Friday, October 07, 2005

Biblical Accuracy

Times on line article

The Times recently published an article about a ‘change’ in policy of the Catholic Church.  They are apparently of the opinion that the Bible is not 100% accurate in every detail it reports.

I found this idea to be rather interesting.  My feelings on the accuracy/origins of the biblical accounts are somewhat a moving target in that my exact belief is not set in stone and as I learn more information it tends to change my ideas.

With that in mind I do have a question.  Does it seem like a good idea for an organization that has been founded on fairly straight forward origin/accuracy beliefs of the material to be stating that it is not what they have purported for the last 2000 (give or take a few) years?  What I mean here is that it seems that ‘letting the general public’ in on the secret that serious theologians may believe about the textual origins is a little bit counter productive.

Of the notorious anti-Jewish curse in Matthew 27:25, “His blood be on us and on our children”, a passage used to justify centuries of anti-Semitism, the bishops say these and other words must never be used again as a pretext to treat Jewish people with contempt. Describing this passage as an example of dramatic exaggeration, the bishops say they have had “tragic consequences” in encouraging hatred and persecution. “The attitudes and language of first-century quarrels between Jews and Jewish Christians should never again be emulated in relations between Jews and Christians.”
This paragraph from the article, in contrast to some of the concepts I am struggling with in how to approach this article, gives me some hope for the future.  Perhaps the ‘Christian’ world is finally ready to acknowledge us in a non-aggressive manner. (Or maybe that is just my hopes and not really the case.)

Similarly, they refute the apocalyptic prophecies of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible, in which the writer describes the work of the risen Jesus, the death of the Beast and the wedding feast of Christ the Lamb.
The bishops say: “Such symbolic language must be respected for what it is, and is not to be interpreted literally. We should not expect to discover in this book details about the end of the world, about how many will be saved and about when the end will come.”
This on the other had has me thinking in a slightly different direction.  If this concept became the ‘accepted’ interpretation in the Evangelical world, we may loose there support for Israel.  I am not going to say that their support is for the best reasons, but we need all the support we can get.

Getting back to the beginning, I really hope this concept doesn’t backfire on the Church.  Not because I am a believer in what they teach, but because it’s backfiring could have negative ramifications for ALL believers regardless of their religion.  (I am not taking about fundamentalists, but believers in the basics of a religion.)  After all if you remove the divine from religion you aren’t left with much, and I do believe that humans need to believe in something greater than their selves in order to function in a social format.  (This is not to say they need religion or G-D per say, just something that is greater than the self as an origin.)

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