biblical language is symbolic - although in a sense all language is symbolic - but Iwould not want every word in the Bible translated literally, although the 'symbol' may point to a realitywhich is literally real.
The Bible reports that Jesus was crucified. I know of no theologian who has arguedthat the Biblical report of the Crucifixion is 'mythological. But when we read that Thomas sought to touch the wounds in the hands of therisen Christ, our scientific imagination is stretched, and we then suggest that this report has amythological origin.
How can we tell the difference between Biblical fact and fancy? This is the question. At the risk ofpointing to the obvious, there are roughly two camps within the Christian Church, which are usuallycalled conservative and liberal.
In our own age, the conservatives try to interpret the Bible 'realistically,'whereas the liberals are more concerned with "demythologizing. But most of thetime both groups are aiming at what they hope is the 'true' meaning or significance of the Biblicalmaterial. The suggestion that Jesus was taken away from earth in a flying saucer or something like one isobviously a 'realistic' interpretation of the Biblical material.
But it is not a literal interpretation of theBiblical material, for the Bible says that he was taken away in a cloud. I am concerned about thetruth.
If it is true that the disciples really did see Jesus lifted up before their eyes in a 'cloud,' then todemythologize this report is a mistake of a very high order. If it is true that flying saucers really exist, it isa mistake to ignore or cover up the fact of their existence.
But Truth is an extremely difficult prize tocapture. I cannot be certain that there is no truth in demythologizing. I can certainly see how Bultmannand Robinson have been led to their present positions. The problem of the Biblical view of space ispainfully difficult. Bultmann has done the most to make us aware of this difficulty. In his work Jesus Christ and MythologyBultmann explains part of the basis of demythologizing:For the world-view of the Scripture is mythological and is therefore unacceptable to modern man whosethinking has been shaped by science and is therefore no longer mythological.
Modern man alwaysmakes use of technical means which are the result of science Have you read anywhere in them [thenewspapers] that political or social or economic events are performed by supernatural powers such asGod, angels or demons?
Not even the most conservative theologian would argue that our 'world view'today is the same as the world view of men two thousand years ago.
In a society of plannedobsolescence, synthetic drugs, and teen-age fads it is impossible to believe that man's world is static. Yetthere are activities common to man today and two thousand years ago that hardly need to beinterpreted for our own times. On one occasion we read in Scripture John ff. Jesus offered them breakfast of fish and bread.
There seems to be nothing here that offends themodern mind, that needs to be 'demythologized,' except for the fact that the Bible maintains that theoccasion on which Jesus prepared this breakfast 'was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to thedisciples after he was raised from the dead' John Bishop Robinson explains the case for demythologizing the New Testament by saying that just as we hadthe great debate over a 'literal' creation a century ago, now the debate must be over 'the last things.
If Christians a centuryago made the mistake of trying to defend the Creation story as an account which in its own way was asscientific and historical as the Biblical description of the Crucifixion of Christ, so now 'demythologizers'are assuming that since Genesis had to be demythologized, everything must be so treated.
One rule by which we might approach the problem of deciding whether it may be dangerous todemythologize a particular passage in Scripture is to investigate on one hand to what extent thematerials involved seem to represent an interpretation of a particular experience, and on the otherhand what materials comprise description, or reporting of empirical data. Interpretation and descriptionare of course tightly interwoven, and yet even the most devoted demythologizer will usually admit thatthere was a historical Jesus of some sort.
It seems fair to assume that the disciples shared commonexperiences with this Jesus - such as eating a meal with him. The total sum of their experiences led thedisciples to the interpretation with the prompting of the Holy Spirit that Jesus was the Christ. But whatsort of experiences brought the disciples to the conclusion that Jesus was the Christ? Why did thedisciples settle on him as the Christ rather than on one of the two thieves crucified with him?
Those who consider the Resurrection of Christ 'mythological' must suppose that the Resurrection was anidea which the disciples projected onto Jesus.
But the Biblical materials lead us to believe that it was no more part of the Biblical worldview for people to rise from the dead than it is part of our world view. The Gospel of John even recordsthat the hardheaded empiricist Thomas said, 'Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and placemy finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe' John If theResurrection is mythological, then this passage is meant deliberately to deceive us.
The Resurrectionseems to be something we all could have experienced if we had been there - but we were not, andtherefore we suspect that it should be demythologized. Bishop Robinson asks: 'Is it necessary for the Biblical faith to be expressed in terms of this world-view? Cannot we reinterpret the Biblical materials without losing anything? Itseems to me that if we demythologize the Resurrection, we have little right as a Church to preach thatthe 'existential resurrection' of Christ will ensure Christians eternal life - life after death.
It may be selfish to be concerned with life after death, but Jesus treats life after death as a 'fact' - it happens to people. Ifit is a fact, for the Church to 'demythologize' this fact will undoubtedly be a great disservice to thehuman race - and to the gospel itself. The gospel seems to offer eternal resurrected life to Christians. What God has given is not the domain of theology to take away. Jesus believed in a world of resurrectedpersons and of angels.
They go together. Although the idea of angels may be an offense to our modernminds, perhaps we can endure the offense for the sake of the 'profit' motive.