It’s pretty clear that from right around day one, the Bible was weaponized. That holds for some, not all, of its authors and editors, and most especially for some of its readers and preachers. A percentage of them have always put the word of the Lord in service of their goals, using the Good Book to incite and justify conformity and obedience, and too often much worse: intolerance, torture, and war. That continues to this day.
A favorite strategy of these practitioners is the Bible quote, otherwise known as “take some easily misunderstood verse, use it out of context, and proclaim it God’s will while emphasizing you are only the messenger.” Though sadly effective over the last two thousand years, it’s also a lazy, often hypocritical, and (ironically) bogus reading of the Bible.
As is the case when fighting most evils, knowledge is the best ammo for a counterattack. A healthy dose recently arrived from Newsweek, which published an illuminating piece about the misuse and abuse of the Bible, mainly at the hands of its most ardent thumpers.
Is it a sign of progress that fewer people are participating in organized religion, at least in the West? That remains to be seen. But by telling the story of the Bible’s origins and evolution, the many pitfalls bringing its authors’ intentions into the 21st century, and the work required to properly understand it, Newsweek has provided a service to atheist and follower alike. What remains is a valid way to focus on the essential message of Christianity. That feat alone is a sign of progress.
Now imagine if that same approach were taken to other religious texts. That surely would be a sign of intelligent life.