Monday, October 12, 2009

Is the Bible conservative enough?

Andrew Schlafly, the right-wing pundit behind the utterly objectionable resource for retards, Conservapedia, is at it again - leading his most deranged crusade to date.

This fundamentalist Christian has launched a crusade to reclaim the Bible - by destroying what he claims is a clear 'liberal bias' in modern Biblical translations.

"Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations," Schlafly argues on The Conservative Bible Project.

With the assistance of a team of self-appointed Biblical scholars (a very loosely defined term) the Conservative Bible Project will help create a modern translation of the Bible following these ten guidelines:
  1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
  2. Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity
  3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the New International Version is written at only the 7th grade level.
  4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop; defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".
  5. Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as "gamble" rather than "cast lots"; using modern political terms, such as "register" rather than "enroll" for the census
  6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of hell or the devil.
  7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
  8. Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story
  9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open mindedness often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels
  10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God."
Yes, that's right. These jackasses are going to rewrite the Bible because it's too liberal.

The Bible - the document the conservative far right have historically used to justify segregation, homophobia and the death penalty - apparently isn't 'right wing' enough. Are they kidding?

Just listen to some of this rubbish: They want to eliminate 'socialist' language from the Bible! They want to chop out stories like The Adulteress ("Let he who is without sin cast the first stone") because it's 'inauthentic' (and, coincidentally, condemns the death penalty.)

Most stupidly of all, they want to make sure all of Jesus' economic parables fit in with the theory of the free market!

Cute - they want to eliminate mention of an economic concept that originated sixteen hundred years after the Bible was written - a term coined by René-Louis de Voyer de Paulmy, marquis d' Argenson, when he touted his 'laissez faire' economic policy.

It's frankly pathetic and risible.

Consider that the translation of the Bible they most strongly object to - the New International Version written between 1965 and 1975 - was painstakingly translated over the course of a decade, from the original Biblia Hebraica Masoretic Hebrew Text, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, the Latin Vulgate, the Syriac Peshitta, the Aramaic Targums, and for the Psalms the Juxta Hebraica of Jerome. The New Testament was derived from 1514's Novum Testamentum Graece.

It took a team from the Christian Reformed Church, the National Association of Evangelicals, and a group of international scholars, ten years to produce the painstakingly translated manuscript.

In contrast, the Conservative Bible Project have given themselves a timeline of three months - just over ninety days - to create their new translation. Instead of the reams of contemporary documentation the NIV scholars used, they'll base their translation almost entirely on the King James Version of the Bible, translated in 1611 by the Church of England (which Schlafly admits was chosen because they can 'translate it' without "requiring a license or any fees.")

As a historian, it's utterly offensive to me. They're totally unqualified. They're approaching their mission from a position of utter bias. They have no academic, historical or theological authority to give their project even the remotest whiff of credibility.

All these idiots are really doing is taking what the King James Bible says and changing it to suit their political and social values. They really ought to be honest with themselves and admit that.


Coffee Bean said...

This is not a new thing Roland. There are so many different translations and many Christians hold to different translations for different reasons.

On my shelf here I have the King James, the New King James, Today's New International Bible, The Living Bible, the International Inductive Study Bible, and The NIV Study Bible.

On the same shelf I also have a Book of Mormon and some Jehovah's Witness literature. LOL!

The two bibles I use the most are the New King James version and the NIV Study Bible. I like to look at passages in the Living Bible when I'm writing something on a child's level.

Years ago I attended a women's study where one of the women had a translation I hadn't heard of... I forget what it was called but it was written with American slang thrown in. We would howl with laughter when she read passages from her bible... Jesus calling people stupid idiots and such.

I wouldn't worry too much about this group and their translation.

Roland Hulme said...

Ha ha! Way to put things into perspective, CB! Yeah, you're right. These jackasses can do this if they want to. It's not like anybody's going to take them seriously.

As always, thanks for the perspective!

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