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Thursday, June 24, 2004
As cultured as the Philistines, as moral as Gomorrah

Oliver Kamm has a very good post on a story I first read yesterday, and simply couldn't believe was serious. In short, a new edition of the Bible has been written, and will be issued with the approval of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In this edition, passages condemning sodomy and promiscuity are deleted or reversed in meaning and the language of the King James version is once again 'updated' - this time to the most banal and witless "Janet and John" style of writing imaginable.

As he was climbing up the bank again, the sun shone through a gap in the clouds. At the same time a pigeon flew down and perched on him. Jesus took this as a sign that God's spirit was with him. A voice from overhead was heard saying, 'That's my boy! You're doing fine!'

The best analogy that comes to mind is of someone scrawling a cheesy grin on the Mona Lisa. Oliver Kamm comments: "if I were a Christian I would find this new translation - which is apparently not a joke - little short of blasphemous. The problem is not only in rewriting St Paul to render his message the opposite of what he says, it is more fundamentally about rewriting a sacramental language to render it banal." To which I would only add that for the Rowanised Church of England this spinelessness and idolatry is, as Tony Blair said of Clare Short, entirely consistent.

The more interesting issue for me is the mindsets of the people who wrote this garbage. What right can they possibly feel they have to delve into the Bible, scribble out the Christian bits and replace them with PC claptrap? Unwilling to question a letter of the unwritten rules of modern society in which sensual pleasure and personal gratification are everything, they are still quite happy to tinker with the Bible - the one book that is above all supposed to provide an alternative to follies and sins both passing and permanent, rather than reflect and endorse those of them given temporary favour by society's liberal elite. How dare they second-guess Saint Paul and then write their own pathetic hormonal morality into his books? Just how ignorant of history, of human nature and of civilised ethics does one have to be to achieve such arrogance about their own historically anomalous mores as to do so?

I am not at all sure there is a heaven, but of one thing I feel rather more confidence. If there is a heaven, then sincere and moral Jews, Sikhs, Muslims and atheists are likely to face far less trouble when they arrive outside the pearly gates than those fake Christians with their fake Bibles who use God's name to promote exactly the sort of values to which real Christianity has always been in fiercest opposition.

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