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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

# 8 Religious Quandary

Religious Quandary
The Talker
Shopping for a bible! Which one? King James Version, KJ2, KJ2000, KJ21, the New King James or the Revised King James, or maybe theRevised StandardVersion, or perhaps the New Revised Standard. Not satisfied with those, how about NIV, NIRV, NAB, NASB, NCV, NEB, NET, NJV, NLT,NLV, or NWT , versions . So , I started a "small research" project. Believe it was Elvis Presley ( spelling ?) that had a song with the words '' All shook up " in it, that describes how I ended up, feeling wise.

Found that there are 125 Asian and African languages, with another 500 language variations, of some portions of the bible. There are , in english, more than 3000 versions of the entire bible or portions of the bible.

So when I hear some one ask "do you read the bible", I now ask "which one".
Well, it all starts with " there is no one bible". No one complete version of what "God said " exists, in any form.

Along with the above mentioned versions , there are: Jewish, Catholic, African, American, non-sexist,Husband, Recovery, Living, Good News, and Jerusalem versions that are supposed to be "Gods Word". Problem is that the versions, sadly, have only one thing in common, and that is a "variance" in what was supposedly said by the Creator.

Comparing " edited and sanitized" bible verses and wording , leaves me wondering "what was said originally". If there is no agreement on a version, of what " God inspired men to write", how can one know or agree on what the bible verses actually said.

Bibles are the culmination of an extended process covered with inky fingers, human finger prints, of story telling, writing, cutting and pasting, translating and biased interpretations. This was done by astronomers, geologists, biologists, comparative religionists, archaeologists, anthropologists, philogists, scripture scholars, and theologians.
Anyway, at one point, I " threw the baby out with the bath water". "Oh, woe is me" , went my shaken belief factors. What now? Past experience has shown that "ones lack of understanding about a thing does not mean its false, nor does understanding a thing make it true". So I just let it all lay fallow for a long period of time. During consolatory contemplation ( meaning , feeling sorry for my self) of what seemed to be a big problem , A thought came to me " if this were a piece of equipment that was not working properly, what would you do next? " .
Troubleshoot it. Ahaa, so what's wrong with using ones skill in doing troubleshooting. You've been doing things of that nature for many decades, so try it. So now, trying to use logic in sorting out my disrupted beliefs, I looked at the bible as a piece of broken down equipment. ( had I lived in the 16th or 17th or 18th century , I'd have been in real trouble) So the saying goes,"how do you eat a big elephant, piece by piece". That is what I proceeded to do. Mentally went and gathered up the thrown out bath water, hoping I could find the baby that was suppose to be there. Ah, sweet progress. Where all my questions answered? Nope. Do I now have all the answers, nope. Will I ever have all the answers, give me a break. Have sifted and winnowed through bibles and verses ( faith, where are you ?) until I thought I was going to lose it all. Little by little , pieces started to come together , like a huge jig-saw puzzle.
Wasn't as bad as I thought, it was worse. But at least a semblance of coherency started creeping in. Am I at total peace with all this, not really, so I'll keep nibbling away at it. I don't have all the answers ,maybe never will, but who does? My conclusions, sorry , that's another whole story, maybe another time. Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, be talking ya another time.

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