Come the Theocracy, Whose Bible Will Rule?
jhutson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Dec 30, 2005 at 09:04:20 PM EST
Those who envision America as a Christian nation ruled by "Biblical civil law" artfully tiptoe around questions that present wedge issues -- questions that, if answered frankly, would split off key Christian groups from dominionists' base of potential supporters.  The Chalcedon Foundation, a leading theocratic think tank, states in its Credo, "we believe that the Christian state should enforce Biblical civil law." But that begs some serious questions, which, if the Chalcedon Foundation were to answer them frankly, would fracture the fragile political coalition of Christian conservatives. True, this coalition is powerful; nevertheless, it is fragile. This coalition is fragile because it is theologically incoherent, and some of its major fault lines center on the notion of what "Biblical civil law" really means. In fact, splitting off from fellow Christians becomes a mandate for any group that insists that its particular version of the Bible is the only complete and perfect Bible, which must not be added to or diminished in any way. But the fact is, key groups of conservative Christians hold in their hands different Bibles, with different books counted as sacred scripture. Catholics count 77 books as sacred; Protestants traditionally count 11 fewer books; Mormons revere the Old and New Testaments, but add on the Book of Mormon. Who is right, and who decides what constitutes Biblical law when major constituent groups can't even decide what constitutes a Bible?

Knowledge of the sloppy seam work that holds the fragile coalition of Christian conservatives barely stitched together is key for every liberal Christian, every person of faith, every agnostic or atheist -- in short, everyone committed to reclaiming American citizenship, history, and democracy. The stitches begin to loosen as soon as you begin asking fundamentalists the most fundamental questions.

For example, what does it mean to be a Christian? Who decides what the criteria are, and on what basis? And for those who are planning for an America where all of family life, society, and government is based solely on the Bible as the complete and inerrant Word of God, then which Bible are we talking about? Can you be a Christian if you favor a different translation of scriptures than a Protestant version preferred by the Chalcedon Foundation? Can you be a Christian if your Bible is bigger than the Protestant one? For that matter, does Chalcedon even have a translation preference, and if so, how do they defend it against all comers? And if they don't defend their preferred translation as the pure and complete Word of God, then how can they know when they've correctly applied Biblical law? Is it just a matter of opinion?

The Chalcedon Foundation thinks it has some answers to all of these questions. For example, Chalcedon's Communications Director, Chris Ortiz, insists that Christians must believe in the "veracity" of Scripture. He made that clear on December 23, 2005, when he posted a response to my "Adventures of Lamby the Liberal" on Chalcedon's blog. Ortiz writes:

Can a person be theologically liberal and still be a Christian? That is where the debate lies. To a biblically conservative Christian it appears oxymoronic to doubt the veracity of the Scriptures and yet claim a genuine belief in the Christian faith -- which is based upon the Bible. Like it or not, that's how we see it. Does that mean that Mr. Huston [sic] is not a Christian? I don't know. I can only say that IF he doubts the truth of the Bible, then he appears oxymoronic.

In an earlier post on December 12, 2005, Ortiz took Rev. Bruce Prescott (Mainstream Baptist) to task for debunking the unbiblical notion of "inerrancy." Ortiz wrote:

"[Frederick] Clarkson refers to Prescott as a "serious Christian whose view of Christianity happens to be different than that of Rev. Ortiz." Fred, what in the world is a serious Christian? You'd think it would be someone who actually believed the Bible. Well, Prescott denies the veracity of the Christians holy text, and labors to convert others away from such biblical confidence.

Now these references to scriptural "veracity" and its related concept of biblical "inerrancy" --  where do they come from, and what do they mean? Well, they don't come from my Bible (or yours -- the words don't appear in any Bible, no matter which version you are using). If you want to say that "veracity" means truth, I can agree with Brother Ortiz that scriptures present truth. But the Bible does not insist that Christians believe that the Bible is "inerrant" -- in other words, the Bible itself does not claim that it is 100 percent free of factual errors or personal opinions. People whose interpretation of sacred scripture leads them to adopt a (non-biblical) doctrine of inerrancy insist that their particular, preferred translation of ancient and sacred Hebrew and Greek texts is the complete and error-free Word of God. But belief in such a non-biblical doctrine does not define who is a Christian; rather, such a belief is just bibliolatry -- worship of one's preferred translation of the Bible, rather than worship of God. Further, such a narrow and rigid viewpoint could deeply offend potential supporters of dominionism, including Catholics and Mormons, two Christian groups whose view of sacred texts expands far beyond the traditional Protestant canon of 66 books .

