Truth and Accuracy in the Bible?

Well, that topic can certainly lead to some interesting conversations and interesting turn of events. 

What is Truth in the Bible?  I say the answer is that it depends on what you believe.  If you believe the Bible is the word of God, then everything in it is truth.  That is, unless you choose to ignore some parts and believe the rest.  The truth may still be there for some who choose to ignore the more controversial aspects, but it is only partial truth if you are only going to believe parts of it.  It isn’t truth if you don’t believe—but this is only partially correct.  I don’t believe, but there are certainly some truths in the Bible—like the Sermon on the Mount.  Did Jesus really speak those words?  I don’t know.  But those words contain truth.

What about accuracy?  Well, I’m not too sure what that means.  Are the words themselves accurate?  Again, it depends on what you believe.  The Bible itself is a compilation of thousands of texts, all put together to form the one text we have.  Some of these thousands are similar or are exact, and some are different.  But people go through these texts, pick what was probably what might have been said or written, and then present it as the most accurate text they can produce.  But that isn’t technically accurate.  However, it is close. 

Are the stories contained in the Bible accurate? Let’s look at a very controversial topic for this week—Abraham and Sarah.  The Mrs. Betty Bower’s video pokes fun at ‘biblical marriage’ by pointing out some problems with the Abraham/Sarah story.  Is Sarah his half-sister and wife?  Is she just his wife?  Is she his niece and wife?  Well, it depends on how far you want to dig into this text.  The wife part isn’t the problem.  But many, many people throughout the centuries have said that Sarah was either his half-sister or his niece.  Mrs. Bowers, a fictional comedian who plays America’s Best Christian, picks up on this problem.  Abraham also has sex with Hagar his wife’s slave.  There isn’t too much debate about this part of the story—clearly he has sex with this slave while married to Sarah.  This is part of his marriage—a marriage as told by the Bible.  Mrs. Bowers picks up on this. 

What about Solomon and his 700 wives and 300 concubines.  There doesn’t seem to be too much debate on this—but there you have it, one man married to 700 women as described by the Bible.  Mrs. Bowers picks up on this. 

How about the case of the virgin who is caught in a field by a man who has sex with her—she becomes his wife for 50 shekels.  This is Deut. 22:28-9:  “If a man meets a virgin who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are caught in the act, the man who lay with her shall give fifty shekels of silver to the young woman’s father and she shall become his wife.  Because he violated her he shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives.”

Mrs. Bowers picks up on this as another biblically based marriage—because it clearly is a marriage. 

I could go on and on about the biblical versions of marriage that the fictional Mrs. Bowers brings up in her video—in fact, if you want to see these, watch the video since she also gives the chapter and verse from the bible.  Decide for yourself what is true and accurate—but just beware that there is little that people agree on, even in the simplest sentences in the Bible!

Are these truthful and accurate?  Well, it appears most of them are—at least if you look at the words of the bible.  However, looking at the words leads to discussions, which leads to different interpretations, which leads to new understandings about these words and stories.  Will it affect the fundamentalists who believe that God made marriage one man and one woman?  No.  Why not? Because these are the people who selectively read the Bible. They don’t want to hear about the connection between rape and forced marriage.  They don’t want to hear about Solomon.  They certainly don’t want to hear about Paul and his advice to people—don’t get married.  Will it affect those who want marriage equality for all people?  Well, I don’t know about other people, but I found the video amusing.  This is probably because Mrs. Bowers is amusing and they use some interesting graphics to discuss these stories in the Bible.  But it is comedy and people should lighten up about it.  God knows this video is so much better than the comedy that is put out by the National Organization of Marriage and I would much rather watch a fictional Christian than one that pretends to be a real Christian in real life…

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10 Responses to Truth and Accuracy in the Bible?

