Do We Trust A Book (Bible) Or Moral Intuitions?
by Mike Edwards
We must use our moral sense and brains when reading a Book. At least non-Bible folks understand no Book can be proven to be supernaturally controlled, much less be perfectly interpreted. The Bible has been used to support either hierarchal or equalitarian relationships between the sexes. It’s a big deal! History has proven appointing men as authority over women exclusively is conducive for atrocities women face at the hands of men. We cannot avoid and we must ask which interpretation is morally likely of a loving God.
Mistranslations require moral brain power.
Ed Oxford reminds us certain Greek words were not translated as homosexual until 1946 in some bible versions. Before it was translated as boy molesters. A big deal uh? See here. Certain words are translated as Hell over 50 times in the King James version. The NIV uses the word hell 14 times. Some translations don’t use the word hell once. It’s huge if God did or didn’t create a torture chamber for infidels. See here. We can’t avoid using human moral judgment in understanding God’s character since translation isn’t perfect.
A Book couldn’t be a Creator’s only type of communication.
We don’t all agree on the correct interpretation or translation. We can’t even prove biblical writers weren’t on the same spiritual journey we all are on — discovering what God is really like. Meanwhile, the majority of people born into this world never had a Bible. Most rational people advocate the golden moral rule being a valuable guide in relationships in determining good from evil. A Creator may inspire such intuitions. Problems often begin when we insist on our understanding of an inspired Book and abandon common moral decency.
What if terrorists at least valued their intuitions than just their beliefs about a Book?
Terrorists claim murdering or beheading others for their beliefs isn’t evil. Would terrorists accept their wives and children being beheaded for different beliefs from another group claiming a Book is direct God-speak? Even terrorists deep down want to be treated with loving kindness. Terrorists can only defend their belief according to a supposed infallible Book. It cannot be proven any Book is word for word inspired by God. What if terrorists or extremists were open to questioning if a Book was entirely inspired by God or why there isn’t universal agreement on interpretations?
We must trust our moral intuitions because of mistranslating, misinterpreting, etc.
We may not always know what perfect love entails but at least we always know the question we ought to ask ourselves — am I loving others perfectly. How we ought to love one another is surely the same as how a loving Creator loves us. Good thing there is no magic book to definitively tell us what God is like. We would just use it as a club to beat people into believing. Moral intuitions are fallible but at least they should join the party of fallible interpretations. We will disagree but civil discussions are more likely than claiming a Book is infallible.