Figuring Out the Meaning of Life and Other Trivial Matters
Friday, October 9, 2009
Is the Bible Too Liberal?
SKEPTIC: Conservative Christians can rest easy. Their interests are being looked out for by one Andrew Schlafly who has come to the obvious conclusion that the Bible is way too liberal, and needs to be changed. As a result of his "revelation," he has come up with something called The Conservative Bible Project, and it's about time. Who needs all that talk about "social justice" and all that other liberal nonsense? Just get rid of it. And since we all know that liberals used way too many words in the Bible, the CBP will set about combatting "liberal wordiness," apparently by using fewer, shorter words that most conservatives can understand. The Biblical saboteurs do note that "liberals will oppose this effort, but they will have to read the Bible to criticize this, and that will open their minds." So there you go - the secret is out. The real purpose of this project is to get those godless liberals to read their Bibles. I just hope they ran this by God before embarking on their little project. I'm not sure he'd approve.
PREACHER:Pardon me, but I think you are setting up a "straw man" here, at least to an extent. Bible scholars would agree that our best translations are not perfect. I would welcome this project to get another translation with yet another slant. I find comparing translations very helpful in understanding the text, even the ones that I know are not very good. And, aren't all translations from whatever political or theological slant they are from, prepared with the hope that they will be read? The secret is already out, so there is no deception here.
I find it very amusing that one who doesn't believe that the Almighty even exists would think He would approve or disappove of any project men may do. Assuming that you think what they are doing is wrong, then you have placed yourself as a moral authority over them. What are your qualifications?
SKEPTIC: I don't think what they're doing is wrong - it's just stupid. How can Christians believe that it's okay to desecrate their sacred book by deleting and changing the text to fit a conservative ideological viewpoint? But you bring up an interesting point when you talk about translations not being perfect and even slanted. Since the Bible is considered by Christians to be the inspired word of God, doesn't that mean that all the translations of that inspired text need to be inspired, too? And if the translations are inspired by God, how can they be imperfect or slanted? If I'm a Christian, why would I even want to read translated versions that aren't inspired by God - that are, essentially, just someone's imperfect opinion of what the text means. Does this mean that the only way to understand God's true meaning is to read the original Greek and Hebrew texts? Are they the only texts truly inspired by God?
Of course, once you realize that the Bible was written by men with political agendas who didn't actually have any God looking over their shoulders to make sure they got it all right, your brain won't have to hurt so much trying to figure everything out.
By the way, I'm glad you found my reference to God not approving this project amusing, because that's what I intended - or did you think I momentarily forgot that I didn't believe in God? But my point is valid, I think. If you believe in God, do you think he would approve of this drastic alteration of his sacred book?
PREACHER: You might be interested to know that good translators use very scientific methods to translate the Hebrew and Greek into our vernacular. (This is why I don't go along with the King James version only crowd.) As one who trusts in science (almost makes a religion out of it), shouldn't you appreciate that? Wouldn't you agree that the more scientifically the translation is done the better it is. Still the translations are done by men so no scholar would consider any translation without defect. They would all agree that only the original Hebrew and Greek texts were inspired. (Yes we have to take that by faith, just as you take by faith that God doesn't exist and the text is only the accounts of men back when it was written.) When the translators take too much liberty in expressing their bias, their translation is usually not accepted very well. One example in the past was the gender neutral bible. The Lord's prayer started out with, "Our Parent which art in Heaven." Before I can make a good judgment on the new conservative bible, I would like to get reviews from those who know their Hebrew and Greek better than I do.
SKEPTIC: So do you consider this conservative Bible to be a "good" translation? This guy wants to completely edit out the story of Jesus and the Adulteress because he thinks it's too liberal! (Funny, I always thought compassion, forgiveness and redemption were good Christian values. Apparently, they're just good liberal values. Go figure.) And by the way, this new conservative Bible is not being translated from the original texts, but rather from the English King James Version.
It's fascinating to me that you admit that only the original Greek and Hebrew texts were inspired by God, and that all the translations have "defects" in them. So I guess that Christians who rely on the various translations of the Bible to guide them are reading the uninspired and defective word of God. Maybe the Bible should be more accurately known as The Approximate Word of God.
To me, this project seems like a bastardization of the Bible, more than anything else. It's one man's attempt to force the Bible to conform to his political and cultural prejudices. I would think most Christians would be appalled at the nerve of this guy.