  1. Justin says:

    I found the video very amusing factually I laughed so hard at many parts of it my side hurt but, (there is always that little 3 letter word but again) I would never use it to try and sway any one who is a bible literalist becuse they will only see it as a direct attack on their religion and will take it as a personal attack on themselves. You asked what is the truth in the bible. Well, actually there is a lot of truth in the bible along with a lot of myth and fantasy. I will not go into those because you would kill me for taking up so much space :).As a teacher of history you should know that to the victor belong the spoils and the victor is the one who writes the history. So it was with the Torah. It was written down after the conquest of Israel. So it was with the New Testemant. It was written after the Constantine conqured Rome and ordered a single religion unified in one belief. And as with all history it is written from the eye of the victor it will be filled with sprinklings of truth, myths, legends, and yes, fantasy. People who are dogmatic in their beliefs whether they be religion or politics will never be swayed by any arguments and yes, they will never be swayed when you point out inconsitancies in their stories. You will be shut out and looked at as an enemy trying to destroy their belief of religion or politics. You are absolutely right, it is comedy and people should lighten up about it but the sad truth is some people will not see it for the comedy it is and they will not see the humor that it contains. Should it be dropped? No, it should not be dropped. Let me if I may give you a very recent example of how things like this are viewed. An Olahoma news paper published a political cartoon showing Obama wearing a Sombrero, Judge Sotomayor as a pinata and a group of elephants holding sticks getting ready to break the pinata. Now there were some who found this cartoon funny. I, did not find it funny. Why wouldnt I find it funny? The sombrero is a common symbol of mexico and mexicans in the American press. The pinata is another hispanic symbol, the elephants symbolize the Republican party. And what are they about to do? Beat and break the hispanic woman pinata and would eventually turn on the person wearing the sombrero. Just another symbol of the white man beating back the mexican people. Are all repbulicans racisit? No, I dont think so but this again is painting all with a broad brush. While the video is a humorous paradoy it is aimed at a targeted group but, just as in the cartoon there are those who are not dogmatic will find it offensive to their beliefs. It was only a cartoon and yes, I am sure some saw the humor of it and some agreed with the intent of it. I found it offensive because of my ancestory and trying to get me to see the republican party as a whole being nothing but racisit.

  2. Robert says:

    I personally thought the video was funny, and not that Controversial, since incest and bat shit Marriages do exist in the Bible, which was the basic point.Now as far as finding truth, or I like to say "Gems" in the Bible, sure you can find those. Bill Maher (A Atheist), often says Jesus was one of the best Philosophers of all time, which he was, only if every Christian actually took his words to heart. Now is it accurate? No, not at all. Except for the writings of Paul, it\’s basically just stories handed down, maybe a few extra things for added effects, some changes here and there, according to the times, and there you go.Now here is my thing, I don\’t believe truth is relative. I think there is truth, and than there isn\’t. While I profess to be a Christian, I don\’t think the Bible is entirely true or accurate, it\’s man made, and it has many flaws, as does Religion.

  3. Robert says:

    Justin, I saw the cartoon, and I really didn\’t have a problem with it. I think the basic point was, Republicans get their shot at her, as they will during the Confirmation hearings.

  4. Justin says:

    That is just my point about the video. People will see different things in different ways. People who are dogmatic will see the worst. My point of the cartoon was simple. You have a president wearing a "Sombrero" what is the political signifigance of that to a mexican or some one of hispanic decent. They will see it as deragatory and racisit against hispanics. Many have already said as much. Showing Judge Sotomayor dangeling from a rope. What is the political signifigance of that? Many see it as a attack on a hispanic woman by republicans. While you saw nothing wrong with the cartoon the majority of hispanics and womens groups found it offensive just as many of us of mexican and hispanic decent did. Was it the cartoonist attempt to portray Obama as just another shiftless mexican sympathiser? Was Judge Mayors picture of hanging from a rope showing her as being lynched? Were the elephants depicting the whole of the republican party as a bunch of racisists? I know you dont know what mexicans and hispanics or those of mexican and hispanic decent see in depictions like this and why they would react negatively to it. The majority of us believe that Judge Sotomayor should answer honest questions about her beliefs just as any white or black should. However, when we see something like this we see a direct attack on her ethnic background as well as their own or one political party trying to portray the other as a bunch of racisist. If so it could back fire. You say the basic point was to show Republicans will get their chance to question her but, just as words have meaning pictures have even a greater meaning and so far this one has not been accepted to well in the mexican and hispanic communities. Of course we are not calling for the death of the cartoonist or going out and bombing papers but it goes back to my point whyeven many moderate christians would find the video we have been discussing offensive. What you and I find funny others find as an insult to their deeply held beliefs.

