Archive for June 21, 2010

Holey Bible vs. Holy Bible

   Here’s a comment you’re not likely to hear around the water cooler:  Let’s talk some more about the Good Book.  I’ll walk you back to the last “Advice” blog where you were introduced to Getting Acquainted with the Bible, by Martin Hegland, which I discovered tucked away in my collection a few weeks ago.    

That same session of letting my fingers do some walking across dusty basement bookshelves turned up another interesting title, The Jefferson Bible.  I had given this (according to a reviewer) “odd and fascinating document” to my father in the 90s because, at a glance, it sounded like good fodder for discussion.  Reading the cover flap and the introduction today has left me stunned and distressed.   

I should first say that in my teens and twenties I was surrounded by religious skeptics.  In my college years I allowed myself to be caught up in that net of human arrogance which insists that everything worth grasping is entirely explainable in a tangible way, so I understand the defensive reflexes by which agnostics scoff at the notion of Divine Mysteries knowable only to a Creator God and at the concept of unseeable forces moving among us, influencing our hearts and minds.  And by definition an atheist will reject the very possibility that the Bible is the true Word of God. 

This I accept.  But I can’t make sense of professed Christians’ failure to comprehend that a God capable of Creation – think of it:  by the sheer power of His Word, in a mere six days, the spinning, out of nothingness, of the full fabric of existence; of material entities of every nature, from the one-celled amoeba resting on the ocean’s floor to the supervolcanoes of Yellowstone and North Sumatra – is equally capable of inspiring and preserving His Words of instruction for mankind.  That I find baffling. 

When news drifts about of church bodies setting aside those portions of scripture that might cause squirming in the pews, I am flabbergasted.  Once we have carved away all the “outdated” bits, which portions shall we then believe?  Can any of what’s left be Truth if the excised chunks are discardable at whim? 

Any section of the New Testament which troubled Thomas Jefferson apparently received just such treatment in his redacted version the story of Christ’s life.  The publisher notes, in an alarming case of situational irony, that Jefferson (more…)

June 21, 2010 at 4:04 pm 1 comment

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