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How to Misinterpret the Bible
A Word of Advice
This article is meant to be satirical, I haven’t just deconstructed or anything along those lines, I simply thought it would be a good way to explore the ways in which people commonly misinterpret the Bible. If you’ve read the Screwtape Letters, this will be a bit like that, but not as well written. It is nonetheless meant to be taken as a serious word of caution.
How to Misinterpret the Bible
It’s come to my attention that many of you out there are interested in the subject of biblical misinterpretation. In fact, many of you are already pursuing the good work of sharing this misinformation across the internet and in the media right now. Until now though there’s been—to my knowledge—no attempt to seriously advise newcomers to the practice on the forms of consistent misinterpretation.
I hope herein to explain how—for those concerned with mishandling the bible without care—to go about sharing one’s views in a way which can be readily accepted and shared by others, and even, at times, infiltrate the church. Please do let me know if I miss anything, if needs be I will write a follow-up article with further details.
A quick note on the subject of brevity. It should be noted that whilst there are those who will take time to dissect and show the failings of views which don’t align with biblical orthodoxy, these are not our primary target audience as misinterpreters. With that said, Social Media is our ally here in a way in which longer-form media is not. Although most do not expect substance from the news, films and TV, as well as interviews and the like, a lack of any true content will come across as out of place. With regard to social media, the opposite is true, shorter videos, quotes, soundbites, and 280-character tweets make up the bulk of consumption for regular users, and anything more will usually be ignored. With so many of us out there though, we can use this to our advantage as short tweets—and even reels and TikTok videos—do not take an awfully long time to create, and so with our combined effort if even a small portion of what we write or create is taken seriously, we have a good chance of overwhelming the opposition—the church.
Out of Context
Though not universally true, it’s worth saying first of all that many in the West still have some preconceived notions about the faith of the Christians and their bible, this is to our advantage. Half-memorised verses, movie quotes, children’s stories and the like are pathways to the hearts of our audience so long as we do not place them back into their biblical context. Most everyone has heard the phrase, “Love Thy Neighbour,” for instance, and so we can simply say, “Did you know that ‘neighbour’ in those days only meant your family and those around you, especially others in your own ethnic group.” Though Jesus would go on to explain this was not what he meant, very few will do the work of verification and if they do, there will always be another chance to reassert our case. In addition to this, the western world seems convinced at this moment in history that as we all base our opinions on facts, science, and superior understanding this adds two tools to our belt.
This first point is perhaps the most helpful because if enough of us share and proliferate these “facts” they will become the truth for most people. We can say that Jesus was simply a copy of another figure, like Horus for instance, the sample data is sparse enough that if pushed we can make a case which seems solid enough, not to mention those who’ve gone before us and published works on that subject have done our work for us. For those of you who would like another option, see Apollonius, an easy target not because of a genuine similarity, but because no one really knows who he is, and will therefore identify any differences they hear about him in the future as minor details, rather than major red flags. Finally, a member of the opposition, C.S. Lewis—who sadly gave up his atheism too early and with it his reason—coined the phrase ‘Chronological Snobbery,’ i.e. that people in his day believed they were generally more intelligent than those who came before them. Whilst Lewis was attempting to stop this trend in its tracks, we can be thankful the attitude has only grown in our culture, with many even looking to the youngest in our society to help them work out political and moral truth. How wonderful! This means that when all else fails, we can call upon the snobbery of our audience and lambast the writers of the gospels, the churches, their monks, their scribes, their theologians, and their philosophers! Why? They have the unbelievable trait of ‘belief’ that no reasonable person could possibly possess—and by extension, anyone who still does today must belong to that very same backwards, medieval, and ancient thinking which designates them as being ridiculous and intolerable.
This leads us to our next point, consistency. In other words, throughout history the opposition has been able to call back to their forebears in the faith, grounding their thinking and theology in those who came before. We must wherever possible uproot this grounding and leave it open and destroyed for all to see.
We have a few ways of doing this, but let me focus on two.
1. A New Way
Possibly the most well-tested version of this tactic—used from before the church even existed!—is “the new way,” which allows us to say clearly and precisely that whether because of fresh information, a key translation error, or some other cultural shift we must view things in a different light now. In other words, deviating from orthodoxy is actually a good thing! This is especially helpful for those of you who have infiltrated churches or are otherwise close to Christians. Rather than trying to dissuade them from the faith, find the ones who are unsure and encourage them to see things from this new perspective. Great places to start are:
Derive possible—though implausible—alternative translations of the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible
Look at differences in the translations of English bibles throughout the years and how they seem to change the meaning of the text—you must make sure if you take this path not to allow them to consider that these changes could be explained by the development/evolution of language, that doesn’t work for our purposes.
Developments in cultural views on sexuality, social justice, or science
2. Undermining the source
While we’re trying to uproot the grounding, we should also work from below, mining through history to find or create stories which would render the views and writings of those heroes null and void. Thanks be to history, as Christians most of these men—and they are mostly men, which works in our favour—wrote about their own ‘sins!’ Jonathan Edwards was a slave owner, Augustine kept a concubine, and Billy Graham refused to be alone with women which simply can’t be a good thing. Go forth and dig, you have no idea how much you’ll find, but I promise you it’s out there.
Write it into a tweet and hey presto! If we can dissipate the church’s cloud of witnesses, from which their faith draws its sustenance, then hopefully we can see the day when no one believes anything anymore.
Finally, when all else fails, we turn to false application. Christians, when reading the Bible, have many ways to respond; worship, prayer, thanksgiving, repentance, mission, evangelism, leadership, preaching, and more which I shudder to think about. Each of these starts and ends with asking the question, “What is being said in this passage, what is God saying?” This must be turned on its head.
If we cannot convince Christians not to read their bibles, we must instead get them to make it all about them. If we can encourage them to ask questions like, “What does this say to me?” or “What does this verse mean in my own life?” before ever considering that they are not the primary character in the story, then before long the very bible they hold will become a different kind of book entirely. Seen through the lens of self—which I need not remind you is the very lens we use—the words, verses, and chapters will no longer be about God, but about them, which will either lead to our camp, or at the very least close by.
In addition, if you’re able, remove books from their reading lists. Historical books are full of violence and atrocities, so start there, why should they read about the horrific sins of others? 1&2 Chronicles are just names and genealogies, which they can skip in other books too. No one understands Isaiah, Ezekiel, Revelation, or any of the minor prophets, so why should they try? The more you can chip away, the smaller the Bible becomes, and the better they think they know the books of the Bible they do read, the less they’ll want to read them.
That’s all for today and more than enough to be going on with.
I hope you’ll take what I’ve written and put it into practice.
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