He wants to know whether religious people choose between a metaphorical interpretation of religion, the first bullet of which is:
Alternatively, the choice is to take stories and miracles literally, which is to take the opposing positions:
Baggini thinks that such people would like to take these 'opposing positions', but are reluctant to admit this in public, because this exposes them to being contradicted by science. So they retreat to the metaphorical views M1-M4, which are almost devoid of content. Baggini's immediate aim is to determine whether the fashionable atheists of today are correct in attributing positions L1-L4 to the religious believers, and hence whether they are targeting actual beliefs when they attack these from the scientific materialist & atheist point of view.
In theistic science, by contrast, our position is clear. We clearly affirm all the positions L1, L2, L4, and the first sentence of L3. And we do not retreat from them in the face of science. Instead we take science as the systematic application of reason and evidence in examining the nature of things. We therefore use science to examine things of religion, of spirituality, of mind, and even of God insofar has the Divine has effects in the world. That is our challenge in theistic science.
There are some provisos, however:
- We do not insist that " , because religions are also subject to investigation by theistic science, and, after sufficient investigations, not all parts of all religions will necessarily be found based on fact.
- We do not insist that all stories in religious scriptures are necessarily literally true. That is because some stories may be included because they are parables rather than history. Or they may be selected pieces of history put together to illustrate a spiritual truth as if history were the parable. We are not going to get into discussion about whether the stories are 'real but not true'. Only to say that the true reference of the characters and events in the stories may be at one of the discrete levels that exist in the interior parts of our minds.
There is much to discover and to learn.