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Salon “depublishes” article that attacks the Bible

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Page from Codex Vaticanus; ending of 2 Thes and beginning of Heb

Eh? We’re as surprised as Heman Mehta at Friendly Atheist:

She talked about how having multiple authors (because “God” didn’t write it) led to “two different creation myths, three sets of Ten Commandments, and four contradictory versions of the Easter story.” She explained the possible forgeries, the mixing of literary genres, the possible mistranslations, and the numerous examples of “inside baseball” that made sense to the writers but not necessarily to people reading it today. More.

Valerie Tarico has written hundreds of articles promoting atheism. We would have thought that her kind of thing was right up Salon’s alley.

Here it is at Alternet: Why is the Bible so badly written?

Mixed messages, repetition, bad fact-checking, awkward constructions, inconsistent voice, weak character development, boring tangents, contradictions, passages where nobody can tell what the heck the writer meant to convey. This doesn’t sound like a book that was dictated by a deity.

A well-written book should be clear and concise, with all factual statements accurate and characters neither two-dimensional nor plagued with multiple personality disorder—unless they actually are. A book written by a god should be some of the best writing ever produced. It should beat Shakespeare on enduring relevance, Stephen Hawking on scientific accuracy, Pablo Neruda on poetry, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on ethical coherence, and Maya Angelou on sheer lucid beauty—just to name a few. More.

Salon should like that. So what happened?

Salon tweeted, “Thank you for your feedback. We heard you. Upon further review, we determined that this article, which was republished to Salon from a partner website, did not meet our editorial standards.”

And the article is indeed gone, as gone as Gunter Bechly’s Wikipedia entry.

Mehta thinks that religious pressure was to blame:

It’s possible that the people at Salon were just upset that the usual batch of right-wing commentators weren’t happy with the piece. Anything that brings the Bible back down to earth always rubs that crowd the wrong way.

Is Salon really sensitive to religious pressure? That doesn’t sound quite right. This story (“Alabama conservatives are right: Roy Moore’s behavior is perfectly biblical — and that’s the problem”) and this one (“God as the original terrorist: 6 ways the Bible condones horrific acts of brutality”), both by Tarico, don’t suggest that at all.

At Why Evolution Is True, Jerry Coyne offers,

Why was the article pulled? Well, it’s still up on Alternet in what appears to be its original form (I’ve also archived it here), and I’m not sure why it didn’t meet Salon’s abysmally low “editorial standards”. There are parts of it that aren’t written particularly well, but they’re no worse than the fare you usually get at Salon. More.

Perhaps Tarico and Coyne needn’t be too upset about avoiding a venue with “abysmally low ‘editorial standards.’” But the closest we’ve been able to come to an explanation is some of the critical tweets cited by Coyne: “Your article decrying a “badly written” book can’t even bother to quote or cite any scholarly evangelical definitions or defenders of inerrancy or inspiration,” “Was this article written by a fifteen year old who just discovered atheism?”, and “Frontiers in Theology By 12-Year-Olds”.

Those are apt criticisms but imagine Salon actually caring… ? Well, the piece was probably far more widely read as a result of getting banned at Salon.

Prediction: The Bible will outlast them all, so there must be something wrong with Tarico’s approach. Also with Salon’s. That is, Tarico’s wrong but who really cares?

See also: Mark Steyn on Richard Dawkins getting dumped at Berkeley

and

Evolution News and Views on Dawkins dumped from Berkeley: Did it serve him right?

and

Dawkins dumped from Berkeley due to “hurtful words”

8 Replies to “Salon “depublishes” article that attacks the Bible

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “Prediction: The Bible will outlast them all, so there must be something wrong with Tarico’s approach. Also with Salon’s.”

    Indeed! The Bible is doing quite well.

    Why The Bible Is The True Best Seller
    June 24, 2012
    Guinness Records reports an estimated 2.5 billion Bibles were printed between 1815 and 1975 and The Economist estimates more than 100m new Bibles are printed every year making a staggering total of over 6 billion in print. The New Yorker also pointed out that in 2005 the number of Bibles sold in the US alone was conservatively estimated at 25 million and Barna research indicates that 92% of all American households have at least one Bible and typically own three. That means most of the 25m Bibles are being sold to homes that already have at least one and likely more.,,,
    Not only does the Bible continue to enjoy annually increasing sales and distribution totals, it does so strictly without coercion. No one is required to buy, own, read or believe the Bible. In fact, in countries heavily influenced by the Bible, freedom reigns. People who don’t believe are free to disagree with it publicly if they wish. They can swear at God, find fault with the Bible, disagree with those who believe it and debate the issues without worry.

