It parallels a rather cruder discussion in the local paper about whether 'belief' is rational and/or scientific.
One commentator on the radio made the point that when he was younger, brought up as a Christian he actually made the switch from the Bible to Dr Who. And that while (he felt) Bible stories shut discussions down the Dr Who narratives offered a way forward.
It is an intriguing idea, rather belittling of the scripture...and, I would suggest, rather tenuous.
People who make statements about the scriptural narrative seem to have very simplistic understanding of how it works.
Their reading often seems childish, which is not really surprising since their recounting of scripture often seems to be at the Sunday School level. (A letter in this morning's paper for example refers to "the magic apple"... while this might give the idea legs , it is not really very intelligent).
Those of us who have stuck with it usually find that the narratives just get deeper and deeper as life goes on
Take the narrative, for example in 1 Kings 19 about the prophet Elijah
(After Ahab sought to kill Elijah) Elijah went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of theLord came a second time, touched him, and said, ‘Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.’ He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food for forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there.
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.’
He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for theLord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.’
This is brilliantly crafted stuff. Time and time again it has spoken to me about how people lose motivation, feel cowed. And how, time and time again, God restores me. This is not insignificant stuff for serious people.
While the stories of Dr Who are fun, maybe even making a good point every now and then (the invincibility of rigorous science was mentioned by this morning's commentator)...the power of religious literature is so often the profound reflection on the depth of the human condition. But this takes more than a glimpse, or Sunday School to grasp.When the critics start to grapple seriously with the narratives and not just dismiss it as though they are childish myths, then maybe we might get some serious dialogue.