05 October 2009

Is the Bible CONSERVATIVE Enough? Let’s make it that way, then

If you're a Conservative, apparently, the Bible has a lot of problems. There's Communism throughout Acts and 2 Corinthians. There is a level of defiance of authority found throughout the gospels. There is unpunished rape in Genesis and Judges. There is also John 3:17.

If you're a Conservative, apparently, this isn't going to stop you. Really, it's an opportunity to reframe these meddlesome texts into something more wholesome. Now, mind you, no Conservative is going to change the Bible, per se. You just want to get rid of Hippie-style translations like the Living Bible, The Message, and the NIV(!).

These are the goals of The Conservative Bible Project, a forum on "Conservapedia—The Trustworthy Encyclopedia" (you have to love the 'truthiness' of that tagline). Citing "liberal bias" as the "single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations" [sic], it sets out a pretty ambitious agenda for bringing the Bible to heel:

  • Raising the reading level from the NIV's 7th-grade level to a language dense enough to impart conservative principles and avoid touchy-feely.
  • Expelling gender inclusive language
  • Minimizing passage in Mark and John where disciples are commended for being "open minded"
  • Bringing out examples of free market principles found in some of Jesus' parables
  • Expunging "liberal" additions such as the story of the woman caught in adultery. This was no doubt added by 4th-century "liberals," right?
  • Hell—get it in there, even when it isn't in there

There are other goals for creating a Conservative Bible, too. When you think about it, there are dozens and dozens of reasons. For example:

  • There is too much socialism, apparently, in modern translations—why is the term, "volunteer" used only once in the ESV, when "comrade," "laborer," "labored," and "fellow" are used 3, 13, 15, and 55 times respectively? What the Bible—and our economy today—really needs is more volunteers.

Is this a liberal addition to Luke 23:34—Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing"? According to the CBP it is, and it is a "favorite of liberals," so there you go.

For would-be translators of the Bible there is not necessarily a need to know Koine Greek or Hebrew, but here is a list of "Conservative words and terms" that you do need to know and that you should use, um, liberally in your translating.

A Conservative-worthy translation of the Bible!!! It's coming online, soon, and no doubt it will have a cool tagline like "The Trustworthy Bible ™" or "Fair and Balanced ™."

By the way, this isn't unique. The King James Version of the Bible was composed in 1616 in part to counter a "liberal" English translation of the Bible—the Geneva Bible which included notes in the text preaching against the evils of kings and potentates. The version of the Lord's Prayer that includes the phrase, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us," is a relic of that translation.

I don't know, the KJV did pretty well. Who knows, 400 years from now our great-great-great-grandchildren will be avoiding the evils of liberalism by logging onto the Internet to read the Liberal Free Version of the Bible.

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