    All of that is to say that Bible influenced countries are open. The same can’t be said for Mao’s book or the Qur’an.
    https://nowthinkaboutit.com/2012/06/why-the-bible-is-the-true-best-seller/

    Everyone should read the Bible (especially atheists)
    In his 2010 book, Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language, David Crystal concluded that the King James Bible alone created twice as many modern English idioms (think “fly in the ointment”) as all of Shakespeare’s work combined. And even these are only a small fraction of the thousands of idioms given to us by predecessor Bibles, such as the Tyndale, Bishops’ and Geneva variants. The English we speak today and the English of the Bible are inseparable.
    http://fullcomment.nationalpos.....the-bible/

    What do Christians mean when they say ‘God spoke to me?’ –
    J. Warner Wallace – Feb. 2018
    Excerpt: As I began to study the New Testament a few years later, I discovered this truth for myself. If the Bible is, indeed, “breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16), and “the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), there might be many ways someone could legitimately say, “God spoke to me.” Here, for example, are four:

    “God spoke to me through scripture”
    The Bible is more than an ancient record of historical events and theological truths, its also a wise and time-tested guidebook, filled with insight and advice. Believers have been reading the Bible to glean Divine wisdom for thousands of years. When a Christian says, “God spoke to me today,” they may simply mean that God’s word, the Bible, provided them with the direction they needed.,,,
    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion.....to-me.html

    A few more notes:

    Pew: Here’s How Badly Soviet Atheism Failed in Europe
    In 18 nations across Central and Eastern Europe, religion is now essential to national identity. (massive study based on face-to-face interviews with 25,000 adults in 18 countries}
    Jeremy Weber – 5/10/2017
    Excerpt: “The comeback of religion in a region once dominated by atheist regimes is striking,” states Pew in its latest report. Today, only 14 percent of the region’s population identify as atheists, agnostics, or “nones.” By comparison, 57 percent identify as Orthodox, and another 18 percent as Catholics.
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ntity.html

    Christians Now Outnumber Communists in China – 12/29/14
    Excerpt: Though the Chinese Communist Party is the largest explicitly atheist organization in the world, with 85 million official members, it is now overshadowed by an estimated 100 million Christians in China.,,,
    “By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University
    http://www.breitbart.com/natio.....-in-china/

    Study: Rising Religious Tide in China Overwhelms Atheist Doctrine
    Excerpt: One of the last great efforts at state-sponsored atheism is a failure. And not just any kind of failure. China has enforced its anti-religion policy through decades of repression, coercion and persecution, but the lack of success is spectacular, according to a major new study.
    No more than 15 percent of adults in the world’s most populous country are “real atheists.” 85 percent of the Chinese either hold some religious beliefs or practice some kind of religion, according to the Chinese Spiritual Life Survey.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....11665.html

    New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Not Shrinking, But Growing Stronger – Jan. 2018
    Excerpt: New research published late last year by scholars at Harvard University and Indiana University Bloomington is just the latest to reveal the myth. This research questioned the “secularization thesis,” which holds that the United States is following most advanced industrial nations in the death of their once vibrant faith culture. Churches becoming mere landmarks, dance halls, boutique hotels, museums, and all that.
    Not only did their examination find no support for this secularization in terms of actual practice and belief, the researchers proclaim that religion continues to enjoy “persistent and exceptional intensity” in America. These researchers hold our nation “remains an exceptional outlier and potential counter example to the secularization thesis.”
    http://thefederalist.com/2018/.....-stronger/

    Quote and video:

    “Christianity is not merely religious truth, it is total truth — truth about the whole of reality.”
    – Francis Schaeffer –

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words “The Lamb”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tmka1l8GAQ

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    News, I think the Internet Atheists may be beginning to get the message that soapbox-style rhetorical stunts like this are counter-productive. All they show is a hostile mis-reading driven by patent animus and pointing to fear of Him they would wish to get rid of, but who gives to all men life and breath and all things; such that it is in him that we live, move and have our being. KF

  3. 3
    News says:

    kairosfocus at 2, apart from anything else, the piece – available at the Alternet link above – offers little other than the author’s opinion, in a heavily researched field, where the reader would reasonably expect something new. It might have worked, condensed, as a letter to the editor.

