The Pen is mightier than the sword, but the Pen must sometimes move the sword against corruption if the corrupt are not moved by the pen.. An idea without an implementer is useless. "The Rulers do not carry the sword in vain"Rom 13:4

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"Political" theological Truth and Christian fundamentalism.

By Fundamentalism I mean primarily a movement among evangelicals called the King James Only movement which advocates that the only Bible that is truly inspired is the King James version, because of the original documents it relies on.  There are more holes in that position than in a slice of Swiss cheese, but  I want to tie this to the idea of "Inerrancy".

It seems to me that the idea of "Inerrancy" bandied around by some Christians relies in the first instance on the idea like that described above. (a particular dogmatically decided 'version'/translation)

1/  You must first 'declare'- this or that text is the 'only' one truly inspired and reliable. (but in the case of the KJB this is an absurd and eminently falsifiable premise)
2/  Having done this, you can now 'control' your flock in terms of their compliance to that premise.

This is the Christian version of "Political truth" that works for such groups.

Inerrancy is an idea that might make good doctrine in a systematic theology text book, but it's difficult to sustain when subjected to the ideas of linguistics and comparative language study.

For example... let's take a typical word from scripture and examine it. Mark 1:1

"The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah..."
Ponder this for a moment, thinking about a tight definition for each of the main words.
"Good news"
"The Messiah"

Each of these words has a meaning, the question is, do 'you' understand the exact same meaning as it had for the author of the Gospel? What about 'Messiah'...?  Are you able to densely pack this into a very tight definition of clear dimensions that exactly equates to the meaning in Marks day?
Let's say you get it hmmm 95% correct/accurate. Does this mean that you have not encountered the 'inerrant/inspired' scriptures?  What if you only work out a 50% definition. Then.....consider this, if you developed a spurious idea, and suddenly one day you encountered a much clearer and stronger idea soundly backed up by Old Testament evidence.....will you not be shocked?

Is this the fault of your mind,  or your education, your upbringing?  There is so much in this.  The words themselves as just ink on paper.... the meaning totally depends on all the things just mentioned, and also the work of textual academics who have the task of checking all available texts and fragments, and then, putting a translated word into our own cultural and educational context. Even then we will find 5 people with 5 different views most likely. So, who determines, in everyday language, what the text itself means?  It's a challenging question for those of serious dogmatic persuasion.

Just take the idea of "Red"... the color, and consider what will arise in the minds of 5 different people.  They only know the idea of 'Red' because of education and their own exploration of life. The 'true' meaning of 'Red' will ultimately be found in some 'color standard' worked out by physicists and it will be described in such and such a way.  But that's only in 'our' language.  Each language has to undergo this process.  One language might be slightly different than others.

SYNTACTICAL DOMAIN.  Is where a word has different meanings depending on the sentence and context.
"Light" can be a noun (an incandescent light) it can be an adjective "that brick was light" and so on. Light can also be a verb "Her smile was able to light up the room"

Sadly, many, possibly most 'common' Christians do not have a very strong understanding of the real philosophical issues that they are relying on...which might be a good thing? Jesus said "Unless you become like a child, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven".... I'm guessing he knew a lot more than we.

I absolutely believe the Bible (which one? ... simple..the one that relies on the best textual evidence) is inspired and inerrant in that is shows the way to salvation in Christ.  This is a faith step on my part. I can't and won't try to 'prove' it.  If you look at the account of the Acts of the Apostles, which follow on from the same kind of Acts of Jesus recorded in the Gospels, it seems clear to me that the ultimate proof is in the clear signs and wonders that come with the true Gospel and the trusted messengers.

Anyone can manufacture 'signs'...using a bit of technology ("Rev" Peter Popov!) or some smoke and mirrors, but as I said in a recent post.. nothing can compare to the sublime reality of instantaneous healing in Jesus name.

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