Here’s a thought-provoking quote from a great article about the interplay between Scripture and culture:
“We are not blank slates. We bring our own theological interpretive grids to the Bible. For example, in John 4, when Jesus tells the Samaritan woman she had five husbands and the man she is with isn’t even her husband, what do we think of the woman? We automatically think she’s an adulteress. She’s a sinner.
But in other cultures, they might interpret the story to mean that she has been abandoned unfairly by five men, one after the other. And she now lives with another man for protection. But this man won’t even honor her by marrying her. She’s been sinned against.
There’s nothing in the text to tell us whether she’s a sinner or sinned against. We come to our interpretations based on the theological systems that we have brought to the text.”
There is an appearance of humility in the protestation that the truth is much greater than any one of us can grasp, but if this is used to invalidate all claims to discern the truth it is in fact an arrogant claim to a kind of knowledge which is superior to [all others]… We have to ask: “What is the [absolute] vantage ground from which you claim to be able to relativize all the absolute claims these different scriptures make?” How could you possibly know that no religion can see the whole truth unless you yourself have the superior, comprehensive knowledge of spiritual reality you just claimed that none of the religions have?
From “The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism” by Timothy Keller
When Jesus confronted “doubting Thomas” he challenged him not to acquiesce in doubt (“believe!”) and yet responded to his request for more evidence.
– Timothy Keller