Belief in a belief does not make it true


The response from the camp of entrenched fundamentalists to the homily of Rev. Leigh Waggoner, in which she explains the humane inclusiveness of Christianity, is nothing more than a pathetic offering on the altar of bigotry. It not only lacks humanity but is utterly out of touch with the very heart of the teachings of Jesus, whose arms were open wide to all people, especially the poor and the despised. Those who believe that the Bible (the King James Version, of course) is the “inerrant word of God” can smugly rely on some biblical passage or other to support any one of their opinions. The King James Bible is the product of the labors of 54 scholars formed into six committees, who drew upon a number of earlier Bibles, beginning with the Hebrew Bible, and including the mid-3rd century B.C. translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, the Latin Vulgate, the Wycliffe and Tyndale Bibles in English, the Luther Bible, and the Geneva Bible translated into English and even favored by English readers over the King James Version until the mid-1600s. The majesty of its Elizabethan English, glorious as it may be, is not sufficient to save the King James Bible from errors, the inevitable result of its derivation from numerous scriptures scattered over 2,000 years.

To maintain their beliefs, hard-core fundamentalists not only have to ignore the biases and intentions of the many different writers responsible for the various books of the Bible, but also the earth’s long history as recorded in its geology, archaeology and anthropology. Our world was not created a mere 6,000 years ago. The events in the Garden of Eden are not literally true, but an allegory about disobedience. Jonah and the whale is an allegory demonstrating that God is everywhere and cannot be escaped.

Belief in a belief does not make it true. All it means is that the believer believes something. It is that something that can be tested for truth, not the belief itself. Belief exists beyond the pale of reason.

Denton May


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