Science-fiction enthusiasts and geeks consider themselves for the most part as enlightened, progressive people, but Orson Scott Card, author of the award-winning novel Ender’s Game, has taken a Christian-principled (conservative) stance against homosexual marriage. When the Ender’s Game movie was released, the progressives faced a conundrum. How can you support an author who respects the Bible? Should they see the film? Boycott it? There were many discussions.
A heavenly sign at a Los Angeles Costco helped them out: an alleged labeling error discovered shortly after the movie’s release tagged the Bible as “fiction.” Atheist progressives took it as ‘truth in advertising.’
Was it a labeling error?
According to Judaism, the Bible should not be treated literally. Jews understand scripture through its interpretations, which more often than not clearly read the text in the light of the time in which the commentators lived. In Christianity, Biblical literalism is more of a post-Reformation phenomenon. As Orson Scott Card says, “Our scripture demands that it be read as literature.” It should be examined as a rhetorical document, not a proof-text; religious doctrines often reflect the times in which they’re expressed. “We Mormons are not troubled by the discovery that something we used to believe isn’t true because we receive further light and knowledge.” If a religion says something confusing and illogical, there is no obligation to believe it, according to Card.
There are indeed many who take their holy books literally, and they can usually be identified by the volume of their outrage. While their loudness does not establish their authenticity, it does identify a convenient target for comedians and satirists.
The progressive geek community can disagree with Card on homosexual marriage. They can disagree with him on the significance of scripture. The biggest disagreement though, is how to come to truth. While Card, along with many religious leaders place their trust in the scientific method (many religious leaders don’t), the boycotters, the secular crusaders often rely on building consensus through personal innuendo and ad hominem attacks.
Card probably wouldn’t be too upset by a Bible labelled as fiction. He knows there are deeper, verifiable truths. When Christians, when members of any religion are constantly outraged by fake controversies, they look foolish and have no credibility to speak into real issues. The progressives should take note.