If you’re a member of the Conservative Bible Project, then the answer to that question is “liberal bias.” And as the project’s name implies, they’re doing something about it: they’re creating a new, “fully conservative” version of the Bible, and these are their guidelines:
- Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
- Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, “gender inclusive” language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity
- Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level
- Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop; defective translations use the word “comrade” three times as often as “volunteer”; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as “word”, “peace”, and “miracle”.
- Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as “gamble” rather than “cast lots”; using modern political terms, such as “register” rather than “enroll” for the census
- Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.
- Express Free Market Parables: explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
- Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story
- Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels
- Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word “Lord” rather than “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” or “Lord God.”
The first time I read through this, I kept expecting — hoping — to find something that would indicate it was a parody or satire, or at least, that I’d been somehow redirected to The Onion or Lark News. But alas, it’s true, and you can follow their progress here.
There are so many things that are wrong with this, it’s hard to know where to start — I’m afraid that if I do, this entry will just become rather apoplectic. I think Rod Dreher hits the nail on the head when he writes:
…the insane hubris of this really staggers the mind. These right-wing ideologues know better than the early church councils that canonized Scripture? They really think it’s wise to force the word of God to conform to a 21st-century American idea of what constitutes conservatism? These jokers don’t worship God. They worship ideology.
I’m not a Bible scholar, but I assume that the ultimate goal of any Bible translation is to first, bring glory to God, and second, strive to increase the ability of individuals to better know Him. And this is accomplished by setting aside, as much as is possible, cultural, social, and political biases and attempting to treat the original text as honestly, accurately, and humbly as possible. I don’t really see any of that here. Rather, the goal is just to bend Holy Scripture to fit a narrowly defined political ideology.
Even worse, there’s the implication that subscribing to this ideology is necessary to properly understanding and interpreting the Bible — anything less is just “liberal bias” (whatever that means). And if you don’t, then you don’t have the tools or knowledge to do so, and by extension, you can’t come to and know God any better.
The arrogance on display here is simply stunning, and frankly, the more I think about it, the more it pisses me off.
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I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.