Is the Bible True?
Mark Noll wrote The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind about the same time that David Wells was writing. Darryl Hart wrote The Lost Soul of American Protestantism on the same theme commenting, “that Protestants by trying to make religion relevant had ended up trivializing Christianity.” It’s interesting this wasn’t unique to Christians. At about the same time or maybe even a little earlier, Harold Bloom had written that remarkable book The Closing of the American Mind, expressing his profound concern about the anti-intellectualism he saw in the American University. In the introduction, the first sentence of that book, Bloom wrote, “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of, almost every student entering the university believes or says he believes that truth is relative. If this belief is put to the test, the professor can count on the student’s reaction—they will be uncomprehending.” Students in the American University—here’s Harold Bloom, teaching at a very distinguished university at the University of Chicago in 1987, he says almost every student who comes to the university to study believes the truth is relative and you ask, and you press whether that’s a good position to hold and they don’t even know what you’re talking about. It is so engrained that truth must be relative that that cannot even be challenged. You know one of the intriguing illustrations Bloom uses of that? The Bible in the university curriculum. He says, “We teach the Bible as literature, which means we never are allowed to ask the question, is the Bible true?” He says, “you know, the Bible is a very dangerous book. If it’s true, it could have amazing consequences. That’s true, isn’t it? If the Bible is true, it changes everything. So let’s just talk about it as literature, let’s just talk about the stories, let’s recognize it informs the history of Western culture, but never never ask if it’s true.