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Wednesday, March 15, 2006 

Intellectual Cowardice

The following has been stuck in my craw all day.

Last night on The Daily Show, the guest was Bart Ehrman, author of Mistquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. During the course of the interview, the author correctly pointed out several instances where things in the Bible had been altered, added in at a later date, and just flat out didn't corroborate themselves. Of note, Mr. Ehrman pointed to the story of Jesus and the prostitute in the square, where Jesus supposedly said "let he who is without sin cast the first stone". Pretty notable biblical tale, right? Well, Mr. Ehrman shows where the inconsistencies lie and comes to the conclusion that the story was most likely added a few centeries after the first cannonization of the New Testament.

As the guest proceeded to make his case and state the evidence in his book, both he and John Stewart just flat out left me stupified. After all of these affirmations of what any ardent atheist already knows to be the case, the two of them conclude each mini-discussion, and ultimately the interview, with statements such as: "It's as though the bible really is a living document!", "Yes, yes, it is ever changing!", and "To me, this makes the bible seem more godly".

How is it that seemingly educated, intelligent, learned individuals can so completely miss the obvious in what they had just discussed? All of these discrepancies don't discredit the Bible in their eyes. Oh, no. It somehow becomes a quaint little document of truth when all of these things are pointed out. I mean, come on! The author even started off the interview by saying that he was led down the path of writing this book by his questioning of the Gospels and their contradictions. It's as though theists come so close to forming a coherent thought and then smash it with a sledge hammer because going down that avenue is unfamiliar and scary.

John Stewart is the main reason why I got ticked off last night though. Here is a satirist who is paid to be skeptical on national television and has pointed out a plethora of inconsistencies in government and religion prior to last night's show. But when it came to the Bible and a man openly admitting that their were serious flaws in people's understanding of biblical writings, what did Stewart do? He cowered in a corner, shrugged aside any intellectual honesty he had left, and called the book magical and "more godly".

Or, maybe he just doesn't have the mental capacity to recognize such a glaring opportunity to nail someone to the wall. It really makes you miss those giants of men like Harry Browne.

Hey Obscure. Good going there. I'm gonna add you to my blog links.

Thanks, Franc. Much appreciated.

You're right, obscure. It's like he has the courage to criticize and make fun of every sacred cow except certain touchy religious topics.

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