Babylon 5 is one of the best television series ever produced. This is simply a fact as obvious and incontrovertible as the speed of light. Few sci-fi efforts have succeeded so well at illustrating and commenting on our own society.
One episode, "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars," is a great example of how humans are always trying to manipulate language, symbols, images and personalities to fit our own agenda. An in-depth summary of the episode can be found here. The short of it is that the main leaders of the titular space station died centuries ago and have been rendered as holograms. The Alliance they founded was standing in the way of the Earth government's plans for expansion, and so they decided to use holograms of the Alliance's founders to impugn their motives and history and convince "the Prole Sector" that waging war against the Alliance was the correct action to take.
The vocabulary in this episode is great. They have "realfacts," which stand in opposition to the "goodfacts" that the Earth government wants its citizens to believe. They're using the holograms "to provide reverse-correct infospeak as support for current changes in Earth policy."
Great stuff that vividly captures the fascists' willingness, even their need to manipulate everything around them, to take the most powerful symbols of their society and desecrate them in the name of their current political goals.
Let us, then turn our atttention to the Conservative Bible Project:
Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations. There are three sources of errors in conveying biblical meaning:
- lack of precision in the original language, such as terms underdeveloped to convey new concepts of Christianity
- lack of precision in modern language
- translation bias in converting the original language to the modern one.
Of these three sources of errors, the last introduces the largest error, and the biggest component of that error is liberal bias. Large reductions in this error can be attained simply by retranslating the KJV into modern English.
- 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."
Words to these people are either liberal or conservative, the way they can be feminine or masculine in languages such as Spanish. And since their unexamined presupposition is that the Bible is a collection of writings that reflect current American conservative thought, words that might - to them - undermine the idea that, as the Sadly Nauts put it, "the Bible is an Ayn Rand-style ode to the glory of the free market" must be excised and appropriate words - ones that express goodfacts - must be inserted.
Like every other member of the Democratic party that I've met who believes in a god, I am a Democrat because it is the political party that most falls in line with my religious beliefs. That is to say, my theology has always been the defining factor in how I approach life. And in those areas where the Democratic party is in opposition to my understanding of the Bible - such as Democratic politicians' continued refusal to extend basic civil rights to all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation - I oppose the Democratic party.
But those who came up with and are participating in the Conservative Bible Project have this backwards. Their political philosophy - something that in its current iteration has lasted for only 30 years or so - defines their lives totally. It is the standard by which every other affiliation and belief is tested. So if the Bible fails to live up to current right-wing American political stances, then they set about changing the Bible to suit their current whims.
Of course, they're doing it to textbooks as well, most notably in Texas - something about which I hope to have a post soon. Everything that doesn't conform to their vision of the world - all those pesky realfacts which need to be reverse-corrected into goodfacts - must be eliminated, changed, distorted. Their disregard for the truth is staggering. And while my atheist friends and colleagues may not understand this, their willingness to attack the Bible, to desecrate and blaspheme against it and the God they claim to follow, is the most chilling thing I've seen in a while. They know no limits, none at all, in protecting themselves from the real world - and most importantly, keeping the rest of us from living in it as well.