Several commenters on earlier posts have suggested that I am claiming that religious truth claims are the same as literary truth claims.
I understand how that misunderstanding could be reached, but it is a misunderstanding. I think that religious truth claims would include aspects of literary truth claims (the Bible surely uses metaphor and other literary techniques), but for religious believers, it clearly encompasses much more. As a non-theist, I don’t fully grasp the level of meaning that theists experience in religion, and my analogy to literary truth claims is meant to set a lower limit, not a maximum, on the components of religious truth. And like any analogy, it is imperfect.
My point with the analogy to literary truth claims is to help inform a discussion conducted largely among non-theists about why science should not be regarded as possessing a monopoly on truth. If we can at least agree on that point, we can have a more productive discussion of what, if anything, distinguishes religious truth claims from other sorts of truth claims.
The beauty of metaphor and analogy is that they inform us not just when they succeed in capturing similarities, but when they fail. The same could be said of a good scientific experiment. If you think that analogy is wrong, then, great. Let’s explore how it breaks.