A woman made a comment in Sunday school yesterday, and I completely agree. Call me an essentialist, a traditionalist, a conservative, or a liberal: so be it. That’s your label, not mine.
Someone was talking about a new Bible that rewrites passages to include many of our modern ideas. The old is out and the new is good and godly. Desmond Tutu once explained that the Bible “is the word of God through the words of human beings speaking in the idiom of their time.” I find it hard not to agree.
This woman said, painfully, I thought, “Why does it have to be rewritten? Why not just say you don’t believe it?”
Right. Just don’t believe it. Fair enough. Christendom, Hebraism, and sacred scripture have stood for certain things for a few millennia now. Some things it stands for clearly stem from an ancient Middle-Eastern worldview. Thousands of years later, some of those ideas sound goofy or wrong. I don’t care who wrote it: if a riotous group of sex-crazed men come knocking on my door, I’m not throwing my daughter out to them like a dead rabbit to hungry wolves.
It’s here that I respect the atheist. I’m not a fan of atheism or true-believerism, but I respect the position:
“I think it’s wrong and untenable. Therefore, I don’t believe it.”
This sits crossways with the alternative:
“I think it’s wrong and untenable. Therefore, I will rewrite it in my own image.”
Weird to me. Wrongheaded. And a little cowardly.