The word Bible comes from the Greek biblia, or "the books." But which books are the sacred and canonical ones? Catholic editions of the Bible contain 77 books, but Protestant copies usually lack several of these books (including Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, and First and Second Maccabees). Protestant Bibles also lack parts of two books (Esther 10:4-16:24, and Daniel 3:24-90; 13:1-14:42) which are not found in the Jewish editions of the Old Testament. So, according to Chalcedon, does Christianity include Catholics, who do not view the King James Version, the new King James Version, or any other Protestant Bible, as the final and complete Word of God?

How about Mormons? Mormons revere the Old Testament and the New Testament, but also regard the Book of Mormon as sacred. The Book of Mormon makes clear that, from a Mormon perspective, the Protestant canon is not the only inspired Word of God. The word "Bible" appears 11 times in the Book of Mormon, all in this passage right here (count 'em):

"And because my words shall hiss forth -- many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible. But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles? Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews? Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever. Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. " (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 29: 3-10)

That sounds like unto an open-handed fool-slap, yea, in the manner of Ike Turner, to all who believe in a perfect and complete Protestant Bible. (Trow ye not that TWELVE references to a Bible would be a more biblical number? Verily, like unto the twelve tribes of Israel, twelve apostles, dozen Krispy Kremes, and other blessed items.)

But we kid the Mormons, because we love the Mormons -- and recognize them as fellow Christians. Even though, strictly speaking, they don't seem to fit with how our brothers at Chalcedon define Christianity.

And now back to kidding Chalcedon. If what it takes to be a Christian is belief in Biblical inerrancy, then Saint Paul was not a Christian. Say again? Well, if belief in  the "veracity" of Scriptures and biblical inerrancy is absolutely, positively required to be a Christian, then none of the Apostles and none of the First Century followers of Jesus would qualify, and why? Because "the Bible" -- as many Protestants today define the term -- did not exist in the First Century.

In the time of Jesus, his followers understood "the Scriptures" to mean the Hebrew Bible -- commonly called the Old Testament. That's what is referred to when Jesus appeared to his followers in the Gospel According to Luke, 24:32: "They asked each other, 'Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?'" Whenever Jesus cited "the Scriptures," he quoted from the sacred texts  of Israel.

After Jesus completed his time on earth, the Apostle Paul still did not have a Christian Bible in his hand -- because the Bible as Protestants understand it today did not exist. So to what "holy Scriptures" did Paul refer to when he mentored Timothy? We know for sure that Paul had learned the Hebrew scriptures at the feet of Gamaliel. But there was no King James Version; there wasn't even a complete canon of Greek texts. So when Paul instructed Timothy that "all Scripture" is inspired (from the Greek for "God-breathed"), what did he mean? Whatever Paul meant, he clearly did not have in mind the King James Version, because it didn't exist! No, Paul points Timothy to the Scriptures that were known in the First Century -- the ones that Timothy had known since his childhood.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

Let's suppose, however, that in addition to Hebrew Scriptures, Paul is also referring to the letters that he wrote to churches. Now, does Paul claim to be "inerrant" in writing these letters? No. The word "inerrancy" does not appear anywhere in the Catholic Bible, the Protestant Bible, or the Book of Mormon for that matter.  

Apostle Paul: 'I say this (I, not the Lord)'

Was Paul a good Christian? I believe he was. Yet he did not have a copy of the New Testament. So being a Christian is not about believing the "veracity" and "inerrancy" of the Bible (whether one defines the Bible as a Protestant version, a Catholic version, or a Mormon version). And plenty of Christians read a Bible in church on Sundays, preach from it, and believe that the Bible is "useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness," but don't believe in the (non-biblical) notion of "inerrancy".

If Paul did not define Christianity for himself as a belief in the "inerrancy" of the New Testament (which didn't yet exist) then what made Paul a Christian? Paul was a Christian because he confessed "Jesus is Lord" (rather than proclaiming "Caesar is Lord," as the Romans would have preferred for him to say). And Paul didn't claim infallibility for himself. Rather, he claimed that he was a fallible human working it out as he went along. For example, see I Corinthians 7, and note especially verses 12 and 25. Here Paul says he has no Word of the Lord on certain matters, but gives his own personal opinion and offers his own judgment instead. But what was he working out? Paul was working out the implications of his understanding of a crucified Jesus as God's resurrected Messiah. Here specifically, Paul was working out questions about celibacy. Because of his submission to the lordship of Messiah Jesus, he was a Christian, not because of any theological view he held about any particular Scriptures. And he stated up front that on certain matters, he was just giving his opinion: "I say this (I, not the Lord)," Paul states in verse 7.

