Recently (March 21), Marlin Bricker wrote a My Turn regarding how the "Bible is a book to be honored" and that the "Holy Scriptures (are) still relevant in today's world." I ask, how long are we going to sit quietly on the sidelines and let this whole hate- and violence- filled book of mythology have any bearing on our culture?
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Bricker should be asked (and all those who believe this fable to be the "truth") why should this book be believed any more than other religious tomes, such as the Quran, Torah, Bhagavad-Gita or even the Book of Mormon? All these books claim to be the truth and have the same glaring lack of proof. They are all called holy books and are the foundation documents of their respective religions. All state they have the only way to salvation. So how do they really differ? How do you choose one as true and the others not?
The tone of Bricker's column is frightening because it resounds with a Christian-centric emphasis suggesting that everyone needs to follow Christian belief. This is the basic tenet of the Christian Reconstruction movement. It says the U.S. government should be a theonomy, in which its laws would be designed to make people Christians, and that every area of life must be dominated by Christian beliefs and values. Is this any different than the Taliban? Is this tolerant?
Bricker also says that the New Testament is the governing text of Christendom and the Old Testament should not be referenced or "taken out of context."
Yet, in the New Testament, doesn't Jesus say that "Before Abraham, I Am," while in the Old Testament Yahweh named himself "I Am," implying that Jesus and the father are one (as per the trinity), thus Jesus was as responsible for the Old Testament as the father.
So, in this tome - which Bricker claims has relevance today - genocide, conquest, torture, displacement of populations and forced conversions are valid representations of Christianity, whether in the Old or New Testaments.
Finally, in regards to the New Testament being as bereft of violence as Bricker claims it to be, let us look a bit deeper into its pages: "And brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and put them to death" (Matthew 10:21); "Do not think that I have come to send peace upon the earth; I have come to bring a sword, not peace. For I have come to set a man at variance with his father, and a daughter with her mother" (Matthew 10:34-35); Jesus says entire cities will be violently destroyed and the inhabitants "thrust down to hell" for not "receiving" his disciples (Luke 10:10-15); "But as for my enemies, who did not want me to be king over them, bring them and slay them in my presence" (Luke 19:27).
Rather than being relevant and needing to be honored, I suggest violence is the context of the Bible. Modern, civilized society should advance beyond violent myth worship.
These contradictions are often overlooked, because to acknowledge them would be to shake the foundation of the carrot and stick theology of this alleged holy book. To operate on a true moral level, we must eschew "holy books." The Bible is only one of them.
We need to do things because they are right, not because some arcane piece of bad literature and a self-appointed shaman of a church tells us to.
Eric Coufal is a member of the Alaska Freethinker Society and Juneau resident.
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