Thursday, December 3, 2009

God Takes Care of Children and Fools

This is so silly:

The Gospel of Luke records that, as he was dying on the cross, Jesus showed his boundless mercy by praying for his killers this way: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

Not so fast, say contributors to the Conservative Bible Project.

The project, an online effort to create a Bible suitable for contemporary conservative sensibilities, claims Jesus' quote is a disputed addition abetted by liberal biblical scholars, even if it appears in some form in almost every translation of the Bible.

The project's authors argue that contemporary scholars have inserted liberal views and ahistorical passages into the Bible, turning Jesus into little more than a well-meaning social worker with a store of watered-down platitudes.

I've sometimes wondered if Conservatism was being fueled by Fundamentalism. But this indicates that (in some cases, at least) it's the other way around: Fundamentalism is being fueled by Conservatism. In other words, conservative politics don't always come from religion, sometimes religion is hijacked and altered to suit the needs of conservative politics. The article continues:

Contributors to the project aren't arguing on ideological grounds alone. The discussion forum on the site is full of discourse on Greek grammar, along with arguments long familiar to Biblical scholars about the history of certain passages.

Take the famous passage from Luke: the Conservative Bible Project omits it not only because it's "a favorite of liberals," but because there's some dispute over its authenticity, based on the manuscripts it appears in.

Professor Timothy Paul Jones said while some early Greek manuscripts omit Jesus' words, others include them.

"There are so many factors to consider when looking at that, but here it gets boiled down to 'liberals put it in,'" he said. "You've got people who are doing this who have probably never looked at an actual ancient manuscript."

Amen to that. The project is very transparent: It's a bunch of dogmatic conservative self-declared-expert idiots using the bible as means to an end for their ideology. Moving on:

The Bible's roots in a dizzying variety of ancient manuscripts require a lifetime of dedication to master, said the Rev. Frank Matera, a professor at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and a former president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America.
"There's a little Italian proverb, 'Every translator is a traitor,'" Matera said. "Most Bible translations are usually done by a group of scholars, precisely so they can balance out each other. It's not something that everybody can do."

Exactly. Where do these people get off thinking that their amateur bible knowledge is sufficient to do something that takes a team of experts who have studied the stuff for decades?

I'm glad that people like Matera and Jones are taking a stand against this stuff. Timothy Paul Jones is someone I confess to having a guarded admiration for. His book, Conspiracies and the Cross, is excellent. In a very conversational tone, Jones explains why so many popular folk theories about Jesus (that he married Mary Magdalene, for example) are just dead wrong. It is truly a great skeptical work. His reasoning throughout the book is, with few exceptions, spot on. Anyway, I just wanted to mention that. Stay Rational, folks.


Steven Carr said...

That verse is missing from the earliest manuscript of Luke's Gospel. Not 'some early' - the earliest.

Nice to see conservatives claiming the text was corrupted by scribal changes.

CurshDude said...

Jesus' statement does not mean GOD forgave them. As a matter of fact, a "fool" described and condemned in many places throughout the Bible. The only exception is children.

It is impossible to dispute the fact that children are foolish. Not only is this a biblical sound fact. But easily proven in all areas of the world. Anyone can fool a child because of their "lack of" knowing a lot of things. So they are not wise.

That said. For the sake of argument, we can state that a child is a fool. Now, since a fool is someone who can easily be misled, they are likely to be drawn towards foolish things. So if you want to recognize the things in this world that are likely unhealthy and/or bad, then just look to the children. The exception of course would be children that are protected by wise parents. But many children are not because they have foolish parents. And those foolish parents will mislead children. This is often seen in the form of popular culture. It is filled with garbage designed to embrace and nurture the foolishness of people for the sake of maximizing monetary profit.