Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Before I get to today's post, I want to apologize for my prolonged absence from the blogosphere. I am in the midst of a cross-continental move, and therefore have been so busy putting off packing that I neglected WTFWJD? and it's loyal readers. I should also note that the next month or so will likely be pretty sparse in terms of posts, but I promise not to ignore you for three weeks again. That's just lame.
Anyway, on to this awesome video:
Bored of trying to convert heathens with flawed logic and scare tactics, blowing up abortion clinics, and judging the living and the dead, it seems that some Christians have moved on to attacking the NIV Bible. I find this to be more disturbing than the other kinds behavior I just mentioned, because it displays a progression of intolerance from "the Bible is 100% factually correct about everything" to "only certain versions of the Bible are 100% correct about everything, and the rest are blasphemous." This is cause for concern.
The Bible is a collection of books written over a vast period of time in several different languages, none of which exist in the same form today. As such, it is impossible to translate into English in a way that is both completely accurate and readable. I don't envy any translator faced with that task. That said, I like the NIV (obviously, as it's the translation I use here. Don't tell the Catholics), because it is a decent combination of accurate translation and English readability. Any inaccuracies, which every translation will undoubtedly have, are the product of human fallibility, not active aggression toward the original text.
This presents yet another reason why strict adherence to Scripture is not a practical way of realizing one's faith. The Scripture is now and has always been, regardless of what some might think, pretty malleable. It has been changed and added to over the years in ways that far outstrip any minor inaccuracies a particular translation may have. Believing that it is the literal word of God means believing that the literal word of God has changed significantly, even since the first couple hundred years of Christianity.
One wonders, then, what is particularly Christian about throwing a Bible into a barbecue when there are hungry people who need feeding, sick people who need healing, and violence that needs to be stopped.
Matthew 25:34-40 says:
Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'The message of that passage, in every translation of the Bible, is essentially the same. Perhaps it would be wise for those who spend their time bickering over semantics to remember that. WTFWJD?
Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'