Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Christianity's Albatross

You have to ask yourself, what is the point of arguing over the contents of the Old Testament of the bible when its meaning is so shrouded in mystery.  I ask this for several reasons.

What could be gained by a detailed study of the bible in English when people are still arguing about the correct translations of any words.  Yes - they really do.  Any time you have a point which makes the bible look internally inconsistent, some scholar will tell you that it is because you are using the wrong interpretation of the original meaning of the text (when in fact they must know that it is simply because the text was written down by bronze age peasants who knew nothing of science).

So perhaps you should go back to the original Greek or Hebrew?  There are several problems with that.  First it is not possible for the average educated person to do this, so we are all left in the hands of the 'experts' to translate it into our own language.  Second - even the alleged experts won't agree with each other.  Knowing what a word means in an ancient document is obviously difficult, when it might have been copied inaccurately, misspelled or even misused originally.

Whatever choice you select, you are still left with the observation that the whole bible is not self-consistent and even where it appears to be successfully prophetic we can't say for certain that the New Testament stories were not written to fit the prophecies post hoc.  In fact due to the way the New Testament is written, it hoists itself by its own petard.  Phrases such as "this came to pass in order to fulfil . . ." are dead giveaways that the New Testament writer wants to point out the clever bits of his story and he thinks that his audience might not know the Old Testament well enough to notice for themselves..

All in all, Marcion's approach to the Old Testament was a pragmatic one.  Christianity would be founded on much more reasonable assumptions if Marcionites had won the arguments.  He taught that the Old Testament god was not the same as the Christian god.  Had more people agreed with him, Christianity might not have been burdened with the ancient teachings.

On top of that, wouldn't you expect omniscient and omnipotent God to have made the message clearer in the first place, and easier to translate for future use?  If his message is mired in these complications then how are mere mortals expected to understand it anyway.

The bronze age Old Testament hangs around the neck of Christianity like the albatross round the neck of the Ancient Mariner.

Small note:  By coincidence today's post by Rosa Rubicondior is on a similar topic.  Read What God Thinks Of Disabled People.

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