Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Blasphemer


I want it to be known that I don't believe the bible is a factual, truthful book.

The Truth
Some of it may be factual. Some of it may be truthful.

But I will never accept the bible as the ultimate authority for anything, just like I would never accept "Gone With The Wind" as the ultimate authority on Southern women, nor "The Bourne Identity" as the ultimate authority on espionage.

In fact to take this thought one step further, I find it unthinkable that millions of people would rely on a book as the ultimate authority on their spiritual, social and political lives.

I could understand being inspired by the writings in the Bible. I could understand choosing to study the Bible. I could understand using some of the stories in the bible as a way of setting my moral compass. I could even understand putting the Bible up on a pedestal as a symbol of one's religion (or would that be idolatry?).

But to take a text that is the consolidation of both pre- and post-Christ writings, that over the years has been censored by men with clearly non-spiritual agendas, and also translated by men (oftentimes badly or purposefully incorrectly), and then use that jumbled mess as the justification for imposing your beliefs on another...that just doesn't work for me. It's almost like circular logic, where the bible is used by many as proof of something because it is divinely inspired.

It doesn't bother me that others hold this book in reverence. I am tolerant that way, even though I don't understand why. But please don't ever try and tell me what is right or wrong in my life based on this mish-mosh of text, just because you've assigned it some holy status in your life.

Current Knitting
I have finished crocheting all the "leaves" of the Boteh scarf, and I'm halfway through with the border stitches that go all around the outer edge of the scarf.



The edging is pretty mindless, and goes quickly (if you look closely, you'll see the bottom edge is finished but not the top edge). I'm hopeful to finish the scarf this evening.

I've also done a little more work on the Lavold-inspired bulky pullover.



Not much, but I've finished another repeat or more of the twining cables design, and I'm trying to figure out whether I will knit this garment flat in pieces, or in the round. I'm thinking flat would be easier overall.

Curmudgeonly Birthday Wishes
Make sure you wish the crankiest knitblogger a HAPPY BIRTHDAY



She officially reaches the age of "too old to mention anymore" on Wednesday, April 25th.

For my straight sister, I wish her the best of years.

Local Knitting Classes
For those interested, my local yarn store, Twist, is having a couple of knitting classes in May.


BEGINNING KNITTING
Learn some fun techniques while you get started on a great scarf that knits up quickly with bulky yarn and big needles, or pick another project suitable for beginners.
Sat. May 5, 10:30 until noon FEE $25

FINISHING TECHNIQUES with LISA
Bring in a sweater or any other project ready to finish and learn techniques that make your piece look professionally done!
Sun. May 6, 1 until 4 FEE $50

TRADITIONAL CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES FOR FAIR ISLES with BETH BROWN-REINSEL
Level: Intermediate (Experience with double pointed needles and carrying a color in each hand is helpful.)
The classic details and traditional construction of the Fair Isle sweaters will be taught in this two-day workshop through the circular knitting of a small cardigan. Techniques to be learned include choices of different corrugated ribbings, shaped and unshaped knitted steeks for two different armholes (shaped and drop shoulder), stranding and weaving, cutting steeks, picking up stitches for sleeves two different ways, underarm gussets, buttonbands, and finishing steeks. Discussion will include different pattern families (seeding, peerie, border, OXO, stars, and all-over patterns), and designing a Fair Isle.
Sat and Sun, May 19-20 (12 hours total)
Deposit required FEE $175

25 comments:

Cynthia said...

As always, well said.

That scarf is wonderful. How I wish I could crochet. I have taught myself a bit, but I need professional help. Still yet to find it locally--lots of learn to knit classes, but all crochet are during the weekday. Please all LYS within a 50 mile radius of Princeton, add a learn to crochet class on the weekend or at night!

Kate said...

Hi Cynthia,
Check out Woolplay in Haddonfield. Learn to Crochet Workshop Sat. June 16 from 10-12.

Ria said...

