Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I have no patience for fools who misuse the bible to support their own ignorance or bigotry. The miracle and wonder of the bible is not that it was faxed down from on high. It is the product of untold men and women writing, revising, editing, and ultimately creating one of the gems of ancient literature. It doesn't have to have been sprinkled with extra special angel dust to be a miracle; the true miracle is that words composed thousands of years ago in worlds alien to us are still a source of comfort, inspiration, and hope. Why does that fact seem less wondrous to the morons who insist that God Almighty handwrote each and every chapter and verse?
And then there are those who cull selective passages to back up their own hate. Whether it was the pro-slavery crowd in the nineteenth century, those apposed to women's liberation in the sixties and seventies, or those now who are fighting more inclusive attitudes towards gays, there's bits and pieces scattered around the Old Testament (usually) that can be used for support. In more primitive times the laws and scriptures had to be more strict. That doesn't mean there isn't room for revision.
This came home to me sitting in weekday Mass yesterday. The Gospel reading was Matthew, the admonition to "turn the other cheek." In it, Jesus specifically and explicitly references the Old Testament rule of "eye for an eye" and then he negates it and replaces it with his more forgiving example. I haven't yet searched through for other examples of an OT law countermanded by a NT version, but there must be others.
So, logically, doesn't that put paid to the idea that all statements are written in stone, so to speak? Especially those scattered throughout the OT that are clearly the product of a more censorious society and time. Jesus turned all those on their ear when he replied that everything boils down to two core principles: love God above all others and love neighbour as self.
Everything above and beyond that is the creation of man, and therefore subject to error, misinterpretation, and misuse. Let's stop pretending that there is firm substantiation in scripture to keep out or hate any group. Jesus reached out to groups that were not accepted in his time, why wouldn't we try and emulate that?