God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible – How Information is Handled
As I plowed through this book and as I blogged about it, I can understand how, from a certain point of view, it looks like I’m bashing a Bible version, as if I’m trying to discredit it—and perhaps, by extension, other Bibles. I appreciate this stance, and the evidence would appear to be in my recent posts. However, as I reflect on this book and place it in the larger context of this blog project, I realized what I have thought throughout the past few years—and perhaps have not done a good enough job articulating: The issue isn’t with the text, the issue is how much stock is placed in these books and how that is then used against people.
Do people who follow the Bible do a lot of good in the world? I believe so, and I wouldn’t want to see that change. Yet, unfortunately, there is a contingent of people who mis-use what they read and believe, and therein lies the problem: this negativity is often focused on gay people. If what you believe makes you a better person, great; however, once you impose your beliefs on other people, especially people with whom you have zero contact, like gay people, that’s wrong.
In these cases, a closer examination of what is used to support beliefs is warranted, and that’s where Nicolson’s book adds to the project: by providing a slice of historical context, his work demonstrates how environment contributes to art, shaping the artists who guide the work. You cannot have a work as significant as this Bible version without considering context. Having explored some of this context in this month’s posts, I would say that what I point out doesn’t mean that people who revere this Bible version should ditch it; no, if this Bible works for you, keep it. What I would ask is that you consider what has influenced its creation in order to determine how you use what is in its pages against others.
If what was translated here is the product of flawed translation and political influence (and Nicolson makes a case that it is), then how can it truly be the “true” word of God? Given that, how could it then be used to support anti-gay beliefs? I think a majority people who read this Bible possess the compassion their religion encourages; yet enough don’t, and those are the ones that need input from the ones who do. If anything, I would like to see more of that, especially in the public arena, where people who are not gay debate what happens (in the form of laws, etc.) to those who are.
In the middle of November, I will resume the blog with a discussion of Michael Cobb’s God Hates F@gs [censored by me]: The Rhetoric of Religious Violence. This collection of four academic essays on the topic will hopefully provide additional input on the ways religion is misused against the LGBT community.