Quantcast

«

»

Feb 15 2012

Eliminating liberal bias in the Bible

Who amongst us hasn’t said at some point, “Dang! Somebody should do something about the fact that the Bible is way too liberal“? If you are one, then your prayers have been answered.

There has come into being something called the Conservative Bible Project, an open-source endeavor by those who feel that all prior translations of the Bible suffer from serious distortions due to liberal infiltration, and are creating a new translation of the Bible to bring it back to its original conservative roots. The brains behind this project are the same ones that created Conservapedia to serve those who think that Wikipedia has a liberal bias. They are creating a new manlier Bible version that restores the text to its original conservative values. I use the word ‘manlier’ deliberately because one of their complaints is that the Bible has been wussified. They aim to correct this, as can be seen in #2 of their ten guidelines for revision that has the goal of making the Bible “Not Emasculated” by “avoiding unisex, “gender inclusive” language, and other feminist distortions.”

Here is a sample of how they went about the business of restoring the Bible to its pristine conservatism.

The earliest, most authentic manuscripts of the Gospel According to Luke lack this verse fragment set forth at the start of Luke 23:34:[13]

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Is this a corruption of the original, perhaps promoted by liberals without regard to its authenticity? This does not appear in any other Gospel, and the simple fact is that some of the persecutors of Jesus did know what they were doing. This quotation is a favorite of liberals, although it does not appear in the earliest and best manuscripts of the Gospel of Luke. It should not appear in a conservative Bible, because in point of fact Jesus might never had said it at all.

They are quite right. How do we know that Jesus actually said this? So what did they do with those offending words? They simply cut it out.

And here’s another example of how they went about their work.

At Luke 16:8, the NIV describes an enigmatic parable in which the “master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly.” But is “shrewdly”, which has connotations of dishonesty, the best term here? Being dishonestly shrewd is not an admirable trait.

The better conservative term, which became available only in 1851, is “resourceful”. The manager was praised for being “resourceful”, which is very different from dishonesty. Yet not even the ESV, which was published in 2001, contains a single use of the term “resourceful” in its entire translation of the Bible.

I am all in favor of this project. In fact, I have an idea of my own that I promoted sometime ago that I would like them to consider. It would clear up a serious ambiguity that plagues the Bible and causes confusion because of the multiplicity of god-like characters. I suggested that the Old Testament god continue to be called Yahweh (or Jehovah if you prefer) while the New Testament god-the-father be called Melvin. The reason for this change is that the OT god seems like a bit of a hothead who wreaks indiscriminate and widespread devastation whenever his nose is put even slightly out of joint while the NT god seems more mellow, which is why so many Christians, when the OT atrocities are pointed out to them, are quick to disavow themselves of the works of Yahweh with the dismissive “Oh, but that was in the Old Testament. It is the New Testament that I follow.” Hence it seems likely that the gods of the two testaments are actually different gods and thus need different names. So Jews would worship Yahweh and Christians would worship Melvin, and there would be no confusion as to whether they worship the same god or not.

I gave the Holy Spirit the name Harvey because ‘Holy Spirit’ is more of a description than a name and it seems rather rude to call someone by their description than by their name. So the Trinity would now consist of Melvin, Jesus, and Harvey, which to my mind sounds a lot better. (You can read my full reasoning in the original post Melvin, Jesus, and Harvey.)

I had given up hope that my suggestions would become reality because traditional biblical scholars are unreasonably resistant to making wholesale changes in their holy text. But the people behind this new project show a refreshing open-mindedness and seem willing to do whatever it takes to fit the Bible in with their predetermined worldview.

The person behind this project and Conservapedia is Andy Schlafly (son of Phyllis Schlafly, scourge of feminism) who was interviewed by Stephen Colbert a couple of years ago.

This clip appeared on December 8, 2009. (To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)

I suspect that the next target of this group will be that other document that is riddled with liberal bias, the US constitution. The Bill of Rights is obviously a distortion, probably introduced late at night by that well-known Commie Tom Paine after everyone else had gone to bed.

15 comments

1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Dunc

    This does not appear in any other Gospel [...] It should not appear in a conservative Bible, because in point of fact Jesus might never had said it at all.

    I really hope they enforce this policy consistently, and excise all material that doesn’t appear in at least two Gospels or which we can’t be certain Jesus actually said. It would make for a much slimmer volume…

    Are we absolutely sure that Conservapedia isn’t some kind of surrealist performance art project?

  2. 2
    unbound

    lol – “This does not appear in any other Gospel…”

    If they use that standard, they won’t be left with much in any of the gospels…

  3. 3
    unbound

    Rats, Dunc beat me to it…oh well…

  4. 4
    michaeld

    Any one else thinking of the Jefferson bible :P. I guess they’re free to use this bible but I’m sticking to the bible in the original lolcat.

  5. 5
    M.Nieuweboer

    This is great news. Those X-fundi’s will become sitting ducks for us atheists.

  6. 6
    B-Lar

    Conservapedia and its side projects are awesome!

    Anything indistinguishable from parody really tickles my humour gland.

