"I am God and wrote this here Bible book on my day off from hurling celestial bodies about the firmament. It's Sumerian fan-fiction.
But yeah, it hasn't changed much since I wrote it.
I love the internet.
So does it matter if the text of the Bible is "accurate" if it was inaccurate in the first place? Prolly not.
<obscure>Dedicated to my darling Candy?
a cynic writes...
January 24th, 2006
I don't know if you're serious, but I'll give it a shot.
There's a branch of American Evangelical Christianity (many different labels) that finds comfort in the idea that the Bible is "inerrant". Central to this idea is that every word is "God breathed" (into the ear of an inspired prophet, or Moses himself for some books) and that then every word has been preserved down through the ages.
For them, it is the LITERAL 'Word Of God', which if only they understood or memorized every word, would lead them to a life of connection to God.
Unfortunately, "Inerrancy" became an issue in the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1970's, and was used by conservative Baptists to control the membership of the SBC seminarys. Thus, every SBC seminary became very religiously conservative, and taught a student body the same. "Inerrancy" continues to be a corner-stone of this approach, and many conservative evangelical Christian denominations believe that these days.
Unfortunately, their idea of "inerrancy" departs quite quickly from the literal Bible text. As a result, the Bible "inerrantly" says what THEY interpret it to say. Thus they say it's 7 (well, 6) literal 24-hour days that it took God to create the universe. Somehow, this also translates to a "young Earth" (60,000 years old?) -- though that's nowhere in the Bible.
You raise a very good point, though. There's little evidence in the Bible that it was intended to BE "The Word Of God". Instead it looks like the first 5 books of Moses were intended to be a record of how the Jewish people came to be, why they believe as they do, what the laws are they are to follow, and why they are to follow them. The Genesis Creation Myth looks like it could have been written to explain why the 7th day should be taken as holy, not as a literal explanation of how God formed the Universe. Other historical documents from that time include similar creation myths.
Even the letters of the New Testament look like they were written NOT to be the imperishible God-Given Truth, but instead were letters of guidance given by Paul, Peter, etc. to practitioners in the early church. None of the 4 Gospels was written during Jesus life. Some of them were clearly written to play up the "miraculous" aspect of Jesus life to inspire early believers.
However, for the Religious Conservative demagogues of today, who wish to believe in a single interpretation of the Bible, and then use that interpretation to control the rest of the nation, it is critically important that the entire Bible BE the Word Of God (as interpreted by them), inerrant, imperishible, the literal truth.
That's why it's important.
Personally I feel that the Bible was created by fallable man, handed down through the ages by fallable men, the books in it chosen by fallable men, and interpreted by other fallable men. And it is read by a fallable man (myself). Whether the words have changed in thousands of years is un-important. In fact, the King James version didn't exist until the 1600's, the New American Version was completed in the 1950's. Sure, they try to be "true to the text", but you shouldn't pretend they "ARE the text". (Though some SBC Baptists I know insist the King James is the only God-inspired one).
January 24th, 2006