  5. Robert says:

    Justin, I understand that some might be offended, I\’m not sure that was the artists intent is all I\’m saying. You are right I will never fully understand how it is to be a Latino and face, racism everyday.You know I always got your back my good friend :o)

  6. Kevin says:

    Hi guys,Thanks for all of your comments and thanks for sticking with me in all of this! Cass, on the other hand, has left the building. She was mad I decided to keep the video up and said I didn\’t have any regard for truth or accuracy–hence the title of my post. She took me off her Friend\’s List and won\’t allow me to send her private messages (even though she sent me one–she won\’t allow me to respond).I am highly surprised by this. I mean, Cass just made fun of Carlotta\’s fundamentalist viewpoints, called her a comedian who should take her \’comedy show\’ on the road and said that no one with half a brain would believe what Carlotta said. I didn\’t like that Cass said that, but I figured if Carlotta wanted to give a rebuttal, she certainly could. But when I laugh at a very funny video, I am going towards the dark side. Hmm. I see just a little bit of hypocrisy here, but what do I know? I do know that I like funny videos and I also know that no fundamentalist will be swayed by that video. It wasn\’t created for them. It was created for us. I also know that I have the right to my views–even though they may be different from my friends. If you can\’t voice your opinion with your friends…

  7. Robert says:

    Hey Kevin, Friends don\’t always agree, but hopefully there is always respect. Cass did seem a little bit mad, not sure why, wasn\’t something to get that mad over. You have every right to put whatever you want on your blog, and no one has a right to dictate to you or anyone what you have or don\’t have on your blog.

  8. Justin says:

    Rob is right (shhhhhhh dont tell him I said that ok.) It is your blog and you have a right to put up whatever you want. We may not always agree on the subject but good grief to take it personal and take you off her friends list. That is going a bit far I think. I thought the viedo was funny my point was I wouldnt use it to try and sway anyone because it wouldnt work. I think you respected my opinion as I respect yours. As a professor of religious history and my being an ordained priest (which should qualify me for a teacher of religious history) we can both agree the bible is filled with not only many contradictions but some pretty far out tales to say the least. If I were from another planet (shut up Rob dont even go there 🙂 ) and I sat down and read this book I would be scratching my head wondering why these people ever considered themselves an intellegent race. Does my saying that there are many questions left unanswered by the bible mean I do not believe in a Creator? No, it doesn\’t but one has to face the truth. The book was written during a specific time and for a specific audience. I hope Cass will reconsider her feelings and see that true friends do not just abandon each other over disagreeing on something as this. She would never last around Rob (hes really a closet conservative you know. Dont say anything ok 🙂 and I when we have a disagreement on something. But, we do respect each other enough to understand we each have our opinions (no matter how wrong his are rolls eyes) Anyway I think you have done a great job of standing by your convictions as you should and people should respect you for that especially your friends.

  9. Robert says:

    Justin, your a ass, a Liberal ass!:o)

  10. Kevin says:

    Hi Rob,I do respect Cass\’ opinion, but I don\’t understand the point of what she did. It certainly didn\’t add to the conversation. For me (and I have been saying this since even before I started blogging) the Bible is an amazing book–which is why it has led to debates. I won\’t stop debating the meaning of the Bible because I love doing it. I love Christian history–no one will convince me not to use it either!Hi Justin, Thanks for all of that. I certainly respect your religion and I have to say that if some of my friends were absolutely convinced this video was rubbish (and could convince me of that too) I would take it down. but it is comedy. It is funny. I don\’t know why something like this could be taken so seriously. I also thought the National Organization\’s Quiet Storm (or Desert Storm or Gay Storm or whatever it was called!) was also funny. Should I take an anti-gay video seriously? Well, certainly not that one! That is why it led to so many parodies! And I agree with the \’far out tales\’ too. And like you and Rob, I also see a lot of good in that text. If I didn\’t, I can\’t believe I would spend so much time reading it!

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