  7. 7
    Desert Son, OM

    An interesting aspect of this, which both Dunc and unbound allude to, is how the effort to “rework” the Bible is actually an argument against divine inspiration for religious texts.

    The Bible is an anthology of many texts produced at various different time periods, in multiple languages (lots of Hebrew and Greek), by many different authors, and has gone through numerous revisions in an effort to establish “definitive, authoritative” versions.

    It’s like an early version of open-source computer code, except not as useful, and largely absent any solid foundation in logical operation.

    There’s nothing wrong with artistic efforts changing over time, and there are examples of accumulative changes to existing works (paintings that turn out to have been painted over other paintings on the same canvas), and the Bible wouldn’t be an issue if it were filed under the category of Fiction where it belongs. Then it could submit to artistic criticism and the debates on its artistic merits and flaws could continue, well, for as long as people were interested.

    A politically conservative edit of the Bible is just another in a long line of human beings reworking what human beings produced in the first place.

    As a personal weigh-in on the aesthetics question, I think the Bible overall is a fascinating plot in terms of hallucinatory storytelling, but the style is lousy, could have really used an editor, and probably shouldn’t have been anthologized and instead released as multiple independent texts. That alone might go a long way to helping many Christians more honestly confront compartmentalization. “I’ve decided I like some of the books about these YHWH and Jesus characters, but I’m bored with some of the others and some of them overall are pretty bad.” We do this all the time with music (“Loved their first three albums, but then they sold out and went mainstream, man, and I won’t support that corporate rock!”), books, painting, sculpture, dance, theater, poetry, comedy, and so on.

    Efforts to imagine and distribute a conservaBible(tm) are, paradoxically, reinforcing the realization that the Bible is most definitely NOT the “word of god.”

    Not that I imagine that’s likely to resonate with believers, but . . . .

    Still learning,

    Robert

  8. 8
    lordshipmayhem

    Isn’t this something like the efforts that Thomas Jefferson already went through?

  9. 9
    Desert Son, OM

    Further to my comment on the relative aesthetics of the Bible, I should have also mentioned I have a major gripe with the multiple authors’ general refusal to include an acknowledgments section thanking previous or concurrent mythological systems for their various influences, including but not limited to ancient Assyrian and Egyptian canons.

    Cite where citations are due, Bible dudes (and they were almost certainly all dudes). *shakes finger disapprovingly*

    Still learning,

    Robert

  10. 10
    Angra Mainyu

    While I’m very skeptical of their chances of success in convincing other Christians – even conservatives – of adopting their book as a correct translation, an assessment of the consequences of that is not easy:

    On one hand, many conservatives might become worse, which would tend to increase the overall damage caused by Christianities.

    On the other hand, they would have less room for trying to excuse their behavior of their monstrous imaginary deity, which would increase the chance of deconversions, and reduce the chances that non-Christians would convert to Christianity, or even see it as acceptable.
    That would tend to reduce the overall damage caused by Christianities.

    The net result seems difficult to ascertain…

  11. 11
    A Bear

    People calling themselves Conservative Christians have had to bend over backwards to overlook the liberal bias in the bible, especially the Jesus as socialist bits.
    For a start:
    Jesus did not overturn the tables of the moneychangers, he deregulated them.
    Jesus only healed the sick that were able to pay in full.
    Render unto Caesar unless you are a job creator.
    Schaffly and friends have an enormous task in front of them, but the energy they’ve shown toward denying present reality as well as fictionalizing American history shows they are up to the job.

  12. 12
    Paul Jarc

    Efforts to imagine and distribute a conservaBible(tm) are, paradoxically, reinforcing the realization that the Bible is most definitely NOT the “word of god.”

    I’m not sure about that. It may reinforce the idea that the text of the Bible resulted from efforts spread over long periods of time, but a believer could argue that all of those efforts were divinely inspired. Or, as it sounds in this case, they could argue that the original author was divinely inspired, but many later editors were not, and so we have to find (or create) the edition that most closely matches the original.

  13. 13
    D_Wizar

    I can’t see them having any verisimilitude unless they are willing to use footnotes. Imagine what it would mean to have a bible with footnotes. This is the word of god and this is where it came from which is not the word of god, but we’re referring to it as the source of the word of god. It must be rough to have a deity incapable of saying what he means.

  14. 14
    stonyground

    There are at several gods in the OT already. Scholars have divided the early books up into passages by four main authors, The Yahwist, The Elohist, the Priestly and the deutronomist. The Elohim were a pantheon of anthropormorphic gods of which El was the chief god, it was El who said to the Elohim,’Let us make man in our own image’. There were also numerous gods that other tribes believed in that the followers of YHWH were not allowed to worship.

  15. 15
    John

    Life just isn’t fair to conservatives. I found this site LiberalBias.com is a reliable source for exposing numbers, facts, and figures that do not conform to conservative ideals.

  1. 16
    Eliminating liberal bias in the Bible | Mano Singham « eabretzke

    [...] of the Bible suffer from serious distortions due to liberal infiltration, and are …Via freethoughtblogs.com Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Categories: [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>