April 4, 2006

Fundamentalist Christians Are Right

In the thick of the street festival, some demo...
In the thick of the street festival, some demonstrators used the occasion to get their message out. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I bet you never thought you'd see a post title like that here! Amidst all the discussion in religious circles about "interpreting the bible" and how to do it, I can't help thinking that the fundamentalist Christians are on the right track. If we want to know what the Christian bible says, we should read it. No interpretation is necessary. It says what is says, and it is there for all to read.

I am convinced that most of what passes for biblical interpretation involves isolating a particular passage that makes someone uncomfortable and attempting to reinterpret it in such a way that it ends up making someone less uncomfortable. When we find pervasive themes of cruelty, intolerance, violence, etc. throughout the Christian bible, we have a hard time reconciling this with our Sunday school teachings that Christianity is about love. We then interpret away the literal meaning with something we have an easier time accepting.

The problem is that the bible is rather clear much of the time. This is a vengeful, punitive, violent sort of god. This is clear if we look at what the bible says rather than what we wish it said. Say what you will about fundamentalists, but it strikes me that they are somehow more honest in their focus on the actual words.

What could be more arrogant than reinterpreting the bible to make it seem like it said what we wish it said? It it was supposed to say what we wish it said, wouldn't it have said that?