(we can discuss other religious traditions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, paganism and so on if you like, but this thread arose out of discussion of Christianity) Matti-san made the comment in another thread that he is a 'small c christian' who doesn't believe in the bible in a literal way (my paraphrase, please correct if it's wrong). Banoobi asked how that works. I thought there might be some value and enjoyment in a discussion of varieties of Christian belief: the media and a lot of general discussion tend to act as though there are two alternatives, fundamentalism or atheism, but like everything belief is much more complicated than that. To put my own cards on the table, I've read the Bible a lot, know it pretty well, often toss in quotes from it in conversation and so on. I'm a Christian. But I believe the Creation story is a poetic story about the purposes of life and to account for joy and pain in the world, rather than a scientific story of the actual origin of the universe, the planet and life on it. I believe the various injunctions against homosexuality are intrusions of the culture of the day into the Biblical text, rather than God's actual will. Same with the various genocides conducted in God's name. So I guess I'm in the same boat as matti-san: believing, but applying various theological and exegetical principles (i.e. not just picking what I like and rejecting what I don't) to the Biblical text, rather than believing literally in (my church's interpretation of the English translation of the received version of the) literal text.