Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Evil Bible

On Twitter and outside in the real world, I have been messaged and confronted by many people.  Some say good things, some ask questions, and some are angry and confrontational.  I will focus on the latter.

Those who are confrontational (mostly Atheists, Humanists, Secularists, Pro Abortion/Choice, Homosexuals, Muslims, Agnostics, and random inquirers) message me regarding the Bible.  They question how it can be God's Word if it is full of "evil and hate."  They cite passages claiming they advocate slavery, infanticide, murder, rape, incest, misogyny, hate, and in a word: evil.


I can relate to their concerns too because as an Atheist at first, I did find the Bible a bit too racy and crazy to be the "Word" of a All knowing, All Good, All Present Supreme Being.  However, I did not knock the Book down, so to speak.  I gave it a chance and let it speak to my rational mind before it spoke to my heart and soul.

To claim that the Bible is Evil is an unfair, biased and uneducated opinion.  This is a conclusion based on poor interpretation of particular texts.  When one reads the Bible in light of the time, language, culture, mind frame of the people, and circumstance in which a particular verse was written, it will be more understandable.  One must not fall into Presentism when interpreting the Bible or any other text that is old.

The Bible is not a "Book" per se.  It is a collection of Books.  The word "Bible" means "books."  It is a collection of 73 books: 46 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.  Each book was written at different times.  Some chapters within books were also written at different periods.  This is important to know if we are to understand the Bible instead of judging it as hate speech and what not.

We cannot be quick to label people of the past because of how they lived, thought or acted.  Let us take Slavery for example.  In America and other nations, Africans and Indigenous people were used as Slaves.  This was seen as normal.  These people were not people, they were just "livestock."  Even the laws defined them as such.

Take this letter by Trott, S published in 1842 in the Cincinnati Post where Trott is claiming that Slavery is God's will and ending it will harm society and the Slaves themselves.  (http://www.teachushistory.org/second-great-awakening-age-reform/resources/pro-slavery-letter-s-trott)  More info can be found here: http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/613

One can find many articles, books, and writings of people both well known and common who supported Slavery. Many were outspoken against those who wanted the Slaves free, or the Abolitionists.

Here is an ad warning Citizens of the Abolitionists.  



Here is another inviting people to a meeting to stop the "evil and fanaticism" called Abolitionism. 

As you can see, the movement to free Slaves was seen as dangerous, fanatical and evil.  Many warnings were published.  


If that is not bad enough, here is an ad requesting that a runaway Slave described as "Negro Boy Joel" be found for a reward of 5 Dollars:


Now one who has never heard of this past and is reading it for the first time might say, "what the heck is this??? These people are evil, ignorant, hateful, and racist."  

Others might say, "They published an ad to find a Slave teen boy for a reward of 5 bucks???!??"  

After this culture shock they can take one of two positions:

  • This nation is evil, ridiculous, hateful, primitive and must be destroyed.
OR
  • This is the past. This is how people saw each other and things.  We cannot judge them for their ignorance at the time or how they interpreted life.




An educated rational person who does research in History will take the latter position.  Yes this was the past.  This was how people saw each other and things in life.  We must interpret their ads, writings and behavior in light of their time, their culture, and circumstance.  


Now, the same must be done with the Bible.  When one reads it in context, then it will not be the "Evil Bible," but the Bible that is the Word of God in the language and experience of Man.  





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