I agree with your opinions of the bible. While it does have some very good lessons to teach, and some fascinating stories and historical notes, I don't believe that it's a reliable history text. I do believe the original may have been divinely inspired, but it's gone through so many changes and translations that what we have today is most certainly different from what it was originally intended to be. The bible was written and has been rewritten by man.

Part of me has an aversion to thinking that one book can be the ultimate word of God, too, when there are so many different versions of it around today, and so many factions within Christianity use their differing interpretations of it as an excuse for hatred. I can't think that something written by a divine hand would do that to people.

no-blog-rachel said...

I'm with you on the bible thing, Joe. In college we were required to take either a religion or a philosophy course. I chose a class in which we studied the old testament purely from an anthropological and historic point of view - it was pretty cool, and very interesting to read it from that perspective!

Cara said...

On the issue of "divinely inspired": I just finished a book on Autism (Unstrange Minds: Remapping the world of Autism, written by an anthropologist with an autisti child) and he relates how one group of very Orthodox Jews have autistic children put their hands on the hands of a religious man while he has his hands on a typewriter. They claim that the resulting writing is divinely inspired. Examples of the writings in the book are not particularly divine, but do speak of the values and culture of the "intermediary".

The Bible is a valuable resource, but it has been heavily edited for content.

Leslie said...

Of course you're correct about the bible business, Joe. A book written by men at different times, in different languages and for different reasons. And please don't even get me started about the "New Testament". I've been deemed "awful" and a "heretic" more than once for asserting that neither Matthew, Mark, Luke nor John were original apostles, never met the Christ and it's all heresay (notice how that's close to heresy)and their own personal system of "the way it's supposed to be." Organized religion - bah!

Damn that scarf looks sweet - it would look nice made in some Silky Wool in the stash. I hope the stuff frogs well since I'm teaching myself crochet.

Laura said...

However, I will DEFINITELY accept Montse Stanley's Handbook as the definitive authority on all things knitting. :)

Love your Boteh!

Carol said...

Erm, actually it's "hearsay."
Still kind of close to heresy, though I'm betting the derivation is different.

--- Pointy-Headed Lawyer Girl

Elizabeth said...

Thank yo, as usual, for a thought-provoking and insightful post! What kills me is that the folks who take the writings of the Bible literally do not take into account how many times it has been translated. How many kings, clergy, etc., have edited the book for their own selfish purposes. Sigh. It's good to be a free-thinking pagan.

Sandy said...

love the bulky yarn knit up. very nice!Also I am with you on the book in question... don't people know who put it together in the first place and chose went in...

Leslie said...

Thanks, Carol. I didn't think it looked right but didn't have a dictionary at hand and didn't check m-w.com. Appreciate the input :)

angie Cox said...

As much as I suppose I consider myself a wishy-washy Christian I completely agree with you about the Bible. No-one has any right to impose religion on anyone else . The best version of the Bible is Spike Milligan's who in using humour points out the constant inconsistancies and contradictions.I just have to hear my daughter laughing when reading his version of the Ruth and Naomi thing to realise just how brilliant it is.

Sue said...

I always told my kids that the Bible, while an interesting story book, is very much like the game of "telephone". For a long time the stories were just passed down orally, which changes them every time they get told.

I have friends who believe that it is literal truth, and we just agree not to get into religious discussions, since I am a Druid (raised Catholic).

Love it when the Johovah's come by, wnating to discuss "the word of God". I always ask if they mean the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Morman, the Torak, or something else, since I've browsed thru most at one time or another. They usually just shake their heads and walk away...

Anonymous said...

Delurking to say that I totally agree with your observations on the bible. The one good thing about being raised Catholic is that we didn't really read it!

I've been thinking quite a bit about the colour theory discussion. It occurred to me that most colour theory I've read is very Euro-centric. Has anyone seen any works on colour theory/aesthetics from, for example, Asian perspectives?

Sally

Becky in Iowa :O) said...

Ahhhh the bible. I usually get people really pissed off when I start talking about the bible. I've read a large part of it. It's interesting. Do I believe that most of it happened? Ummmm no.

