Saturday, October 21, 2006

Redefining Reality

UK John has linked to Ekklesia, the website of a self-described “progressive think-tank that promotes radical theological ideas in public life”, which has an article that is befitting such an institution. The article’s lead is nothing if not attention-grabbing:
A new Bible translation is causing controversy after it cut out difficult parts surrounding economic justice, possessions and money.

The new bible version, released by the Western Bible Foundation in the Netherlands, has created a storm by trying to make the Christian gospel more palatable.
Mr. De Rijke, Chairman of the foundation reportedly said that "Jesus was very inspiring for our inner health, but we don't need to take his naïve remarks about money seriously. He didn't study economics, obviously."
According to De Rijke no serious Christian takes these texts literally. "What if all Christians stopped being anxious, for example, and started expecting everything from God? Or gave their possessions to the poor, for that matter. Our economy would be lost. The truth is quite the contrary: a strong economy and a healthy work ethic is a gift from God.”

The foundation wanted to "boldly go where no one else has gone before" by cutting out the confusing texts.

“We don't use them anyway! There's no single Christian selling his possessions and giving them to the poor."
While we’re at it, why not remove portions of the US Constitution that may offend the more progressively-minded among us? Oh wait…we’re already doing that. In fact, I’ve previously written about similarities between the Bible and the Constitution (from a textual perspective, rather than a theocratic one), in a post entitled: On interpretation and meaning of texts. Go ahead…become enlightened.

Actually, this new “Bible” isn’t exactly what it seems. Here’s the rub:
The names of the board, ‘De Rijke’ (meaning ‘the rich’) and ‘Fortuijn’ (meaning ‘fortune’), as well as the holes in the pages of the Western Bible hint to the truth: the Western Bible is a joke.

It is published by Time to Turn, a network of Christian students and young adults in the Netherlands "who want to choose a sustainable and just way of life, based on their faith in Jesus Christ."
Now, this little experiment may have been “a joke”, but the disastrous consequences (both intended and unintended) of the so-called “progressive” political philosophy is nothing of the sort. Sure, they use code words like “sustainable” and “just” to describe the ideal social environment, but it’s the meaning that they pour into those words that betrays their irrational ideology. In other words: progressives really aren’t…progressive at all.