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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    And it was good?

    For hundreds of years people have given their lives, their heart, and their voices in dedication to the Biblical word of God. My story began the same way.

    Until I reached the third grade, Sundays in my family were given up to the Lord at the Methodist church I attended. Our preacher spoke of the kindness of God and the mercy His son gave mankind; naturally, being very young I didn’t really have a strong grasp of what quotes like Matthew 22:36-40 in King James’ version meant, but the concept of God’s love made my eight-year-old brain feel warm and fuzzy.

    So, surprise, surprise, when I turned nine and decided to read the Bible front to back, I had nightmares for two months. Images of Abraham nearly slaughtering his son intertwined with the burning of Sodom and the slavery of Jacob ran through my mind, and to be perfectly honest, I felt like I had been lied to. A kind, loving God? This God scares the shit out of me! When my dad found out about my fear, I was not allowed to read through the Bible for years.

    This loss of Scripture forced me to refocus my faith. With retrospect and more experience under my belt, I realize the differences between the testaments and get the gist of what my preacher was trying to convey; however, it was the first in a long line of revelations which conveyed the difference between what the Bible actually says and public perception.

    The traditional justification for the enslavement of African-Americans in the United States comes from Genesis 9:20-27, in which Noah curses and condemns his grandson Canaan to be a slave to two of his sons, Shem and Japeth. The crime? Ham, Canaan’s father, telling his brothers that his father was drunk and fell asleep naked. Those involved in the trade interpreted the curse of Ham to be darkened skin, and if it was justified under Biblical text, it could be legitimized in the South in the mid-1800s, which was struggling to maintain an economy that was built on slavery.

    Today, we look back on such an interpretation and wonder how any connection could be drawn between skin color and a curse. We have science and logic to tell us that such a justification is ridiculous, but if you look at historical justifications for Jewish persecution (New Testament, Gospels) or female subservience (Old Testament, Genesis) you’ll see that many people have taken the inch that the text gave them and made it into the span of the earth’s worth of liberties.

    It is not only atheists who use illogical thoughts to come to illogical conclusions.

    As a Christian, I think it is important to make sure that the Bible is taken with a grain of salt. The construction of the Bible happened over many centuries, long after Christ in the physical sense left the earth, and now Christians have divided and subdivided themselves over such issues as the wise men, heterosexual dominance and the ascension to heaven. It is important to remember that at the end of the day, divinely inspired or not, it’s a book that is bound with string and glue; the religion is much stronger than that.

    Some may criticize me as blasphemous, but I want you to remember that Christians got by for centuries without a standardized Bible to guide them, and only stories and belief to unite them as a religious minority against persecution. Today we are the majority, but if we depend on a book to justify our beliefs, how much faith is involved? How much of this “”proof”” is really necessary?

    Faith should not need justification.

    The more we as a religious group selectively use the Bible to condemn or justify what occurs in the world today, the lower our public perception sinks. There is no justification for persecution or alienation, and manipulating the Bible only takes away from the message I believe is the most important, the one part of the Bible that I could never see corrupted: Matthew 22:36-40.

    “”Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

    Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind.

    This is the first and great commandment.

    And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.””

    If you’re going to follow Scripture by picking and choosing, use the words that build people up, not the ones that knock them down.


    – Jessica Fraser is a freshman majoring in political science and journalism. She can be reached at letters@email.arizona.edu.

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