Was Paul's opinion wise? I'm sure it was. Was it inerrant? Paul made clear that he didn't believe his personal opinions were inerrant. So worshipping Paul's writing as if it were completely error-free and opinion-free is setting up a false idol; it's bibliolatry.

The key question that Jesus' ministry poses is not, Do others hold the right beliefs about the Bible? No. The key question posed by the ministry of Jesus is, Given that God reigns, how then shall I live?

Now Brother Ortiz, as a matter of common courtesy, may define what he means when he chooses to call himself a conservative Christian; if he chooses to define that in terms of a narrow, rigid test of orthodoxy, then I will respect his right to do so. And I will recognize his claim to be a Christian, even though he and I disagree. However, I won't allow him to define what I mean by the term liberal Christian, and by that I mean someone who recognizes and tolerates the ideas of others, even those with whom he or she does not necessarily agree.

To be a Christian is to follow the teachings and example of Jesus, and to be engaged in working out what that means for one's own life. Beyond that, any narrow, rigid tests that would exclude fellowship to groups of fellow believers are pointless -- like staring at the hole, and forgetting the Krispy Kreme.

When theocrats call for a society based on Biblical law, they expose themselves to a wedge issue with enormous political and social implications. One cannot implement Biblical law without a Bible. But Catholics and Mormons and Protestants cannot agree on what constitutes the pure and complete and error-free Word of God, since they hold in their hands very different Bibles. So who's to say which Bible is the right one? Who's to say who is a Christian, and who is not? How can conservative Christians continue to insist that the Bible is inerrant, when the Apostle Paul actually claims that his writing contains some personal opinions on celibacy that did not come from the Lord? If Protestant theocrats fail to frankly answer such questions, including the question of whether Catholics and Mormons are fellow Christians (as, in our view, they plainly are), maybe it's not because they can't decide. Maybe it's because they're tiptoeing blindfolded on a serious fault line and hoping that no one points out the obvious. Because once the fundamentalists are forced to answer such fundamental questions, they will set off a tremor that will crumble their powerful but fragile political coalition.


Chalcedon Communications Director Chris Ortiz posted an ill-aimed retort on his blog, dated December 23, 2005, and titled, "Let's Try This One More Time, Mr. Huston". Ortiz writes:
"Jonathan Huston [sic] of Talk2Action has lobbed another mortar round at Chalcedon. He takes issue with my explanation of how my audience understands the description 'liberal Christian.' He does so because he did not take kindly to my referring to 'liberal Christians' as oxymoronic."

Nay, Gentle Brother Ortiz, I did not lob any mortar rounds at Chalcedon. Rather, I recognized you all as fellow Christians, although we disagree. If the earth trembled beneath your feet, then be not afraid, it was more likely the force of logic, or the power of love, or both. I merely explained my choice to call myself a liberal Christian, and what that means to me. And I would argue for the right of people, as a matter of common courtesy, to choose how they should like to be called.

Now, speaking of chosen names, when I call myself "Jonathan Hutson," I mean to say myself; when I speak of John Huston, I mean the director of "Prizzi's Honor," "The Man Who Would Be King," "The Maltese Falcon," and "The Bible." But no, I don't know which Bible Mr. Huston meant when he referred to "The Bible." Maybe he meant one of those newfangled translations, like the New International Version, or the Revised Standard Version, or the American Version. Maybe he meant the Catholic Bible -- the extended Director's Cut Edition, with eleven sacred books that had to be edited out of the Protestant "wide release," because there just wasn't time for an apocryphal intermission break. In any case, I'm willing to extend grace to Mr. Huston; any man who could direct both "The Bible" and "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" must be considered inspired.

When it comes to spelling my name, I am inerrant; Brother Ortiz, apparently, is a liberal.

by jhutson on Fri Dec 30, 2005 at 09:15:24 PM EST

That's a lot more than I want to read, but in regard to the Chalcedon Foundation's desire to enforce biblical civil law - Would they forbid
the blind, the lame, dwarfs, people with flat noses or damaged testicles, etc. from approaching the altar of bibleGod (per Genesis 21:16-23)?

