Monday, February 23, 2009
Biblical fundamentalism - a sickness
Among fundy christianists, there continues to be a running debate as to the validity and worth of the King James Version of the Protestant Bible.
I'm not going to go into detail as to why that's insane, but I will say that anyone who still argues that the King James Version has any value other than historical value cannot be reasoned with. The King James Version is so riddled with errors it is undoubtedly the very worst version to use if one is concerned about faithfulness to the thousands of manuscripts available today.
Ultimately, of course, it matters not which translation or version one reads, for we cannot know if any are correct. We have no original manuscripts. And what if we did? What would that prove? Absolutely nothing! Furthermore, the only people for which any of this makes a difference are the ignorant and superstitious who treat the Bible as a magical primer.
Historically, there are other problems. During the first 400 years or so of Christian beginnings, there were literally hundreds of "Christ" groups, most of which had their own gospels and other writings, which they considered authoritative. When the "orthodox" or "proto-orthodox" Christians came into power in the 4th century as a result of a deal with the Roman Emperor Constantine, those books were banned and destroyed and many of the Christians who used them were brutally and savagely killed.
The winners write history. The Orthodox decided what books were to be included in the Christian Bible. Even so, the debate continued for years, especially over the book of Revelation. And it continues today.
What prompted these musings was a stop at the Website, faithfulwordbaptist.org, which is always quite a trip. Steven Anderson is the pastor of Faithful Word, a truly goofy Baptist exercise in ignorance. Steven Anderson represents probably the most recalcitrant biblicistic ignorance around today. Truth, reality, reason - none of those things affect him at all.
And he BELIEVES in the KJV! Here is some of his reasoning:
1. "Somewhere on the face of the earth today, there must be a book that is 100% without error, the very words of God." Somewhere! Oh, if only we could find it! The "very words of God."
Wait, Anderson has found it: It's the King James Version of the Bible! Yeah! "For our generation God has provided the King James Bible."
Yup. "In the 17th and 18th centuries, the nation God was using the most was the nation of England." Heh. Heh. Tell that to the other nations of the world who were slammed into the ground by the heel of the British Empire! Later, says Steven, God used the U.S. to take the gospel to the world. But what's really exciting is that "In God's foresight, he supplied the English-speaking people with a perfect preservation of his word, the King James Bible." Perfect!
It must be true, says Anderson, for "If the King James Bible is not God's word, then where is God's word?" Where indeed? "It must be somewhere," he says, "and there is no parallel to the magnificent perfection of the King James Bible."
Then, Anderson does a unique bit of interpretation. He recognizes there is a problem in that the original manuscripts don't exist. But, he says, we can be sure that the Textus Receptus from which the KJV was derives is absolutely without error! How do we know this? Because Paul told us in I Cor. 13:9, 10. "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
Actually, this verse reflects Paul's gnostic leanings. In fact, the gnostic Christians claimed Paul as one of their own - their leader. But Anderson wouldn't understand that. He thinks this verse means that Paul's reference to "perfect" has to do with the King James Version of the Bible, and "that which is in part shall be done away" refers to the ancient Greek manuscripts.
Finally, he says pastors don't want to use the KJV because of pride. They like to stand in the pulpit and expound on their knowledge of Greek which results in "producing bogus revelations..."
With pastors like Anderson preaching every Sunday, it shouldn't be surprising that so many people in our fair land believe in ghosts, fairy tales and devils. It shouldn't be surprising that people pray to be healed, or that they believe lighting a candle will get the attention of the gods. It shouldn't be surprising that even educated idiots reject the science that makes the world go around.
Some people even believe that the King James Version of the Bible is the "word" of a god.