Why this essay?
In this day and age, like in any other for that matter,
devout Christians read the Scriptures to try to understand
God's message. And now, just like before, they
struggle to understand many of the Scriptures' statements, especially as quite a few
seem to contradict each other.
Of course, we can just rely on the interpretation which is handed to us
by the representatives of our various Churches. The problem
with such an approach is that these representatives have often
modified their Churches' official understanding. All the Churches,
for instance, used to profess Creationism. My Church, the Roman Catholic,
has now repudiated a litteral reading of the Creation story
found in Genesis while quite a few Churches still accept it. All Churches used
to consider that homosexuality is a grave sin, while now some bless
homosexual unions using the Scriptures to back their position.
Some claim that Scripture teaches that Church Ministers must be males
while other Churches do not agree with such an interpretation.
So who is right? Who is wrong? How can we tell? Are there actual objective
criteria by which any Christian should be able to evaluate the
various official readings?
While Christians often fight over the meaning of this or that passage,
some individuals, including many scholars,
put in question the authenticity and validity of the texts used
to fuel these disagreements. As an example, a
school of theologians, The Jesus Seminar,
has decided after long discussions and argumentations
that most of the Gospel texts are fantasies or distortions of the
actual events and that most of the words attributed to Jesus are definitely not His.
How can we answer them? Or can we? Is our faith based on anything
These are the questions I want to examine in this short essay.
I will start with the Gospels, as I believe these to be the most
important texts for Christians as they are the
only ones which claim to report Jesus' words and deeds. I will try
to demonstrate that these texts are truthful. Then I will try to gauge the
importance of the other texts accepted by Christian Churches as sacred
and thus, part of the Christian Scriptures.
But before I can procede, I have to choose which English translation of the
Bible I will use. There is no doubt that a great number of Christians are
especially fond of the King James Version of the Bible, also referred to as
the Authorized Version. It is the version of choice of most Evangelicals and
it is the most important English text in existence. I will thus use that version
exclusively. I will also put in red
the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, as is commonly
done in Protestant Bibles, as a show of reverence to these most important words
coming from the very Mouth of God.
To Next Chapter
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, June 6th, 2004
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