Monday, November 25, 2013

A large majority of Republicans apparently back creationism.

From an article in the current Economist magazine:
(F)or decades more than 40% of all Americans have consistently told Gallup pollsters that God created humans in pretty much their current form, less than 10,000 years ago. They are embracing an account of man’s origins promoted by Young Earth Creationists who lean on a painstakingly literal reading of the Scriptures, swatting aside the counter-claims of science (fossils are a relic of Noah’s flood, they argue, and evolution is a myth peddled by atheists). In a recent poll 58% of Republicans and 41% of Democrats backed creationism. The glue that underpins such faith is the principle of Biblical inerrancy—a certainty that the Scriptures are infallibly and unchangingly true.
One would think that people who believed the bible in that way would want to read it knowingly in the languages in which it was written. I am no great linguist, but I have translated for others and I know how easy it is to put one's own interpretation in place of the original emphasis of that which one is translating. And as I read history, there have been some real screamers of mistranslations from the original Greek of the New Testament to Latin.

Languages change. Even reading Shakespeare in his original English today we require footnotes to understand fully what he is saying. That is, I suppose why churches continue to publish modern editions of the Bible -- to make the content more understandable to the modern reader.

I bet that few of the people who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible have taken the trouble to really learn the languages it was written in and to read the earliest versions of the texts in those languages.

I of course would rather believe that science provides some truths newly discovered, and that the story of the Good Samaritan is better read as a parable than as a statement of fact about a specific event.

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