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Pimp My Gospel


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This is just a rant, and can be safely ignored, unlike my usual pearls of wiz.


Listening to some of the programs on the local Xtian AM station, from the trans-border station KARI-AM in Blaine, WA,

I've noticed that quite a few of the programs are devoted to the "interpretation" of "scripture" (um, that would be

Christian scripture). For example, the spin put on the biblical texts by such luminaries as J. Vernon McGee, Noah

Hutchings, Hank Henagraaff, and some loudmouth preacher from Atlanta whose name escapes me just for the moment. And

I can't help but think that some panel of psychologists and neurologists and logicians could probably do an analysis of

the transcripts of each of these guys and locate them each at precise locations on an I.Q. graph (...graaff...).

Their readings of certain biblical passages/stories, especially some of the more fucked up stories, all seem to be of

the type that adolescents revel in when they get to an age when they see that much of what most people write is not

written with lawyer-like clarity, which they take as an invitation to rewrite with more clarity, but with their own,

usually messed up, spin. As if clearly delineated personal modern bullshit is worth more than shortly stated

original-text bullshit, the exact translation of which has long been lost in the haze of distant and ancient usage

and context. (Michael Yusef, that's the guy's name; I knew it would come back to me... Where was I?...)


Right. "When a girl reach the age a' eighteen/ She begin t' think she's grown/ And that's the kind a' li'l girl/..."

who can get her own radio show on KARI-AM reinterpreting gospel. Perhaps today's bible study will consist of why

women are commanded to keep their mouths shut in church services, and how this message can be made a bit more

palatable for life in the 21st century, or better yet, shown to be not at all what was meant by those words (i.e.

"Everything you know is wrong"), which were, let's face it, pretty baldly stated in the book. How to get around this

bit of biblical misogyny? Hmmm, I know, got it: Well, y'see, in those times, there were rival religions, with

priestesses who practiced a sort of carnal pantheism and these are the women who oughtn't to be selling their message

in the new Xtian congregations. Yeah, that's the ticket; that's what the author of the scripture was trying to say.

So you see, it all makes sense now when you look at it that way. Naturally, this is not how some other bible study

group or pundit would have spun it a hundred years ago, and would have been equally endorsed, or not endorsed, by the

other Xtians around him/her according to the times. Or is spinning right this minute, but in a different bible study

group in some other town. (Would you join a book club that only ever reads one book, over and over? A club where

reading only that single book is one of the rules?)


Now, at the other end of the spectrum, consider a book of mathematical theorems. This is also "difficult" reading

matter. The difference is, this one really _is_ difficult. That is, the stuff ITSELF is hard, not the chore of trying

to make it seem smart. But once you've got it, you've got it. No-one is going to have to tart it up in garb that will

make it go down a bit easier within the zeitgeist of the day. Once someone's thought it up, it stays put. For instance, the

Pollard "rho" method of factoring mid-sized numbers (and in math circles, mid-sized would be into around the octillions;

once you start getting into biggish numbers, into the eel-tillions, you need the industrial-grade tools like the

number-field sieve) won't mean something different two thousand years from now. It may seem primitive, but it will

still work, even if kids will be able to do it in their heads by then. It will never need some apologist to explain

it away as actually being a recipe for blackberry pie, or the proper way to sacrifice a goat, or what the meaning of

the trinity is. It means what it means.


That's the difference in the "difficulty" of the texts of these two books. One presents the task and opportunity to

(ab)use your creativity in trying to square drivel mixed in with some basic commonsense morality with the way you

plan to get through your day anyway; and the other presents evolved, complex, new knowledge built up from smaller

true statements about the laws of thought and the way things really are.


Being an expert in theology, and holding some degree that you expect others to address you by in day to day life, is

being an expert in nothing.

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