I say look at it this way. Suppose that in today's world you found a group of men/women that said that they heard the word of God and he told them to write this book. And that everyone was supposed to live their life completely by this book because God said so. I have a feeling that they would all end up in a psychiatric hospital. At it's root, I believe that a good majority of the bible was written by schizophrenics. The rest of it, I believe was written by self serving people who were out to fulfill some sort of agenda that had nothing to do with God in the slightest.

Never gotten slapped for saying this yet, but I do believe I’ve come close a couple times. hehe But seriously, think about it and it makes sense.

Marilyn said...

My Bible is generally the Walker Treasuries.

Thank you, my darling gay brother, for your birthday wishes. A better sibling I couldn't have. And thanks for a lovely time last Sunday, along with the ladies Merrick, Sulcoski, and Wagner.

[Sotto voce: OK, now the questions about whether we're really related will start again.]

Lloer said...

One thing that I've thought for a long time about any ancient holy book is that they often contain good advice on how to live sensibly in the times when they were written. For example, not eating pork. But then people take this advice and treat it as the word of their god and insist that people must still follow it centuries/millenia later.

On a completely different subject, I came across this on someone's blog:

It's written by a professor who was treated as terrorist due to the colour of his skin. I was suitably outraged, I imagine you will be too.

http://www.kazimali.com/

Emma in France said...

Damn, the last comment was posted with my Blogger identity when normally I use this id.

Dave Daniels said...

Personally, I BELIEVE in Grimm's fairy tales. Those are TRUE stores. All of them. Really.

linann said...

How cqn the bible be the definitive word of God when they have omitted books found in both the dead sea area and in the arab desert. There is a book of Samuel and even a book of Mary. For this to be the "word" of God then he would have to be the author not other mens interpretations. Look to religious leader's for the omissions.

Love the crocheted scarf.

ted said...

Wait ! You and Mar are related!?

Am I the last to know these things?

Geraldine said...

Of course Grimm's Tales are true! who said they weren't? Not that Hans Anderson though, modern rubbish, all Thumbelinas, tin soldiers and pathetic little match girls. Nasty, weepy Victorian melodramas!

On the subject of folk tales, anyone read 'Women Who Run With the Wolves'? Very interesting on why these stories are important to our mental, emotional and ethical development as individuals and as a society.

Anonymous said...

I am a middle-aged baby boomer/empty nester. I am also a Christian and believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. But I also respect the rights of others to agree or disagree. When I was younger, I used to pounce on anyone who dared question the Bible, God, or the Christian way of life. But after I was divorced, I was no longer welcome in the church I'd attended for years, which was part of my heart. I was "frozen out." I felt judged and criticized, my child was interrogated by her Sunday School teachers who wanted to know "do you ever see your daddy now?" The actions of those so-called Christians deeply wounded me. For a time I pulled away from God, but I eventually came back. Now my relationship is with God Himself, not so much the church -- although I switched denominations and found a new church, I no longer feel that I have to be present every Sunday. And I love this knitting blog! I'm an "advanced" beginner, just started my first pair of socks yesterday.

M-H said...

I read an article in our newspaper over the weekend in which young Aussies who've converted to Islam explained that they now know that the Bible has been 'altered' by all the translations that have been done to it over the centuries, while the Qu'uran is still pristine and pure and hasn't been 'interpreted' and is therefore the 'real' word of God. This teaches me that fundamentalism is dangerous no matter how it dresses itself.

Canadian said...

I do believe that the Bible is inspired in a way that other books aren't, but I do not believe it is inerrant, or that it is accurate in historical or scientific matters. I believe it's a record of one people's interactions with the living God. Yes, things were rewritten and altered (I know all about the documentary hypothesis, and the 4-four hypothesis, about Q, etc.) but I believe that God has guided it over the years. We do have to be very careful in our interpretation and look at things in context. That being said, I don't think that Christian ideas about the Bible should be imposed on anyone else, or on society at all. Obviously the Bible does inform my own thoughts, including on political matters (for example, I am a pacifist because of the message and example of Jesus), but I don't expect that to have any relevance or interest to non-Christians.