Conservapedia Rewriting the Bible

Really. It makes too much sense, doesn’t it? The life of Jesus fairly read makes him look like anything from a social reformer to, in the Gospel of Thomas, a quasi-anarchist or, in the Acts of Paul & Thecla, a feminist. It was only a matter of time until conservatives ditched the substance of his theology, to embrace only the steady-state implications of institutional religion.

This in flagrant violation of Revelations 22:18 —

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.”

Of course, presumably that passage was added by liberals.

Thus the routinization of charisma has come full circle: Jesus challenged the status quo, Paul regularized his teachings, and with the passing of millenia, Christianity became the status quo. Now, conservatives would have Christianity used to roll back the clock — once the extirpation of its revolutionary roots is complete.

Whether mankind needs an intermediary on earth, between him and God, is a theological question. Historically, Protestants believe that mankind can speak directly to the divine, while Catholics require a church intermediary. Conservapedia’s approach appears to combine the worst of both worlds: the Bible is mutable, but the only authority is a fundamentalist website. No man comes to the kingdom — but through the Republican Party.

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16 comments

  1. MarshallDog · ·

    So like King James and Thomas Jefferson, the Conservadepia crowd is forming their own brand of Christianity to suit their needs. What should we call this new sect? They’re still fundamentalists, but not biblical literalists anymore, so their church is gonna need a name. We need to come up with something clever and get everyone to start calling them that.

    I hope someone has called them on the contradiction of basing their beliefs of creationism, anti-feminism, and anti-gays on the inerrant word of the bible, and then reinterpretting the bible to suit their own political agenda.

  2. Yeah they’re insane. I wasn’t aware of changes other than style to the KJV, but it’s worth noting that Thomas Jefferson, at least, wasn’t purporting to restore Christianity to its original meaning. cp is

    1. MarshallDog · ·

      Yeah, I might have over-simplified history a bit. The King James Bible was one of a few English translations that were created in the late 16th century. It was created by the Church of England scholars who could dictate how the translated text was put together from various other translations. So it’s kinda the same thing… The big difference is those scholars were translating from Latin/Greek/Hebrew -> English, so some stuff is bound to get lost in translation, while CP is just reinterpreting the English translation. I don’t think they’ll get much traction with this new version. If they claimed they were translating from some ancient text to get the true Bible right, like Joseph Smith, they might have had something to go on.

  3. Naming a new Christian cult, hmm. How about the church of irreverent revision of inerrant biblical text or the church of the irrelevants for short.

    1. A reader of another blog about this suggested “Phyllistines” after Andrew Schlafly’s mother.

  4. This makes the Bible an even better game of telephone! Thanks for the fun conservapedia!

  5. “They” is good, it is not as if Schlafly and his half a dozen thugs were a substantial movement.

    I wonder, however, what the “revolutionary roots” of Christianity are supposed to be. I have very recently read the three first gospels, and immediately it becomes painfully clear that Jesus, if you take these writings by their word, was at the same time a doomsday cultist convinced that the world would end within the next ca. 30 years and of the opinion that only Jews were worthy to receive his teachings and miracle healings. All that is repeatedly and plainly stated, and I find it amazing how selectively Christians must be able to read their holy book not to recognize that.

    Only later people like Paulus added a, let us say, slightly less crackpot and much less racist approach, but still there was nothing “revolutionary” to hoping that you will be rewarded after death for your silent suffering in this world. Again, Jesus and his followers say quite clearly that all we should aim for is to build riches in heaven, not not improve our lot here on earth, and that is a view that goes amazingly well with conservatism, be it now or in the late Roman Empire. “Revolutionary” is the exact opposite of this escapism: actively working to make THIS world worthy of humans living in it, an endeavor that is guaranteed to bring you into conflict with those materially interested in preserving the status quo.

  6. Oh, and lest somebody gets mad again at me for offending their precious religion, let me point out that I, while having a different view, can fully respect others looking at the universe and concluding that there must be some higher meaning or purpose behind it. But if somebody pretends to base their belief on the specifics of the bible, they should at least open their eyes to see what it actually plainly says, not what they would like it to say…

  7. Mild quibble only – extrapolating “conservatives want to” from what Conservapedians are doing is about as fair as blah blah you can paint the analogy picture yourself.

  8. Mintman, before you get too certain about “what the Bible actually says”, you might want to consider that people have been arguing about precisely that for 1950 years now. A decisive conclusion is unlikely to be reached any time soon.

    1. I know full well that it contradicts itself every few pages, and that everybody can pick and choose to justify their own ideology. But they at least should acknowledge these contradictions and that it is picking and choosing that they do – that is simply intellectual honesty. Main point is, I really do not see anything deserving the word revolutionary in the roots of Christianity; if at all, there were some revolutionary tendencies in certain much later and generally non-mainstream sects. If revolutionary was meant as “completely new ideas”, I may have misinterpreted the post, but even then many others have shown that the ideas of forgiveness and the golden rule had been formulated before or have been in parallel in all other major religions.

    2. For your reference:

      Mark 2:14-28
      Luke 18:9-14
      Luke 19:1-10
      Matthew 21:28-32

      1. Ah, I see, so revolutionary is the idea that you should follow the spirit of a teaching instead of only its letter? And not doing that is certainly something you can blame fundamentalist conservative Christians for, that is true, okay. But I would call it less revolutionary but more “such an obvious idea that every single generation has it, especially when they are in their teens”.

        Interestingly, my German bible had Matthew 21:28-32 with the father being happy about the second son. I simply chalked it down as one of the more idiotic parables – it is not the only one where the moral came out diametrically opposed to what I believe to be moral behaviour -, but now it seems it might have been a translation mess-up in this particular case.

      2. No, the revolutionary aspect here is that it is considered perfectly fine for a Rabbi to associate, or even sit down and eat with parts of society that are otherwise usually considered unclean – prostitutes, tax collectors and the like.

  9. I have always viewed the bible as a wonderful compilation of fiction. A fairy tale if you would. Maybe the conservapedians could rewrite the Brothers Grimm next!

    1. If only. At least then they wouldn’t be violating Her Britannic Majesty’s perpetual copyright on the King James Version. (The cads!) >:-(

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