Bible Isn’t Conservative Enough

The Bible isn’t conservative enough, say some Conservative Christians. But, instead of just sitting around moping about it, a few dedicated individuals decided to do something about it. They’re re-writing the Bible to display a wide conservative stance!

“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Is this a liberal corruption of the original? This does not appear in any other Gospel, and the simple fact is that some of the persecutors of Jesus did know what they were doing. This quotation is a favorite of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible.”

Mark 2:7-8 before Conservatization:

Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

Mark 2:7-8: after Conservatization:

“Why is this man speaking such blasphemy? Who can forgive our sins but God himself?” Jesus perceived immediately what the intellectual types were thinking, and he asked them, “Why are you so hostile to this?

Conservatives do seem to have a real hatred of “intellectuals”, which probably makes it tough for conservative intellectuals (I’m sure they’re the special exception, though).

The “They” is “teachers of the law” in the NIV, scribes in the ESV and ASV, so a proper translation should probably refer to a religiously trained person, not an academic.

If you read the whole passage (Mark 2:1-12), it’s a healing story, told in front of a group of pious finger pointing skeptics that Jesus sneers at then shows up. Is “intellectuals” a viable translation? Not really. They really are supposed to be religious leaders, otherwise the story loses it’s punch .

Here’s the two cent version: It’s early in JC’s ministry, Jesus had recently been baptized (the event that gave him his magic powers), and he was getting known as a healer. There’s a thick crowd gathered around Jesus’s house, so four guys carry a paralyzed man onto the roof , cut a hole in it, and lower him in. Inside, there are a bunch of “teachers of the law” that, even though they obviously must have fought to get in there, didn’t seem to have any idea who Jesus was. Jesus heals the man, then tells them off. This miracle narrative is used to as a method of introducing Jesus to the religious elite of his home town of Capernaum. There’s no theological discussion to be had, so they really are just a nameless faceless bunch of “scribes” that Jesus needs to one up. Unfortunately for the translators of the Conservative Bible Project, modern day conservatives don’t have a problem with scribes. What to do,what to do …

The passage really is a silly little story and should have been better constructed. It doesn’t really tell us anything about the subject of the healing, why they could get a paralyzed man through a crowd to get him onto and then through a roof but not through a crowd to get through a door, or why there were a bunch of “teachers of the law” hanging around inside Jesus’s house. What it does tell us is that the educated men in the first and second century are displayed as not put much stock in miracles, either.

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