Metaphor

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A metaphor is a comparison between two things usually used in a poetic sense. "Iron Chariots are God's kryptonite; luckily, my chariot is 80% iron."

  • Kryptonite is used as a reference to Superman's weakness.
  • Chariot is used in place of 'car'.

Apologetics

Metaphor is often used by apologists to convert scripture into vague figurative language. As figurative language is generally not considered to be false, one may avoid considering anything called a metaphor to be false. This equivocation allows for the non-belief and outright disbelief in large parts of the Bible while maintaining that the Bible is true. One of the primary advocates of this strategy was Paul Tillich. When people say they do not "literally" believe in the Bible, they may still believe it as metaphor.

One should note that though there are metaphors in the Bible, metaphors are comparisons between two things, and not an open license to declare direct narratives true while discounting their truth. There are a number of Christians who do not believe that the story of Adam and Eve is literal in the sense that it actually happened; rather, it is "metaphorically true" in that, while it is false, it refers to some other true event or narrative. This means that the concept of original sin is itself the product of a metaphorical story and the idea that Jesus cleansed original sin is incoherent. Many apologists who argue for this, in effect, believe that a real and historical Jesus died for a metaphor.

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