I'm Glad That's Not in My Bible!

There are some pretty wacky things in the Bible. That's why I'm glad that my Church teaches that "we believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly."

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The other night we were reading about the exploits of the steroidally strong Samson in the Old Testament. He fell in love with some floozy from another country, and she got him to reveal a secret, which ultimately ticked him off as only Samson could be ticked off. In the last verse of Judges chapter 14 he dumps his wife out of spite. And you know... That's the first time in my entire life that I realized that before the tart named Delilah came along, there was another bimbo.

And how are these stories of a muscular, oversexed monster supposed to be spiritually uplifting?

In his book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins points out some the more bizarre entries in the Old Testament. Dawkins chortles:
To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents...

But unfortunately, it is this weird volume that religious zealots hold up as the inerrant source of our morals and rules for living.
In a big way, I can't blame Richard Dawkins for being an atheist, he having lived under the foot of the dogmatic, overwhelmingly improbable tenets of apostate Christendom. In a bigger way, I think that Article of Faith number 8 of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is looking pretty prescient these many years later.
We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
The superstitions and escapades of Moses's Israelites at Mount Sinai make it hard to imagine that the smoke-belching and lightning-bolt-wielding Jehovah of the Old Testament is one and the same character as the mild-mannered Jesus of the New Testament. The goings on at the foot of Sinai seem much more suited to the fantasies of an author of Greek or Roman mythology than to the spiritual teachings of prophet of God.

Remember Lot, who, with most of his family--except for his pillar-of-salt wife--escaped the ravages of Sodom and Gomorrah? It turns out, if we are to believe our current Bibles, that Lot partook of the ravages of the sister cities before his flight. When confronted with a group of men who targeted some of his guests for their homosexual conquests, Lot offered his daughters up to the men to be raped instead. Huh?

I'm suspecting that something got translated incorrectly in there somewhere...

Have you ever heard of Jephthah? As a great military leader, Jephthah prayed to God for victory over the Ammonites. As a covenant to God, Jephthah promised that, following victory:
whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.
To his utter misfortune, his daughter, who happened to be his only child, was the first living thing to meet him upon his return from battle. What then happened? The respectable Jephthah did what any respectable Christian military leader would do--he murdered his daughter. It's right there in your Bible--and it's not the only Biblical instance of human sacrifice carried out to success.

What would God want us to learn from Jephthah's experience? Well, I certainly hope that it is that the Bible is not translated correctly. He wants us to learn that, during the large periods of time where no person on earth thought that God would speak to man, stories and teachings just might have crept into the canon that are not divinely inspired or otherwise spiritually enlightening.

God is not a fire-breathing, vengeful God. Yet this is the very "god" whose image millions of zealous Christian missionaries (including, I'm sure, several Latter-day Saints) worship in their quests for eternal salvation.

No. God is actually a loving God. His "yoke is easy, and [His] burden is light". But you wouldn't garner that insight if you took some portions of the Bible to be the infallible truth. Hard as it may be to believe, the mild Messiah in the meridian of time is the same gentle Jehovah of the Old Testament. How critical is it that this salient fact got lost in translation over the centuries? Look at the world around you.

One of the greatest contributions of Mormonism has been to point out one of the most important facts that would otherwise have gone unknown--and that still seems to shape political Christian Jihad--that God does not hate.

Unfortunately, it may yet take a long while for Christendom to get over its false traditions and pre-conceived notions in this regard. How pitiful is the vengeful but false banner under which, to this day, many Christians rally to their supposed god. How sad it will be for many Christians, having rallied for this spiteful mess of pottage, when they hear the words, "Ye never knew me."



Comments

  1. With all due respect, I've always thought that article of faith was the easy cop-out when Mormons didn't like a certain piece of ancient scripture. Who decides which is and which isn't translated correctly? Don't you end up just having to throw the whole thing out?

    I like the altruistic tone of your post, but I'm afraid most Mormons I know don't embrace the same feeling. The forwarded emails I get from friends and family in Utah contain unbelievable hate and anger towards our current president, towards muslims, towards blacks and other people of color, and toward anyone who has a liberal political viewpoint. That's the Christendom I know.

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  2. I wish my apology on behalf of Mormons who hate President Obama, Muslims, blacks, etc. would do any good. But I am sorry that they do. It is wrong. I don't agree with President Obama on many issues, but I do respect him, and I do agree with him on some things. To illustrate my feelings, I am of the opinion that Rep. Joe Wilson, who yelled "You lie!" at the President's recent health care speech was completely lacking in decorum, and if there isn't a House Rule to ban people from Congress for such unconscionable outbursts, there should be.

    To answer your belief that Article of Faith 8 is a cop-out, I think that modern-day revelation (in conjunction with common sense in instances such as the ones I've discussed in the main article, helps us to understand which of the Bible is translated correctly. For example, some people think that Noah's flood could never have happened, but the LDS Pearl of Great Price "confirms" that it actually did.

    When it comes right down to it, though, everyone should be free to believe what they will, and no one (most of all, Mormons, in my opinion) should ever feel a clear conscience by belittling people who feel differently.

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  3. So how does the Joseph Smith Translation of the bible fit in to this?

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  4. LOL.. Have you read much Mormon doctrine or history???...LOL

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  5. Ron and Jessica: I don't know for sure, but I think there were large swaths of the Old Testament that Joseph Smith didn't re-translate.

    TheBlog: Yes, quite a bit. Why do you ask? And what's with the LOL? Maybe that I'm not as expert as you in Mormon doctrine or history?

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  6. Greetings from Kolob....

    http://biblefacts.org/cult/mormon.html

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  7. I have no words for your work appreciations. Your writing skill is excellent and it attracts me a lot for coming again and again. You have sea of knowledge. My all queries regarding this subject have satisfied by reading your blog and I was looking such intellectual information for long time.

    ReplyDelete

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