The source of this puzzler is Brian LePort's blog. It's a great question. Can there even be a coherent theology without some kind of historical base, or does it just all turn to custard? Can the assertion that the moon is made of Swiss Cheese be factually inaccurate while still being deeply meaningful and revelatory?
Cutting edge philosopher/theologians like Don Cupitt long ago cut loose from the Grand Narrative. Perhaps that's why their perspective no longer looks distinctly Christian any more.
At the other end of the spectrum are the fundamentalists (Tom cites the United Church of God as his example!) who want you to believe absolutely everything. Somewhere in the middle, unctuously impaled on the fence, are the poster boys of ponderous prevarication (N. T. Wright anyone?)
Maybe we could break Brian's question down into some representative 'True or False' bite-size chunks.
- Adam and Eve were literally the progenitors of humanity.
- Satan is a fallen archangel in rebellion against God.
- There was a worldwide flood that wiped all life off the face of the earth in the time of Noah.
- God made the sun stand still so Joshua could wipe out his enemies thoroughly.
- God commanded bloody genocide against the Canaanites in the Old Testament.
- Daniel knew what was going to happen hundreds of years into the future.
- Key events in Jesus' life were accurately predicted in Isaiah, Psalms etc.
- Mary was a virgin when she fell pregnant.
- Jesus turned water into wine.
- Jesus rose from the dead in bodily form three days after the crucifixion.
Score ten for each which you feel are true (i.e. definitely historical), five for those you think might be historical but equally might not, and zero for those you think are patently false (i.e. pious inventions).
If you score 85-100, do you consider yourself a fundamentalist? If not, why not?
If you score 0, do you necessarily consider yourself a non-Christian? If not, why not?