I just had a ‘discussion’ with an american christian on twitter. He ended up asking me if I was a liberal theologian. I have never been asked that before. I’m liberal, I’m educated and particularly interested in history and religion because they are so intertwined, but the very idea that I would have to be a theologian to think the way I do about faith and god and all of he other stuff was kind of shocking and completely hilarious if you know anything about the way i was bought up, which was as an atheist, not a ranty dawkins type, just a bog standard, show me a talking burning bush and I’ll be more than happy to eat my words rather than this delicious M&S prawn and mayo sandwich which I paid for with my credit card. yeah, seafood and usury, you may be surprised how much bible I know.
Surely everybody who has faith and certainly anybody who uses that faith as the foundation of all of their actions, especially in the way they treat others or encourage them to be treated, surely everybody with faith should be prepared to challenge it. Otherwise you don’t really have faith, you just have tasks.
I just do not understand how a man sitting in Washington who I suspect speaks very little aramaic or greek or even latin could seriously tell me to read my bible without thinking, heck that sounds properly dumbassed, 140 characters tells me very little about this other human being.
I just want to kick people who say things like ‘it’s in the bible’ and have never even tried to learn another language, any language. Because if they did they would understand what a minefield that book they cleve to so strongly is: a translation of lots of other bits and things, with its historical jumps and metaphors, its ambiguities, conceptual problems, social world view and mystical explanations for things we understand as general shit that happens in the world these days. Read the bible? I have read a lot of the bible and much of it makes no sense at all if you try and transfer it to now with even the best will in the world.
But the sukiest bit of the bible II are the judgemental rantings of ex pharisee (google them, they were not the nicest people) St Paul who was of course the one my twitter pal said i should read. You see, the initial argument had been about homosexuality being a sin, which is arrant bollocks and nobody gets away with telling me it is in the bible when we all know it is in the bits of the bible where they also tell you not to eat prawns – I am speaking as an omnivore here…
I have looked a few times for various reasons including homosexuality and I can tell you in bible II jesus is properly silent on this, with a pinch of salt you could say that when jesus discusses marriage he says that is for a man and woman where they become one, but as that is part of a discussion about divorce and thus property, not about love which is not the same as property but is something that the gamut of sexualities all have in common.
When pointed it out my american pal said the apostle paul is very clear on that particular subject. I said apostles are not generally seen as the son of god, unlike jesus (I’m not saying this lineage is fact, I’m quoting the, errr, bible). The upshot of my argument was why would you bother with the words of the monkey when the organ grinder’s son is in the house, unless you are looking for a way to legitimise your anti leopard rhetoric. to strain the metaphor while increasing the animal imagery.
the bible is not a historical document that was written in english so taking it at face value in translation is the act of a credulous fool. The person who uses this translation to further hate or judgement is far worse than that and you do not need to be a liberal nor a theologian to see that.
He made me cross.
Which may be ironic, though I definitely won’t be using Alanis Morissette as my source on that one.