If I were the devil, the first thing I’d do
(I’d be subtle, and not too apparent)
Is create holy writings that all disagree
And announce that each one is inerrant.
So I have had a couple of visits from JWs recently. They have given me literature to read (this, and this, for those who want to play along with the home version of the game), and I asked them if they had ever read The Origin of Species. They had not, of course–I asked them to do so before they visited again. The pamphlets they gave me are wonderful propaganda–cherry-picked quotes, selectively edited, out of context… and Behe mentioned as a microbiologist rather than as a creationist (yeah, I know, but which is the more accurate description?)!
But that is not my point today. My point was, when I mentioned Origin, one of them mumbled “that’s just a book”. Which, of course, is true, and which is the whole point. I could have pointed him to tens of thousands of journal articles, other books, websites, magazines, etc., and he could point me to… another “just a book”, bound in black leather, clutched in his hand.
His book claims inerrancy. His book claims to be more than a book. Mine does not. He is desperate to prove his book completely and utterly, literally 100% true. Me, not so much. Disproving bits and pieces of my view brings us closer to the truth. Disproving one sentence of his brings his whole house of cards down around him.
This requirement of absolute inerrancy seems to me the perfect seed for discord. If I were the devil, I would be hard pressed to find a simpler, more elegant way to incite humans to war with one another than to do what organized religion has already done.