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woohooligan Jun 18, 2015
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Creflo Dollar cracks me up! We got to preach the gospel on Mars! I'm sure they'll welcome you with open arms, uncle moneybags. :P

Yes, I made the minister in the comic white, which is inaccurate, and may seem weird given that I made Jesus, Adam and Eve all black, but then I made Saint Peter white too, so... I guess the Bible isn't the only thing that's inaccurate.

It seems the logical question after hearing that the Bible can't be read literally would be, "why not?" Forget for a moment the great value in having a parable rather than a literal story and just consider the problems of translation. Despite many claims to the contrary there are a number of badly translated bible verses, such as "thou shalt not kill" which would more accurately be written "thou shalt not murder", allowing for self-defense and capital punishment, both of which were still considered acceptable under the Mosaic law described by the ten commandments.

Several popular bible translations include a passage in Corinthians which say "men who have sex with men" will not inherit the kingdom of God. Unfortunately, the Greek word that translation came from was "soft", which has had a variety of meanings over the years, mostly as an insult to men who did thinks like avoid work, wear perfume or >GASP!< love WOMEN too much! The horror! So if you were to read the Greek Septaugint that passage was translated from, you might get the impression that God was actually okay with gay men, as long as they were, testosterone-filled, MANLY GAY MEN! I guess that would be bad news for drag queens and good news for lumbersexuals. ;)

But if you're going to argue that the bible is inerrant or infallible, how do you square that with the way people interpret the bible, even when the translation from the original Aramaic is straightforward? Certainly one could argue that Creflo Dollar is deliberately short-changing his congregation because he's a "false prophet", whose interest is in money rather than anyone's salvation... but can you say that of every person who's ever disagreed about the meaning of a bible verse? The namesake of the Lutheran church, Martin Luther, used his interpretation of the Bible to support antisemitism, leading up to the Third Reich. Early American southerners believed that the Bible condoned slavery, since Mosaic law offered rules both for slaves and masters, and because the New Testament never describes Jesus specifically condemning slavery.

These are just a very small handful of examples of contention about the bible! There aren't just a few rabble-rousers who disagree about the meanings of various scriptures. Nearly every page of the Bible is a source of constant argument! Between people who both genuinely believe that God is on their side! Are we to believe that God really did think killing 42 kids for making fun of a bald guy was a fair punishment? Maybe not, but if not, then it's got to be some kind of allegory right? But where do you even begin trying to find the lesson? Sure, you cold say that the moral is "God is not to be mocked", but that's just one of how many possible explanations? No matter how clear you think that might be, or how devoted you are to that interpretation, the next person is undoubtedly going to have a different opinion.

What about teetotalism? Should we be eating bacon? Most Christians say sure, but many Jews still say no, and I'm not aware the New Testament ever overturned those parts of the Mosaic law. And certainly the fact that Ezekiel describes the breasts of prostitutes as "virgin bosoms" lends credence to the idea that the word "virgin" (as in "virgin Mary") should probably have been translated "young". I'm pretty sure their clients didn't think they were hiring virgins. ;)

Which brings us back to the original question: if people are by and large just going to misinterpret the Bible anyway, then why would God even bother preserving it?

It's true, the Bible as we know it didn't exist until the First Council of Nicea in the 4th century, about 300 years after the crucifixion and then the canon was officially closed another thousand years later at the Council of Trent. Old people today have a hard enough time understanding kids removed by only a generation or two: "in my day, we didn't have smart phones! They don't understand what it's like to have to go to the library for research!" Yet they somehow have a perfect bead on the lives of Jews who lived 2,000 years ago and the meaning of Elisha's killer bears! I think it's fair to assume that if God were preserving the Bible to tell us how to live our lives, we wouldn't be constantly arguing about its translation. ;)

Which brings us to SEX! This is one of those areas where I think the Bible is particularly unclear. Yes, the first book of Genesis does say "be fruitful and increase in number", and that passage occurs well before any mention of the fall of man... But then in the opening of Corinthians, the Apostle Paul says basically, "look, you should all just be celibate like me, but since you're a bunch of weak-willed pansies, you should just get married instead -- it's the next best thing to being a eunuch." And the Bible in general seems to be really fond of bashing people over the head for enjoying sex in one way or another. So from where I sit, I find it not surprising that I've heard people claim that God thinks ALL sex is evil, but that since it's necessary for procreation, we're allowed to have it just very occasionally for the specific purpose of having kids, and only if we refuse to enjoy it. Puritans anyone?! :D

But as the story of the Garden of Eden really sounds like a parable about reverse psychology to begin with, who's to say that's not also true of all those prohibitions against enjoying sex? Maybe he's only prohibited it so we'll enjoy it more!

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