Who would check the comunicants for those flaws?

by Lonex on Fri Dec 30, 2005 at 09:48:05 PM EST

The Christian bible was not compiled until the 4th century after the Council of Nicea. The council was called by Emperor Constantine in 325 CE to stop the continuous bickering of Christian bishops. More than 300 bishops attended. The main contention had to do with the divinity of Jesus. Bishop Arius leaned toward the Gnostic views that had been preached by Apostles Thomas and Andrew. Bishop Athanasius followed the writings of Paul.
The dispute went on for days. Athanasius won, and Arius was excommunicated along with some of his supporters. Constantine declared the Christianity (espoused by Athansius) to be the State religion of the Holy Roman Empire

In compiling the New Testament, many scriptural fragments were examined.  Those from Apostles Andrew & Thomas, Mary Magdalene, and the gospel of Peter, were discarded as being "non-canonical".  Of the 12 Apostles, only Matthew and John's writings were selected for the gospels. (Mark and Luke were not among the 12 - they were followers of Paul.)

In 1945, a bundle of  ancient documents was found wrapped in goatskin in the desert near Nag Hammadi, Egypt. They are copies of the writings of Andrew, Thomas, Mary Magdalene, et al, and had been buried by Gnostic monks when Christianity was being enforced throughout the Roman Empire. You can find them under the "Nag Hammadi Library".
They're the equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls for the New Testament.

Oh... then St. Jerome translated the scriptures (selected by Constantine's bishops) into Latin around the 5th century. THAT was the official scripture of the Christians for the next thousand years, BUT Laymen were not allowed to possess, or read, the bible for many centuries. It was among the crimes listed in the Inquisitions. They knew only what the priests chose to tell them.

Is it any wonder that the dispute continues, more than 1500 yrs now?

by Lonex on Fri Dec 30, 2005 at 11:37:16 PM EST

Lonex makes some powerful points: not only does the Bible not claim to be inerrant, but Christians cannot agree on what constitutes the Bible, or whose interpretation of what constitutes holy writ should be considered definitive and authoritative. And yes, the dispute continues on, from the Council of Nicea into the present day.

Currently, there are more than 60 English language versions of the Bible and the New Testament in print. More translations will be added as the years roll on. For those who would like more detail on the history and development of English language versions, see So Many Versions by Sakae Kubo and Walter Specht (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983).

by jhutson on Sat Dec 31, 2005 at 12:08:57 AM EST
Bart Ehrman's 'Misquoting Jesus'  [December 14, 2005]

Scholar Bart Ehrman's new book explores how scribes -- through both omission and intention -- changed the Bible. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why is the result of years of reading the texts in their original languages.

Ehrman says the modern Bible was shaped by mistakes and intentional alterations that were made by early scribes who copied the texts. In the introduction to Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman writes that when he came to understand this process 30 years ago, it shifted his way of thinking about the Bible. He had been raised as an Evangelical Christian.

Ehrman is also the author of Lost Christianities: The Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, which chronicles the period before Christianity as we know it, when conflicting ideas about the religion were fighting for prominence in the second and third centuries.

The chairman of the religious studies department at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Ehrman also edited a collection of the early non-canonical texts from the first centuries after Christ, called Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament.

by Bruce Wilson on Sat Dec 31, 2005 at 12:16:11 PM EST
I've touched upon this in a more modern aspect (in regards to the New International Version and how inaccurate scripts were occasionally used to the exclusion of the Hebrew and Aramaic versions because it fit fundamentalist agendas better) but this is also useful to show that the Bible has been, shall we say, a "work in progress".

The "dropped books" have always been a subject of curiosity and fascination with me, starting with how the Apocrypha was dropped and later dating from other books--one of my big questions (and one which got me into quite a lot of trouble as a kid!) was "Why aren't those books in our bible but they are in the Catholic one?"

I was at first told that the Catholics "added all that stuff in and it really wasn't in the Bible".

When I found out that all that stuff originally WAS in the Bible, I asked again, "Why don't we have the Apocrypha in our bible?"  (Ah, yes, I was quite a questioning person at the age of thirteen or fourteen :3)

I was then told "Well, those aren't really the word of God."

My innocent question after that: "But how do you KNOW that?  I mean, some of them are in the JEWISH Macabees, that's what they base HANNUKAH off of, and Messianic Jews use the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament..."

Upon which I was told that I really shouldn't question such things. :P  Nobody really ever gave me a good answer to "How do you KNOW they're not the Word of God like the rest of the Bible is" other than "I told you so".

by dogemperor on Sat Dec 31, 2005 at 12:57:24 PM EST

What a terrific post. I learned a great deal from it.

by pattyp on Sat Dec 31, 2005 at 08:47:06 AM EST

First off, excellent article as always.

