‘Authoritative’ translation

Note: I wrote this prior to leaving Christianity.

In the centuries since the King James Version was authorized in 1611, many have come to refer to it as the “authoritative” translation. This notion of authoritativeness is so pervasive that many hold the KJV in higher esteem than the Hebrew and Greek texts from which it was translated.

There was a time when a grade-school education included a certain amount of Latin, Hebrew and Greek. We left that a long way back…decades before our modern public education system. Now, we’re lucky if the kid makes it to graduation, and can function in English. But I digress.

Since the ancient languages aren’t taught in school, they’re not taught at home. This means that several generations of kids have grown up in Christian homes not knowing how to study the Bible in the ancient languages. This only increases the reliance on translation.

The reality is there is no such thing as an “authoritative” translation.

None.

It does not exist, except as an emotion-laden idea in the minds of many Christians.

It’s an idea, a notion, a myth. A widely- and closely-held belief. That’s all.

The message is the authority. How it is presented is another issue. Assuming the presentation itself is the authority is unhealthy.

The original writings from which we get the biblical text, whether they be on scrolls or tablets, probably don’t exist anymore. They’ve been duplicated by thousands of scribes over the centuries and whatever documents survive are most likely copies. So while we speak of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek being the original languages, the resource materials we employ for study are not those original documents.

With all that said, read your bible. Study it. Put a cover on it. Use highlighters. Write stuff in the margins. But understand that it is a tool, not an object of worship.

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Racism everywhere?

STOP, LOOK, LISTEN

I don’t use the term “racism” anymore. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist. But like “terrorist,” Exclamation-Markst has lost its meaning through endless hypnotic repetition across all forms of media. And I think that’s intentional. It’s one among a trillion shiny objects tossed into our field of view to distract us. While we’re busy being offended, the debt we’ll be paying for generations grew some more.

It’s manipulation. It’s misdirection. Instead of hopping to the beat of the latest outrage, let’s learn to say, “Okay, but what’s Congress up to?” or “Right, but what bills are on the President’s desk right now?” or “Yeah, I know. What’s happening on Wall Street?” We’ll always have bigots, prejudiced people, and asshats, and there will always be overlap among those three. I am by no means immune to this. There are many times I fail to check myself.

Picking apart language

It annoys people sometimes but it is often necessary.

I was watching a commercial for the anti-depressant drug Pristiq. The narrator says, “…Pristiq is thought to work by affecting the levels of two chemicals in the brain serotonin and norepinephrine…”

I beg your pardon.

The drug is thought to work. You mean your handlers don’t know, Mr. Narrator?

That’s the kind of language I’d expect from an amateur mechanic installing a part on my car she knows next to nothing about. That’s the language of speculation. That’s something I say to people when I don’t know and am giving them my best guess.

They need to get one of the drug geeks from Pfizer to do the narration or rewrite this guy’s script.