Candidates use the Bible to justify their views. We must respond with reason Gayatri Devi

Source: The Guardian

he interpretation – or misinterpretation, or simplification – of our most entrenched foundation myths – the Bible – are important indicators of what we privilege and value as a society. They are not, however, a reflection on the Bible itself.

The Bible is the only book of Asia to wield singular potency in the western world to have become the most powerful symbol of “western civilization”, though it was compiled and revised in distant lands, thousands of years ago, in languages other than English, speaking of people and places and things that have nothing to do with the United States of America. Such a book can be hard to read and interpret in a different millennium, so Republicans’ enthusiasm for Hollywood movie versions of the Bible is understandable. Movie Bible is simple and uncomplicated.

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In the current election cycle, Republican candidates are pasting biblical myths ad hoc onto the present in ways that cast themselves as a predetermined next step in a grand tradition, and as saviors of an influential subset of voters feeling overlooked by a more liberal, secular mainstream.

The Bible says none of this, of course, and the only way in which the Christian Right can be exposed is by taking seriously their biblical misconstruals, by engaging critically with their self-serving myths.

For instance, despite Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump referring to the Bible as a “great movie” during his interview with David Brody of Christian Broadcasting Network in September, both the old and new testaments are primarily books. “Bible” comes from medieval and late Latin and Koine Greek “biblia”, which means “the books”.

Trump is not the only Republican candidate who likes to invoke the Good Book. Last week, Ben Carson favorably compared his own lack of political experience to Noah’s carpentry resumé before he built the Ark in Genesis in a tweet: “It is important to remember that amateurs built the Ark and it was the professionals that built the Titanic.” The remark elicited plenty of mockery, with put-downs ranging from brain surgery jokes to gun jokes to the usual downgrading of the Bible as “myth”, the implication being that “myths” have no bearing on “real life”.

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Categories: CHRISTIANITY, Secularism

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