Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Conservative Bible?

Now, I don't have any problem with people reconfiguring the bible in ways that make sense of it for a modern age.  That's what new translations are all about.  Then there's the Cotton Patch version, which was designed to communicate to communities that might not have a broad world view.  And there are liberal/feminist versions. 

So, if Andy Schafly and the "Conservapedia" folks want to publish a "Conservative Bible," well more power to him.  But let's be honest here.  There are conservative translations out there.  The New King James Version is an update of the KJV, using the same texts as the original -- texts most scholars consider deficient.  Then there's the English Standard Version and the New American Standard Version.  They are translated by teams of conservative scholars.

But that's not what this is about.  This is an ideologically driven "translation."  Consider the principles involved here:

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 NIV 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";[5] 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 [comment:  I have no clue what is meant by this]

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."
A couple of comments --

1. The need to re-do the parables so they express "free market" principles is, well, laughable.

2.  I find it interesting that they pick up on the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-12).  The passage does not appear in many ancient manuscripts, so there are questions about whether it is original to the text, but most scholars do believe that the message of forgiveness -- and the statement "the one without sin cast the first stone" is true to Jesus' message.

3.  Another "liberal" passage that needs to be excluded is the statement from the cross in Luke 24:34:  "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."   There are textual questions about the passage, but again it is consistent with the message of Jesus.

My question here is this -- why reject passages that suggest forgiveness?  Obviously there is an ideologically driven effort here.  And, nothing here is being done as a result of careful scholarship.  It's not as if they're going back to the Greek or Hebrew, they're simply going to redo the KJV to make it sound as if it reflected the principles of the John Birch Society. 

My sense is that even Conservative Christians will reject this effort -- which has no theological rationale to it.  Conservatives condemn liberals for "messing with the Bible."  I think this is doing just what is often condemned!

For background check here --


roy said...


Anonymous said...

They condemn that which they do not understand.


Anonymous said...

Hi Rial!

Anyway… don’t let your knees jerk too hard. I actually found their pedia interesting, especially the “debate topics section”
Otherwise, it’s a way into their mind without being confrontational. Gotta love em’. oh, interesting vote on AOL at time of this-

Do you consider yourself religious?
Yes 70%
No 30%

What do you think of the idea of a ‘conservative’ Bible?
Thumbs down 81%
Thumbs up 19% David Mc

Tripp said...

wow. i can't wait to get my own copy!!!!