I’m kind of flabbergasted that anyone (let alone Tony Blair) would agree with the statement that religion is a force for good in the world. Every major civil rights, scientific, social and human achievement in the history of the world has been staunchly opposed on religious grounds. The fact that they were supported on religious grounds is largely unimportant to me – all it does is demonstrate the fact that religious texts and beliefs can be used to justify anything, thus disqualifying them as a force for anything.
However, look at any group trying to retard social progress, trying to hold back the passage of time, on the side of hate and intolerance, and you will always find the justification for such stupidity draped in the garments of the faithful:
Since its debut in 1978, the New International Version — known as the NIV — has been the Bible of choice for evangelicals, selling more copies than any other version. But a 2005 gender-inclusive edition bombed after being condemned as too liberal. Translators hope their latest edition, which debuted online this month, will avoid a similar fate. They’ve retained some of the language of the 2005 edition. But they also made changes — like going back to using words like “mankind” and “man” instead of “human beings” and “people” — in order to appease critics.
Ah yes, mustn’t give them wimmins any ideas about gender equality. As everyone knows, man is the head of woman the way that Christ is the head of the church, or some such nonsense. It obviously makes for a far better world when the deeply-entrenched sexism of the past thousand or so years of western civilization continue to be propped up as the immutable will of the invisible sky-ghost that makes football players miss catches.
Of course the delicious irony of this whole situation is that they’re discussing the immutable will of the sky-ghost… as revealed through His holy books… with those tasked to translate those very books!
They also broke a promise they’d made to James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, John Piper, pastor of Minneapolis megachurch Bethlehem Baptist, and other conservative pastors, not to produce a gender-inclusive NIV. In response, Dobson accused translators of distorting the word of God.
I can muster a grudging respect for those who have taken the time to learn the original languages of the Bible. They, at least, are willing to put in the effort to explore the full implications of their superstition. Most everyone, at least those who are relevant to this story, can only read English (if that). The hypocrisy required to tell the very people who make it possible for you to understand the book you’re referencing that they’re “doing it wrong” is so particular to the religious, I think it should have it’s own name. Hypocrigion, perhaps? Theopocrisy? I’m sure you can come up with something.
It is as I’ve long suspected – the Bible doesn’t make people sexist; it was written by sexists, and then used to propagate that bigotry for the future to enjoy. Thanks, guys!
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