Thursday, January 27, 2011

Censoring The Bible

When Christian author Rachel Held Evans heard about the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn controversy, she was upset because she loves the book so much. How dare people change the book by revising parts they don’t like?!

And what about the House Republicans’ desire to read the Constitution aloud… but only after omitting that whole Three-Fifths Compromise? How dare people change the Constitution by getting rid of the parts that don’t sit well with the public?

That’s when she realized she had been doing the same thing with the Bible:
I was putting together the liturgy for The Mission and decided I wanted to include Psalm 9 in our reading.

Verses 4-6 didn’t sound very Christlike to me, so I whipped out that most venerated weapon in the Bible-reader’s arsenal — the ellipses — and with the precision of an expert, surgically removed them. Our liturgy was tidy and consistent and comfortable again. No one would even notice those three little dots.

It took about 17 seconds for the irony of the situation to settle in.
It raises a lot of questions:

Why is it ok for Christians to effectively ignore books like Leviticus in their Bible studies?
Why don’t pastors ever seem to talk about the rape and murder in the Old Testament?
Why is it ok for Christians to clip out Bible verses they don’t think represent their faith well when preparing a reading?

It’s not like they “sanitize” the Bible for children and then give them the real, full version as adults — the adults ignore the embarrassing parts, too.

If you’re going to be a Christian, you can’t pretend like those verses aren’t there.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ricky Gervais on Piers Morgan

Comedian Ricky Gervais appeared on “Piers Morgan Tonight” to talk about his “controversial” stint hosting the Golden Globes.

Of course, atheism came up in conversation.

Gervais says that religious people shouldn’t be offended at his recent atheism joke. After all, he doesn’t get offended when they thank a god in their acceptance speeches.

Gervais added that religious people “haven’t got the monopoly on good.”

This is why it’s a boon to have strong spokespeople for our outlook. Gervais appears calm, sincere, and certainly not anti-religious or angry. He’s just stating the facts as he sees them and he sounds like he genuinely can’t understand what all the uproar is about.

If you haven't seen the full interview I strongly suggest you try and find it. It's definitely worth watching.

At one point in the interview he said something that I just loved. He says that nobody has the right to not be offended, and just because you're offended doesn't mean you're in the right. Lots of people are offended by mixed marriage, it doesn't mean they're right.

He went on to say something about how religious people don't believe in all the other Gods out there. He was getting very close to saying that everyone is an atheist, and that he's just an atheist to 1 more God than all the Christians. Sadly, it got cut to commercial break before he could make that point.

Another fascinating part of the interview that I had never known about Gervais is that he does not have an official marriage to his wife. He has been with his wife for 25 years but they have never had an official ceremony or a legal marriage. Everything they own is in both their names, and they feel no need to get a certificate that says they are united in the eyes of God. I was particularly moved by this since I've never liked the idea of getting a legal document that binds me to my spouse. If I truely love someone and want to be with them for the rest of my life, I think it would be more meaningful of we stayed together without having a legally binding contract of marriage.