"The fact that the Bible can be interpreted so many ways--and IS
interpreted so many ways--means that it necessarily relies on
rhetoric, doesn't it? I disagree that, for the "faithful" the
Bible=fact, and is therefore non-negotiable. That seems a simplistic
way to view what happens in churches/synagogues/mosques, etc."
I think it depend on how you define rhetoric. If the interpretation
of which you speak is the result of study, honest dialogue and
exchange, and considering the context, etc, etc, (all the issues
involved in complete rhetoric) then sure I'll bite, that's rhetorical.
But not all of the faithful operate this way. I guess I've not come
across very many christians who do, particularly in my travels in the
Bible Belt. In my limited experience its more like people being told
what and how to think based on the interpretation of the white, male
preacher. The one true interpretation. Like the modernist approach
to literature. Someone unknown to you, way over there in some exalted
position and place, decides for you what something means and
pontificates that to you and then tells you you will go to hell if you
ask any questions. Hmmm, that ain't the rhetoric I know and love.
And NO I am not suggesting ALL christians or faithful operate this
way. But given who has the "voice" to get heard "out there" its what
seems to be too pervasive for me. A lot of people just do not ask
enough questions about anything any more. This abdication of
responsibility for one's own life and the life of the planet concerns
me. Its like, "I'm too tired or busy to think" so I'll let and expect
someone else, like Jesse, to do it for me. And let the consequences
be damned. And I don't believe its what Jesus talked about. And yes
I do believe there are lots of Christians who do operate this way.