Tuesday, October 6, 2009

First Religion Post

As you might have noticed, the title of this website is "Politics and Religion," but all I've ever posted about is politics.  There's a reason for that - politics and religion are the two topics you are never supposed to talk about in polite company, and this blog isn't about being polite.  Still, when this came across my desktop, I had to comment. 

According to the Conservative Bible Project, "Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations."

Now, generally speaking, I'm not what many would consider a Christian.  I don't go to church, ever.  I swear, I drink, I try to fornicate (which is apparently the same as adultery, though I completely disagree with that notion) as much as possible, and I can be a real prick, even to the ones I love.  I'm also a cynic and a firm believer in science.  Man evolved from apes.  How that happened is still up for discussion (I like the aquatic ape theory, personally), but that's another story.

Maybe its my upbringing, or the theology classes, but there is some remaining sense of Christianity left in me.  I know my theology, and during the whole Da Vinci Code deal, I convinced myself that the Gospel of John should be titled the Gospel of Mary Magdalene.  So, I find the idea of changing the Bible - to the extent of taking out sections of the Gospels because they don't adhere to your political beliefs - to be anathema to core Christian beliefs. 

For those of you who aren't up on your Biblical studies, the New Testament basically has two parts: the Gospels, which describe Jesus' life, his teachings, and his death, and the second part is composed of letters by various Christian writers (like St. Paul) to other Christians about how to be good Christians.  So, at least in my opinion, the Gospels are much, much more important than the other stuff. 

So what chaps my ass in all this is that these Conservatives are seeking to change the Gospels, and, in some cases, take words out of Jesus' mouth.  And they aren't doing this because they believe Jesus didn't actually say them, but because they don't agree with what Jesus is saying.  I call bullshit. After all, being a Christian is about believing in that Jesus Christ was God the Creator Incarnate.  Whatever he said is literally the WORD OF GOD.  And to be honest, I can't think of anything more heretical than modifying the WORD OF GOD.

Again, this is in contrast with the rest of the New Testament, which you could basically throw out - writers like Paul and Timothy were learned scholars, and while their writings are learned and somewhat well-reasoned, they're the words of dudes, not the WORD OF GOD.  For those of you keeping track WORD OF GOD > word of dudes. 

Ironically, the conservative position on the Bible is that it is literally the WORD OF GOD, and as such, it has to be read literally.  (*Side note - the Koran is also supposed to be the WORD OF GOD, and has the benefit of having one writer/prophet, and has a disclaimer which states that the WORD OF GOD can't possibly be understood fully by mere mortals, and as such, reading the Koran literally is foolish*)  Thus, homosexuality is unclean, etc.  But how can the Bible be the literal WORD OF GOD when you can't agree what the Bible is supposed to say?


  1. I still say you are an anglo-catholic bastard.

  2. Well, I'm moving away from anglo-catholicism. I'm more in line with the mainstream Episcopal Church (though I'm not sure where they stand on same-sex marriages). The Anglo-Catholics, meanwhile, are breaking from the Episcopalians over ordaining gay and lesbian clergy.

  3. Jim....where do you find this stuff?

    I am a Christian, who went to seminary and follows much of the discussion surrounding theological disagreements and I can tell you that this has little following. It is like branding Christians as snake handlers because of the small churches in the south that practice that.

    I also have done some work with Bible translation professionals...one of the main editors that did the NLT Bible is a San Diego guy out of Bethel Seminary...There are a lot of discussions about which translations are the most true, but it really is a fringe element that you are pulling out for this post.

  4. I have very strange sources, I admit. I'm glad that these losers are in the minority. By the way, what do you think about the Mary Magdalene thing?

  5. Are you talking about the Dan Brown book where he alledges that Jesus was married and had a child with Mary Magdalene?

  6. Oh, no, that's completely B.S. - if Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, Paul wouldn't have implored the Corinthians to get hitched.

  7. Ah...you mean the link above.

    It seems to be a very wierd claim...The earliest church fathers id'd John as the author...and when ompared to the style of 1 John with the Gospel of John, both are very, very similar. Simple Greek and the frequent use of stark contrasts...You will find many similar phrases used throughout both...etc.