Maybe We Should Stop Letting Crazy People Interpret the Bible and the Constitution

Image via MarioPiperni.com

Image via MarioPiperni.com

Republicans on the far right love to talk about how they’re supporters of the Constitution over and over again as they wrap themselves in the flag, point to the Bible and proclaim their opponents as freedom-hating godless socialists, commies, etc.

When you break it down, much like a lot of conservative Christians, they’re just cherry picking the parts out of it that they can twist to justify their ideology. They like to say that the Constitution is like the Bible, infallible and something to make laws by.

However, like the Bible, the Constitution has had revisions (amendments) made it over time. The Bible they like to refer to is the King James Version, which was translated in the 1600’s —  just short of 16 centuries after the life of Christ, for those keeping score at home. It was written not by a divinely inspired person who knew Christ in their lifetime, but by scribes on the behalf of the King of England, and it was yet another revision of the original translation into English after being run through the filters of Greek and Latin. On top of that, it leaves out a number of books and chapters that are in the Catholic Bible, including the Book of Maccabees.

Much like the Constitution, they interpret the Bible to justify their positions, while conveniently ignoring and/or trying to revise out the things they don’t like.

I know some of us, including myself, view the Bible as historical fiction based in some facts, but mostly a whole lot of myths, legends and so on. I’m using it to make the argument, not endorsing it. Personally, I come from a heritage that is mixed with Catholics, atheists, Calvinists, and Jews on both sides. The overall experience has allowed me to view the spectrum, even though I don’t wholly subscribe to any of it.

The first part of the Bible was written prior to the birth of Christ. The second half of it was written after his death, partially by Paul, who never met Christ in his life.

The Constitution was written at a time when women couldn’t vote, there wasn’t a professional army, black people were considered to be 3/5’s of a person when the census was taken and the interstate system was almost 2 centuries away.

The point is that if you cling to the text of the Bible, or the Constitution, you miss out on a lot of progress and common sense. Neither are, or were, perfect documents then or now. At the time of their original writing they were reflections of the needs of their times. If you ask most Christians about the revisions, they’ll either shrug them off or say that they were needed because Christ came to change the law.

With the Bible and with the Constitution, amendments were made over time to adjust to the reality of the era, or the whims of those who controlled the political and religious dialogue at that point in history. In this day and age, it’s even more important to let rational people interpret, represent and apply these two documents to our daily lives. There’s a lot of good in them if applied properly, and a whole lot of evil and exploitation if they are not.

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  • Shelley Caster Ross

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • LeftWingPharisee

    I would dare say, sir, that neither you nor these Republicans have ever read the Bible in your lives. It is in Hebrew, with some Aramaic and a smattering of Egyptian words. In addition, there is an Oral Tradition that explains and elucidates the Written Bible; without knowledge of the Oral Tradition, you will have no understanding, even if Hebrew is your native language.

    For example, did you know that Adam was originally a hermaphrodite?

    • That is totally fascinating. Do you have a link that talks about the oral tradition regarding the bible? I’d love to read it.

      • Baaly

        Raenn, it’s hard to post links in FP as they go through moderation and often aren’t accepted. I’d just google “oral tradition” and go to either the Oxford or Britannica site listed in the results.

        Also, it’s worth noting that none of the of the gospel writers neither knew Jesus, nor did they write the gospels during his lifetime. Mark, the earliest of the synoptic gospels (Matt, Mark and Luke), was written around 64 A.D, Matt around 70 AD and Luke around 80 AD. John is believed to have come a significant amount of time later (around 90 AD or there about). There is also the Q hypothesis (a document based upon oral traditions) which, in conjunction with the gospel of Mark, appear to provide some of the content for both Matt and Luke. These two gospels were written with different audience intent in mind.

        Based upon the fact that all the gospels were written a significant amount of time post the presumed death of Jesus (which would have been roughly 30AD), it would stand to reason that the works were based upon oral tradition, and not as a result of direct experience.

        Wow, my degree finally came in handy! 😀

    • Baaly

      And the “virgin” Mary was just Almah, meaning simply a woman of childbearing age, yet to have a child.

      • LeftWingPharisee

        Actually, the almah referred to in Isaiah 7:14 is the mother of King Chizkiyahu.

      • Baaly

        Matt 1:22-23 proof text pointing back to Isaiah 7:14 :). If Mary were to have been a virgin, she would have been “bethula”.

    • Marti Salvato

      Or as Lewis Black would be the first to tell ANYONE about the Bible:

      Was the earth created in seven days? No. For those of you who believe it was, for you Christians, let me tell you, that you do not understand the Jewish people. We Jews understand that it did not take place in seven days, and that’s because we know what we’re good at, and what we’re really good at is bullshit. This is a wonderful story that was told to the people in the desert in order to distract them from the fact that they did not have air conditioning. I would love to have the FAITH to believe that it took place in seven days, but …I have thoughts. And that can really fuck up the faith thing, just ask any Catholic priest. “And then there are fossils. Whenever anybody tries to tell me that they believe it took place in seven days I reach for a fossil and go fossil. And if they keep talking I throw it just over their head. There are people who believe that dinosaurs and men lived together. That they roamed the earth at the same time. There are museums that children go to in which they build dioramas to show them this, and what this is, purely and simply, is a clinical psychotic reaction. They are crazy. They are stone cold fuck nuts. I can’t be kind about this, because these people are watching The Flinstones as if it were a documentary. Now, there is a big difference between the old testament and the new testament and that is the new testament god is really kind of a great guy, he is, especially when you compare him to the old testament god who is a prick. I don’t know what happened to god over time and how he matured and if he went to an anger management class, or maybe just the birth of a son, calmed him down but before he had the kid, holly fuck he was out of control. The reason that the old testament god, is a prick, was because the old testament was designed as a book to get the Jew’s to straighten up and fucking fly right cause they were out of control they were ten hairs away from being Baboons.

  • rebmoma

    Cute. I watched “Oh God” last night (George Burns as God, John Denver as his messenger, 1977). Pretty much the same message. I agree.

  • kevan_mericle

    like

  • Bob

    This is a joke……”Progressives” talking about common sense and logic.

  • dsdjkhjb

    do you mind if i copy your article to post on my fb page with a couple changes… 1. change conservative/ republican/christian TO liberal/progressive/democrat.. and vise verse…

  • Anne2

    a lot people like to “cherry pick” over parts of the Bible and Constitution to do what they think is “proving their point”, the problem comes when they think they are the know all and end all of knowledge. When they try to defend what they believe is their right, they step all over the rights of others.

  • David Kempton

    it is not possible to separate the “good” parts of a book like the Bible and actually keep the dogma whole. Which does not for a moment stop hte priest/overseers from doing exactly that.

    You can NOT save religion, there are too many centuries of pain, suffering and deceit. The BEST (and probably ONLY real solution) is education, something both religious leaders and GOP leaders are against.

    Religion conditions you to Obey the Hierarchy – God, Priest, Wealthy person (after all, God must love him to shower him with wealth), and finally – You. Thus our would-be owners demand obedience to dogma, once you are conditioned, it is far easier to manipulate you – after all, YOU’LL get even, come Judgement Day, when THEY go to Hell, YOU go to Heaven.

    Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, guess who steals all the good stuff…

    The Bible, the Koran, makes no difference – they are both blueprints for war and hate, and must be treated as the boiling acid they are…