Patrick M. Hayes (paedraggaidin) wrote in talk_politics,
Patrick M. Hayes

The Conservative Bible

So, y'all know what the Bible is, right? The Holy Scriptures of the Christian religion that all Christian churches regard as the basis of the faith?* Even if you're not a Christian at all, or a member of any faith, you cannot deny the profound impact the Bible has had on Western culture, thought, politics, literature, and art.

But there's a huge problem with the Bible, you see. It's just too liberal! That's right, folks, the Bible it too darn liberal, making some conservatives distinctly uncomfortable when reading the holy book. The Bible, as mainstream translations stand now, has a multitude of liberal errors, everything from deliberately mistranslated words to insidiously-inserted or altered liberal passages to just plain liberal language. It's wholly unsuitable for real Conservative Christians and is in dire need of an edit! So, a group of valiant Christians at Conservapedia, that bastion of plain unvarnished truth, have set out to, hah, right this wrong, by way of the Conservative Bible Project (hereinafter "CBP").

The Huffington Post re-posted a 2010 article on the CBP today here.

The aim of the CBP is, in their words, "to render God's word into modern English without liberal translation distortions." To wit:
Already our translators have identified numerous pro-abortion distortions that omit or twist clear references to the unborn child.

Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations. There are three sources of errors in conveying biblical meaning are, in increasing amount:
  • lack of precision in the original language, such as terms underdeveloped to convey new concepts introduced by Christ
  • lack of precision in modern language
  • translation bias, mainly of the liberal kind, in converting the original language to the modern one.

Experts in ancient languages are helpful in reducing the first type of error above, which is a vanishing source of error as scholarship advances understanding. English language linguists are helpful in reducing the second type of error, which also decreases due to an increasing vocabulary. But the third -- and largest -- source of translation error requires conservative principles to reduce and eliminate. [emphasis theirs]

Among the very many changes the CBP is making are:

  • Removal of the "adulteress story" in John 7:53-8:11, because we all know Jesus never associated with filthy adulteresses and other notorious sinners!
  • Removal of evil womanly elements arising from feminist distortions, including returning mentions of unborn babies that the feminists took out and getting rid of inclusive "unisex" language
  • Changing pro-liberal words like "government" to more conservative-friendly words like...well, they don't actually say what they'd change "government" to, but having the word "government" in the Bible is basically like having Jesus say four-letter swear words, so it has to be changed to something.
  • Changing terms such as "cast lots" to "gambling" to reflect the evils of addictive behavior
  • Removal of the liberal-added "Father, forigve them..." from Luke 23:34, because Jesus wasn't even remotely about forgiving one's enemies.
  • Changing "shrewd" from Luke 16:8's parable of the master and steward to "resourceful," because "shrewd" has connotations of dishonesty, and businessmen are never dishonest.
  • It isn't "dumbed down" like some translations are! Kristyinz r smrt!
  • The replacement of liberal words with conservative words whenever possible, i.e. "volunteer" instead of the pernicious commie "comrade."
  • "Express Free Market Parables [by] explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning" (that is a direct quote, emphasis theirs).
  • Updating words whose meanings have changed over the centuries, like "word," "peace," and "miracle." (Now exactly how have those particular words' meanings changed?)
  • Replacing the term "rich" with "miserly" in the Eye of the Needle parable and other verses, because Jesus didn't mean to make the wealthy out as bad guys; that's a modern socialist distortion, and merely hoarding earthly wealth isn't necessarily bad.
  • Replacing the word "kill" with "murder," because some killings, such as capital punishment, are quite acceptable to God, whereas murder is always frowned upon.
  • Replacing the term "Pharisee" with "elite," to emphasize how evil and anti-Christian those liberal elites are.
  • Reintroducing the Jesus Riding into Sidon on a Velociraptor to Execute the Evil Roman Tax Collectors verses from Luke 14, removed by the Darwinists and Socialists in 1904.

(Okay, I made the last one up, but doesn't it feel right in there??)

Now, as a Christian of moderate stance on most things religious, I find this whole idea patently ridiculous. Sure, there are problems with some modern Bible translations, including an overuse of inclusive language and some pretty silly word use (one version of the Gospel I read said that Jesus "took a siesta." I mean, come on, really?) But openly putting a political spin on the entire Bible, to reflect a very specific political bias?

Of course, fudging with the Word of God to suit one's own theology is nothing new. In fact, selectively editing the Bible to suit one's religious predilections is so old a practice in Christianity that you might even say it's traditional. Martin Luther wanted to cut the Letter of James from the New Testament because its text didn't square right with his concept of sola fide, and for the same reason he added, without any, hah, justification, the word allein to Romans 3:28.

Early Protestant reformers cut out an entire swath of books from the Old Testament canon because they contained verses that supported, rather than rejected, various Catholic doctrines to which they objected, such as prayers for the dead (Tobit 12:12; 2 Maccabees 12:39-45), Purgatory (Wisdom 3:1-7), intercession of dead saints (2 Maccabees 15:14), and intercession of angels as intermediaries (Tobit 12:12-15). The Catholic Church meanwhile held rigidly to the Latin Vulgate descended from St. Jerome's 4th Century revision of existing Latin translations, which, it can be argued, in many places incorrectly translates from the original texts (being a translation of a translation of the originals), until going back to the original sources for the New Vulgate in the 1960s.

Joseph Smith (founder of the Latter-Day Saints movement), the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (Jehovah's Witnesses), the Seventh-Day Adventists, and many other Christian denominations have published their own editions of the Bible, replete with additions and subtractions to suit their particular theological tastes.

So, no, it's not new to mess about with the Word, but what is new (at least it seems to me) is the almost purely political nature of the CBP. They aren't seeking to change "rich" to "miserly" because they genuinely think Jesus thought hoarding earthly treasures was good (although I'm sure some of them probably do believe this, considering the whole Prosperity Gospel movement), but because these days the wealthy as an entire group are, in their mind, being wrongfully vilified, and Bible verses like Matthew 19:23-24 are misused by liberal Christians for purposes of class warfare and therefore need updating. They believe that "liberal" principles like mercy and forgiveness of evildoers (e.g. John 7:53-8:1 and Luke 23:34) are artificial insertions, taken wildly out of Biblical context by liberal Christians in order to support liberal policies, and therefore need expunging.

The Religious Right does, says, and believes many wacky things, but this has got to be among the wackiest.

* Though of course, only a minority regard it as the sole basis. :P
Tags: conservatism, religion
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