    That doesn’t explain everything, of course.

  4. 4
    cmow says:

    KF @2,
    As the poet Aratus said, “We are His offspring”. And since we are, we should not put God in a box. He designed us, not the other way around.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    cmow, I see you caught my context. A discussion in which Paul acknowledged that some true insights about God can be had through natural evidence of the morally governed intelligible world without and our own souls within; not exhaustive by any means but enough to point us to our duty to the truth and the right. I add, that truth is not boxing in, it is drawing out an accurate description of reality. A guide to sound living, just as 2 + 3 = 5 or error exists or it is impossible to be deluded that one is consciously self-aware are not a boxing in but a liberating empowerment. There was one who called us to heed his words, indicating that in that way one would know the truth and the truth would set us free. KF

    PS: You may find here on useful. Do, take time to reflect on the vid.

  6. 6
    mikeenders says:

    It boggles the mind every time I hear or read a materialist/atheist wax on about theological issues. Almost without exclusion they are incredibly pathetic at even knowing the first thing about what they are attempting to refute and hence show an incredibly level of incompetence straight out the gate

    Exhibit A – “Millions of evangelicals and other Christian fundamentalists believe that the Bible was dictated by God to men who acted essentially as human transcriptionists.”

    This is the whole premise of what is to follow in that piece and yet it is WRONG, and OBVIOUSLY wrong. Christianity makes no claim that the Bible is “dictation” from God. Pathetically the writer doesn’t even understand the difference between inspired and transcription!

    Paul is free to be human paul when he writes. The Gospels are free to cover their witness in the way the writers recall it through their own eyes. David is praising God himself in the Psalms not mouthing God’s praise of himself. Absolutely NOWHERE does any book in the Bible indicate God spoke the words of any entire book and told them to write it down.

    Equally nowhere in the bible is it ever stated that the objective is to write lterature that will tickle the ears of humans. After all it at several places denigrates present humanity. Its sole puprose is to relate whats important to GOD to people at that time and now. Theres never been a book that had more sweeping impact in that regard.

    The book is God stooping to communicate with men in their languages which are imperfect abstractions of reality. For God like eloquence he would need to speak in his native tongue (so to speak) not dirt breathed into life tongues.

    I still await a good theological point made by an atheist. I’m breathing normally until then though.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    ME,

    your exhb A is of course a conflation of the Islamic claim with the Judaeo-Christian one. This reflects lack of familiarity with relevant distinctions.

    Let me put on the table a classic reference which credibly traces to Peter, awaiting death as alleged ringleader of a plot of treasonous arson against Rome July 18, 64 AD . . . of course, itself an example of the destructive power of slander:

    2 Pet 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

    17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,[i] with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

    [–> and of course we have the onward witness of the 500 to the prophesied, fulfilled salvific death, burial and resurrection of Messiah, whose voice carries the authority of that authenticating witness]

    19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.

    21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along [with typhonic force] by the Holy Spirit. [ESV]

    KF

    PS: It seems there are whole schools of thought on theology dominated by a hyperskeptical spirit that effectively gives the skeptical atheist the power of veto over theology.In popularised and sensationalist form, such commonly appears on cable TV in the guise of breathessly announced discoveries and secrets of the Bible etc. I, for cause, have far more confidence in the Scriptures and the Christ than any of the skeptics. When one such returns from death with 500 witnesses we can take what they say a tad more seriously; providing they speak according to what is known to be authentic: unless they speak according to this word, there is no light of day in them.

  8. 8
    tribune7 says:

    Great points, Mikeenders. In fairness, the 10 commandments are considered to be written by the “finger of God” but that’s only a small part of the Bible and not what the atheists like to attack.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+31%3A18&version=NIV

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