Secondly, I can pretty much note that not only is the "approved Bible" likely to not only be the Protestant bible, but specific approved translations.

There are a number of both pentecostal and "independent Baptist" churches affiliated with the dominionist movement that are "King James Only"--that the King James version of the Bible used in Protestant churches (of 66 books) is the only accurate translation.

(There are so many holes in this it isn't funny.  Firstly, a lot of the discoveries we've since made (not just the Dead Sea Scrolls, but portions of the Coptic, Greek and original Aramaic texts of much of the rest of the New Testament) just weren't available to King James--in fact, practically all the text is a translation of the Textus Receptus (one of the earliest "official bibles" written post-Niocene Council not entirely in Latin; the TR was based on the work of a Dutch priest using the pen-name Erasmus, was based upon five months of research on six Greek texts surviving from the tenth through twelfth centuries, and was hurriedly published).  Second, there is documentable evidence pointing to King James having a specific agenda of translation.  Thirdly, they aren't even using the full King James version--the version King James originally put out originally included the Apocrypha (which is included in Catholic, Orthodox and Coptic bibles) and was only removed in 1885 officially by the Bishop of Canterbury, though Calvinist versions with the Apocrypha removed may have been first published around the time of the Pilgrims and the Puritans and at least one version with the Apocrypha removed is known to have been published around 1769 but did not become common in Protestant circles in general until around 1880; some groups have falsely claimed that King James never intended the KJV to include the Apocrypha, despite notes  from the early Anglican Church post-KJV forbidding publication of Bibles not containing the Apocrypha.  Fourthly, the King James Bible was written at a transitional period in the history of the English language (when Middle English was evolving into Modern English) and much of the terminology has changed between Early Modern and present Modern English (any person who studies Shakespeare can give you an earful on this!).  Fifthly, there is evidence words were mistranslated (for example, the phrase "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" actually refers to a poisoner, not a witch; there is debate on whether this is a mistranslation, or a word that has changed meaning, but many scholars tend to think the former).)

(Yes, one of the things that got me in trouble as a kid was wondering why there wasn't an Apocrypha, and for that matter why we didn't learn to read the Bible in Hebrew and Greek :3)

Some pentecostal sects, and the more liberal dominionist sects, grudgingly allow the New International Version as well.  Whilst the NIV does use more "backup" texts than the KJV does, the wording is still largely a modern English version of the King James Version and is even specifically translated in some sections to support a dominionist viewpoint.  (Examples are at this site regarding the translation of John 1:18.)  According to this site the entire goal of the NIV was to have an "evangelical-friendly translation"; per several sources the Assemblies of God as well as several mainstream churches were involved, and they were going for this because of blatant rejection of the Revised Standard Version as being "too liberal".  (In other words, they were flat out going for a fundamentalist-friendly modern English Bible.)  In some sections, the Greek Septuagint text is referred to instead of the original Hebrew and Aramaic texts quite explicitly.

It should be noted that attempts to retranslate the NIV, including to allow gender-inclusive language (which is actually closer to the original Greek and Hebrew, which (unlike English) do have a "neuter" gender), have almost been uniformly rejected by dominionist groups that accept the NIV.

(As an aside, the New Revised Standard Version--the very Bible rejected by fundamentalists and conservatives who wrote the NIV--is regarded as one of the most accurate translations in English of the source material for the Bible.  Another Bible highly regarded for accuracy in transation is the Good News Translation.)

So, yes, it's fairly safe to say that not only will the only Bible seen as a "real Bible" be the Protestant one, but two specific translations of the Protestant Bible--one which has documented errors in translation (and which is practically in Shakespearean-era English to boot!) and one which was translated with a specific agenda in opposition to a more accurate translation--both of which, outside fundamentalist circles, are seen as some of the least accurate versions of the Bible out there. :P

by dogemperor on Sat Dec 31, 2005 at 12:08:13 PM EST

The scholars, authorized by King James I to translate the Bible into English, used St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate because it was the only text available to them. The Church had banned possession of any bible text many centuries earlier. Except for the books omitted, the KJV is the same translation as the Catholic Douay-Rheims.

There had been a number of efforts to translate the bible into the vernacular of the people before Henry VIII challenged the power of the Vatican. Among them were the works of John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor. Wycliffe completed his translation and was charged with heresy by the Inquisition. He died before his trial took place. Nonetheless, his body was dug up from the grave, transported to the Inquisition and tried on the scheduled date. Found guilty of heresy, the carcass was then taken through town on a cart and burned at the stake (along with Wycliffe's books) in 1384.

