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…