a reply to: 8BitOperator
I think that it is rather more complicated than that.
I personally believe that the Bible has, over the course of its existence, been edited by those who held power over the faith at times in history.
The further back you go, the harder it is to identify possible balls ups and mortal tinkering in the Word. However, The Popes of the thrice damned
Roman cult held sway over much in their day, and were sometimes degenerate, and often tyrannical. The possibility that they may have used their
station to allow them to edit passages to make them ambiguous, or to add data not originally present in the text, is as far as I am concerned, not a
possibility to be discounted out of hand, because the Bible, though meant to be a text which offered individuals a personal relationship with Christ,
as well as all they needed to know in order to live according to Gods will, would, in the hands of a tyrant, have appeared to be a near irresistable
tool of propeganda.
Think about it. In the times when Christianity was vastly popular throughout the territories to which it had expanded, the Popes held sway over vast
amounts of land and money, and enormous numbers of men and women. They could mobilise people using not just the political power vested in them, but
with the authority of God. Things were done in the name of God, that looking back at them, would probably offend the creator far more than someone
altering the Word he laid down. I fail to believe that God valued his Word, more than the lives of people who were killed, and died in his name, lead
astray by corrupt representatives on Earth.
And then you have the more subtle control exerted over people, by putting a spin on the Word of God. The "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live"
phrase, which is widely thought to have been a misinterpretation of "Suffer not the poisoner to live", is a great example. Any time a scape goat was
required for something, be it the philandering of a local Lord, or the psychotic behavior of the son of a powerful house, a witch could be blamed, and
because of the spin placed upon the Word by forces external to it, some poor woman would be tied to a stake and set on fire, or drowned, or stoned to
death, or worse, despite the fact that the word "witch" which was used in the first King James Bible, was a mistranslation. The original Hebrew word
that they were translating from was chasapah, which in latin equates to Veneficium. However, that word in Latin can refer to both a practitioner of
witchcraft, and a poisoner.
Poisoning was actually a big problem in the period involved, so that is contextually important to this issue. The other interesting thing, is that
the Latin language HAS a specific word for practitioners of witchcraft, as well as the more ambiguous term. This word is Maleficos (which by the way,
is a non gender-specific term). Add to this the fact that when the Bible was once more translated, this time to German, before EVER reaching over to
English, Martin Luther used the female specific term, and the whole idea becomes far too murky. Now, in this day and age, we can pour over much of
this and understand the ambiguity with which such a passage should be treated, because of the terminological uncertainty that this filtering has
created. But back when these translations were being made, they were being made by the few people who could read and write, which offered to these
people great power. What use they made of it is uncertain now, but it is worth keeping in mind that the possibility exists.
The truth is that the Bible, scripture, is not iron clad. All scripture, was supposed to be utilised by believers IN TANDEM with their individual
relationship with Christ, to aid them in navigating their lives. One was not ever supposed to observe a problem in ones life , read a passage from the
Bible, and apply its lesson verbatim, to the situation at hand. Rather, one ought read the Bible, know its lessons, and ask for guidance on the issue
from Jesus, and have faith that his response will be forthcoming and helpful. However, I am comming dangerously close to digressing somewhat...
...Whether by subtle nudging and emphasis, or deliberately taking a passage out of context, or actually editing the Bible, it is not just POSSIBLE to
justify some very dodgy opinions, behaviours, and attitudes, but it has actually been done in the past, and in some places, is being done now!
Examples are everywhere throughout the periods of history which were effected by the existence of the Bible, both ancient and modern, and so the
modern believer has to rely on their personal relationship with their Saviour, if they are to make any sense of it, and are to avoid the pitfalls of
absolute rigidity where following scripture is concerned.
edit on 3-5-2014 by TrueBrit because: Spelling error correction.