The trial was important because a heretic must be convicted before his property could be confiscated by the Church.

by Lonex on Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 01:02:15 AM EST

Does the Chalcedon Society really equivocate that much when it comes to stating what Bible is the "Gospel" and who is and who isn't a Christian?

As far I as know, no Dominionist / Reconstructionalist believes that Mormons are "true Christians". Heck, the Calvary Chapel in my home town has a mission to Salt Lake City every year, in order to try and save their souls. Seems to me they think all Mormons are going to Hell.

I believe they're a little more lenient when it comes to Catholics, but probably blame the Vatican for deceiving many into being irretrivably "lost" with only a few being saved.

Seems to me this is the same model of "big tent" Intelligent Design advocates are using in their fight against evolution. They both have a large inviting entrance, but when you try to enter you're immediately greeted by two great big hulking bouncers who will toss out anyone the management deems unsuitable.

by tacitus on Sat Dec 31, 2005 at 11:10:42 PM EST

Very interesting and informative.  BTW, I agree about bibliolatry, and I'm surprised that the word hasn't been used more widely for this phenomenon.  

So, here's an idea.  When dominionists are speaking in public, or can be interviewed for publication, ask them "which Bible?" and list at least three major translations and a couple of less well-known ones.  And then see what happens.

What would members of LDS (Mormons) say about being told that the new Dominion State will treat them as heretics or apostates?  What about Catholics?  

Strictly speaking, if the Dominionists are true to their own words, they won't be able to walk away from this issue.  And any Dominionist who is true and pure cannot enter into coalitions with members of other "flawed" denominations.  

What I think this exposes, is a real underlying agenda of devotion to temporal power.  Sin by any other name...

by gg on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 08:59:12 AM EST

As a Mormon, I thank you for your essay.  Besides its clarity in identifying what scares me the most about dominionist/theocratic movements in civil government - and to me, one of the most important reasons why we were given separation of church and state in the first place - I chuckled with delight when I read the joke about the number of repetitions of the word "bible" in 2 Nephi 29.  Brilliant.  

It always heartens me to read from people who realize that the people who wrote scripture were imperfect human beings, despite their inspiration.  The Book of Mormon authors admitted their human fallibility in several instances:

"And now, if I do err, even did they err of old; not that I would excuse myself because of other men, but because of the weakness which is in me, according to the flesh, I would excuse myself." - 2 Nephi 19:6.  

"Now, my son, I do not say that their resurrection cometh at the resurrection of Christ; but behold, I give it as my opinion, that the souls and the bodies are reunited, of the righteous, at the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension into heaven.  But whether it be at his resurrection or after, I do not say" - Alma 40:20-21.  

"And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these."  Mormon 8:12

"And if there be faults they be the faults of a man. But behold, we know no fault; nevertheless God knoweth all things" - Mormon 8:17.  

"Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words." - Ether 12:25.  

by studentofrhythm on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 04:14:55 PM EST

In fact, splitting off from fellow Christians becomes a mandate for any group that insists that its particular version of the Bible is the only complete and perfect Bible, which must not be added to or diminished in any way.


by madmardigan on Mon Jul 19, 2021 at 01:25:45 AM EST

Maybe it's because they're tiptoeing blindfolded on a serious fault line and hoping that no one points out the obvious. Because once the fundamentalists are forced to answer such fundamental questions, they will set off a tremor that will crumble their powerful.

- Kitchen Remodel Hawaii

by maroso on Wed Jul 21, 2021 at 10:07:19 PM EST

There are more than 60 English language versions of the Bible and the New Testament in print. More translations will be added as the years roll on.

Miami Screen Enclosures

by maroso on Mon Aug 16, 2021 at 11:06:23 PM EST

So who's to say which Bible is the right one? Who's to say who is a Christian, and who is not? How can conservative Christians continue to insist that the Bible is inerrant, when the Apostle Paul actually claims that his writing contains some personal opinions on celibacy that did not come from the Lord? | Decking Contractor               

by maroso on Mon Sep 13, 2021 at 07:49:37 AM EST

WWW Talk To Action

Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (324 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (166 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (96 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (91 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (96 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (122 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (100 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (72 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (222 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (53 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (145 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (173 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (49 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (52 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (205 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (217 comments)
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (83 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (161 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (140 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (137 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (129 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (139 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (121 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (172 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (134 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (71 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (185 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (73 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (103 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (100 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.